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Vietnam: Battlefields and tactics

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Beau Hansen

on 17 March 2015

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Transcript of Vietnam: Battlefields and tactics

How did the environment of Vietnam impact the United States and lead them into the longest war our country has ever fought?

Previous Wars of the USA
Why the Vietcong Fought
Vietnamese viewed this war as one of independence and nationalism more than promoting a communist theory.
The majority of Vietcong joined because of mistreatment of the villagers
From bombing, shelling or forced relocation
Use of chemical defoliants (Agent Orange)

Why The US Fought
US was not trying to gain territory or political control over the area
The only way to win the war was to stop the people from having an idea.
How do you do that?

Escalation of the war
With the unilateral power provided by the Tonkin resolution, Johnson looked to expand the scope of the war
February 1965, 8 American soldiers were killed by the Vietcong
In retaliation Johnson ordered the start of Operation Rolling Thunder
This was the first sustained bombing campaign against North Vietnam
The hope was this would force North Vietnam to stop supporting the Vietcong in the South
Between 1965 and 1973 America dropped more than 6 million tons of bombs
This is three times the amount dropped by all sides during WW2

Vietnam: Battlefields and Tactics
Beau Hansen

EDIM 508

This presentation is designed to show students the different type of fighting conditions and styles that were used in Vietnam as compared to other wars the US military has participated in.

Copy or click the link below to access the student worksheet
WHST.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

WHST.11-12.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection and research.
Common Core Standards
Lake Washington School District Standards
Analyze the role geography has played as it relates to
international politics in Vietnam.

Analyze and evaluate the causes and effect of US Foreign policy on people across the world.
Reasons Explained
Bombing/shelling was a major reasons for recruitment into the Vietcong
Especially if they felt there was no reason for the attack on their village
Forced relocation also aided in opposition
Vietnamese believed that the souls of their ancestors roam about their sacred soil near the village.
To leave, means to abandon their soul, to lose their status
Their forced removal led to anger and hatred towards the US

Agent Orange
This made all of the foliage in the forest die
This caused massive erosion, loss of fertility and widespread damage to the environment.
The ability to grow crops was impossible for a number of years following the grounds exposure.
Nations around the world were unwilling to import food from Vietnam because of fears of this chemical.
This chemical also killed large numbers of people and led to thousands of children being stillborn.
There was also a large number of disfigured / handicapped children

United States advantage
The US was technologically superior in every way
Guns, Clothing, Firepower, Airplanes, etc.
The US was better trained
Soldiers had 8 weeks of basic training then another 20 weeks of specialized training
Vietcong received a gun as their training, the rest was learned in the field.

Vietcong Advantages
Knew the terrain
Had the support of the peasants
To counter this the US used “pacification”
Would uproot an entire village and force them to move to the city.
Fighting Techniques
Knowing they were outnumbered and equipped they used a guerrilla style of warfare
They also used an extensive system of traps and tunnels to move about

Where not trying to gain territory
Simply trying to kill more of the other guy
Ground missions were called “Search and Destroy”
Remember the only way to win is to stop an idea

“Americanizing” The War
As it became clear that the bombs were not having the desired effect American soldiers moved into combat rolls
As this happened South Vietnamese assumed a secondary roll in the war
This became know as Americanization
March 1965 two battalions of US Marines wade ashore in Vietnam
By the end of 1966 180,000 troops
By the end of 1967 500,000 troops
This show of force was done to scare the Vietcong to the bargaining table

Answer the following question in one paragraph and submit your response to Haiku by the start of class tomorrow.
Arelax (2010, September 13). Saving Private Ryan - Half Track Cover! Retrieved March 17, 2015, from

Banai, N. (2012, May 13). Forest Gump - Vietnam Battle. Retrieved March 17, 2015, from

CaliPatriot88. (2010, April 10). World War One Trench Warfare. Retrieved March 17, 2015, from

Hammond, S. (2010, January 1). Agent Orange Record. Retrieved March 17, 2015, from

Movieclips. (2012, October 7). Glory (1/8) Movie CLIP - The Battle of Antietam (1989) HD. Retrieved March 17, 2015, from

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Promazo. (2010, January 1). The Patriot - Battle of Camden Movie Clip (HD). Retrieved March 17, 2015, from

Von DerSeppe, K. (2009, January 2). Country Joe & The Fish - I feel like I'm fixin' to die. Retrieved March 17, 2015, from
Full transcript