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Did the troops suffer from firebase psychosis during the Vietnam War?

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Swamp Fox, Dec 22, 2002.

  1. Swamp Fox

    Swamp Fox Veteran Member

    Steve, give us your insight on this one.

    There are two theories as to the American tactical performance in VN and the use of choppers.

    The first says that American troops, when landed in hostile areas, became fixated on being near the landing zones, so that they never went out aggressively to seek out and destroy the enemy.

    The second theory says that, like the bocage countryside in Normandy, the terrain in VN made maneuver by foot difficult, if not impossible. So, instead of destroying the enemy by maneuver, the troops in VN, like those in Normandy, had to remain relatively fixed and destroy the enemy by firepower.

    Which is correct? Anyone?
  2. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    I'd have to say neither. Plenty of troops definitely got far away from LZs and caused a lot of trouble for the NVA troops they were sent to contact. Maneuver was imperiled somewhat by the terrain, but this is why assault helicopters were used.

    Can't answer anything definitively, as I never served in the Vietnam conflict. But I've never heard any of these theories as being either definitive or commonplace.

  3. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    LZ's were chosen for their proximity to the target, for ease of communications, and for range from the home base. In many cases the planned pick up point was a good distance from the insertion point. So, my observations would be that there was not a fixed based mentality for the infantry. The artillery is another question.
  4. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    That's pretty much it Shiny...the psychosis that was most prevalent was of the ganja induced base camp variety ;)
  5. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    And it's another gouge against the redleggers! ;)

  6. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    No, the nature of their weapon made moving it difficult. So the stragegy of setting up firebases that could reach out and touch someone was a good one. The crying shame of the Army is that our artillery has been outragned by our foes for 60 years. Part of the penalty of making light weight pieces we can transport everywhere.

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