Vietcong military tactics

Guerrilla warfare

Guerrilla warfare is fought by using the landscape to avoid open battle. Raids and surprise attacks are used. The Vietcong were used to the terrain and the climate. They used the Ho Chi Minh Trail to keep their forces supplied.

Support from peasants

The Vietcong were supported by the South Vietnamese peasants because they would offer to help them with their daily work.

It was difficult for American troops to know who was a Vietcong and who was not.

Tunnel systems and traps

The Vietcong had a system of tunnels stretching over 200 miles. There were hospitals, armouries, sleeping quarters, kitchens and wells underground. These tunnel systems could hide the Vietcong and helped them fight their guerrilla war.

Foreign support

The Vietcong and North Vietnam were supported by the Soviet Union (USSR) and China who supplied money and weapons.

The Tet Offensive 1968

On January 31 1968, during celebrations of the Vietnamese New Year (known as Tet) North Vietnam, supported by South Vietnamese Vietcong launched a number of surprise assaults on towns and cities in US-held areas of South Vietnam.

They took control of parts of Saigon and other cities. One group managed to blow a hole in the walls around the US Embassy in Saigon.

The Vietcong did not hold onto any of the territory gained for long. They suffered many casualites and the Tet Offensive was a military defeat for them.

But the Tet Offensive made the Americans realise that they could not win a war against such a dedicated and widespread enemy.