Q:

How effective was napalm and Agent Orange against guerrilla tactics in the Vietnam War?

A:

Quick Answer

Despite the devastating effects of both Agent Orange and napalm, neither weapon worked particularly well against the guerrilla tactics of the Vietcong during the Vietnam War. The Vietcong used a variety of tactics to keep the Americans one step behind in spite of their superior weaponry.

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How effective was napalm and Agent Orange against guerrilla tactics in the Vietnam War?
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Full Answer

Napalm is a mixture of plastic polystyrene, hydrocarbon benzene and gasoline, which are all highly flammable materials. The mixture is thick, jelly-like and immediately burns anything within 10 minutes. Napalm bombings were incredibly devastating and almost always killed everyone in its path. The temperatures of napalm ranged between 1,500 to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Agent Orange was an intense herbicide that the American troops used to destroy the clean food and water of Vietcong and their sympathizers. The chemical had devastating lingering effects on plants, animals and people in the area for years.

The Vietcong were able to thwart these attacks through sneaky means such as setting booby traps in towns, disguising as peasants and otherwise trapping American troops entering villages. They received supplies from Russia and China through a route between Laos and Cambodia called the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Americans did not attack this for fear of escalating the war. The Vietcong also stayed close to American troops, which made large scale bombings impossible without hurting their own troops.

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Related Questions

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    Where was Agent Orange used?

    A:

    Agent Orange was an herbicide and defoliant used by the U.S. Department of Defense in southeast Asia between 1961 and 1971, primarily over South Vietnam and to a lesser extent Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam. The chemical was also sprayed along the DMZ in South Korea between 1968 and 1969.

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  • Q:

    Why was the Vietnam War fought?

    A:

    The Vietnam War was fought because South Vietnam intended to reclaim North Vietnam. At the end of World War II, the originally French-colonized Vietnam was split into two, and the southern part was given back to France.

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  • Q:

    What happened during the Vietnam War?

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    The Vietnam War was fought in an attempt to stem the communist rule of Vietnam; it did not succeed in its objectives despite massive loss of life for both South and North Vietnamese and the United States, who stepped in to try and prevent Communist rule in the region. The Vietnam War formerly held the title of the longest war in U.S. history until the war in Afghanistan. Despite military intervention by the U.S., the North Vietnamese was able to overtake the South Vietnamese and the Vietnam War takes its place in history as the only war that the U.S. ever lost.

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  • Q:

    What was the purpose of the Vietnam War?

    A:

    The Vietnam War was fought to determine which political regime would gain control of the country and reunify it after French occupation. France backed Emperor Bao Dai in South Vietnam, while the majority of Vietnamese citizens supported Ho Chi Minh in the northern Democratic Republic of Vietnam. After the French defeat of 1954, the resultant treaty proposed a 1956 nationwide election to unify Vietnam. Instead, President Ngo Dinh Diem enlisted U.S. support to oppose Ho Chi Minh’s Communist agenda.

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