The Limits of Attrition and Pacification

The Limits of Attrition and Pacification - US Armed forces...

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US Armed forces won every significant battle of the Vietnam War Firepower piled up mounds of enemy dead Close to 1 million PLAF and PAVN (communist) fighters killed during war o 50,000 American soldiers killed US never forced to retreat or abandon fixed position These tactical victories never produced 2 outcomes that mattered most o Never destroyed enemy’s power o Never gained peasantry control for Saigon government (controlled countryside) Westmorland’s plan was to attack and destroy enemy main units whenever and wherever they could be found Identify large contingents of enemy soldiers, cut off their escapes, attack them from all sides with artillery and air power, send in ground troops to mop up what is left By doing so, he hoped to achieve 1 or both of 2 things that would allow Saigon to establish control over the country o Reach “cross over” point where enemy deaths exceeded recruitment 1965-68, communist forces in the South increased despite huge losses they suffered Communists getting troops down the HCM trail quicker than US could kill them VC stepped up recruitment in the South Inflict such crushing losses that the enemy’s will to continue would be broken. o
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The Limits of Attrition and Pacification - US Armed forces...

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