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Lost Battles of The Vietnam War

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  • Lost Battles of The Vietnam War

    sorry if you lot have already discussed this/ seen this site but it still makes for pretty interesting reading.


    Also it would be great if someone could substantiate some of the battles and loses that it mentions

    here is the link.

    http://www.g2mil.com/lost_vietnam.htm

    Let me know your thoughts cheers

  • #2
    What all the notations of 'Battles Lost' fail to supply is the number of enemy soldiers killed or wounded. It is hard to call a battle 'lost' without knowing the true results of what it cost the enemy. The VC/NVA were very good at hiding their true losses because they would haul their dead out of the combat zone using ropes with hooks on the ends. Besides this, unlike American records that openly state the record of battle and numbers of KIA and WIA, the communists to this day will never release such information.
    So yes, there were battles that we lost and there were battles where our casualties were high but did we lose every one of those battles mentioned??? Never will we know until the Communist government of Vietnam opens its books with real facts.
    "War is hell, but actual combat is a motherf#cker"
    - Col. David Hackworth

    Comment


    • #3
      Sounds about right, except for calling some of the raids and infiltrations "battles."

      After all, 50,000 dead Americans came from somewhere.

      Which one of S.L.A. Marshall's books was it that examined a number of small unit actions in Vietnam, and made a note that all of them involved the enemy shooting first? I.e., if you were engaged with the enemy, it was because they allowed it.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm glad that this did not turn out to be a pointless post!

        My thoughts exactly there is no mention of the NVA /VC casualties close support to infantry in almost all of the actions mentioned would have almost certainly resulted in casualties.

        it was well documented that after fire fights and so called battles there were countless blood trails that eventually ended without a body. more often than not these ended up in tunnels and underground hospitals which were sometimes found and would show searching american units just how many NVA they were sharing an operating area with.

        what I would ask is were these details of american losses so wildly reported at the time?

        because although i have studied the Vietnam War rather extensively some of these accounts and statistics surprised me somewhat

        Comment


        • #5
          To declare that the U.S. "never lost a battle" is pure hyperbole; you'll get no argument from me there. What is meant by that statement is that while the NVA held the initiative in most cases, U.S. forces held operational dominance. Sure, a Platoon, Company, Battalion...etc., could get bushwhacked, but it was a decision of "should" the enemy be pursued and the time spent hunting him down used on this threat rather than another, not "could."

          But this page is also taking some sort of odd stance that victory comes without casualties. And if the page's argument is that the best metric for measuring progress is casualty figures, enemy numbers are conspicuously absent in most of their examples. It also concludes with a tentative link to General Petraeus in what appears to be some sort of hatchet job.

          I suspect numbers thirty-one and thirty-four especially might get some lively discussion from a certain member.
          ...how useless it was to struggle against fortune, this being the burden of wisdom which the ages had bequeathed to him.

          Comment


          • #6
            Considering that a battle is a sustained fight between large, organized armed forces, the laundry list provided does not reflect well upon its author. Yes, some battles are listed. So are mere firefights, dog fights, and raids. To take Ngok Tvak as an example, it was not, in itself a battle, but an action related to the battle of Kham Duc, which the American side clearly lost, and whose on-scene commander was an Australian.

            Anyone one who starts with the premise that American forces have never lost a battle is obviously ignorant of American history. Kaserine Pass anyone? Now up until Vietnam, American forces had never lost a war, though we had come close.
            dit: Lirelou

            Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá ǵ!

            Comment


            • #7
              Can we consider so widely publicized Operation Bolo as a mere dogfight, then?

              Comment


              • #8
                It would be interesting to compare such casualty battlefield figures to that form WW2.

                The advancements in battlefield trauma care and medical evacuation was far superior in the Vietnam War than compared to the Korean war and WW2. this is well documented.

                So my questions is was large scale losses acceptable in WW2 for what was considered a morale and just cause.

                Would this have changed if the American public supported the action in Vietnam?

                There is the argument that the media coverage of the Vietnam war was unprecedented compared to earlier conflicats and this clearly had an impact on the American public at home and there perception of the war.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by sickcityclub View Post
                  It would be interesting to compare such casualty battlefield figures to that form WW2.

                  The advancements in battlefield trauma care and medical evacuation was far superior in the Vietnam War than compared to the Korean war and WW2. this is well documented.

                  So my questions is was large scale losses acceptable in WW2 for what was considered a morale and just cause.

                  Would this have changed if the American public supported the action in Vietnam?

                  There is the argument that the media coverage of the Vietnam war was unprecedented compared to earlier conflicats and this clearly had an impact on the American public at home and there perception of the war.
                  huge difference in the media coverage and demeanor between WW2 and vietnam. there was also a huge difference in the "homefront" face put on those wars. The media also had much to do with this......

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Can we consider so widely publicized Operation Bolo as a mere dogfight, then?
                    Does it met the definition of a battle? If so, then no. But wide publication does not a battle make.
                    dit: Lirelou

                    Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá ǵ!

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                    • #11
                      I am aware there is a huge difference...

                      but many readings point to one of the biggest factors on the outcome and public perception of the Vietnam war was down to the uncensored media coverage that it received and how it shaped public opinion.

                      after all America was not defeated in a military sense the North Vietnamese used the growing unpopularity of the war with the american public as a tool , and the Tet Offensive although considered a heavy loss in military terms for the North Vietnamese. it was a political victory as sovereign american soil was invaded by the communist aggressors which had clear significant connotations with the american public.

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                      • #12
                        Uncensored and biased media coverage did help undermine support for the war. But there is no guarantee that censored coverage would have sustained any level of support for the length of time needed. In my opinion, the achilles heel of the Vietnam War was the idea that warfare could be limited to just the amount needed to make the enemy adhere to a level we found acceptable. Reciprocity doesn't work any more in war than it does in mixed martial arts, which a what a war is supposed to be.

                        Not suere what you meant in reference to 'sovereign American soil' above as neither the NVA nor VC ever conducted an attack on 'sovereign American soil', unless you're referring to the Saigon embassy.
                        dit: Lirelou

                        Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá ǵ!

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                        • #13
                          I was referencing the attack on the American Embassy in Saigon.

                          I agree , in my opinion the Achilles heel was the tactic of relying on superior fire power. Isolated fire bases served little other than to isolate themselves and little was learned from the French mentality.

                          The utilisation of and the psychological impact of SF's against the enemy was realised too late.

                          Search and destroy tactics and platoon and company patrols, yes does give more man power and fire power on the ground to search out for the enemy, but a large number of troops moving through difficult terrain will not be quite. And certainly inserting by helicopter pre-warned the enemy.

                          If I was commander from the outset I would have utilised SF’s With the support of elite infantry units, early on taking the fight to the enemy utilising guerrilla tactics against him. making him insecure in his home surroundings. These tactics of long range patrols and disruptions had been well utilised in early conflicts and the psychological impact on the enemy was clear.

                          Look at the success of Merrill’s Marauders , The Chinddits, Commandos, SAS and SBS this was not a new concept of warfare. The SAS had successfully countered an insurgency against an elusive enemy in Malaysia and Boneo key to this was recognising the key aspects: Speed, mobility and flexibility and most importantly the domination of the jungle. They emphasised travelling lightly, being undetectable and going for many days without resupplying. Being undetectable and silent.

                          This tactic would have disrupted the enemy’s supply lines and strongholds making it difficult if not preventing the build-up of enemy troops needed for bigger offensives. Thus reducing the war to a small action counter insurgency stopping the need for a huge build of American ground personnel.

                          But as they say hindsight is a great thing

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If I was commander from the outset I would have utilised SF’s With the support of elite infantry units, early on taking the fight to the enemy utilising guerrilla tactics against him. making him insecure in his home surroundings. These tactics of long range patrols and disruptions had been well utilised in early conflicts and the psychological impact on the enemy was clear.

                            Look at the success of Merrill’s Marauders , The Chinddits, Commandos, SAS and SBS this was not a new concept of warfare. The SAS had successfully countered an insurgency against an elusive enemy in Malaysia and Boneo key to this was recognising the key aspects: Speed, mobility and flexibility and most importantly the domination of the jungle. They emphasised travelling lightly, being undetectable and going for many days without resupplying. Being undetectable and silent.

                            This tactic would have disrupted the enemy’s supply lines and strongholds making it difficult if not preventing the build-up of enemy troops needed for bigger offensives. Thus reducing the war to a small action counter insurgency stopping the need for a huge build of American ground personnel.
                            First point: Elite forces cannot win a war on their own. They can beat down insurgencies that are not widely supported.

                            Second point: The U.S. was incapable of waging a guerrilla war in Vietnam during the time period we were there. Simply put, it was neither our country, nor our war. It was a war between Vietnamese and only they could win it. Previous to Vietnam, we had helped the Greeks, South Koreans, and Filipinos win guerrilla wars and insurrections, but:

                            a - the Yugoslavs closed their borders to the Greek communists because we agreed to recognize Tito's government and provide an aid package. Our assistance was strictly equipment and training, in cooperation with the British. (GEN James Van Fleet was the man in charge)

                            b - The Philippines had a government that enjoyed a level of popular support, and they are an island nation.

                            c - South Korea is a peninsula, and the ROK Army's leadership had a wealth of successful anti-guerrilla experience inherited from the Imperial Japanese Army (which they will deny). Their government also enjoyed a wider level of support than any of South Vietnam's ever did. The U.S. did provide a very limited number of combat advisors, one of whom was killed in action. (It was the perceived failure of the guerrilla war which led to 25 June 1950 - watch the video on the Tae Guk Gi thread in the Korea forum.)

                            Finally, Merrill's Marauders had nothing to do with insurgency, and their operational success was limited to what was a long range raid to seize an objective. The majority of the force emerged from that campaign unfit for combat. Disease and injuries inflicted far more damage than combat.

                            As for SAS and others in Malaya and Borneo, the Malay insurgency was Chinese based insurgency in a multi-cultural nation. That factor cannot be overlooked. Likewise, Borneo was a low level contest between Indonesian regulars and Malaysian and Commonwealth troops. Even the Indonesians qualified it as a 'confrontation'. The SAS performed well, so did RAR and a host of other conventional forces.

                            Remember, the Vietnamese 'insurgency' was merely a campaign in a larger war that was intended to escalate as required. As it did, involving regular forces and myriad militia forces. The real focal point of the war was always the North Vietnamese military machine and the political leadership which directed it. The war could only have been won by destroying those, or driving them into exile in China.
                            dit: Lirelou

                            Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá ǵ!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Interesting points,

                              Were the special forces operations not successful in your opinion? there are a number of accounts showing the success rate of small teams compared to larger formations of troops.

                              If the Vietnam war was not considered an american war why was so many men and materials and lives poured into it. the puppet south Vietnamese government was backed and established by America.

                              I know it was greater conflict to stop the domino effect and the spread of communism.

                              At the end of they day Lirelou I am just a curious Brit humbled to be able to speak with a real Vietnam war vet.

                              I do have some questions if you don't mind?

                              In your opinion when you were serving did you think there where any flaws with US military tactics in Vietnam?

                              What would you have done differently?

                              Do you think conscription compromised the effectiveness of the us military machine?

                              Cheers,

                              Comment

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