The Tactics of the U.S. Against Guerillas

Topics: Vietnam War, Ho Chi Minh, South Vietnam Pages: 2 (899 words) Published: April 23, 2015
The USA employed planes such as B52 bombers to bombard the Ho Chi Minh trail in an attempt to obliterate all industrial and major transportation targets as fast as possible, with the hope that this would sink the morale of the Viet Cong and make the people afraid of the Americans; in turn disheartening them. However, although it managed to disrupt the flow of supplies, extensive aerial bombing did not prevent the North Vietnamese from moving hundreds of tons of war supplies per day down the Ho Chi Minh Trail - which ran from North Vietnam through Laos and Cambodia - into South Vietnam. The Viet Cong continually built the route into an extensive network of trails and support systems; the bombing was futile as when a section was discovered and destroyed by American planes, the trail was simply redirected through the dense jungle which concealed it from the opposition. When the most visible, truck-navigated sections of the trail were targeted, supplies were loaded onto bicycles that could no longer be detected from the air, hidden by the impenetrable foliage. In fact, despite intense U.S. bombing throughout 1965, the trail never closed once and it has been estimated that up to 40,000 people were used to keep the route open; their morale and determination were untainted. Due to the ineffectiveness of their initial bombing, the Americans were forced to use their aircraft to drop defoliants onto the jungles to kill the vegetation as they believed that this would uncover Viet Cong soldiers who had been shielded by the forest. It is estimated that 17 million litres of Agent Orange, a common defoliant, were sprayed over Vietnam by the U.S.; although they succeeded in clearing vast areas of woodland, this did little to aid the Americans in their struggle to spot their enemy. The National Liberation Front had built a system of underground tunnels that made it impossible for them to be seen from the sky, which, at its peak, linked VC support bases over a distance of some...
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