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Re: Ken

July 13 2009 at 1:11 PM
Rick R. 

Response to Ken

After the Tet Offensive failed, the fighting was pretty much restricted to PAVN (People's Army of Vietnam -- the North Vietnamese Regular Army) forces, with the VC reduced to intelligence gathering, propganda, and nearly inconsequential terrorist attacks. Tet CRUSHED the VC as an effective military force, and of course the North Vietnamese came through after 1975 and eliminated whatever remmnats remained so they wouldn't be a political force in the united Communist Vietnam.

Even while the VC were a potent force, they represented a hugely minority view of South Vietnam, with a disporportionate effect due to infiltration of the RVN govenrment at all levels. (That's in addition to the NVA infiltration.) But let's look at their REAL numbers. . . at the hieght of their military capacity (Tet), they managed to employ 80,000 troops -- of which they lost most in a span of months, versus only about 6,000 allied military deaths.

80,000 troops, for the BIGGEST offensive, that had been in planning for over a year? That's not exactly a "popular movement". (The VC had about another 80,000 "infrastructure" members.) Teh North Vietnamese deployed over 160,000 troops into South Vietname for the offensive (not counting "Lines of Communications" troops in Cambodia). Approximately 65,000 "permanent" casualties (45,000+ deaths and another 20,000 or so who would never be able to return to duty) in that offensive.

By 1973 (the Easter Offensive), the ARVNs were quite capable in the field, and handled a open military invasion by PAVN, with some American air support and advisors (NOT combat units called "advisors" -- by this point, they really were just advisors).

It was only when the US Congress cut off almost all aid to South Vietnam, and they were invaded by a regular NVA mechanized force with better logistics than Patton had against Germany, that the RVN fell. It's difficult to fight a war when the average issue for a line infantryman is 30 rounds of ammunition and two hand grenades PER MONTH, and you're taking bandages off the dead to re-wash and re-issue.

At NO TIME did teh Viet Cong actually represent a real threat in and of themsleves to South Vietnam -- and the Vietnamese Communist government has publicly acknoledges that at no time were they actually an independant or indigenous force. It was formed by the North Vietnamese govenment of North Vietnamese citizens (many of whom were, admittedly, former residents of the South who had emigrated to North Vietnam in the 1950s), and wholly controlled by the Politburo in Hanoi. The "official line" now is that they were, and ALWAYS were, part of the North Vietnamese Army.

Yeah, the majority of South Vietnamese peasants didn't really care WHO was in charge on the national level, but they generally supported the Viet Cong only under duress and threat of retailiation. What they wanted was, by and large, to be left alone and not bothered by groups of armed men with guns coming in and taking their stuff from them. By and large, if they DID have a preference, it tended to be in favor of the ones who took teh least and didn't torture and kill fellow villagers to make a point.

On the other hand, only a third of the residents of the original Thriteen Colonies that formed the United States actually supported the Revolution either.