Tactics and Strategies of the Vietnam War

Assess the tactics and strategies adopted by the two sides in the conflict?

The tactics and strategies adopted by the U.S and the North Vietnamese during the prolonged years of 1945 to 1975 (despite the fact that troops were not placed on the ground until 1964) were very reflective of socio-political concerns of the time. The U.S on one side, with more direct involvement and firepower provided as their fear of communism heightened, compared to the North Vietnamese and Vietcong, whose guerilla tactics never subsided. American and Northern tactics and strategies can both be classed as military and political respectively.

The first tactic adopted by the North during the Vietnam War was purely military based. In conjunction with the Viet Cong, the North launched a war of attrition as they realized that defeating the U.S would be incredibly difficult. As part of this war of attrition, North Vietnam strategies of guerilla warfare was utilized to great effect. Attacking the U.S in conditions that they were not adapted to, followed by a retreat into the endless abyss of the jungle, the U.S were not only physically affected with an estimated death toll of 58, 209, but also psychologically as U.S troops feared venturing into territory they were not accustomed to.   The North, realistic of their military capabilities successfully attempted to prolong the length of the war until the U.S would grow tired of their involvement in a war in Indochina that they realistically didn’t need to be involved in. By doing so, the North also hoped that the U.S public would turn against their military advisors due to the number of casualties and expenses.

Another tactic used by the North Vietnamese but especially the Viet Cong was the ‘hit and run’ tactic. A great example of this was the TET offensive of 1968, the largest military offensive deployed by the North throughout the war. This included attacking U.S troops and bases in ambushes in conjunction with the utilization of booby...