The Vietcong is responsible for probably one of the biggest Military upsets in History.
Led by Ho Chi Mihn, the National Liberation Front (NLF) was the military wing of the Vietnamese Communists, or Vietcong based in North Vietnam.
It waged a bitter guerilla campaign against South Vietnam and its allies, most notably the United States.
Vietcong Weapons and Tactics
The Vietcong was primarily a guerilla army that was supplied by China and the Soviet Union.
The AK-47 was the standard weapon of choice coupled with heavy machine guns for Helicopter defence as well as Mortars and rocket propelled Grenades.
A lot of the weaponry was also Home made with supplies often being scavenged from discarded American Bombs and artillery.
The Vietcong also designed highly effective contaminated Booby traps known as “Punji traps” made of sharp spikes and placed in hidden in pits.
In addition to inflicting injuries from the spikes, the Booby traps also infected enemy soldiers and were amongst the most feared Vietcong weapons.
Sheer infantry numbers was also another factor in favour of the Vietcong enabling it to sustain massive casualties.
An underground tunnel system known as the Ho Chi Mihn Trail was built and it enabled the Vietcong to easily blend with the terrain and secretly transport Military supplies from neighbouring Cambodia.
All these factors combined to enable the Vietcong to wage a successful Guerilla War against the US Army which the Communists viewed as a continuation of the Anti-Colonial struggle that had begun with the expulsion of the French from Vietnam prior to US Military involvement in Vietnam.
Legacy Of The Vietcong
The Vietcong has certainly made its mark in History despite some of the negative portrayals in Hollywood.
If the Vietcong was not a tenacious Force, then it would not have achieved the US withdrawal from Vietnam.
However, some of its Military tactics especially in conventional battles appeared to rely more on simply throwing large numbers of infantry into a battle in order to overwhelm the enemy force.
As such, many of the Vietcong’s battles were won not because of superior Military strategy but by ‘swarming’ the enemy with the result that Vietcong casualties were quite high as was the case in the 1968 Tet Offensive.
Nevertheless, the Vietcong achieved the American withdrawal from Vietnam, and can therefore be regarded as the victor in the Vietnam War.
The Vietnam War itself was part of a broader global Cold War conflict and left a stain on the collective American memory that was only removed after American Victory in the First Gulf War.