Strategy in Vietnam: The Marines and Revolutionary Warfare in I Corps, 1965-1972

Strategy in Vietnam: The Marines and Revolutionary Warfare in I Corps, 1965-1972

Strategy in Vietnam: The Marines and Revolutionary Warfare in I Corps, 1965-1972

Strategy in Vietnam: The Marines and Revolutionary Warfare in I Corps, 1965-1972

Synopsis

Grand strategy, strategy, and tactics--the three layers of policy and action inherent to all military efforts--are the focus of this historical analysis of the dynamics of the Vietnam War. The American theory of counterrevolutionary warfare is examined in light of American military practice, especially that of the Marine Corps, during the period of America's greatest involvement, 1965-1972, and at the site of the most intense combat, the five northern provinces known as I Corps. Drawing from two schools of thought that diverge over the appropriate strategy America should have pursued in South Vietnam, this inquiry indicates that both the number of troops and their tactical employment proved inadequate for redressing the threat within the parameters America set for itself. Specifically, this work demonstrates that the counterrevolutionary warfare strategy postulated for Vietnam was largely ignored in some quarters, and sowed the seeds of defeat in others.

Excerpt

In applying an historical analysis to the many changing dynamics of the Vietnam War, this study focuses on the three layers of policy and action inherent to all military efforts, grand strategy, strategy, and tactics. Following a detailed review of the origins of the war, this work turns to the development of the American theory of counterrevolutionary warfare. Explicating this doctrine at both its national and internal military levels and within the context of limited war doctrine provides a template for comparison between thought and deed. Military practices, primarily those of the Marine Corps, are analyzed over the period of America's most direct involvement, 1965-1971, and at the site of the most intense combat, the five northern provinces known as I Corps. Drawing from two schools of thought which diverge over the appropriate strategy America should have pursued in South Vietnam, this inquiry indicates that both the number of troops and their tactical employment proved inadequate for redressing the threat within the parameters America set for itself. Specifically, the counterrevolutionary warfare strategy postulated for Vietnam was largely ignored in some quarters, and sowed the seeds of defeat in others.

U.S. military forces were constrained by an unimaginative operational focus, and labored under a command structure that divided the strategic effort among a series of ill-prepared and competing civilian and military agencies. Subsequently, the national and strategic leaderships failed to adjust operations, deployments, and tactics to the necessities demanded by the changing situation. in both theory and practice American strategy failed to adjust to the dilemmas posed by the dual conventional and guerrilla threats in Vietnam. the counterinsurgency effort never resolved the conflicting demands posed by the exogenous and endogenous enemies. This failure reveals itself in the continual inability of the Americans to destroy the guerrilla and subversive organizations. That inability, in part, resulted from the disjunctions of America's grand strategy, strategy, and tactics.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.