The Vietnam War as opposed to other American Conflicts post-WWII.

Essay by KeirHigh School, 11th grade January 2006

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At the greatest level, the extent of the US combat power in Vietnam was limited to air raids and chemical weapons, as the jungle nature of the country, the guerilla warfare strategies of the Vietcong and the difficulty to discriminate between North and South Vietnamese soldiers made it nearly impossible for the marines to gain ground on land. Though 2.59 million Americans served in the military from 1964 to 1975, the US's significant advances were almost solely dependent upon the air strikes and bombing they administered. The Vietcong clearly was not as forward in weaponry as the US since the Chinese, who had received most of the models from the Russians decades earlier, supplied most of their firearms. Yet at the same time, because the country's jungle setting hindered navigation and preparation against guerilla warfare, the Vietcong took advantage of their familiarity of the environment and rarely fought in open warfare where pieces were set.

Also, due to the fact that the North Vietnamese did not wear uniforms, spoke a completely different language and many of the South Vietnamese who opposed the corrupt government headed up by Diem were Communist sympathizers, for the US to determine precisely the identity of the enemy was problematic. The US's combat power, therefore, was heavily limited to exfoliate chemical weapons like Napalm and Agent Orange to strip trees bare of leafs for better navigation, to destroy the local rice fields, and stop supporting Vietcong guerrillas in the South, as seen in Operation Rolling Thunder, initiated on February 13, 1965. The average infantryman in the South Pacific through WWII experienced about 10 days of combat for every year, while the average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year, due to the mobility of the helicopter. Even so, North Vietnamese attacks...