Conventional Operations & Tactics Asymmetric Warfare vs.
Asymmetric Warfare Case Study: North Vietnamese/Viet Minh Strategy & Tactics General Vo Nguyen Giap
Chief of the Viet Minh forces fighting French colonial rule and later the Americans – Architect of Vietnamese strategy and tactics
Giaps Three Stages of Struggle 1) Building the Base 2) Guerrilla Warfare 3) Mobile Warfare
Stage 1: Building the Base Situate headquarters in mountainous, difficult terrain for meetings, supplies and refuge Situate headquarters in mountainous, difficult terrain for meetings, supplies and refuge Viet Minh win hearts and minds of peasantry Viet Minh win hearts and minds of peasantry Beat/Assassinate landlords/tax collectors Beat/Assassinate landlords/tax collectors Redistribute land holdings Redistribute land holdings Education/literacy campaigns Education/literacy campaigns Help with farming Help with farming Viet Minh gain Viet Minh gain Taxes Taxes Supplies Supplies Intelligence Intelligence Porters Porters
Stage 2: Guerrilla Warfare Pin-prick attacks meant to frustrate the enemy and incite overblown reprisals Guerrilla Pin-Prick tactics Sabotage (road cutting, damage to vehicles, poison) Traps (homemade bombs, trip wires, pungi sticks, pit traps) Terrorism (attacks on civilian targets, R&R sites) Camouflage (local vegetation, holes, tunnels) Reprisals confirm VM propaganda and drive civilians to VM for support and guidance, increasing their popularity and strength
The biggest tunnel systems were in the Iron Triangle and the Cu Chi District, only 20 miles from Saigon. This map gives an idea of the extent of the tunnel system at Cu Chi--the orange lines represent major tunnels. The base area at Cu Chi was a vast network, with nearly 200 miles of tunnels
Note the row of rocks on top of bridge beam at the foot of the bridge….typical of the warning signs used by the VC/NVA to warn of their mining activities.
Stage 3: Mobile Warfare By 1949, China is equipping the Viet Minh with automatic weapons, mortars, howitzers, trucks By 1949, China is equipping the Viet Minh with automatic weapons, mortars, howitzers, trucks Allows for more conventional, regular forces Allows for more conventional, regular forces Guerilla infrastructure allows for Guerilla infrastructure allows for Viet Minh to move Viet Minh to move more quickly and more quickly and more stealthily to more stealthily to carry out open warfare carry out open warfare
Stage 3 cont. Mobile Warfare Ho Chi Minh Trail
Conventional Operations & Tactics Offensive Forms of Maneuver Envelopment Turning Movement Infiltration Penetration Frontal Attack