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US Army Vietnam Infantry Tactics
Vietnam Vendetta
Combat Infantry Lessons Learned in Vietnam
© 2006
136 pages; 14 chapters
Two of the US Army’s best officers studied US Army Vietnam infantry
tactics
and operations in 1966 and 1967. From that study they wrote
Vietnam Primer, which describes 14 infantry lessons learned.
Vietnam Vendetta is an e-book that describes those infantry tactics
lessons.
Infantry tactics have never been the strong suit of the US Army.
In
Vietnam, conventional US Army tactics were always a step behind
the enemy’s.
Review Table of Contents
“On the bright side, the record shows unmistakably, with numerous cases in point, out of the 1966-67 period of fighting
operations, that the average U.S. soldier today in Vietnam has a sharper scouting sense and is more alert to signs of the
enemy than the man of Korea or World War II. The environment has whetted that keenness and quickened his
appreciation of any indication that people other than his own are somewhere close by, either in a wilderness or in an
apparently deserted string of hamlets. He feels it almost instinctively when the unit is on a cold trail. The heat of ashes
that look long dead to the eye, a few grains of moist rice still clinging to the bowl, the freshness of footprints where wind
and weather have not had time to blur the pattern in the dust, fresh blood on a castoff bandage, the sound of brush
crackling in a way not suggesting other than movement by man-he gets these things. Walking through elephant grass, he
will note where over a fresh-made track the growth has been beaten down and bruised, and with moisture still fresh on
the broken grass he will guess that a body of the enemy has moved through within the hour. These things are in the
record. Also in it are words like these: "We entered the village. It was empty. But the smell of their bodies was strong, as if
they had just got out. They have a different smell than we do."
How the quickening process works, how the senses sharpen when soldiers are alert to all phenomena about them, and
how a commander may profit by collecting all that his men know and feel about the developing situation, is well illustrated
by quoting directly from a post-combat interview of a patrol out of 25th Division in early 1967:
Lieutenant: "I noticed that between 1700 and 1800 all traffic stopped within the village. That was early and therefore
unusual. The workers disappeared. Women came along, rounded up the water buffalo, and quit the area. People in the
houses near the perimeter ate a quick evening meal and got out. Everything went silent. I knew then something would
happen."
Sergeant: "I saw people leaving the house to my right front about 25 meters. Then directly to my front, 150 meters off, the
family left at the same time. We took fire from the house when the enemy came on." “
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US Army Infantry Tactics in Vietnam