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 (1946-1999) Other 20th Century Battles    
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BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3514

50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 9/30/2017 5:19:08 AM
Photo: Stars and Stripes


 Looks like an 8-inch SP howitzer in the background. Monsoon Season, 1967.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/12/2017 1:54:33 PM
BWilsin,

Part of McNamara's Line. The camps with names, Con Thein the Rockpile, Camp Carroll, get all the press but the majority of Marine artillery support camps had letter and number designations like E-8 and consisted of one or two batteries and a squad or platoon of infantry. A friend who did two tours as a Jr Marine officer in one of those E Camps said it truly was "life in a bullseye" and one of the most idiot ideas he's ever seen.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5694

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/12/2017 4:50:13 PM
John and Bill,

The documentary film by Ken Burns, The Vietnam War, did a good job of explaining how these outposts were not only ineffective but dangerous places to be.

The photo that BW included was used in the film and I remember thinking of just how forlorn and miserable that soldier looked.

I enjoyed the Burns production immensely. It explained a lot of things that I didn't understand about the war and brought back a lot of memories too.

Cheers,

George

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3514

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/13/2017 2:12:34 AM
John,

 The "E" camps sound like what the Army called a fire support base.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/13/2017 3:22:36 AM
BW,

A FSB exactly but in effect that is what all of the "camps" set up on McNamara's Line were because all except the Special Forces Camp at Lang Vei contained artillery positions.

Have you read the book "Con Thein?"
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3514

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/13/2017 3:35:46 AM
John,

 I have not.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/13/2017 10:30:41 AM
BW,

Translated it means "Hill of Angels" and its story goes back to the beginnings of French colonization. Good book worth the read.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/13/2017 10:35:03 AM
George without starting a major discussion I was disappointed with what I watched of the Burns show but then I feel the same about most historical based TV.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5694

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/13/2017 11:52:05 AM
John R., I don't mind if you tell me what bothered you about it.

It was quick hit history but if any was incorrect, we should know.

My overall impression was that US Marines and Army were not well served by their government and they suffered for it.


Cheers,

George

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/13/2017 11:56:37 AM
BW,

I'm reading the relatively new "Hue 1968" and for like the third or fourth book in a row that I've read on Vietnam I've come across reference to a reporter making a point that to defend or liberate we, the US and/or the ARVN, are destroying property and how crazy or hypocritical that is. The thing is couldn't the same have been said of the hundreds of villages, towns and cities in WWII but the press didn't make it a point of contention and dissent? Hasn't that been a part of war basically throughout history? Plus why no real blame on the attackers of the villages, towns and cities as a major cause of the destruction? I mean in the spring of 75 they were still finding some of the mass graves from the NVA/VC occupation of Hue in 68 but that was a blip on the radar of US media. Over 5,000 men, women and children executed with very little press coverage but we are the barbarians for destroying property?
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/13/2017 12:06:57 PM
George maybe that isn't the whole story. To me what I watched lacked balance. And with respect no matter the strategy or tactics the servicemen suffer, suffering is the major product of war.

Let me ask you a question is a strategy of attrition working or failing when the other side starts drafting 13 and 14 year olds?
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3514

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/13/2017 12:14:28 PM
John,

 The press coverage was a mixed bag. Yes, their style of reporting in RVN went very far toward highlighting how disconnected some of the Washington hierarchy was re: the situation on the ground. Less noted is that the efforts of the reporters were also a power play that culminated in the Watergate scandal. All that may be in the realm of politics (although not what I would call "politics as usual"), but by taking the positions they did on the topics you mention, they "taught" DoD that in subsequent wars, the press would be much more tightly controlled.

 My take is that the effects of the war and the communist victory were, 1- terrible for the people of the RVN who had not actively collaborated with the VC or other communist cadres; and 2- far reaching for the USA. And IMO, neither of these outcomes have been well examined by journalists or those who produce history shows for television. Just as an example of (2), the cessation of conscription in the USA was hailed as a "victory of the people", but in truth, this turn of events led to more poor people serving in the most dangerous positions in the military. It was a "victory" only for those who could afford, by virtue of their economic status, to go to university and not have to be concerned with a call from the government for military service. DoD's response was to make military service more financially rewarding, and thus, many of the enlisted personnel in the combat arms are from the lower economic strata of society. That is a piss-poor sharing of a dangerous burden IMO. And that doesn't even consider that, by making the military completely volunteer-manned, national leadership feels more comfortable with putting our military in harm's way for decades on end without a declaration of war. Deployment policies such as those we see today would not have been tolerated with a conscripted force (again IMO). Again, far too little public discussion of what went on and what the consequences have been.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/13/2017 12:50:28 PM
BW,

I've wondered, even more-so recently, who was more disconnected with the situation on the ground the reporters or the Washington hierarchy?

Just wondering but do you think "Tailgunner Joe" McCarrthy and his witch hunt had anything to do with the media's attitude shift? Or was it Korea?

It wasn't just the RVN but Cambodia and Laos because the Kmer Rouge and Pathet Lao were creations of the Viet Minh and patrons of the NVA. Plus I have to add that many of the non communist members of the NLF ended up fleeing or in the camps or both.

A point I hadn't really considered about the draft.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3514

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/13/2017 1:09:06 PM
Just wondering but do you think "Tailgunner Joe" McCarrthy and his witch hunt had anything to do with the media's attitude shift? Or was it Korea?

John,

 This is a very good question. I won't pretend to an authoritative reply, but will make a guess that some of the shift may have been rooted in technology: television.

 Was this the beginning of the transformation of journalists from being reporters to being entertainers ? Certainly, Cronkite could deliver the news, but he was also a media celebrity, and I believe the supporting technology of TV played a significant role in that. Trying to depict the brutality of war via a radio broadcast would have been a harder sell than the impact of dramatic imagery delivered right into the public's living rooms.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/13/2017 2:32:09 PM
BW,

Funny that you bring up Cronkite as I just finished reading about a dinner he hosted in the Caravele(sp?) Hotel on one pf his last nights in Vietnam investigating Tet. It was for all the CBS reporters in Vietnam and was also a open discussion of their views on the war that devolved into a very heated argument between two of them one for and one against. Seems the man on the anti-war side based his argument as much on the fact that he hated the other guys guts as much or more than he was against the war and admitted so long after Cronkite made his famous broadcast and after Cronkite said that discussion made his mind up.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3514

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/14/2017 2:08:22 AM
John,

 Well, they're humans. The glitz and glam that made 20th century (and beyond) celebrities look quasi-royal has very successfully distracted the public from recalling the celebs (of any kind) are as flawed and opinionated as "regular people". Too much of their opining is taken as ground truth without any serious consideration of what they're saying, and more importantly, what their qualifications are to act as seeming experts on any given topic. And that goes for celebrity journalists in spades.

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5694

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/14/2017 6:56:23 AM
Was Vietnam the first war in which journalists were not propagandists for the government or the military?

Look at WW2. Journalists were restricted as to what they could say. Photos and film were screened before release.

Our military had its own film unit and they produced some outstanding stuff. But it was not designed to give succor to the enemy or to create morale problems at home.

Rather the films and photos were designed to raise the spirits of the people at home and the fighting soldiers.

The Vietnam coverage brought the horrors of war into our living rooms and as the years went by, the photojournalists and the TV people did not hold back. They reported on the negative attitudes of some of the troops and of the atrocities committed.

Cheers,

George

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/14/2017 11:40:53 AM
George the Tarawa short film done by the Marine Corps showed all the horrors of war.

I would also say that the "atrocities committed" didn't get balanced coverage. The Hue massacre gets little press even as more and more mass graves are found and even NVA and Front witness's admit they saw babies killed by smashing their skulls against walls. We still don't know exactly how many were murdered. But My Lai is front page news and lead TV news for weeks if not months. Or Loan's picture executing a single VC prisoner in the streets of Saigon is universally condemned but the context of that prisoners actions in the prior hours is never given. Like the fact that he executed a ARVN Col and his whole family by cutting off heads, or had just been using women and children as human shields to try and avoid capture or that he was the commander of a execution squad and had personally murdered hundreds of military, governmental and innocent civilians.

Edit No answer to the question I asked?
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/14/2017 11:49:03 AM
BW,

I hear what your saying and agree. Also I wasn't trying to say that was the only thing that influenced his opinion but that it was the point that made up his mind. Abrams had a lot to do with it also as the two were friends going back to WWII and Abrams' and Westy's opinions differed greatly on Tet. It was taken as the "party line" vs the unvarnished truth when the actuality was someplace in the middle.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5694

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/14/2017 11:52:32 AM
John the difference is clear to me. America and Americans hold themselves to higher standards of behaviour.

I recall the shock expressed in the US when the My Lai murders were exposed.

It was, "our boys did what?"

Same with the little naked girl running away from a napalm strike.

It doesn't matter if the other guys are doing it. These were Americans who did these things.

For a war weary nation, hell, a war weary world, it was tough to watch the realities of war.


But to my point, I don't think that that sort of thing was reported in WW2. Atrocities by the other guys, for sure, but did the Tarawa Marine film show any atrocities committed by US Marines?

Cheers,

George

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3514

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/14/2017 11:57:24 AM
John,

 Coming back to the topic of "artillery bases", I read the same concept (more or less) is being used in Afghanistan. I don't recall reading of set-ups like this World War II. I suppose the very existence of such bases is a give-away that the countryside is hostile.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/14/2017 12:49:45 PM
George I wasn't asking you the difference I was pointing out the lack of balance in reporting the facts. That how and how much a fact/event is reported matters in how it is perceived. I wasn't saying they did it so we can too.

As for the little girl running from the napalm strike what about all the non-German European cities, towns and villages bombed by air or artillery in WWII? Do you think US citizens stupid or naive enough to not know civilians were killed in each and every one of them? Why wasn't it tough for the North Vietnamese or their Russian, Chinese and Eastern Bloc backers to watch? If the North Vietnamese weren't attacking just like the Germans and Japanese did in WWII it wouldn't have been happening.

And I'm still waiting for you to answer one simple question.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/14/2017 1:05:33 PM
BW,

I don't know that I agree that similar wasn't used in WWII. In Europe each division had its organic artillery set up behind its line supporting it and each regiment, bat and company had its organic artillery supporting its operations plus there was artillery attached to corps and army and in the Pacific you had Naval gunfire both before and after the invading units organic artillery could be landed. The FSB concept is so no unit conduct operations without supporting artillery so the basic idea is the same just implementing it in a different manner.

Is the entire countryside hostile or is the enemy mobile and ruthless against the civilian population? We don't have enough troops to occupy all territory or have a contiuos line anywhere so what other concept is there?
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3514

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/14/2017 2:11:19 PM
Is the entire countryside hostile or is the enemy mobile and ruthless against the civilian population? We don't have enough troops to occupy all territory or have a contiuos line anywhere so what other concept is there?

John,

 Hmm, I think the situation was different in the Second World War. For example, in Europe. Artillery support was provided in lands that were liberated from Nazi occupation (and therefore friendly), or, at worst, in conquered German territory (which was more or less orderly with the exception of active Werwulf organizations like that around Aachen.) The situations in the RVN and Afghanistan are different, because there were/are organized cadres in the countryside capable of initiating infantry assaults pretty much anywhere: thus, the need for "firebases" or "E-bases".

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5694

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/14/2017 3:30:27 PM

Quote:
And I'm still waiting for you to answer one simple question.


Which question was that John? The one on McCarthyism?

Cheers,

George

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/14/2017 4:52:39 PM
BW,

That wasn't really a comparison to WWII, the question of if the entire countryside was hostile. In Vietnam you did have villages and areas friendly and loyal to the South Vietnamese but that doesn't mean the VC or NVA wouldn't operate there. In many ways that would have been where they wanted to operate most but not have their base areas. I guess my point was that although the situation is different the US doctrine of overwhelming firepower is still a guiding principle and security blanket. We aren't recreating the wheel just tweeking the design.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/14/2017 4:54:25 PM
George at copy and paste for you.

George maybe that isn't the whole story. To me what I watched lacked balance. And with respect no matter the strategy or tactics the servicemen suffer, suffering is the major product of war.

Let me ask you a question is a strategy of attrition working or failing when the other side starts drafting 13 and 14 year olds?
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5694

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/14/2017 8:17:06 PM
Well I would say that it worked because the Vietnamese have their own country now. It isn't a democracy in our image but they are independent.

Do I approve of child soldiers? Of course not.

And I also don't feel that we have any business in telling other countries how to live or trying to change their political structure and leadership because it suits our interests.

And I believe that the Vietnamese were tired of being dominated by imperialist nations. When you think about it, they had been fighting foreign invaders for decades.

They wanted the French out and succeeded in that goal.

And in the end, the US left and they were free to pursue their own goals but not without much internal strife as South Vietnamese people were "reeducated" or killed or imprisoned.

And thousands tried to leave to avoid both a communist government and the retribution by the new regime. We all know the story of the boat people.



John, I know that you want to paint the north Vietnamese as evil. I am aware of the bad things that they did.

But they were fighting a civil war in the end and the South Vietnamese government was corrupt and propped up by the US.

This was a horrific war and I am just sorry that so many young Americans and a few of my own people lost their lives in a misguided war.

Cheers,

George


BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3514

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/15/2017 3:00:42 AM
But they were fighting a civil war in the end and the South Vietnamese government was corrupt and propped up by the US.

This was a horrific war and I am just sorry that so many young Americans and a few of my own people lost their lives in a misguided war.


 Too pat, George. The same thing could have been said about the Korean War and the ROK government at the time. Given time, and PEACE, the ROK government significantly evolved. The RVN government never had that opportunity.

 And your comment,


Quote:
and propped up by the US


ignores the massive support provided Hanoi by the PRC and the USSR. "Civil War" ... sort of, but handsomely supported by major communist powers. So let us frame the situation more accurately: Hanoi was able to destroy the RVN, but only with the aforementioned massive support: weapons, other equipment, training, etc.; therefore it is much more accurate to state it was a proxy war between the large communist powers and the USA as well as a handful of allied nations. Without the support of external powers, a genuine north-south civil war may have lasted much longer without any particularly decisive result. And when Hanoi won, it was because they still had that massive external support while the RVN had been practically abandoned by the USA as a political measure to placate a very privileged upper-middle-class youth at home.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5694

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/15/2017 7:55:50 AM
BW, when I think on it, the overarching issue is whether nations have the right to interfere in the internal politics of another nation.

I understand the fear of communism. We were convinced at one time that this failed ideology was going to take over the world and that its proponents, the USSR and the Chinese were leading the charge.

A paranoia surrounded that whole anti-communist era and it led to interference in many nations that the US, bolstered by allies, considered to be within its sphere of influence.

Should we accept that the fall of Vietnam to the communists was just one of the dominos falling?

After all, dominos did not continue to fall but the US continued to interfere in the affairs of many nations to encourage regime change. Some of the characters who received US support in Central and South America were pretty sketchy but they agreed to oppose the communists so they received support.

Was the fear of an international communist movement in the Stalinist mold as much of a threat as we once thought?

I am not so sure that Papa Joe and the Chinese were so much interested in exporting communism as they were in creating a level of security around their countries.

So should the US have been in Vietnam for as long as it was? It's a serious question for me and I must say that the Burns film seemed to indicate that many of the troops on the ground especially in the later years, felt that they were hated not just by the north but by the civilians in the south.




Cheers,

George

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3514

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/15/2017 8:05:23 AM
George,

 How do you feel about Canada "propping up" Seoul during the "Korean civil war" ? Same scenario, just less guerilla warfare on the part of the communists.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3514

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/15/2017 8:21:17 AM

Quote:
BW,

That wasn't really a comparison to WWII, the question of if the entire countryside was hostile. In Vietnam you did have villages and areas friendly and loyal to the South Vietnamese but that doesn't mean the VC or NVA wouldn't operate there. In many ways that would have been where they wanted to operate most but not have their base areas. I guess my point was that although the situation is different the US doctrine of overwhelming firepower is still a guiding principle and security blanket. We aren't recreating the wheel just tweeking the design.
--John R. Price


John,

 I understand what you're writing. I was only pointing out that in countries like France, the security threats for an artillery battery in the field typically did not include attack by locals who were guerillas fighting for the Germans. It seems there has to be, with this "artillery base" concept, a cost somewhere, in terms of increased operational friction, or frittering away of infantry troops to provide a defensive screen for the artillerymen ... what do you think?

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5694

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/15/2017 9:29:43 AM

Quote:
George,

 How do you feel about Canada "propping up" Seoul during the "Korean civil war" ? Same scenario, just less guerilla warfare on the part of the communists.

Cheers

BW
--BWilson


It is clear that the intervention primarily by the US and assisted by allies including Canada was effective in creating a dynamic free state to the south.

Difficult not to be proud of that. It worked. Canadian troops were praised for their work in some key battles.

But there are a lot of troubled places in the world and they don't receive assistance or they receive assistance that makes things worse.

The question then is why do we go into some places and not to others. I am cynical about these interventions because I don't believe that we intervene for altruistic reasons, all the time.

The US didn't go into Korea for any love of the Koreans did they? There was great fear of communist expansion.

Canada didn't send troops to Korea because they loved Koreans either. There was fear of communism here too though the reaction to the word was never as virulent as in the US.

But if communism had to be fought and if our strongest ally wanted that support and if the UN, an institution that Canada pushed for and helped to broker the creation, felt that it was necessary to stop the communists, then it was time to send troops.

These are political decisions, foreign policy decisions and the military sometimes is asked to be the instrument to effect foreign policy.




BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3514

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/15/2017 9:41:03 AM
George,

 Yeah. So 15 years later, UN politics had changed (and the USSR would have made damned sure there would be a security council veto on any joint action in the RVN anyway), but the situation was essentially the same: an armed assault by a communist country in a situation involving people of essentially the same ethnicity. So the USA went in because, once again, we didn't want to see communism rewarded by launching aggressive wars. Canada sat it out -- whatever. But if you cannot see those two situations have more similarities than not, you're not looking very hard. Frankly, if I were a North Korean, my question to you would be what the Hell were Canadians doing in northeast Asia for three years in the 1950s? All of the "well ... the UN ... we felt obligations etc." doesn't do much to distinguish that intervention from that of the USA in the RVN. You guys were just lucky enough you got to fight an overwhelmingly conventional war that didn't involve a lot of guerilla warfare.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5694

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/15/2017 11:10:30 AM
From time to time, Canada does make foreign policy decisions that piss the US off. I look forward to getting back to the days when we had a spine.

Avoiding the 1st Iraq war put us on the bad books. Going to Afghanistan made the US happy.

It is true that our government decided not to send combat troops to Vietnam It is debatable whether we could have sent any assets of significance at that period.

But Canada was involved in the Vietnam conflict both as part of the UN and as a non so secret supporter of the US.

Canada was a member of the International Control Commission that oversaw the separation of Vietnam into two states, north and south, with the hope that eventually elections would lead to a united country. That would be 1954 and the Paris Peace Accords.

In those days Canada often pursued an independent foreign policy and often acted as an honest broker. Our diplomats were trying to stop France and the US from ramping things up in Vietnam. Canada did not view the conflict as anything more than regional and not a concern for us.

Canada did lay down conditions if it was going to send troops.

It was insistent that this be a UN operation. We had a great belief in the institution of the UN in those days. That is why the police action in Korea could be justified and the Vietnam operations, could not.

As well, Canada wanted assurances that they were welcome in the region by other Asian countries. There was anti-imperialist sentiment in the country and an awareness that Asian countries were fed up with incursions by European people or their descendants.

And any intervention had to include civilian assistance in the form of humanitarian aid.

With no guarantees to those and other demands, Canada opted out.


You should know that Canada was providing military assistance to the Americans including allowing them to practice carpet bombing techniques at our military bases in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Agent Orange was tested in New Brunswick and too many of our soldiers wound up with the same afflictions that US soldiers and Vietnamese did because of the 2-4 5T.

Officially neutral, the Canadians were part of the International Control Commission until 1973. Those troops were in country and frustrated by the politics of it all.

All that while, the government was assisting the US in a clandestine manner.

Top secret ICC information was passed to the US by Canadians.

Whenever the US or the south complained of human rights violations, the Canadians on the ICC always took the side of the Americans.

Canada frequently stopped humanitarian aid to the north in response to human rights violations by the north.

The Pentagon Papers indicated the depth of involvement of this neutral nation.

As well, we were making products for the US military. $2.5 billion in napalm, ammunition and other explosives. $10 billion in food, clothing and raw materials assisted the war effort. I see the hypocrisy here BTW.

I know that the subject of the Vietnam war is contentious. The US lost close to 60,000 people in the conflict. And I am always quick to praise the soldier who only does the bidding of his government.



But I remember the protests, both here and in the US. Many people had no idea of why those men and women had to be there.

They did not think that it was worth the sacrifices being made.

Cheers,

George

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
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E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/15/2017 11:52:46 AM
BW,

I agree there is both operational friction and a frittering away of infantry but its either that or a change in doctrine away from overwhelming firepower. Isn't it a "catch-22" in that if we drop the artillery screen we risk a higher casualty rate in the infantry which isn't going to play well with political will at home? Or is it possible to have a whole army of trained up to spec ops standards?
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/15/2017 12:00:48 PM
George it wasn't the ARVN drafting 13 and 14 year olds in was the NVA.

I don't want to paint anybody as evil I let the actions tell the story and if you would just look at the actions of the Viet Minh when they took over the North after the Paris Accords as reported by the Canadian representatives on the control committee you might agree.

But all this is why I didn't want to start this discussion with you, this and the thing you said to end the last which was something like you might be the most well read on the subject but that really doesn't matter your not changing my mind.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
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Posts: 5694

Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/15/2017 12:28:06 PM

Quote:
George it wasn't the ARVN drafting 13 and 14 year olds in was the NVA.


Yes, I know that John. The NVA sustained huge losses to the US and ARVN forces even if they engaged in irregular warfare.

When they chose to engage in major attacks in several places at once, they took heavy casualties.

And yet they still continued to fight.

I don't believe that that large army could have been maintained had there not been a will to continue the fight.

Child soldiers? Never but I find it curious that the north did not throw in the towel.

The Burns movie indicated that Vietnamese people, north and south, hated war as much as the Americans. After all, no matter which political side they supported, it was their country that was the battle ground.


Quote:
I don't want to paint anybody as evil I let the actions tell the story and if you would just look at the actions of the Viet Minh when they took over the North after the Paris Accords as reported by the Canadian representatives on the control committee you might agree.


I said that the Canadians on the ICC always supported the US and South Vietnamese reports of atrocities by the north.

Canadians have learned of the complicity of their government in the support of this war.


Quote:
But all this is why I didn't want to start this discussion with you, this and the thing you said to end the last which was something like you might be the most well read on the subject but that really doesn't matter your not changing my mind.


Okay John. I am perplexed. I don't really know what you are talking about right now.

Nor do I know what sort of position you have taken and which views you will not change.

kp
Belle Vernon, PA, USA
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Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/15/2017 1:36:07 PM

Quote:
John the difference is clear to me. America and Americans hold themselves to higher standards of behaviour.

I recall the shock expressed in the US when the My Lai murders were exposed.

It was, "our boys did what?"

Same with the little naked girl running away from a napalm strike.

It doesn't matter if the other guys are doing it. These were Americans who did these things.

For a war weary nation, hell, a war weary world, it was tough to watch the realities of war.


But to my point, I don't think that that sort of thing was reported in WW2. Atrocities by the other guys, for sure, but did the Tarawa Marine film show any atrocities committed by US Marines?

Cheers,

George
--George

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With respect,
KP

kp
Belle Vernon, PA, USA
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Re: 50 years ago: Camp Carroll, Republic of Vietnam
Posted on: 10/15/2017 1:41:04 PM
"Same with the little naked girl running away from a napalm strike."
I recently discovered (nearly 50 years later) that the aircraft delivering the napalm was a South Vietnamese Skyraider, not a US aircraft.
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With respect,
KP

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