Vietnam–The Mistakes

Old Professor’s History Class.

I study conflict, war if you will, and have found a couple of events around the war in Vietnam that can be labelled as arrogant mistakes….first by France and then by the US.

I realize there have been volumes written about this conflict….but few by people that actually fought that war.

As a veteran of this war I have studied and made my thoughts known….but there were more mistakes than just those of the US….France for instance was just as arrogant as the US and it cost them the territory and the war….a war that the US had to pick up and carry on (more on that further into this post)……

First thing to do is to throw all the Hollywood adaptations of this war down the toilet (TP not needed)……most of that stuff was total bullshit…….

France’s biggest screw up was arrogantly thinking they had a force, the Viet Minh, that was backward and incapable of carry on a proper war…..that was true and Giap decided that a guerilla war would accomplish the desires of throwing the French from Vietnamese soil.

The final nail in the coffin of the French in Vietnam was the battle of Dien Bien Phu……

It is 1954 in Southeast Asia….the French have been fighting for years against the Viet Minh under Ho and Giap and the French decided to make one final push to destroy opposition and be done with this war.  Sadly it did not work out as brilliantly as the French had promised……in fact a band of guerillas with no technology, aircraft, etc. handed the French their asses…..

The most consequential military engagement in Southeast Asia in the 20th century is the 1954 Battle of Dien Bien Phu. It was fought ostensibly between the French and the communist-led Viet Minh at Dien Bien Phu, an obscure valley bordering China, in the remote northwestern part of what was then French Indochina. The battle ended with a humiliating defeat for the French, which brought down the French government, ended French colonial rule in Asia, ushered in America’s epic military involvement in the region for decades to come, and fundamentally changed the global geostrategic landscape.

How the French lost this pivotal battle is just as telling as how significant the French defeat became.

https://www.hoover.org/research/lessons-dien-bien-phu

This conflict is seldom taught classes these days….and I think it should be mandatory…..this conflict illustrates just how very brilliant of a guerilla war can be…..and could have prevented mistakes.

Not all the mistakes we by the French in the Southeast Asian wars…..the US was just as arrogant as the French.

That brings me to the Tet Offensive…..

I was fortunate enough to live through those days of constant fighting….

I was a member of a LRRP team (long range recon) and for days we were watching a NVA troop movement we identified the unit as the 174th NVA Regitment…..we made our way back to base and reported what we had found and were basically called liars for they had info that they were camped 100 km northwest of the position we reported….in other words they believed signal intel over human intel and it bit them in the ass for the 174th was one of the units that did a lot of damage.

Finally someone has written about the lack of any good human intel in Vietnam……

The intelligence failings fall into three broad categories. In Vietnam, the US military possessed a lack of foresight, neglected fundamental intelligence-gathering principles, and suffered from an absence of strategy and direction.

On a fundamental level, US military intelligence was unable to gauge the level of communist infiltration in the South of the country. This meant the US forces had almost no idea of the size of the enemy’s forces

https://parlia.com/a/Pb7sF3gPgNp5NmfJLP7FzZj/why-did-the-us-lose-the-vietnam-war/us-strategic-failures/intelligence-failures

It was a lie then and it is a lie now!

The officials were told what was coming and everyone decide to believe a pile of mumbo jumbo from the electronics instead of those that had witnessed the movements.

For those interested this is the declassified reports……

https://www.intelligence.gov/tet-declassified/tet-declassified-documents

Further Reading:

https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/articles/the-vietnam-war-tet-offensive/

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Tet-Offensive

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

9 thoughts on “Vietnam–The Mistakes

  1. Had a friend who advised the Rand Corporation and USAF what would happen if US bombed Hanoi. USAF decided that they were right, he was wrong and that the Chinese would not send some 50,000 workers to the then, North Viet Nam to assist in rebuilding infrastructure. Same mindset that you just shared, set the stage for political defeat.

      1. My friend had inside information having served in China and knowing Chou En-lai as well as Norodom Sihanouk. And North, as you note had the will to make do.

  2. I still find it interesting that we might have avoided all or most of that debacle, had we simply not sided with the Colonialist French, when Ho Chi Minh approached the U.S. [the supposed beacon of Freedom and Democracy] for assistance.

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