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How would you win the Vietnam war?

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  • How would you win the Vietnam war?

    Knowing all that we know now what would you have done differently to guarantee a NATO victory in Vietnam?

  • #2
    Nato???

    Uh, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations were not involved in Viet Nam, SEATO was.


    This conflict was a "cluster f**k" from the start.
    To start with the South Vietnamese government was corrupt beyond belief. The general ARVN troops were poorly trained and moral was also poor.
    We went into Viet Nam with no understanding of counterinsurgency and the belief that a rag tag army of uneducated peasants could defeat the US. We set up "fire bases" and ventured out to seek and destroy the Viet Cong, then retreat into our bases just to go back out and retake what we had gained. Counterinsurgency requires that you protect the local population and gain their support. The only counterinsurgency forces available were Special Forces and even they basically stayed in the "fire bases". However, they did attempt to assist the local population but once they left a village the VC would come back and "teach" the locals that they could not rely on us.

    The Tet offensive was a total defeat for the VC/NVA but political and civilian and a lot of senior military leaders viewed it as an un-winnable war. Things began to go down hill from there. The political leaders of the US were too timid to seal off North Viet Nam from supply and bring massive military power against the North. Basically the war was lost once the politicians started micro-managing the war. Our attacks against the North were basically a war of attrition of allied flyers. How can you continue to attack when you are not allowed to take out the opposing Air Force, anti-aircraft(downtown Hanoi) and the ships supplying them with ammunition.

    The United States left Viet Nam with little knowledge of how to fight a counterinsurgency war and a policy not to ever get involved in another. They put what they learned away and didn't look,at the lessons until the latter part of the Iraq war. However, the lessons were incomplete and it became a learning lesson again.

    Afghanistan now is almost the same as Viet Nam except there is no North Viet Nam and their allies supporting the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
    Last edited by FTCS; 25 Mar 10, 14:58.
    Too Much To Do Too Little Time

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    • #3
      In no particular order and in no wise a complete list.

      1. Retired Westmorland as quickly as possible. Ditto MacNamarra, Bundy, & a number of others.

      2. Created a much more robust and realistic counter insurgency program. The 'Big Battalions' striking out at the VC main force had their place , but they were not going to win the core of it.

      3. Confronted the Hanoi government with a "back off support for the VC" ultimatum at the start.

      4. Extended I Corps operations into Laos to cut the supply routes, and beefed up I Corps into a Army size unit that could handle the job and threaten a viable invasion of the south tail of North Viet Nam.

      5. Revamped fire support doctrine and specfically tactical air support doctrine. If the USAF generals dont like it the may submit their retirement papers this day.

      6. Boost the size of the various special forces.

      7......

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      • #4
        7, told us to get our ass in gear
        Sealion would have failed..............runs,

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        • #5
          Originally posted by UGLYGUTS View Post
          7, told us to get our ass in gear
          If you mean us get involved. No thanks glad we passed .

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          • #6
            Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
            If you mean us get involved. No thanks glad we passed .
            From our point of view I agree, but from an American point of view and winning, it wouldnt have hurt.
            Sealion would have failed..............runs,

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            • #7
              Originally posted by UGLYGUTS View Post
              From our point of view I agree, but from an American point of view and winning, it wouldnt have hurt.
              Well i dont think lack of troops was their problem so im not sure us simply being there would help.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
                Well i dont think lack of troops was their problem so im not sure us simply being there would help.
                I am almost always on your side old son but not today, I cant think of any sticky situation where a few thousand Royal Marines would not help.

                I think numbers was a problem, dragging kids in to the army, shoving them through training and straight onto a plane was not the most ideal imho.

                Dont get me wrong, they fought very brave in a difficult land but the more pro soldiers the better imho.
                Plus we were not quite the broken shell we are now back then, we still had other assets to employ.

                I mean im with you in being glad we never got sucked in, but American principles of acceptable tactical losses need a foil snd that could have been us, it was too many body bags that killed it for the yanks imho.
                Sealion would have failed..............runs,

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by UGLYGUTS View Post
                  I am almost always on your side old son but not today, I cant think of any sticky situation where a few thousand Royal Marines would not help.

                  I think numbers was a problem, dragging kids in to the army, shoving them through training and straight onto a plane was not the most ideal imho.

                  Dont get me wrong, they fought very brave in a difficult land but the more pro soldiers the better imho.
                  Plus we were not quite the broken shell we are now back then, we still had other assets to employ.

                  I mean im with you in being glad we never got sucked in, but American principles of acceptable tactical losses need a foil snd that could have been us, it was too many body bags that killed it for the yanks imho.
                  I think the RM are the nuts. But its not simply how sharp the sword is its how you use it.

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                  • #10
                    Other wars in history have received some form of media coverage. The first war to be extensively photographed was the Crimean War. If the United States wanted to win the Vietnam War, then strict constraints shoud've been imposed on all TV news crews. I mean who the hell tipped off the media about the Da Nang landings? If surpise was the intention, it was lost.

                    There's no denying that the Tet Offensive was a total disaster for the VC. They wanted the people's support but the people rejected them. The VC were forced to fight a pitched battle - contrary to the guerilla tactics and they lost resoundingly. And that should've been reported by the likes of Walter Cronkite. For instance, "President Johnson congratulated US troops on inflicting a massive defeat on the Viet Cong at Hue. He is confident that the war will soon draw to a close and looked forward to the homecoming of all US forces."

                    That didn't happen of course. Walter Cronkite was more supportive of the anti-war movement.
                    Hitler played Golf. His bunker shot was a hole in one.

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                    • #11
                      We should have fought to win, using the exact same rules of engagement as the enemy.

                      No safe havens, no "attack corridors, no restrictions on attacking same sites, and we should have wiped out Haiphong Harbor on the first day.

                      We also should have allowed the military to select the targets and not the civilians sitting safely in the White house.

                      fight to win or stay home.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                        We should have fought to win, using the exact same rules of engagement as the enemy.

                        No safe havens, no "attack corridors, no restrictions on attacking same sites, and we should have wiped out Haiphong Harbor on the first day.

                        We also should have allowed the military to select the targets and not the civilians sitting safely in the White house.

                        fight to win or stay home.
                        One lesson we almost learned but still are working on.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                          We should have fought to win, using the exact same rules of engagement as the enemy.

                          No safe havens, no "attack corridors, no restrictions on attacking same sites, and we should have wiped out Haiphong Harbor on the first day.

                          We also should have allowed the military to select the targets and not the civilians sitting safely in the White house.

                          fight to win or stay home.
                          This is why I feel British help/ more troops werent the answer.
                          The Australiansdid alright in their zones and I suspect British doctrine would have been similar but to no avail in the wider scheme of things.

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                          • #14
                            Do what Nixon did to the North Vietnamese in "Operation Linebacker II" Massive aerial bombardment geared towards the systematic dismemberment and destruction of the civilian infrastructure, the transportation system, all the while, dropping mines in all of their major harbors and waterways to keep Warsaw Pact shipping from entering North Vietnam's harbors with supplies and fresh weapons.

                            That will get their attention fast. Once they're at the Paris peace table, announce that as long as any NVA troops remain south of the DMZ, the air raids and mining will continue.

                            Institute massive land reforms, also reforms in government to crush corruption. Train and equip the South Vietnamese to fight against both an insurgency and a Warsaw Pact enemy, just in case the NVA returns. Encourage capitalism and the starting of small businesses among the people.

                            That's just off the top of my head.
                            "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
                              I think the RM are the nuts. But its not simply how sharp the sword is its how you use it.

                              Very true. About the sword, that is The RM would've been one hell of an asset over there, but if they're not used properly, they'll only bleed for nothing.
                              "We have no white flag."

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