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Flashcards in Intro to Vietnam War Deck (156):

What did our strategy and numbers look like at the beginning of the war?

Very small military


When did our military first grow in Vietnam? How many did we have then?

In 1963, when Kennedy implemented the Strategic Hamlet program, we rose to 16,000.


In 1965, how many Green Berets did we have in Vietnam?



How many Green Berets were in Vietnam by the end of 1965?



How many Green Berets were in Vietnam by 1967?



How many Green Berets were in Vietnam by 1968?



Why did our numbers escalate in Vietnam so much so quickly?

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident


What is the Gulf of Tonkin?

Body of water off coast of North Vietnam, tucked between North Vietnam and China


What was our main ship at Tonkin?

USS Maddox


What was the USS Maddox's purpose at the Gulf of Tonkin?

It zigzags its way up the coast, meanders around the coast, usually for purpose of intimidation as a threat.


What was our goal with the USS Maddox?

-conducting raids at North Vietnam coast
-deny a route from North Vietnam to China


How did the USS Maddox saber-rattle the Vietnamese?

It could make them worry about us and our power


How did the USS Maddox deny the Vietnamese a route to China?

We can keep supplies coming in from their Communist ally, China getting into Hanoi and beating us with those war supplies.


How was the USS Maddox used for conducting raids on the North Vietnamese coast?

We are dropping off ARVN, who is doing military raids, drop them off at night, they go out raid town, pickup and provide security for them


Why did Johnson want to keep fighting in Vietnam?

He felt we would win easily and wanted to go down in history as one of the greats by winning this war.


When was the USS Maddox attacked?

August 2, 1964


What happens at the attack on the USS Maddox?

Vietnam sends three patrol boats to attack it. Not very big boats, but contain torpedoes on them, they fire a torpedo at it, misses it.


How did the Maddox fight back at the Vietnamese after the near attack?

Maddox sinks one boat, fires at the other two and damages them. It was a confirmed attack.


After the attack at the Maddox, how did Johnson respond?

He sends another destroyer to Tonkin one day later


What was the second ship's name at Tonkin?

USS C. Turner Joy


After the attack on Tonkin, what else does Johnson send in?

An aircraft carrier called the USS Ticonderoga


Why did Johnson send in the USS Ticonderoga?

It is not very close, just for providing assistance in the war and moving supplies and holding aircrafts.


What happened on August 4, 1964?

Maddox and CTJ are in same spot where Maddox was shot at two days earlier during the attack at Tonkin.


What are the conditions on August 4, 1964? How are they a risk for the US destroyers at Tonkin?

It is nighttime, stormy waters, under these conditions, no visual is made well, cannot see much of anything


What are the people of the ship forced to do with the rough conditions at Tonkin that night?

They use radar and sonar to tell if an attack is coming, young sonar operator on Maddox, entire ship’s safety is on his ears


What does the Maddox begin to do on 8/4/1964 at Tonkin?

Maddox starts shooting out into the darkness of flares


What does the CTJ do as a result of the Maddox shooting?

They start shooting as well.


Does the Ticonderoga hear anything about the Maddox and CTJ shooting at Tonkin?



What do people on the Maddox think they discover that night?

22 torpedoes


What really are the 22 torpedoes the Maddox discovered?

Ocean animals passing by


The next day, did either American destroyer find any ship damage?



How did the two ships respond to this second potential false alarm attack?

They went to Congress


After the two ships went to Congress, what did this lead to?

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution


When was the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed?

August 7, 1964


What will we do under the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution?

This is the law we will fight under


What was the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution?

Congress supports the President to support all necessary measures to attack the Vietnam War. President now has power to determine any procedures that we take in with Vietnam.


How did the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution relate to SEATO?

In honor of our alliance with South Vietnam, the President will determine to take all necessary steps to assist and defend SEATO.


What were the numbers passed for the resolution in Congress?

HOR 416-0, Senate 88-2


What does the President have power to do with the resolution?

He can determine when our part of the war will be over.


Why did we go for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution not for a declaration of War on Vietnam by Congress?

-Vietnam is confusing whether it is two nations or one
-They are non-established nations
-Going back to war fever taking place both at Vietnam and in America is risky
-how do other countries respond if we officially declare war


Who was the Vietnam War brain trust in America?

-President Johnson
-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara
-Military Commander General William Westmoreland


Who was Military Commander General for the US in Vietnam?

William Westmoreland


When was the attack at Pleiku?

February 1965


How many died and were wounded at Pleiku?

8 killed, 126 wounded


What was a big reason our numbers went up based on our war strategy?

One of our strategies is bombing


How did our bombing strategy relate to the boom in military numbers?

In order to bomb, you need bomber planes, runways, and marines, and guards, perimeter around them, patrol, and more bases.


Why do you need a perimeter around the people first hand involved in bombing?

So enemy does not get so close and responds easily.


Why do you need a patrol in a bombing strategy?

We sent them out to the jungle, to prevent enemy and keep where they are in the jungle so they cannot attack easily.


Why do you need many men for more bases in a bombing strategy?

The more bases you build needs more guarding marines to control it.


When did South Vietnam start showing signs of struggling?

Late spring of 1965


What did this early struggling for South Vietnam lead to in spring 1965?

On June 14, 1965 Westmoreland tells America that South Vietnam cannot survive without major US help in a meeting with McGeorge Bundy.


What was discussed in the 1965 meeting with Bundy and Westmoreland?

This is an unwindable war, but we have to fight it anyway, cannot let Vietnam go away.


If Westmoreland did not go back into the war, even after the conference, what would have happened to him?

He would have been destroyed by media.


What did Johnson think after the conference regarding Vietnam as an unwindable war?

He has to go in and fight to try to win the war.


What were the main war strategies for ARVN and the US?

-search and destroy missions
-drawing battle lines
-relocation camps
-cutoff supplies
-create a stable Democratic Government
-Win hearts of South Vietnamese people


What was our bombing plan for Vietnam?

Operation Rolling Thunder


What was Operation Rolling Thunder?

3 year nonstop bombing campaign of North Vietnam.


Why did we carry out Operation Rolling Thunder?

-mental strain that the bombing creates in North Vietnam
-be aggressive
-NVA had very few fighter planes
-safer and easier
-we have lots of bombs
-not going to have massive loss of American lives.


Why was Operation Rolling Thunder a problem?

We are worried about what China will do.


Why were we so worried about China with Operation Rolling Thunder?

No touching China with bombs and redoing what we did in Korea. No bombing anywhere close to boundary line in case their large army chases us back.


After we told China about being safe with the bombs, what was our problem?

The NVA puts all their supplies near the border or in China so it is safe and will not get destroyed.


Where do we bomb on the first two days?

Day 1-Hanoi
Day 2-Haiphong, the port city that serves Hanoi


How productive was our bombing on the first two days? Why?

We really did not destroy much because it is not a very advanced area.


In terms of body count, why is Operation Rolling Thunder an issue?

We have to estimate body counts because who is attacked by the bombs is so unpredictable.


What were Search and Destroy Missions?

Job is to hunt down, engage, and kill the enemy, dropped off by helicopter and go after the enemy.


What is the positive with Search and Destroy Missions?

In terms of ground campaign, we do not need to estimate, so we have a sense of numbers.


What was our goal to kill how many in Search and Destroy Missions?

2 million


What was the other factor we had to worry about in Search and Destroy missions?

The Vietcong


Why are the VC an issue with Search and Destroy Missions?

They are hidden in allied South Vietnam among 21 million people, but are the enemy.


Why do the VC cause issues when doing body counts?

How accurate could it be if there is no proof if there is lying or not with the correct number of bodies an American soldier had to kill on a particular mission?


What did our soldiers have to do when doing Search and Destroy Missions as the VC was a big factor to worry about?

Go into village, kill, leave, and enemy comes back if not really dead and now we have to go back.


What was our strategy for drawing battle lines?

Agent Orange


What was Agent Orange a form of what warfare?

biological warfare


What is Agent Orange?

a herbicide that kills plants


Why was it called Agent Orange?

They would come in big orange drums when we brought it in.


Why did we use Agent Orange?

The enemy used jungle as cover to hide and protect from attacks, so we take the jungle away, see the people, bomb and shoot them, put soldiers around the jungle and control the hiding people.


What was the issue with Agent Orange?

It is a carcinogen


How did Agent Orange being a carcinogen hurt our own soldiers?

When it was thrown down, both the Vietnamese and our troops are down breathing this in and getting cancer.


How did American sailors get cancer from Agent Orange?

Because of the rainforest rain loaded with Agent Orange and flowing to the ocean and then sailors using this water and getting cancer.


What was our strategy for Relocation Camps?

Strategic Hamlet Program


What was the Strategic Hamlet Program?

JFK proposed this as we put Southern Vietnamese in small villages to protect them from battle with the North Vietnamese in battle.


Why was the Strategic Hamlet Program an issue?

The VC could hide in these and cause trouble. Also, the allies had to stay in these hamlets and had to live a lower quality lifestyle than normal.


Where did we cutoff supplies in our strategy?

Ho Chi Minh trail


Why did the North Vietnamese use the Minh trail?

DMZ was small, we could control 17th parallel, North Vietnam used the Ho Chi Minh Trail through other countries around the DMZ to get supplies to the south.


What countries did the Ho Chi Minh trail go through?

Started in China, Laos, and Cambodia.


What did we do to the trail to help make supplies slow down coming through?

-set up ambushes
-carpet bombings


What was the issue if we ambushed the Vietminh on the Minh trail?

When we ambush people, we tell our location and the one person that runs away and hides can tell others behind to pull out guns and ambush the American ambushers.


Why were mines an issue on the Ho Chi Minh trail?

-When one steps in a mine, they cause a big scene and attack and causes attention.
-Once Vietnamese see them, they avoid them and dig them up


If Vietnamese dig up these mines on the Minh trail, what could they possibly do with them that could hurt our cause?

They could steal them and even hit Americans with American mines.


How did we carpet bomb the Minh trail?

We bombed people that were taking supplies on the trail.


What was the issue with our carpet bombings on the Minh trail?

The trail is made of dirt


Why is the trail being made of dirt an issue for carpet bombing the HCM trail?

Dirt doesn't do much when exploded and only made supplies cutoff just a bit inconvenient, and they can still carry out supplies and get what they need. This had no power to destroy the trail either.


Why was the South Vietnamese government hurting us in the war?

There was no government in South Vietnam worth fighting for. They were very unorganized.


Who was Nguyen Thieu and how was he an unstable leader in South Vietnam?

-He sold weapons and North bought them
-he wanted to get rich and get out
-very disorganized in running government of loyalty and fighting a strong war.
-Had no match for Minh in the north.


Even after we withdraw from the war, is South Vietnam's government stable?



What happens to Thieu after we withdraw?

He resigns


How did South Vietnam select a new President after Thieu resigned?

They set up a meeting either asking for volunteers or people to nominate others.


Who was somewhat forced to become South Vietnam's new President?

Nguyen Cao Ky


How did Ky feel being the New President?

He does not want to be President as he is a pilot.


How was Ky nominated and forced to be President?

He was organized and everyone wanted to get him in as nobody else wanted to take the job.


How did we struggle to win the hearts and minds of the Southern Vietnamese people?

-We went in and destroyed their land
-they did not tell us about VC location because they didn't cooperate with us
-They felt Americans did not protect them well with the strategic Hamlets


What was the strategy of the NVA/VC?

guerrilla warfare


What are the military characteristics of the NVA?

Conventional North Vietnamese soldiers, some artillery, green uniforms, have command structure.


What are the military characteristics of the VC?

Farmers by day, soldiers by night, they live in villages, and they are not as heavily supplied or armed.


What is the main goal of guerrilla warfare?

to fight a war of attrition and to wear out the enemy slowly over time and make them eventually back down while defending yourself


Does guerrilla warfare have many casualty numbers?



What were some of the forms of guerrilla warfare done by the Vietnamese to us?

-Tunnel systems
-mines and traps
-turn US population against the war
-choose right moment to strike


Why was the NVA and VC ambushing us a smart plan by them?

Our supplies were not suited to fight in Vietnam because they were prepared to fight in Europe. We underestimated Vietnam and they attacked us surprisingly.


How did Vietnamese ambushes relate to why our number of Green Berets shot up so quickly?

They used surprise attacks and we needed more men to prepare for these surprise attacks with putting halts to our conventional warfare plans.


How did the NVA and VC have the big advantage during their guerrilla warfare plan?

One wins a guerrilla war by making the enemy leave, so they have advantage by fighting on home soil, can use community for help and they are not leaving anyway as they are at home. We are the foreigner.


What did the Vietnamese want to do for guerrilla warfare against us in order to get us to leave?

If Vietnamese can create a cost for us that is too high for us and we have to leave, this is what they want to accomplish.


When were the Vietnamese Tunnels discovered by non-Vietnamese?

after the war


How long were the underground tunnels in Vietnam?

30,000 miles


Describe the Tunnel System in Vietnam with what they looked like.

-very complex systems
-had many exits and passages
-went many stories underground
-had barracks, kitchens, and sniper nests to store things


What was the purpose of the Tunnel System?

-could be used as a bomb shelter
-had extra places to store things
-could protect them from the enemy


What was the Vietnamese's big advantage with their physical build and the Tunnel System?

Vietnamese had slightly thinner build so they could go through more easily. If enemy found them and tried to get into one, they would have trouble fitting in and finding the Vietnamese.


Why did the Vietnamese use mines and traps against us?

To keep trying for their war of attrition goal to get us out of Vietnam.


What kinds of mines were used in the Vietnam War?

-anti-personnel mine
-bouncing Betty
-Anti-tank mine
-tin can mines
-mudball mines


What is an anti-personnel mine?

conventional mine, underground


Describe an anti-personnel mine and what happened when one stepped on one.

Metal on top, explosive flint inside and a pin inside, when you step on one, pin falls out, you step off it explodes.


Who do mines kill?

They will kill the person who stepped on it, and a few people around them.


How were mines a big issue with respect to our numbers?

If one is killed, two people help him, two more have to defend with guns, and your army’s numbers dwindle and the more that die.


After the army numbers dwindle after many mines being stepped on, what could this lead to?

The enemy has a better chance for an ambush or big attack and they feel more confident


What were bouncing bettys?

Spring loaded, jumps up three feet and explodes in front of the person who stepped on it, more dangerous than typical mines.


What were anti-tank mines?

bigger mines that try to attack tanks and break them up during combat.


What is the purpose of anti-tank-mines?

Idea is not to blow up the tank when it rolls over one, its goal was to blow off the top and take off the track, so while they repair it, the enemy attacks.


What traps did kids make in Vietnam to try to fight the war of attrition against Americans?

tin can mines


What were tin can mines?

Tin cans that contained mine-like explosives and were tied to vines.


What was the issue with tin can mines tied to vines?

The jungle terrain was rough with vines, so Americans had to work around vines and push them around. If a soldier tripped on a vine in the jungle, it would explode.


What was a mud ball mine?

They took mud, put it around a grenade and baked in sun until it becomes brittle. They set it on the ground and kept walking. If someone stepped on it, grenade would open up from around clay and explode.


What were some of the traps used by the North Vietnamese?

-cartridge trap
-Pungi sticks
-elephant traps
-rolling traps
-swinging gate
-arrow trap


What was a cartridge trap?

A section of pipe, bamboo barrel or hole in timber with a tack nailed through the base upon which sits the cartridge with the round slightly above ground level.


What were pungi sticks?

intensely sharpened bamboo sticks


What did pungi sticks do?

If soldiers walked on them, it would go right through their boot and were very inexpensive and very effective.


How did Americans respond to initial findings of Pungi sticks?

This caused soldiers to put a metal plate in their shoes.


How did the Vietnamese react to finding out Americans putting plates in shoes to prevent Pungi stick injuries?

They put a barb like a fish hook and also human feces if they went down to touch it.


Why were the barbs and human feces so effective on the Pungi sticks?

They would touch the feces and barb and hurt themselves even more, as the feces was used as a lethal bacteria, if one accidentally ate it or consumed it because it was on their hands, they would die of poisoning.


What were elephant traps?

They dug a hole, put Pungi sticks inside, cover it up, and if a soldier fell down into one they would hit the pungi sticks with the rest of their body.


What were rolling traps?

Soldiers fell in traps with rollers with the Pungi Sticks and would roll around and hurt your legs and roll around a few times before you got out.


What were swinging gate traps?

There were trip wires and if one stepped on one, pungi sticks come down from top and swing down and hit you in the upper body.


What were arrow traps?

A bow and arrow trap, powered by a rubber band that passes through it. The rubber band is held in the extended position by a device triggered by a trip wire that would send down pungi sticks at one who tripped the wire.


With guerrilla warfare, how is waiting important?

You have to be patient and wait for right time to win, find those moments when the odds are in your favor to strike at the enemy.


When was Tet Offensive?



Why was Tet Offensive in 1968?

Because it was an election year, everyone was worried about the election and was frustrated about the war going on and did not pay much attention to it.


How did Vietnam try to turn the US population against the war?

By performing Tet Offensive


What was the Hanoi Jane theory?

Jane Fonda's anti-war actions


What did Jane Fonda do about protesting the war?

She makes a trip to North Vietnam and protests the war in Vietnam by propaganda shoots with North Vietnamese government.


What could have happened to Fonda for her protests, but it did not happen? Why?

She is accused of treason, she could have been executed, but she was not because it was not a declared war officially


Who was Fonda's first husband and what did he do to protest the war?

Tom Hayden-he started an organization called SDS as an anti-war society group


What did SDS stand for?

Students for Democratic Society


Where did anti-war protests begin?



How did Americans begin to view the war back home?

War is treated like most wars in that it was supported, but as war dragged on, popularity was lost and protests started uprising. This raised questions about us and Vietnam.


What were the 3 main questions we had to look at with us in Vietnam?

1. What is the responsibility of the media?
2. What is the responsibility of the people?
3. What is government’s responsibility?


How did the media's responsibility with the war raise questions?

Is it to support the war or government, push out propaganda to support the war or force the truth, no matter how bad the truth may be?


How did the people's responsibility with the war raise questions?

What do we the people do even if we think our government is wrong to spread either good or bad propaganda for the Vietnam War?


How did the government's responsibility with the war raise questions?

Is it their choice, do they know what is best for us, do they keep the fight or is it their responsibility go to the people’s thoughts, so if people are done, they should be done with war as well.