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44

The sole reason was fear of Chinese intervention just like in Korea. Chinese were fully committed to the war. Mao allegedly said: Best turn it into a bigger war. I’m afraid you really ought to send more troops to the South. Don’t be afraid of U.S. intervention, at most it’s no worse than having another Korean War. The Chinese army is prepared, and ...


39

Everyone learnt from the Korean War and wished to avoid a repeat of a bloody direct Chinese-American fighting. At the onset of the escalated American involvement in 1965, Beijing made it clear where the Chinese line in the sand is: [I]f the Americans went beyond the bombing of the North and used ground forces to invade North Vietnam, China would have to ...


38

The Korean War and the Vietnam War are fundamentally very different conflicts. With the former, South Korea was unambiguously invaded by North Korea in an explicit war of conquest. Due to lucky political circumstances, United Nations was able to sanction a military operation to defend South Korea. The Security Council, Having determined that the ...


37

The US did not resort to using nuclear weapons in Vietnam for a variety of reasons: fear of the damage it would cause to the US's international reputation, domestic political considerations, a reluctance to break the 'tradition' of non-use, and a realization that, although there were plenty of viable targets such as airfields, ports and supply lines, only ...


34

First of all, to clarify what you asked in the subject, the US didn't "lose" the Vietnam war militarily. The Tet Offensive was basically a disaster for the Viet Cong and the forces of North Vietnam – they didn't achieve their intended strategic objective (popular uprising in the south) and suffered major losses. However, the US populace lost the will to ...


31

Unless a particular Air Force General 'fesses up in an autobiography, the first question is unanswerable. On the second question, absolutely that was happening. It had been happening for years, escalating in quantity and variety of supplies transported, since at least 1959. The supply trail was known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail, ran through the mountains of ...


27

By the time of the Vietnam war, the US nuclear weapons policies had changed radically from the mid-1950s (when nuclear weapons were seen as the logical option for ALL conflicts), and were considered viable only as a last resort and as retaliatory weapons in case an enemy would use them (or other weapons of mass destruction) first against the USA or a NATO ...


25

During my time as a grunt in the 25th infantry in VN, I saw several night engagements. The Cong/NVA tracers appeared to be green, and the GI tracers appeared to be red. However, when engaging in firefights during daylight, the GI tracers were orange in appearance. I suppose that has a lot to do with the amount of ambient light. During the day, I never ...


19

Up until Vietnam, the US had been training their military to fight a "conventional" war, more along the lines of what they fought in each of the World Wars. In Vietnam, the fighting was very "unconventional". In each WW, they could easily identify the enemy because they wore different uniforms and spoke a different language. In Vietnam, the enemy spoke a ...


19

At that time, the US was concerned that a repeat of the Korean war could happen, with China sending in masses of troops... North Vietnam shares a border with China, just like North Korea. China wasn't overly fond of N Korea or Vietnam (in both cases, the initial supporter was the Soviet Union, not China), but when UN forces got near the Chinese border in N ...


17

Let me add a few details to Semaphore's answer. One is that the Vietnam war actually ended with the North Vietnam invasion of South Vietnam. This happened soon after the US withdrawal, and in violation of the peace treaty. The UN Security Council could not react properly because the Soviets had the right of veto in it. (As it could not react in 2014 on the ...


16

I think what you have there may be the AN/TPS-21 battlefield radar: Further details about the unit are available in the Department of the Army Technical Manual, TM 11-487C-1: Military Standardization Handbook: United States Radar Equipment. The functional description of the AN/TPS-21 radar is given as follows: Radar Set AN/TPS-21 is lightweight, ...


14

Ted Nugent registered for the draft, showed up to his physical, did not go to Canada, but was classified 4F. So as someone who was around during Vietnam, I would maintain he is not a draft dodger. Government records show Nugent originally got a student deferment in 1969 and when student deferments were ended, he got a 4-F designation that he was "not ...


14

The fall of South Vietnam was due to an invasion from North Vietnam in 1975, with little or no support from South Vietnamese insurgents. As the US was essentially gone from South Vietnam, it's arguable that the US didn't lose the war (although the South Vietnamese certainly did). In 1972, there was a similar attack from the North, but there were still US ...


14

The quick answer is the Cold War. The context surrounding the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem provides the long answer. After WWII the US and the USSR were engaged in the Cold War. The time period from 1949-1963 saw China, North Korea, and Cuba become outright communist countries, and a short lived regime sympathetic to Moscow appeared in Guatemala. This ...


14

Tank commanders don't just stand on top of their tank because it looks awesome. They do it so they can get a good look around. Inside a tank the commander is blind and deaf. They're inside a very loud metal box looking out through little slits and narrow scopes. Paradoxically its safer for a tank commander to be exposed outside the armor looking for threats ...


13

If you're looking for the reasons the US fought in Vietnam, I think LBJ is too late. Kennedy in 1963: "We don't have a prayer of staying in Vietnam. These people hate us. They are going to throw our asses out of there at any point. But I can't give up a piece of territory like that to the communists and then get the people to reelect me." There is a great ...


13

This of course would be an absurd policy No, it's not. It's standard. Combined Arms does not mean everybody hides behind a tank. It means different arms support each other, using their respective strengths and mitigating each other's weaknesses. In this specific case it means the tanks do what they do best: kill from range. And the infantry does what they ...


12

A tracer projectile is constructed with a hollow base filled with a pyrotechnic flare material, often made of phosphorus or magnesium or other bright burning chemicals. In NATO standard ammunition (including U.S.), this is usually a mixture of strontium compounds (nitrate, peroxide, etc.) and a metal fuel such as magnesium. This yields a bright red light. ...


12

Here's a thread on ar15.com (a gun enthusiast forum) discussing it, and coming up with a variety of experiences both confirming and denying the NATO: red, WarPac: green mantra. Here's a vendor selling both NATO and WarPac ammo, with both red and green tracers on both styles. There are also other colours in use, though seemingly less common, such as white and ...


12

The ostensible war aim was to keep the South Vietnamese people free of communism so that they could thrive. Dropping nuclear bombs on their fellow countrymen in the North would have been self-defeating, even assuming that it worked at a military level and did not result in retaliation of any sort: (1) it's so close it would likely have contaminated South ...


10

Mostly to supervise the enforcement of ceasefire and peace terms. Polish involvement began in 1954 as a member of the International Commission of Control, together with Canada and India. That entity was setup at the conclusion of the First Indochina War to monitor the peace agreement. It was a general failure all around, resulting in the Second Indochina ...


10

The main reason was that the people just supported the North. The reasons may vary, but the South were considered a force fighting for the interests of the invaders and the North were simply liberators. One of the previous answers notes that totalitarian governments can sustain higher losses. This does not do anything with the reality of Vietnam. How can ...


10

It's pertinent to note that several nations other than the U.S. participated in combat on the side of South Vietnam, with the largest contributions coming from South Korea, Thailand, and Australia. Many others gave civilian or military aid. South Korea deployed 50,000 soldiers over the course of the war, which is more than all the countries in the Korean War ...


10

Focusing just on the Viet Cong, the American's usually transferred them to the custody of the government of South Viet Nam. This legal analysis identifies some of the flaws in the Geneva Conventions: Law at War: Viet Nam 1964-1973: As combat units of the United States became heavily engaged in the war in 1965, the question arose as to the proper ...


10

Well, by Nixon's own standard, his implementation of it certainly wasn't very effective. As quoted by his chief of staff: I call it the Madman Theory, Bob. I want the North Vietnamese to believe I've reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We'll just slip the word to them that, "for God's sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about ...


9

The question assumes that the Vietnamese people are a singular entity. The process of liberation seems to indicate that this was not the case. However, as Vietnamese society was clearly polarised in this period between a small proportion of the population who supported the RVN and a larger proportion of the population who supported abolishing the RVN and ...


9

The Indochine war began after negotiations were suspended between the Viet-Minh and the French Republic in 1946 (the date is often the insurecction on the 19th december, but in fact, the French bombed Haiphong on the 23th november, some even trace it to the leave of General Leclerc, the military administrator, in 1946). The US involvement only began in 1954 ...


9

In my opinion, I think the only reason US+South Vietnam lost the war is due to the willingness of Southern people in the war. Vietnamese people have a long tradition of nationalism. They don't accept any invasion from outsiders. North Vietnam took advantage of this. They conducted propaganda to show that US was invading Vietnam and Vietnamese people had the ...


9

Related: It's worth noting the little (apparently) known fact that the Chinese and Vietnamese held Vietnam Warr part 3* between themselves after the end of part 2 with substantial losses on both sides. (*Part 1 - with France, part 2 with USA). Significant disgreements exist to the present and various "incidents" involving deaths on both sides (mainly ...


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