Why Couldnt the US win the Viet Nam conflict? - Page 10




 
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May 4th, 2009  
A Can of Man
 
 
Again, all the things the US needed to do in order to win the war - take the fight up to the north and fight on America's terms - were ruled out and that pretty much ruled out victory.
May 4th, 2009  
Wallabies
 
Like what happened in Korea? That turned out awesomelike.
May 4th, 2009  
mmarsh
 
 
TomTom

I am curious on something. Can you answer me a question?

Based on your experiance, Would you say that the Jungle guerilla-war aspect of Vietnam was similar to that of WWII? Or was it completely different. I am curious because there were some like my Great-Uncle who actually fought in both wars.

If they were similar, then why wasnt the tactics used in WWII as successful when they were tried on the Vietnamese.
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May 5th, 2009  
Wallabies
 
Where was the guerrilla-war aspect in WW2?
May 5th, 2009  
Chukpike
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallabies
Where was the guerrilla-war aspect in WW2?
Most was in the India, Borneo, China region. This tends to be forgotten or overshadowed by the large actions in Europe, North Africa and Russia.
May 5th, 2009  
BritinAfrica
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chukpike
Most was in the India, Borneo, China region. This tends to be forgotten or overshadowed by the large actions in Europe, North Africa and Russia.
Spot on. The British 14th Army was always referred to as "The forgotten Army."
May 5th, 2009  
A Can of Man
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallabies
Like what happened in Korea? That turned out awesomelike.
Nope, but at least it ended in a pretty solid stalemate. Better than losing the whole neighborhood.

Plus it wasn't simply Chinese intervention alone. The Chinese managed to strike with absolute surprise with tactics that stunned the combined UN forces. Probably wouldn't have been the case for the Chinese if they tried to enter Vietnam. Plus, Vietnam (including North Vietnam) and the Chinese were absolute enemies, unlike the North Koreans who had been comrades with the Chinese Communists throughout the war against Japan. Cooperation and coordination between the two would have been far more complicated and difficult.
June 5th, 2009  
eugenius
 
When confronted by Colonel Harry Summers with the fact that the Communists had never beaten U.S. Troops in a battle, a North Vietnamese officer replied,” that is correct, it is also irrelevant”.

Propping up a corrupt military dictatorship that treated 'the people' like dirt was never going to win their support (it was their country remember) ...

Air power and insensible ground troops obliterated peaceful ancestral villages, making conversions of the peoples “Hearts and Minds” impossible.

Without the Vietnamese peoples support - the Norths message of Nationalism was always going to win out.

Unleash the full might of the US juggernaut if you will - even reducing the country to a moonscape, wouldn't have 'won' the war.

Nation building doesn't work if the population doesn't buy what you are selling.

In this case liberal Democracy - wrapped up as it was in a stinking package.

A horrible waste of lives.
June 24th, 2009  
Panzercracker
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallabies
Where was the guerrilla-war aspect in WW2?
In Russia and Poland, both had guerilla forces the size of regular militaries.
July 4th, 2009  
vrmgi
 
 
Vietnam was a civil war, and a proxy war. The U.S. couldn't win because

1. The Vietnamese people were fighting amongst themselves, basically. It was an internal conflict, and there was no good way to separate out who was fighting for the North, and who was fighting for the South. The South was constantly being infiltrated as a result. The U.S. needed a strong dictator in the South who could control the army and whip the South Vietnamese into fighting shape. For whatever reason, unlike the Korean war, such a dictator never appeared on the scene in South Vitenam. Probably the CIA-approved assassination of Diem had a lot to do with it. All subsequent Vietnamese leaders knew that they had to do whatever the US wanted; this made them weak in the eyes of their own people. A strong leader could not emerge in such a situation, only somebody willing to be a puppet of the US. The South Vietnamese army remained a corrupt and incapable institution. The North Vietnamese had worked for a long time to infiltrate the South, and the final withdrawal peace agreement that the US signed and force South Vietnam to sign - the "leopard spot" treaty, basically allowed the North to retain all the areas that they controlled already in the South. This was just a roadmap for the day that the North was going to come in and roll over the South with their tanks. The US never built up a strong enough government or army institution in the South that could withstand the North by itself. Korea was a civil war and a proxy war too, but it was fought more conventionally, and the S. Koreans had a brutal dictator who started and finished the war and kept the S. Koreans in line throughout.

2. As a proxy war, Russia and China were going to supply the North Vietnamese with an endless supply of all the high tech weapons they needed to make victory impossible for the U.S. The longer the US fought in Vietnam, the more weapons the USSR and China were going to pour into Vietnam. The US could never shut off the supply of weapons to N. Vietnam, unlike in WWII, because they would have had to declare war on the USSR and China. The U.S. did the same thing to the USSR when they invaded Afghanistan in 1980.

3. The US thought the war in Vietnam was to stop Communism. It was never about Communism. Right after N. Vietnam invaded and took over South Vietnam, they got into wars with the Khmer Rouge, and then China, both supposedly on the same Communist side. This bipolar view of the world that the US had at the time was totally wrong. It was all about nationalism, and historical cultural disputes. Communism had almost nothing to do with the war in Vietnam.

4. Nixon figured he could sign the crappy "leopard spot" peace treaty with the North Vietnamese and still enforce it - had they invaded South Vietnam while he was in office, he would have sent the B-52s in for sure. But Watergate intervened, and Ford was too weak to send the B-52s in. After the peace treaty was signed, and the US withdrew all its troops, there was a period of peace where it almost looked like South Vietnam was going to make it. Then Nixon resigned, and the North Vietnamese saw their chance - they knew the US was too distracted and anguished by the Watergate scandal to do anything more in Vietnam. They sent their regular army in full force, with tanks rolling into South Vietnam. A real blunder, that the US had not anticipated this possibility and given the South Vietnamese Army massive quantities of the anti-tank weapons they could have used to fight off these tanks. Nixon was counting on using American forces to respond, and this just never happened. American air power would have easily crushed the regular army force that the North sent in, especially the tanks.