Thoughts On The Vietnam War
The North's path to victory was simple - they simply had to expend their resources carefully and dig in for a long war of attrition. In military terms, I don't believe overall Northern strategy and tactical prowess was anything more than mostly competent throughout the conflict. In fact, the two great conventional battles instigated by the North both ended in failure for the Communists. Firstly, consider the Tet Offensive. In this comprehensive rout, the Viet Cong force (the Communist guerillas based in the South) was virtually wiped out. Still, it's a battle that's spun as a great military victory in Vietnam (and throughout much of Western history) today. Needless to say, I haven't met a single Viet who's able to provide an adequate reason as to why, if Tet was such an overwhelming military success, it took a further seven years to conquer the South.
The Easter Offensive conducted by the North in 1972 also ended with Northern strategic objectives stymied - thanks to overwhelming American aerial bombardment of the North, rather than anything the hapless South could manage. It should also be noted that the eventual fall of Saigon in 1975 was a relatively benign affair as far as national coups de grâce go -the North made some pretty minor prods at a few Southern positions in early 1975, which capitulated with surprising haste. Within a few months the rotten edifice in the South had collapsed and was simply ploughed into the ground by the North.
To win the war, the North had to be the most committed combatant - not such a tough ask when your native opponents are led with such breathtaking incompetence, and their foreign allies are subject to the fickle whims of the democratic process and a hostile media. That's how the North conquered the South - not via overwhelming military genius and bravery. They simply had more staying power than the Americans and a vastly more disciplined political and military leadership than their counterparts in Saigon.
Okay, rant over.