Vietnam The Unwinnable War Essay Research Paper

Viet nams: The Unwinnable War Essay, Research Paper

The Vietnam struggle began in the late nineteenth Century. France forcefully took ownership of the islands and made the Vietnamese islands a associated state of France. The Viet Minh, or the League Of Independence was formed sometime around 1940. They were a group of people seeking independency from France. The Gallic Government opposed this action and decided to seek and halt the Viet Minh from progressing their political ideals into the remainder of Vietnam. In the metropolis of Dien Bien Phu, the Viet Minh surrounded the Gallic Expeditionary Force, and after a 55 twenty-four hours besieging, the Gallic surrendered ( 1 ) . After the Gallic pulled out of Vietnam, there was a conference held in Geneva to make up one’s mind the destiny of the little state. Vietnam was divided into two parts along the 17th analogue. To the North, the Government was supported by Communist Russia and Communist China, while the Southern half had a Democratic Government supported by the United States and France. The Rebels in the South, who fought against their Government, were called the Viet Cong, and they were supplied and supported by the N.V.A, or the North Vietnamese Army. Northern Vietnam? s end was to reunite North and South Vietnam through military force, and to distribute Communism throughout all of Vietnam. John F Kennedy and the United States Government did non desire this to go on. They provided South Vietnam with economic and military assistance, but were non yet involved in the struggle, as North and South Vietnam were still engaged in a Civil War. The North Vietnamese took the United States assistance as an act of war and on August 2nd, 1964, sunk a United States destroyer? Maddox? in International Waterss. On August 3rd, 1964, the United States began relatiative onslaughts on Vietnamese ports and gunboat installations. In 1964, two more United States destroyers were sunk, and the United States brought even more ships and planes into the country. The United States did non officially declare a province of war against the Vietnamese until August 5th, 1964. United States forces were to stay in South Vietnam and were non to traverse the 17th analogue, until Feb 7th, 1965, when North Vietnamese forces attacked a major United States airbase in Bein Hoa. By the terminal of 1965, the figure of American military personnels stationed in Vietnam was about 180,000. By the terminal of 1968, that figure rocketed to 542,000 work forces ( 2 ) . The function of Communism was really of import in this struggle. America felt that it was its responsibility to contend the spread of Communism in Asia, as it wanted to discourage other states from making as the Vietnamese had done. America was numbering on a speedy war that would be really easy to win, as Vietnam was a 3rd universe state, and America was a really strong militaristic state. However, as clip passed and casualties mounted on both sides, it became clear that this was non the instance. The Americans realized that this would non be a conventional war, with wide-open Fieldss like in Europe. This would be a barbarous struggle that involved heavy jungles, barbarous combat, and virtually no award. Despite the Americans legion advantages, they could non hold won the Vietnam War due to weapon neutralisation, Vietnamese scheme, and a deficiency of morale within their ain military personnels, and a deficiency of support back place.

The United States had an first-class air force when compared to Vietnam. The most widely used aircraft was the Bell UH-1? Huey? ( 3 ) . This chopper was used in every function in the war, including gunship and medical conveyance. Besides used were the Huey Cobra, and many other types of choppers including the Canadian built Chinook. These choppers were built-in for reconnoitering, emptying, and rapid deployment. However, the Vietnamese became expert at cognizing in front of clip where the position landing zones were traveling to be, and could make one of many things. First, they could put mines around the margin of the set downing zone, or it could be targeted for a heavy person and machine gun ambuscade. They besides planted thin wires across legion crowns to convey the chopper down by going tangled up in the really sensitive rotor assembly. They would besides utilize force per unit area sensitive mines that would explode when the chopper wash created sufficient plenty force per unit area to deject the trigger ( 4 ) ( See appendix 1 ) . The Americans were ever worried about what could go on at a set downing zone with their chopper because of the North Vietnamese inventiveness and know-how. Besides, the F-4 Phantom was the most advanced plane at the clip, capable of Canis familiaris combat, bombardment, reconnaissance, and back uping functions, the applied scientists neglected to mount any type of traditional missile arm. This made pilots of the F-4 Phantom wholly useless in a close dogfight because they merely had Aim-9 and Aim-7 missiles which contained excessively much explosive power to be detonated at close scope ( 5 ) . When engaged in dogfights, the Russian built MiG? s would eat the F-4? s alive. This job took two old ages to work out when person decided to lodge a 6-barreled car cannon in the olfactory organ of the Phantom. Besides, the casualty rate among pilots was really high for this type of struggle because American pilots trained for merely six hebdomads, alternatively of the customary 1-year normally given to pilots due to a high demand for their accomplishments. The B-52? Flying Fortress? ( See appendix 2 ) was America? s largest bomber, built to present atomic warhead into Russia. It was able to cruise at a tallness that the Russian built MiG? s could non make, and carry over 60,000 lbs of warhead ( 6 ) . However this bomber was designed to drop it? s warhead on immense World War II type industrial centres or big equipment motions. This proved useless in Vietnam because there were ne’er such mills or motions exposed to the Americans. Alternatively, the B-52 was used to destruct big Northern Vietnamese metropoliss and towns in a hope to coerce resignation. Besides, the napalm that was dropped by these? Flying Fortresss? killed more civilians than soldiers, and the bombardments really had a contrary affect on North Vietnamese morale. Alternatively of going demoralized, it brought them closer together due to their hatred for Americans. Besides, the American armoured divisions that were so effectual during World War II were about wholly useless. The United States could non convey any of their M-60 armored combat vehicles or nomadic Howitzer heavy weapon units into the jungle, and they were destined to stay merely in metropoliss or big American bases. The United States had to trust chiefly on lightly armored M112 troop bearers with merely a.50 quality machine gun turret mounted on the top of the vehicle. This is rather a big measure down from the 80-millimeter cannon that is mounted on an M-60. The Americans besides thought that they would hold the advantage when it came to little weaponries, including: rifles, sub-machine guns, and handguns but since the Russians and the Chinese were providing the Vietnamese, that was non the instance. The American M-4 rifle that fired a.308 quality shell, held 20 unit of ammunitions, and could be switched between semi or full automatic, proved to be about an exact lucifer to the Soviet SKS rifle which fired a 7.62 millimetre shell, held 20 unit of ammunitions, and could be switched between semi or full machine rifle. Besides the of all time popular M-16 rifle, ( which is still in service today and remains the most mostly used rifle in the universe ) which fired a.223 quality shell, held 20-30 unit of ammunitions, and could be switched between semi and full machine rifle, and three unit of ammunition explosion had really large jobs at the start of the war ( See appendix 4 ) . When the ammo cartridge holder was slammed into the gun excessively hard, the gun had a opportunity of thronging. If any soil or clay got into the bolt or the action of the gun, it would throng. If the gun got wet, it would throng. This rifle cost many Mariness their lives early on, and it can non be said that it was at this clip, better than the Soviet made AK-47, which fires a 7.62 millimetre shell, has a 30 unit of ammunition capacity, and can be switched between semi and full machine rifle ( 7 ) ( See appendix 5 ) . While there were infinitesimal differences between the little weaponries of the two states, they can be considered about precisely equal in every manner. This is non how the Americans wanted it. They expected the Vietnamese to be utilizing old Gallic built? Lafayette? bolt-action rifles. They were incorrect.

What the Viet Cong and the N.V.A lacked in pure destructive firepower, they made up for in their superb tactics, mobility, and experience. While American forces did hold uncontested air high quality over the Vietnamese, every bit good as armored combat vehicles and Howitzer nomadic heavy weapon, the United States besides decided to drop unconventional bombs such as: phosphoric, atomization bombs, napalm, and agent orange. To battle these unfairnesss, the Vietnamese soldiers had to be cunning and rely on scheme to get the better of the Americans. The Vietcong had been utilizing tunnel systems for many old ages versus their Chinese, Gallic, and Nipponese encroachers. There were 100s of belowground guerrilla bases in South Vietnam that had been built by slave labour from environing towns. The longest tunnel systems were found in the? Iron Triangle? and ranged between 50 kilometres long to 200 kilometres long ( 8 ) . ( The Ho Chi Minh tunnel was the longest tunnel of all time built by the Vietnamese and was in the country of the? Iron Triangle? . ) Many tunnels were constructed with H2O cavities in them to assist cut down toxicant gasses from come ining the tunnel, and some were even strong plenty to defy direct bombing/shelling. Some tunnels were so good camouflaged that American soldiers were merely alerted to their presence when one of them stepped through the covering and fell into one. In any tunnel it was wholly possible that there would be barracks, armouries, supply terminals, air foray shelters, clas

srooms, infirmaries, mills, and ammo terminals. These tunnels proved to be an first-class scheme for contending in the Vietnamese jungles, as they were perfect for transporting work forces and supplies unnoticed through the jungle. Another scheme that the Vietnamese used to battle America? s military high quality was the laying of dumbbell traps. Booby traps are defined as? Concealed devices used to bring down casualties? . Booby traps were an built-in constituent of the war waged by the Vietnamese forces. Between January 1965, and June 1970, dumbbell traps and mines caused 12 per centum of the human deaths and 18 per centum of the wounding that were inflicted on American soldiers ( 9 ) . Booby traps were used chiefly to detain and interrupt the motion of American military personnels, divert work force towards uncluttering traps and mines, and besides to make full up American field infirmaries. Booby traps were a cardinal constituent in pre-arranged violent death zones. The usage of dumbbell traps besides had a psychological consequence on Marines. The fright of dumbbell traps was so great that even Platoon Commanders were loath to direct Marines into Vietnamese district. Many stuffs that were used for the mines and dumbbell traps were of American beginning. These parts included undischarged bombs and captured or abandoned weaponries. They would besides utilize bamboo and deadly serpents in their traps. One historic illustration of the effectivity of such traps was when Charlie Company of the First Battalion, 20th Infantry sustained over 40 per centum of their casualties in 32 yearss without of all time seeing their enemy. The consequence on their morale was so great that it was the lasting Mariness who committed the My Lai slaughter. Booby traps can be divided into non-explosive and explosive traps. The most common types of traps were the individual punji interest gravitation traps ( See appendix 3 ) . Punji bets were sharpened shoots of bamboo that had been hardened in fire and coated in human body waste to do infection. These were hidden in shallow cavities and covered with leaf. This trap was intended to be walked on and to wound the lower leg part, every bit good as toxicant their marks. Other cavity traps followed the same basic design but would hold many punji bets and were designed to wound more than one mark. Besides, there were weight sensitive traps that would merely be activated by over 1000 lbs of weight and were about 10? by 10? . The cavities on these traps were dug about seven pess deep and were designed to transfix American military personnels and kill them. There were many other traps as good including the singing ball trap, and the bear traps. The Vietnamese besides constructed explosive traps that were meant to wound and kill tonss of Marines at one clip. Once triggered, the Marines would hold three to five seconds to unclutter the 20-meter putting to death zone. The most deathly explosive trap was the Claymore, because it was able to be detonated from high up in a tree and send sherds of shrapnel lavishing down in a 60-degree radius onto Marines. Most explosives worked really much the same, were inexpensive and easy to construct. Other devices included daisy ironss, ( grenades tied together in sequence ) , and toe Poppers, ( a slug set under the land with a nail under the fire pin which when stepped on would kill the pes of whoever stepped on it ) . These Vietnamese schemes coupled with the fact that the Vietnamese had been contending for over 50 old ages in the jungle, wholly stripped the United States of all of it? s military high quality because they could non perchance maintain up with the rag-tag Vietnamese force that would non be drawn into a traditional war.

? Nothing in the universe is more unsafe than a sincere ignorance and painstaking stupidity? . This is a quotation mark from Martin Luther King Jr. He said this about the Vietnam struggle. While president Johnson did hold the state? s support at the beginning of the war, as Americans began to recognize that the war was a lost cause, the President? s support began to worsen. With a mortality rate of 1-5 work forces who were drafted, people began openly protesting the war by firing their bill of exchange cards, forming walk-outs, and keeping anti war mass meetings. Why did the Americans continue to contend? Because of General Westmoreland. General Westmoreland would alter the organic structure counts from both sides to do it look like the Americans were being triumphantly winning. Along with these prevarications, General Westmoreland besides failed to advert that while the Americans were killing many enemy soldiers, the bill of exchange pool from which the Vietnamese were able to pull from included about all of Northern Vietnam. From a soldier? s point of position, the Government was understating their attempts and their forfeits by pull stringsing organic structure counts. In the field, morale suffered greatly due to day-to-day battles, friends deceasing all around, and officers being replaced every hebdomad. Most Marines would make drugs before their patrols to take their head off what they were making and where they were. Besides, the figure of soldiers who went A.W.O.L ( absent without leave ) was higher in Vietnam than in any other struggle in history. Military officers who were hard on their work forces ran the hazard of acquiring fragged ( killed by your ain work forces ) . While American soldiers were fundamentally contending for another states? independency, it was really corrupting for them to non be respected or appreciated by the people they were contending for, & # 8211 ; the South Vietnamese. The South Vietnamese were non happy about the Americans being in Vietnam and it was really obvious. Every individual twenty-four hours, 100s of South Vietnamese citizens would fall in either the Viet Cong or the North Vietnamese Army. This made it really hard to cognize which South Vietnamese small towns could be trusted. By non holding Vietnamese support or grasp of their attempts, the Americans began to distrust the South Vietnamese people and could be the ground for a atrocious event. In 1968, when the small town of My Lai was wholly destroyed, and over 100 guiltless Villagers were killed, the Mariness who were responsible claimed that the Village had been a staging country for recent onslaughts on a nearby Marine base. Not one arm was found in the wreckage of the Village, nor any enemy military personnels. This made it clear that some American soldiers had been through excessively much and could non longer command themselves. Another unneeded morale-dropping event was the wireless broadcast by Jane Fonda in 1972. She went on to praise the Viet Cong, ? Without vacillation, he offered me, an American, their best single bomb shelter, while American bombs fell nearby. ? She continued to subsequently knock the manner in which the Marines were contending. ? I witnessed the systematic devastation of civilian marks? schools, infirmaries, mills, houses, and the butch system. ? Although she did apologise 16 old ages subsequently on the Barbara Walters show, the harm had already been done. The effects of war are normally economic and political. However, this clip the societal effects were the most of import. For the first clip, the United States got involved in a state of affairs where they non merely had external force per unit areas against an action, but internal force per unit areas as good. When the people saw the decease toll rise, and the hideous slaughter, the American people demanded the terminal of the slaughter in Vietnam. Two big anti war groups were founded by pupils and were known as S.D.S ( Students For A Democratic Society ) , and Y.I.P.P.I.E ( Young International Peoples Party ) . One such group was involved in the Kent State public violences. A group of pupils who were protesting the war got out of manus and the National Guard had to be called in. A battle broke out and the Guard killed five pupils. Socially this destroyed whatever support for the war that was still present in America.

By all agencies and against any other enemy, the Americans should hold been able to win this war. Unfortunately for the Americans, in this scenario, where most of their advanced arms was neutralized by either nature, geographics, or the craft of the North Vietnamese, the scheme that was used against them, and their deficiency of morale and support, it was impossible for the Americans to hold won this war. Americans had a really bad experience in Vietnam, while the Vietnamese who participated had the award of supporting their state. 91 per centum of Vietnamese veterans said that they were sword lilies that they served in Vietnam, to the 13 per centum of Americans who answered the same ( 10 ) . Besides, 74 per centum of Vietnamese veterans said that they would still enlist today cognizing the barbarous result of the war, to the 8 per centum of Americans who answered the same. On January 27th, 1973, all three involved parties, ( Viet Cong, North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and the United States ) held peace negotiations in Paris. They negotiated for two old ages while contending during peace negotiations in Paris. The involved parties agreed that American military personnels would bit by bit retreat from Vietnam, and that all captives of war would be released from both sides. Besides, the pact stated that South Vietnam would hold the right to take whether or non to stay a autonomous state, or to re-unite with North Vietnam. Traveling against the peace negotiations, North Vietnam rolled into Saigon with no opposition, and on July 2nd, 1976, Vietnam was one time once more under Communist regulation. The North Vietnamese renamed Saigon Ho Chi Minh City, after the provoker of Communism in Vietnam. 47,000 American soldiers were killed in the line of responsibility, and at a cost of good over 200 billion dollars, the war had been all losingss and no additions. After the Vietnam War, America imposed trade countenances against Vietnam, stultifying their economic system. It was until Soviet assistance made it? s manner to Vietnam that they were able to stand on their ain two pess. Despite the American attempt: Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam all remain communist today.