Prior tothe U.
General Harkins and his successor General William C.
Westmoreland urgently strove to revitalize pacification and counterinsurgency. Army advisers helped their Vietnamese counterparts to revise national and provincial pacification plans. They retained the concept of fortified hamlets as the heart of a new national counterinsurgency program, but corrected the old abuses, at least in theory.
To help implement the program, Army advisers were assigned to the subsector district level for the first time, becoming more intimately involved in local pacification efforts and in paramilitary operations.
Additional advisers were assigned to units and training centers, especially those of the Regional and Popular Forces formerly called the Civil Guard and Self-Defense Corps.
At the same time, American officials in Washington, Hawaii, and Saigon began to explore ways to increase military pressure against North Vietnam.
Air strike plans ranged from immediate massive bombardment of military and industrial targets to gradually intensifying attacks spanning several months. The interest in using air power reflected lingering sentiment in the United States against involving American ground forces once again in a land war on the Asian continent.
Many of President Lyndon B. Taylor thought conventional Army ground forces ill suited to engage in day-to-day counterinsurgency operations against the Viet Cong in hamlets and villages. Ground forces might, however, be used to protect vital air bases in the South and to repel any North Vietnamese attack across the demilitarized zone, which separated North from South Vietnam.
Together, a more vigorous counterinsurgency effort in the South and military pressure against the North might buy time for Saigon to put its political house in order, Chain of command in vietnam war flagging military and civilian morale, and strengthen its military position in the event of a negotiated peace.
Taylor and Westmoreland, the senior U. Both recognized that air strikes were neither a panacea nor a substitute for military efforts in the South. As each side undertook more provocative military actions, the likelihood of a direct military confrontation between North Vietnam and the United States increased.
The crisis came in early August in the international waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. North Vietnamese patrol boats attacked U. The Americans promptly launched retaliatory air strikes. Considered by some in the administration as the equivalent of a declaration of war, this broad grant of authority encouraged Johnson to expand American military efforts within South Vietnam, against North Vietnam, and in Southeast Asia at large.
By lateboth sides were poised to increase their stake in the war. The United States promptly bombed military targets in the North. Signs of intensifying conflict appeared in South Vietnam as well. Strengthening their forces at all echelons, from village guerrillas to main force regiments, the Viet Cong quickened military activity in late and in the first half of Throughout the spring the Viet Cong sought to disrupt pacification and oust the government from many rural areas.
The insurgents made deep inroads in the central coastal provinces and withstood government efforts to reduce their influence in the Delta and in the critical provinces around Saigon. Committed to static defense of key towns and bases, government forces were unable or unwilling to respond to attacks against rural commu- nities.
In late spring and early summer, strong Communist forces sought a major military victory over the South Vietnamese Army by attacking border posts and highland camps.
The enemy also hoped to draw government forces from populated areas, to weaken pacification further. By whipsawing war-weary ARVN forces between coast and highland and by inflicting a series of damaging defeats against regular units, the enemy hoped to undermine military morale and popular confidence in the Saigon government.
And by accelerating the dissolution of government military forces, already racked by high desertions and casualties, the Communists hoped to compel the South Vietnamese to abandon the battlefield and seek an all-Vietnamese political settlement that would compel the United States to leave South Vietnam.
By the summer ofthe Viet Cong, strengthened by several recently infiltrated NVA regiments, had gained the upper hand over government forces in some areas of South Vietnam. Elsewhere highland camps and border outposts had to be abandoned. Saigon was hard pressed to find men to replenish these heavy losses and completely unable to match the growth of Communist forces from local recruitment and infiltration.
General Westmoreland and others believed that U. For a variety of diplomatic, political, and military reasons, President Johnson approached with great caution any commitment of large ground combat forces to South Vietnam. Yet preparations had been under way for some time.
Even as they landed, General Harold K. Upon returning to Washington, he recommended a substantial increase in American military assistance, including several combat divisions. But President Johnson sanctioned only the dispatch of additional marines to increase security at Da Nang and to secure other coastal enclaves.
He also authorized the Army to begin deploying nearly 20, logistical troops, the main body of the 1st Logistical Command, to Southeast Asia. Westmoreland had requested such a command in late Mar 06, · Jason has now published his work as a page free-to-download PDF – Chain of Command DMZ.
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Dow continued to sell herbicides to the US military for use in Vietnam. "Unknown Soldier" of Vietnam War Laid to Rest. After the war was over, he become the top dog in chain of command.
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