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America and the Vietcong used very different tactics, which is why the powerful US failed to defeat such a small army. Watch this video to find out more.

The war in Vietnam

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Key points

  • The Vietcong fought a Guerrilla war - ambushing American patrols, planting bombs and setting booby traps.
  • Their tactic was 'hanging onto the belts' of the Americans - staying close so America couldn't use air support without killing their own men.
  • America fought a hi-tech war, with B52 bombers, helicopters, napalm, defoliants and artillery.
  • US troops went on foot patrol, supported by air and artillery when attacked. This made the soldiers feel they were being used as bait.
  • March 1965 - America stated Operation Rolling Thunder.
  • 1968 - the CIA started Operation Phoenix, arresting, interrogating and killing suspected Vietcong activists.

All History videos

Back to Vietnam 1954 - 1975 index

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