Why did the USA Withdraw from Vietnam?
US military tactics
The US military attempted to handle the Vietnam war with tactics similar to what they learned in World War II. They had used tanks to break through the enemy front line and the infantry would follow, not having to break the frontline themselves made this easier. This had worked effectively in World War II but there were no jungles in Europe, Tanks found it impossible to force their way through the jungle thanks to trees and vegetation. The tanks were near useless and the infantry had to do it themselves. When the success rate dropped on the ground, the US military introduced operation “Rolling Thunder” which dropped millions of high explosive bombs onto North Vietnam, backed up by napalm and phosphorus bombs which caused severe burns.. This tactic was criticised by many for the poor accuracy and collateral damage, injuring and killing many innocent civilians.
The Strengths of the Viet Cong and guerrilla warfare
Not only did the Viet Cong know the land better than the Americans, but they used guerrilla warfare, which the Americans had never seen before but they ambushed the from the trees and hidden dugouts; they set traps on the jungle floor and used a vast network of underground tunnels to hide from American spy planes and to shelter from the Rolling Thunder. The Viet Cong would avoid pitched battles with the Americans unless the odds were clearly in their favour. To counter the American build-up, Vietcong recruitment would be stepped up and more North Vietnamese Army troops would be infiltrated into South Vietnam. Guerrilla troops were also hidden in local villages by peasants who had been told they were poor because of the Americans and the guerrilla troops would free them. The Viet Cong also use booby traps to injure and kill US soldiers.
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