An account of the American-Vietnamese War compiled through inquiry by Preston of Clarksville. Written so that these men may always find glory in the hearts of men.
Americans say that they intervened because they wanted to prevent “human rights abuses”, but now, among most learned men, it is commonly agreed upon that they feared the “domino theory” of expanding communist empires. America feared Russia and its power and therefore tried to isolate any countries that might align themselves with, thus strengthening, Russia. After World War II, the Americans became more involved in international political affairs. Americans began to realize that they must strive against Russia to achieve a defense posture capable of withstanding hostile action from within or without from the Soviets.
The original conflicts of the Vietnam War, however, date back to 1956 when, after WWII, France decided to reclaim its colony of Vietnam, or ‘Nam, as the Americans oftentimes called it. When Hirohito, the Emperor of Japan, invaded Vietnam, the American Government decided to give money to a small group of rebels called the Viet Minh. After Japan was defeated, the Viet Minh, lead by Ho Chi Minh, seized power in Vietnam. At about the same time, France returned to reclaim its colony. The Viet Minh allowed the French back into Vietnam only after they were assured that they would be granted freedom as a part of the French Union. The peace, however, was short lived.
The French broke the treaty as they bombed the city of Haiphong and took the capital city of Hanoi. The deciding factor in the conflict was when the French were soundly beaten at Dien Bien Phu and obeyed their notorious chicken-hearted ideals and did as the American historian James Hinkle so eloquently put it, “They did what they do best; they quit.” The conflict was ultimately ended by the Geneva Accords which divided Vietnam into two sections: a north, ruled by the Viet Minh, and a non-communist south.
According to American historians: “A year after the Geneva Accords, Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem commenced a ‘Denounce the Communists’ campaign in the south. Throughout the summer of 1955, communists and other oppositionists were jailed and executed. In addition to attacking the communists, Diem assaulted Buddhist sects and organized crime, which further alienated the largely Buddhist Vietnamese people and eroded his support.”1 This caused growing support for a group of Viet Minh secret agents that had not returned north after the Geneva accords known as the Viet Cong.
The Viet Cong were also known to the American troops as “Charlie, “Victor Charles” (from VC), the “nogs”, or noggies, “the slopes” and “The Cong” (from Viet Cong). For whatever their flaws, I must give them credit. The yanks (the American Soldiers) could come up with so many names that one must wonder what they spent all of their time doing while in the trenches other than making up names.
The Viet Cong (called VC) were an irregular force of peasants, farmers, and the like who blended into the surroundings because they were in their native habitat. They were hard to single out unless they were actually engaged in warlike activity at the time. They were also a tough ruthless enemy who were not afraid to use any means at all, including their women and children, to further their aims.
The Viet Cong had two types of warrior: regional fighters and local fighters. The regional fighters were full time workers, well-trained and well-equipped. The regional units of the Viet Cong more often than not operated as independent companies but often split up and dispersed into platoons, squads, and cells. The personnel of these units were often local to the area in which they served.
The local Viet Cong were the archetypal “farmers by day, soldiers by night”, composed of those either too old or too young to fight in the regular Viet Cong units and dressed as local peasant farmers. Whilst their primary activities consisted of intelligence gathering, sniping, and emplacing booby traps, these troops were employed in the support of Viet Cong Regional and Main Force Units operated in their locality as porters, scouts and guides. Local force size was dependent on the size of the village and ranged fromsingle 3 man cells to a platoon of 3-4 squads and generally operated at the squad level of 12 men.
Americans tell me that “On August 2, 1964, USS Maddox, an American destroyer, was attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin by three North Vietnamese submarines while conducting an intelligence mission. This attack led to US air strikes against North Vietnam. In retribution for the incident in the Gulf of Tonkin, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued orders for the systematic bombing of North Vietnam, targeting its air defenses, industrial sites, and transportation infrastructure. Beginning on March 2, 1965, and known as Operation Rolling Thunder, the bombing campaign lasted over three years and dropped an average of 800 tons of bombs a day on the north.
3,500 Marines were deployed that same month, becoming the first ground forces committed to the conflict. By April 1965, Johnson had sent 60,000 American troops to Vietnam. The number escalated to 536,100 by the end of 1968. In the summer of 1965, under the command of General William Westmoreland, US forces executed their first major offensive operations against the Viet Cong and scored victories around Chu Lai (Operation Starlite) and in the Ia Drang Valley. The Ia Drang campaign was largely fought by the 1st Air Cavalry Division which pioneered the use of helicopters for high speed mobility on the battlefield. Learning from these defeats, the Viet Cong seldom again engaged American forces in conventional battles, preferring instead to resort to hit and run attacks and ambushes.” (Hickman p.2)2
Now it would be unfair to the Americans not to mention that, Russia supplied MIG-17, MIG-21 jet fighters; SAM’s (Surface to Air Missiles); PT-76 Amphibious tanks, and T-54/T-55 medium tanks; Artillery & Anti-Aircraft Artillery; and ammunition for all of the above. China supplied MIG-19 (J-6 versions); SKS rifles, AK-47 Assault rifles; mortars; 122mm rockets; and ammo for all of the above.
Now when American troops had been fighting in Vietnam for about nine years, even though the Americans were winning by a casualty ratio of 2-1 the war became so unpopular that president Nixon was forced to withdraw the troops. Without the Americans to protect them the south Vietnamese stood no chance against the Viet Minh and were ultimately overpowered. Thus it was that the Viet Minh, through the aide of Russia gained control of Vietnam.
1 Hickman, Kennedy: The Vietnam War Origins. Answers.com http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/vietnamwar/a/VietnamOrigins_2.htm
2 Hickman, Kennedy: Vietnam War: An Overview of the Conflict. Answers.com http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/vietnamwar/tp/vietnam101.htm