North Vietnam Defense Minister Giap's Analysis of the War- -IV
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CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligence7
North Vietnam Defense Ministerof the
Vi3tnamese Defense Ministeranalysis of the war gives no hintleaders are growing discouraged orintond to make any concessions to bringto an early end. Instead, he iraoliesHanoi leadership is as determined as ever ntconfident of ultimate victory. Like hisGiap's latest review of the war provide
a detailed explanation of the reasoning behind Hanoietermination.
essar.ce, Giap argues that the USthwarted in its plan quickly to attackthe Communist main forces. Hebecause of its world-wide military commit-
he US can putimited number of troops into South Vietnam and t'.at it originally counteduick victoryelatively small price. Giap asserts that tho Vilure of the US touick victory has fcreed it unwillingly into the position ofrolonged conflict. Inong-tem struggle, the advantage remains with the- Communist side,s better able to persist. There are basic US weaknesses, according to Giap, which will eventually bring aboutrotracted war.
*This is the final memorandum in the aeries on Giap's latest analysis of the war. It summarizes and analyzes the articlehole.
tlote: This memorandum uae produced solely by CIA. It was prepared by the Office of Currentgenae.
basic weakness of tho US, hethe intrinsic inability of the South(ARVN} to perfcm adequately either as aoracification force. This has forcedtcdditional troops to Vietnam and tofcrcau thin in an effort to take up theby the aKVN's failure. Giap confidentlythat the performance of the ARVN will notinprovs and, in fact, will furtherthus forcing the US to divert more offrom their primary task of seeking outthe Communist main forces. Thethe US is so great, states General0 US troops into Southbe like "throwing salt into the sea." Giapthat evenSnot suffice to alter the "stalemate." his assessment, Giap uses the term stalematethe relative strategic position atallied and Communist forces. In his view,
a perpetuation of the stalemate is more advantageous to the Communists than to the allies.
Even more important than US weaknesses, in Giap's assessment of the situation, is the role of Communist tactics in defeating the US. General Giap has longreat believer in heavy reliance on guerrilla and unconventional warfare. Although he praises the regular Communist forces in South emphasizes the unconventional aspects of their activity such as lightning raids on urbansporadic mortar and rocket strikes against air bases and camps, and harassment of allied lines of communication.
Giap's thesis is that if the Communist forces can remain in the field, keeping the allies spread out and unable to concentrate their forces, they cancasualties and avoid head-on clashes with the nore powerful US units. In tine the allies will tiro of
the war, he argues, and the Coironunists will be able to gain an acceptable settlement.
actic which hesuccessfully in the Frenchof main force unitsinglerather than dispersing them lessthe country. Such an area, accordingthesis* is carefullytofrom which troops can be quicklyor reinforced and for which re*upply iseasy. In the present war, Giap findsarea, just south oftrategic area. He argues thatof main force troop strength has
the value of tying down large numbers of US troops in areas of Communist choice. It forces the US to react by drawing down allied troop strength and fighting capacity in other areas. Giap claims thattrategy enables theeffectively to counter superior enemy strength without attempting to match it man for man. It also relieves US pressure on other areas and enables Communist local guerrilla andforces (probably in conjunction with limited numbers of main force units) to operate morein widespread areas of South Vietnam.
a concentration of Communistunits appears directly to contradictof North Vietnamese politburoNguyen Chi Thanhr-who was directingin the South prior to his death inthis year. Inhanh was calling for
a build-up of main force units throughout theas the only way to challenge the build-up of US forces in South Vietnam. This issue is apparently an important part of the military debate under way among the North Vietnamese military leadership over military tactics and strategy. This is the first time that Giap has identified himself so personally uith the opposition to Nguyen Chi Thanh.
would appear that Giap's strategyparamount. The bulk of infiltrating NVAreplacement groups7 have beentoorps area.
9. Giap departs further from Thanh's proposed course of action by taking the position that the war can be won through the use of main forces which do not "necessarilytrength equaling that of the eneiriy." The build-up of main forces, he adds, "must conform to the practical conditions of each region andhere the US position is strong and difficult to overcome, Giap warns against over-committing Communist assets). In advocating this strategy, Giap seems to beationale for the current Communist tactic of building up forces in the highlands and northern part of South Vietnam, while attempting only to maintain Communist strength at current levels in some other areas, notably coastal II Corps and the region northeast of Saigon. The strategy has been forced on the Communists to the extent that heavy losses and interdiction of supply linesignificant build-up of forces in certain areas.
10* Giap also applaud.* t he calls thefighting method" of various elements of the Communist armed forces. Such independence of action, he claims,unique" creation of the Communists in Vietnam. It includes mortar and rocket attacks on allied base areas and commando-like raids on enemy strongpoints conducted by "crack specialmall in number but high in quality. Such actions complement the "coordinated warfare which has long been the standard tactic advocated by Communist strategists.
11. Giap's emphasis on the use of the special unit tactic is probably another reflection of thedifficulties the Communists have encountered in nassinc and using their forces in the face of allied pressure. Small-unit hit-and-run tactics offer the chance to inflict maximum damage on the allies at small cost to the Communist unit involved. They differ from simple guerrilla harassment in the quality and armament of the special units involved. Giap implies that "independent fighting methods" areuseful in areas outside the normal operating area of regular Communist main force units.
12* General Giap recognizes that the US may further escalate the war and inflict still greater damage both to North Vietnam and to Communist forces in South Vietnam. He also comments that tho US may even invade North Vietnam or expand the ground war into Cambodia and Laos. He claims that the US may bomb North Vietnam's populated centers, further strike its lines of communications, blockade tho coast,and bomb the dams and dikes. Despite all of these possible developments, Giap expressesin the ability and determination of thepeople" to continue to fight to victory.
13, Giap concedes, however, that greater efforts will be needed if the Communists are successfully to counter tho expected step-up in US military activity. In the North, Giap calls for better military training, an expanded militia force, improved air defense work, and more strenuous efforts to keep open the lines of communication. In the South, he calls for morebotween the various elements of thearmed