Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ho Chi Minh and guerilla warfare

Hồ Chí Minh (May 19, 1890 – September 2, 1969) was a Vietnamese Communist revolutionary and statesman who was Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) from 1946 to 1969, says Wikipedia.

Ho led the Viet Minh independence movement from 1941 onward, establishing the communist-governed Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945 and defeating the French Union in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu. He remained as the highly visible figurehead president until his death. He was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century,

His victorious tactics against the French and the US included -
- the VC tunnel system provided secret routes across the country as well as places to hide, to give medical aid and to store supplies.
- guerilla warfare
* small combat units, no uniforms.
* no supply lines; depended on local people.
* sabotage and hit & run tactics.
* extensive use of punji sticks, foot traps, tiger traps, Bouncing Betty mines and other Improvised Explosive Devices (IED's).

Another factor that affected young US soldiers in Vietnam -
- opium
- hashish
Both were plentiful and cheap. Street vendors readily sold it to soldiers.

While not based on substantial studies, estimates are that 20 to 30% of the US forces occasionally toked up. Most literature also says that soldiers in combat zones were forced not to partake of herbal relaxation by their fellow soldiers; they were self-policing.

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