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The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War occurred in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia from 1959 to April 30, 1975.

The war was fought between the communist North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of South Vietnam, supported by the United States and other member nations of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).

The Vietcong, the lightly armed South Vietnamese communist insurgency, largely fought a guerrilla war against anti-communist forces in the region.

The North Vietnamese Army engaged in a more conventional war, at times committing large-sized units into battle. U.S. and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search-and-destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery and air strikes.

The United States entered the war to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam as part of their wider strategy of containment. Military advisors arrived beginning in 1950. U.S. involvement escalated in the early 1960s and combat units were deployed beginning in 1965. Involvement peaked in 1968 at the time of the Tet Offensive. Despite a peace treaty signed by all parties in January 1973, fighting continued.

In April 1975, North Vietnam captured Saigon. North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year.

The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities, including 3 to 4 million Vietnamese from both sides, 1.5 to 2 million Laotians and Cambodians, and 58,159 U.S. soldiers.
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Re: All mapped out

French Indochina


"General Truong was capable of commanding an American division." - Gen. Creighton Abrams, commander of U.S. military forces in Vietnam from 1968 to 1972.

It's essential in war to study the map and visualise a Big Picture in your mind of how the battle will go, as the following extract from Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf 's autobiog "It Doesn't Take a Hero" illustrates, in which he says (page 158) the "most brilliant tactical commander i'd ever known" was Col. Ngo Quang Truong of the South Vietnamese Army who had the ability to see the big picture.

Schwarzkopf was a Major at the time and worked closely with him in Nam.
"He did not look like my idea of a military genius" says Schwarzkopf, "only five feet seven,in his mid-forties,very skinny...yet he was revered by his troops and feared by those North Vietnamese commanders who knew his ability...it was fascinating to watch him operate.
As we marched, he would stop to study the map, indicate a position and say "fire artillery here". I was skeptical at first but called in the barrages; when we reached the area we found bodies. Simply by visualising the terrain and drawing on his experience fighting the enemy for 15 years,Truong showed an uncanny ability to predict what they were going to do.
When we set up our command post that night, Truong opened his map, lit a cigarette and outlined his battle plan. The strip of jungle between our position on the ridges and the river, he explained, made a natural corridor - the route the NVA would most likely take.
He said 'At dawn we will send out one battalion and put it here on our left as a blocking force between the ridge and the river. Around 8 o'clock tomorrow morning they will make a big enemy contact.
Then i will send another battalion here to our right. They will make contact at about 11 o'clock.
I want you to have your artillery ready to fire into this area in front of us, and then we will attack with our 3rd and 4th battalions down toward the river. The enemy will then be trapped with the river at his back.'
"I'd never heard anything like this at West Point.." said Schwarzkopf.
The battle went exactly to plan, and Schwarzkopf writes "We'd scored a decisive victory!"

(PS-Truong later emigrated to Virginia and died there in Jan 2007)

Wikipedia- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ngo_Quang_Truong