It must be affirmed that American soldiers in the Vietnam War were extremely skilled, elite, and modern, and that the North Vietnamese fight and win was not due to the lack of American soldiers in terms of combat skills.
In the Vietnam battlefield, what American soldiers faced was the enemy’s uncertain war, because the North Vietnamese had applied people’s war, which meant that every Vietnamese could be a guerrilla, a regular soldier or a supporter of the revolution.
The lack of a clear front line, the inability to conduct “fair” combat according to convention, left American soldiers in an awkward position. They had a lot of experience in major battles, but lacked experience against guerrillas.
Before American soldiers participated in the war in Vietnam, their combat methods were generally in the regular, linearized war mode, implementing tactical options – clear campaigns according to time and purpose. The combat area, the enemy on the other side of the front line was clearly defined.
When entering the Vietnam battlefield, all combat methods of the US army, even though equipped with many modern weapons, faced many difficulties in the face of non-traditional warfare, small-scale guerrilla warfare, and rapid withdrawal.
It was the combat art of the Vietnamese army that made it impossible for American soldiers to clearly identify the target or the area of the battle. Traditional fire support measures such as artillery and aircraft bombardment have limited effectiveness.
With melee combat, the liberators forced the US to not provide effective firepower to infantry at close range, because the risk of mistakenly shooting their comrades was too obvious. Conventional infantry firepower of American soldiers was not enough to suppress enemy infantry without artillery fire and air support.
The Vietnam battlefield also promoted the development and improvement of US infantry equipment such as the replacement of the M1 rifle into the M14 and then the CAR-15, M16A1, M-79, MK-19 personal grenade launchers, replacing anti-tank gun M-72 with a more reliable and powerful weapon like the MK-153 SMAW…
The harsh terrain and climate in Vietnam, and the flexible combat methods of the North Vietnamese army reduced the accuracy of the US artillery and air force, which was a prerequisite for the development of precision-guided weapons.
The US has tested laser-guided bombs in 1972, the A-10 attack aircraft specializes in close-range support, developing guided artillery shells….
The development of the art of combat on the Vietnam battlefield also made the US more or less improved its equipment, but that was only completely resolved when the US army entered the war in Iraq in 1991.
It can be said that, in fact, the Vietnam battlefield was the place where the US experimented with counter-guerrilla warfare and non-traditional infantry tactics, so that the US had perfected its tactics and experience in infantry warfare in the form and equipped and modern fighting.