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COLGE

AIR WARo
No. M-M'~C86-049
Lfl
IN~ COFLI1CT
VIETNAM WAR
THE
AND
REVOLUTION

~PARALLELS

1%

THE AM~ERICAN

DTIC
By

LT COL ROBERT p. DALY,

MAR I 11987

ID

A"L
A13tVopCE BASE,
LLW

jM lLO

HIMIIB

DISCLAIMER NOTICE
THIS DOCUMENT IS BEST QUALITY
PRACTICABLE. THE COPY FURNISHED
TO DTIC CONTAINED A SIGNIFICANT
NUMBER OF PAGES WHICH DO NOT
REPRODUCE LEGIBLY.

'

AIR WAR COLLEGE


AIR UNIVERSITY

PARALLELS IN CONFLICT
THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AND THE VIETNAM WAR

by
Robert P. Daly, II
Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

A RESEARCH REPORT SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY


IN
FULFILLMENT OF THE RESEARCH
REQUIREMENT

Research Advisor:

Dr. Joe Strange

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, ALABAMA


MAY 1986

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAP rEF
.
.. .. . ....
DISCLAIMER-ABSTAINER..............
...
. .. .. . ....
.
.
..
ABSTRACT.......................
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH..................
IINTRODUCTION..........................................
ii

THE FABYANIC MODEL

Society and Leadership............


Force Structure and Doctrine.......

.. .. .....

. ..

......

Policy....................

Threat and Targetry............


. . .. .. . ...
III

STRATEGIES
The American Revolution..........
...
The Vietnam War..................

TV

.. ....

.. .. .. .....

CONCLUSION.....................
..
.
. .
...
.. .. .. .....
APPENDIX:

The Fabvanic Model........

REFERENCES...................

. .

. .. .. . ...

...
...

..

. ...

Accesion For
NTIS CRAMt
DTIC TAB
Unariows:ced

B.............
v

Di-.,t: lb ifion i
Availailihty Codies

Dist

Avail ardlor
Special

DI SCLA IMER-ABSTA INER


This research report reoresents the views of
does

the author

not necessarily reflect the official opinion of

ant

the Air War

College or the Department of the Air Force.


This
ment and is
ermission
'Base,

of the United States govern-

document is the property


not to

be reproduced

in

whole or

in Part

of the commandant, Air War College. Maxwell

Alabama.

.,a

:1

without
Air

Fore

AIR WAR COLLEGE RESEARCH REPORT ABSTRACT

TITLE:

Conflicts in Parallel--The American Revolution and t=_.Vietnam War

AUTHOR:

Robert P.

-Research
United

Dalv, II,

Lieutenant Colonel,

uses the Fabyanic Model

USAF

to assess why British

ant

States military strategies were remarkably,' similar :n the

American Revolution

and the

Vietnam War

respectively.

and

wh,

each "suoerpower" was defeated by a numerically and qualtiativelv


inferior force. Comparative analysis shows that both British

an _

)merican leaders failed to appreciate the true nature :f the -=nflicts. did not

establish clear or

reasonable national

:e-

ives, and each nation pursued a flawed military strategy of


ted force. Report
_-vil

concludes that when

wars, military

only when the political

commanders should
situation

lJ~a

i:

revolutionar,,

advocate military force

will support

tar'v campaign early in the conflict.

!N

faced with

limi-

a decisive

mil:-

3IOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Colonel Robert P. Daly,

Lieutenant

II.

US Air Force

(B.S..

Air Force Institute of Technology) has always

Academy, M.S.,

had

a strong interest in the Revolutionary War period and the originz


of the American military.

He has served

with the Military

Air-

lift Command, Air Force Systems Command, and is a graduate o4 the


USAF Test Pilot
Pentagon

as

an

School.
action

'.iaison, Secretary of the


uished

graduate of

Command and Staff


of

4NV

His

was at

most recent assignment

officer in

the

Office

Air Force. Lt Col

Squadron Officer's School

College by seminar.

the Air War College. class of

1986.

Lt Cal

Daly
and

of

the

Lei!atie

I= a

disting-

completed Ai:-

Dalv is

graduate

CONFLICTS IN PARALLEL
THE VIETNAM WAR AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

A recent speaker at
advise

the Air War

your President to go to war,

The reference was to the


that

College said:

it

was a

"Before

make sure it's a good war.

Vietnam War with the implication

"bad war"

vou

and that,

in retrospect,

being

the United

States fought a war that was unwinnable. A similar sentiment


'ater

"

wa-

echoed in the same forum by a former Chairman of the Joint

Chiefs of Staff.

The United States. clearly superior in every el-

ement of national

power, could not prevent the Communist takeover

of South Vietnam--whv? What made Vietnam a "bad war"'


Contemoorary
fied on

views on the Vietnam War

this subiect. But on one thought all

are bv no means
writers and

Uni-

histo -

tans are in agreement--that the Vietnam War experience was a tragedy of


ocietv

epic proportion which changed the very fabric of


including

how Americans

States in the world. American


to

arips with the realities

view

the role

of

American

the United

leadership was never able to


of

the war until

come

it was too late--

until a neootiated retreat was Our only rational recourse.


'-agic
uniaue conflict
modern

as that war was to the American osvche, it was not


in

times but,

our history.
in a broad

Vietnam

Century Superpower

tativelv inferior

too.

had its

the American Revolution.

was defeated by a numerically

force. Like

own "bad

aberration

war."

context, had a precedent in histo-

wy--the American Revolution. During


19th

was not an

the United Statec. Great


But

in

that war.

were Americans. and the Americans wor.

ar

and nualiBritain.

the revolutionar:es

A comoarative

Iar.

Both British

lish

clear

tantly,

or

and American

reasonable national

in the

absence of

force.

These

fatal

flaws

both

and,

most

the use

Impor-

of

natior
limited

strategy to defeat.

each

the

estat-

failed to

objectives. each

predicated on

doomed

to appreciate

objectives;

clear national

military strategy

Pursued

leaders failed

their respective conflicts;

nature of

true

the

two conflicts were remarkably sim_ -

that the

War reveals

Vietnam

and

Revoltution

the American

of

analysis

Rare.,

=an the use of limited force achieve military solutions to social


conflicts
tions.

that

when the latter

This

2'

brief

review of

years ago

ould not
Vietnam

full scale revolu-

history may dispel

the popular

Vietn.am was

be foreseen."
War did

have matured into

In

'something new.

the realm

ostensbilv usher

in

"new ideas" were merely new twists


United
have

States,

a nation and

States

the role of

tions.

armed

conflict,

"new ideas."

to some old

people spawned

as

a nation

military force

is

in

But

by revolution.

the
these

themes which

the role of

-ceives

little

oresentations
that

Indeed.

our very

Britain's

attention.

force
So

"revolutions are not

the

own

War of

United

defeat

in

struggling

in

dealing

the

shoulc

of

the War of

11RI

remembered

the

Indeoendence.

revolution-

interest

re-

here."

ionored. c_

reasons
and

numerous

one soeaker

Indeoendenc_ is totally

States

revci!L-

durino the

much

comore-

at the Air War

with

and strategy,
a topic

to

modern

By contrast,

little that.

on military history

Darked

had

military

still

dealing with

Certainly no consensus exists.

College.

-iaos

some

somethina that

understood.
The United

hend

of

notion

for

the true

Great
soCia'

-at!-re

of

-ealities

o-f k.ietnam.
-he Amneri can Revolution should

t on a

have taught uLS that

milit.-Ary strateoies based on

4orcq will

most

combatants

whose commitment

71'1eer

i kely,

In

a war

of+

the use of

prove unsuccessful
to

they are

4-orce of will.

nerser'.ere

:1

thes

then we micht have better Lunderstood

the conflict,

limited militarv

wh en

the cause is

conven-

d e aIi n c

so strong

vith

thiat.

n.

-able to erode their enm'Cilt

attrition.

In

the

words of

of-

s ew i tzthe strength o+ his will is Much


less easy to determine and can only be
':aUged approximately by the strength of
the motive animating it_.
11:-77)
Like the
o:mol der ina embers,
it
Consumes th
b_i
foundation- o+ the enemy forces.
Sirce
itneeds time to be ef-fecti,,,9
a state
oftension will develoo while the twc
elements interact. This tension will
either graduall1y relza., if
the 1 nsurgen=' ,/ is
suppressed.
.
.
or it
will
build up
to a crisis:
a general conflagration
=loses in on the enemv.,. driving him out
o+ the country be-fore he is -Faced with
tota detruIction. (1:48')

Be-Fore

comparing and contrasting

two con-flicts,

the

understood--what

and

kind of wars

indeed a

civil

How do Americans think


tical

revolution.

military strateaies_

-Fundamental nat-ure

war.

o-f the

as *a civil

"l:onventional" war o-f

o-f the two

wars

"revoluti on"

ns

mL
_st

a social and oolitical

since

Americans

S'C

L,

Vietnam War--as a social


war.

_Agression

or

as

an

orchestrated

American=-.

fought

or

TCli-

"unconv.entional"o
-and Orosc, te

the government in Hanoi") The distinction worth noting


terms

were thev?

'he American Revolution was


tion

the

-and "cvlwar" connotate more

is that

"whv'

t!. e

t
tne
,4ar

NJas fcoht,

whereas

auLer i I11 a.
-FOLI[Cht.

the terms

"unconventional.

"1revolution-ary.

"and

The manner of

connotate "how"

"

prosecution

0LLr

'conven t ionalI."

"

of

the

the Vietnam

war waE-

War

Ie a d s

one to believe that the United States approached the war orimarilv as a
the
"Ie

technical

social

enterprise and

and political

gave insufficient credence

origins o-E

realization that the conflict

been

a social

ZIM0iY an

unconventional

or

oolitical
he

and hiah levels of

erment

its

and not

-Acaression b

support;

dJirect or indirect.
Revolution

All

a~nd

and economic oower.

lmnsMust

be oresent:

1)

discontent with the incumbent ac\'-

elites:

political

cross section of

American

of

war.

hamd

rather than a sinale event.

to be sucsfl

widesoread
and

war

always

(2:151

is redistribution of

;revolution

and a civil

conventional

A~ re'/olution is a orocess.
aoal

Too late came

in Vietnam was and

and oolitical revolution

North Vietnam.

its

the conflict.

to

2)

and,

a strong organization with

7-) external

these

support.

+actors were

-and the V"etnam War.

-now bealn to examine the militarv

whether

it

cresent dlri.nC

With

strateimies

this

in

mind

of Great

a
be

the

we zar

Eqritain, and

the United State=.


7HE FABYANIC MODEL
The military strategy employed by a nation
essence a distillation
the Air

War College.

of many

the Fabyani:

z asses S mili
1ta:ry/ strateov
Jiscreet
'arce

variables.

(sree

variables which shaoe a

structure.

2)

doctrine.

7)

Model

in conflict

In the curriclum

is offered

Ao oen di1x

isi

1)

by

as a trameworl

msotan
o1

s ~h t

nation's militarv strategv:


the oercelmved

'2

threat.

4)

1,

tech-

nol ogy

5)

targetr-.'.

its leadership.

6.

()These

oclic..

This research

Will

paoer

to assess the miI itary stratazi es of


the Americasn

States d~lri na

-rMuL

t I :1nc
' ~f

'3OCIETh
A me r can

The

Pevo'
_

~a11v
-AU

eo'

are the mc-tr-/3


1+Uen ti a' 17t
Ji

te

C!us_1
E c

tbe~n
g n

o-f+i c Ial1
some

:-t arted

( 4: 1 1- 12

t at

nmterd
zonor

fie~~::

ith

15::
&2

I r

1a7

rM

_aI)

:olMnMsS

The9is

Nlorth

America from Great Bri tain seekina to niain po1 tI-a1 .

nomic.

and

' z,l

t o

reliliouLS freedoms.

at the time

~merican society
th
1e

century..

13th
and

orn

the French

in

17!S

power had

Britain'

and
r,

?cOnomi c

hA.',e

a t tr 1bUt e d t ne r-

U CZSS E~

fo.r chnan,-

__toer' orit,/ and.

in the Seven Year's

-as no EUr.:oean

al

T.ertF

sic

the

The
atEr

SCMSCt
_
or

me r .an
n

e Le

EI-''1-,

Lwr-,'1
EPr' ti

LJ?r5

the : e4"e-at

Emo'.r _.

Poman

=ame +,-,-,:
--

=-

r-noved wenaith

War.

anl Mrioso:t'

weal tn

were

h-and.

the status-anut.

maintainima

thei r zocial

=_oc

-and fCle, ',b 1l_ =

the ct

looked

Americans_

of

Much =f

mobl1e

The British.

-:n .( n c 9d

rernalne

cclonies

~he s eedsa:)

ec:-

the colonies were founde,:.


h ighi,

vwa:t

'=ocietv.

ri-id

interestz were in

=tower

Altho~toh thle

re9a t 2.ri ta I n -for 155 year = .

hiad been sowin

LEPIDERHIc

AND

althouch

mcu thln Ro c!: .


Ply,

i ar ims, at

~h=e,./wi 1 1

0evolUt Icn

Mass-Achusetts.

Le,.ingtan.

rI a1d.

the YV etram War.

a.nd

are the rno=-

1 t -krv =t -a tatev

ni

vni

Use the

Grea3t EBri taln and the Un: ted:

Revol uti on

e,, oh t var1 ab I e - a n -

t~ h

e~te

2 _c i et'~s

-A nation's societ-.. and leadership

that

nizina

s-i;,vri'

militarv strategy by

into a

intecrated

Then

and

*n

_ss.

r,

an

4I

3 -lrtwjt-

-'-'-

:e
Ls

c~ -"

2:a

lv

economic.

This

the

real

reason

subtle, but very

was

a demand

important

the revolution appealed

to all

for

distinction,

classes of

self-governmenn.
is

the reason

colonial

why

society:

A rich ideology of republican selfgovernment was sweeping the colonies,


and the great concern was that continued
British rule by an increasingly corrupt
elite was beginning to pervert even the
rich British democratic legacy. (4:140
The
of

American colonies

civilian

though

American

throughout
:ietv

of

the will
the

the war,

of

7,000 miles

dedicated to

had

expressed
the

it

for the

victory

was

by many

legitimacy

at

British
war

British

in
of

British

society never

army for
accepted

fielded a

fully unite
of

the use of

rL'e

by one of

ministerv, Sir Edmund

leaders. or

Z
the

torce

(4:97-!52)

over

Parliament's

an

fully

never

consequence

Parliament

sc-

the traditional

raise and equip

society to

predictable

thought

rely to some degree on

mercenaries and

and therefore

Al-

individualisti-

their homes.

any cost.

opposition was articulated


.LordNorth's

assemblage

the conflict.

the highly

could, however,

to rely on

away.

The failure of
war

thus mirroring

18th century Europe to

responsibility

the

leaders throughout

the people to defend

other hand,

a gifted

leadership rarely exhibited unanimitv of

the colonies,

methods of
war

and military

were blessed with

over

the

in

support

C.

the disaffectin
force to

en+or:s_

colonists.

the opposition

Burke:

To use it [force) alone could be no more


than a temporary measure, for a 'nation
is not to be governed which is permietuall\
to be conquered."
A government does not
rule b\' the forces at its disposal but w,
the authority it commands.
If Britain were

leaders

This
tc

to win by force of arms alone. the ouiet o-r


the Americans Would be 'nothing bLut the
meditation of revenge.' (5:40X')
As the war

progressed and

Parliament

increasingly found

escalated in

intensity, the

itself in heated

English

debate over the

ever or owino need for men and material to fight the war.

British

and American societies of the 18th century were starkly different


'And it is clear that the British never understood or

appreciated

colonial asoa rati ons.

The parallel between the British experience in the


Revolution

and the American e-oerience in Vietnam is viv.-id.

the British

-Failure to

appreciate

colonial

States never fu-lly appreciated

Ujnited

Vietnamese society. Vietnam


conflict

most violent culture

in the American
nurtured for

colonies. the

a long meri od of

personal sacrifice,. and

(105?

to 19-75)

rev.olution. and

-an
d

has been

oart of the 16th centur'.

As

in Asia. Vietnam

seeds of social

was

French.

were viewed
enemv in

Communist

: M411-t

American involvement

rea-lly, bean

inter~ected after the

by the

armed

ztruc-

I M th =

retreat of

insurgents

1-

as merely

1-.4-.

the
the

a long history of OCCUoation forces wihStoo-d

in the wav. of establishina


Social

war which

been

an acceoted wav. ::-

only. a continu.ation of an

=ivil

American forces,

unrest had

time-over 45() years-and

struggle had become

c:entury.

c=urrent

the

history of violence

life in Vietnamese societv. The oeriod of

gle.

asoirati.ons.

the history and Culture 0-4

has a long

in conflict since the earl,.

Vietnam

Like

and some historians contend that the Vietnamese Culture

has been the


nation

Amer'-ca

charge was the

a new social

order.

prime inaredient

in th-e

Mobili~ation

of

indigenouS Communist

distribution

of wealth and

and political

- ormerly had

Their primary

power and the

legacies of

dominated Indochina.

goal

removal

was the

re-

of the rulin.
the

strongly attacked

Communist Vietnamese

elite. Further, the


cultures

forces.

the Eurcoean countries whicr


This hatred

for the

,-jestern

world

was difficult for American leaders to fully aporeci9t-.

is not

"what" the Communist Vietnamese believed, but rather

It

"hcw

they believed that translated into their commitmet t-:

strongly"

The

the cause.

United

hope

could not

States

to

in

nM=till

American troops a will to fight equal to the passion. nurtured nv


450 years

of violence,

Communist

Vietnamese forces.

which was

frequently displayed

By contrast,

democratic. idustrialized. impatient.

American

and was

by

the

-ocietv.. was

far removed

from

the Vietnam War.


The significance of the Vietnam war as it related to national objectives, society, and interests of the United States became
l!ess and less clear as the conflict continued. American oolitical
leadership.

like

their

British counterparts

earlier, also wrestled with the

nearly

7',ID,

e =er=

legitimacy of the war. Much

has

been written on the roots of the American involvement .n Vietnam,


but one thought appears to be universal:
No serious discussion or questioning

appears to have taken place of the importance of Southeast Asia to American security interests, of the correctness of the
dire predictions regarding the cunsequences
of the loss of the area, of the probability
of success in the military struggle. or o
the costs of winning the war in Indochina. (6:60T)

As

in

the American

accept fully the

Revolution when

British societ\

responsibility for the


B

failed t-

war and demonstrated

tv

became less

ers

increasingly failed to articulate clear

terests

in

and

less

States

war escalated,

American society

demanc

in

the Vietnam

issues.

War were similar

etc)

which culminated

Great Britain.

imperceptibly

situation"

from which

not appear

to be any

Over a span

-:verreaction

to

mation. and
The

United

a total

It

is

the

critical

also by
a

often

striking

majority
of

Britain

similaritv

four

adminis-

of

information.
of

and,

in

and
of

an entancling

nor

in
that

full'

an'i =eviar

but rather.
misin.:r-

(7:!47'
-tL.,drc'i

_trC-

the case of

tnetaT..

comorehend

the fee!:nc-

the Vietnamese

Poo,(.1ati0r..

the culture

made

i-

withdraw. There di,:

presidents,"

investigate

mistake
Great

coloni-

US toward

ignorant

Culture

understanding

but

to

of

,1.2.

based on miSLnderstancing.

lac.:

and

of

ulation was

is

failure

lac.. of

States,

States

Politics

aspirations

This

involvement

princiols

in the

for intervention,

American

United

seemingl:,, small

it eventually could not

in some cases,

country's

a:imost

pulled the

the part of

intrigue on

Truman,

"master plan

in

misadventures

political

escalation of

representation

:aliCtlations

reasons for

history suggests that the

trations beginning with President

i0

it began to

in-

goverr-

rebellion against

and

security

publically defied

involvement

the gradual

tion,

er

national

lead-

eventu-

retrospect.

!n

ous

as oalitical

authority.

ment

al

the war

sacrifice from the average American and

ally large segments of

to

supportive of

the region. As the

too much personal

American socie-

opposition to the conflict,

of

-ionificant degree

of

the inaigenouSo:-

b', not

onl

the Peolutin.
both

Great

Britain

the

'!7it_:e

-4c

'

an_

t .

United States expected


wars

would

substantial
those

that

large share of

be borne by

indigenous

effort

support

colonists

and

States certainly relied on

forces. Great

in

remaining loyal
the

the burden of

the

Britain

conduct of

to the

crown,

South Vietnamese

force capable of

ever,

States failed

of

the United

the

South

Vietnamese

expected

the war
and

+rom

the United

not only to

tablish a government supported by the people, but


credible fighting

the

also to

defending South

es-

field a

Vietnam.

How-

to appreciate the true character

people which

resulted

in

disastrou=

consequences:
.
.
the non-Communist Vietnamese were
never able to achieve ideological cohesion, organizational discipline, or political legitimacy. They were never able tc
overcome their differences so as to project one unified policy that would be able
to win the support of the peasantry. Given
this, America's hopes for success in
Vietnam were probably doomed from the beginning. (7:149)
In
British
ety.

a similar
failed

fashion,

to understand

Like the French

the British

during

in men

flies

with a hammer."

the desire to

troops)

to rely

on

in

thus

American

20C). years

socilater.
and

their numerical
was like

(4:97) While

trving

conou.=ring;

difficulty came in holding

use Loyalist

for occupation

fensive duties. However,


able

Vietnam

and armaments., "it

territory was relatively easy, the

mese

in

were unable to take advantage of

to hit a swarm of

led to

American Revolution, the

the true character of

and Americans

pualitative superiority

This

the

forces

(or South

freeing regular

both wars,

regular

forces

forces were

Vietnafor a+never

indigenous forces to provide adequate control

captured territory. This was due

i t*

it.

af

in large part to low morale.

morale during the War of Independence was generall/

.oyalist
low

for a variety of reasons.

British forces were never

able

sustain effective offensive operations and USUally! only temporar-After capture preferring the relE-

ily, occLupied rebel territory


tive sofety of
war.

the coastal

British defeats

tect

power Was unable to support


from patriot

those who remained loyal

little confidence
British

to

for

their

inflict the

Course of

safety and

Zoval is ts preferred to remain more

and

,rc,-

recrimination=-.

in the

ultimate defeat

the

announced to the

and retreats essentially

fcrces that British

1-oalist

seaports. During the

on the

'neutral"

Wit-

_Abilit~v o--

the

colonists.

-Arld never

the

tecamea

seriou~s fighting force.


1ike the British military
turing

rebel

held villages-and

:)+ten left loyal


the Viet

South

Cong guerillas.

-.-as certainly not


l ack

es sen tia1

territory.

Although the South

the Joint Chiefs of

in

Vietnamese
cite

to fiahtina

the American defeat.

the-,.

critic

scainst

gavernment
aca-,'

Communis m

As e arl1

Staff warnec:

civiliakn
... that Without a stable
government in control and without A Willingness by the k.ietnamese themselves to
resist communism. 'no -Amount of ex"ternal
pressure and assis-tance can long delay complete 'Cmmunist victor.
in South Vi etnazm. ' (:'
Another

ao

the American tmilitar.

nlumerous critics

and commitment

inaredient

after

Vietnamese to protect themselves

"neutral."

initiative

of

during the FPevolUtion.

wrote:
t he cardinal mistake made In,, the
United States concerned nat our asseszment of our snemies , but of oUr allies.
and soeci-Ficallv,. the nature of thie -variouz

ai4.

Indochinese regimes that the Congr-ess and


the American people were asked to support
through the 1960s and early 1970s. (8:772)
The succession
strengthen

of South

and solidify

military. South
American
force.

Vietnamese

the legitimacy of

Vietnamese forces,

Revolution, were

casualties.

this background

and competing interests.

in

the

a credible militar'.
aenerals. +earful

in areas where

of discord.

that American and

formulated military strategy.

in the Fabyanic

to

of

the VC wer

(6:702)

is against

leadership

the Loyalists

for "Cautious

Cto conduct] ooerations

k:nown not to be."1

It

like

little

the South Vietnamese

never considered

not uncommon

It was

governments did

Model tc

laCe- -of ui'

British societ.
The ne>-t twc

be discussed are

'

lariatles

4-orce StrUct'-ure

4-,-1

doctrine.
FORCE STRUCTURE AND DOCTRINE
At

the outbreak of the American Revolution. colonial forces

consisted of an amalgam of provivincial militias and fleets


posed

of

to the

farmers.. tradesmen.

individual

standing

colonies.

and

sailors whose

The

colonists had

co:m-

allegiences wers
no need

army since they had received the benefit of the

+zr

-A

:ti

occupation forces for most of the century. At the Coutbrea: of the


Revolution.

British forces numbered

seen duty in
ex cesti

of

the Seven
1C

*100X

a British officer

Year's War.

around 7.~~~men. man.


As the

war progressed.

men were eventually sent to North Amer::-a.


derived

comfort

-from this numerical

tative mismatch:
... the native American is an effemi-

nate thing.

ver

uIt: for and very

Iia

lir-

snd

.ng

:nr
Mar'

I-1a 1-

patient of war.
vagabonds, the
human species.
During

.
.
a set of upstart
dregs and scorn of the
(4:1277

the course of

the war.

the need

for

equal

the exigencies of

to

a regular army

saying that
modern war,

offense, and whenever a substitute


lusory and
a

match

ruinous."

for

the

regular

were

colonial

army
of

could only be

colonial

to defeat

for defense and

it must
forces

under

prove

were

Il-

never

the rules of

!Eth

i,:C,000 reuIars.

hy

the numeri-allv inferior

in

18th century doctrine,

a decisive engagement.

the British

forces

won by such

how to make

it

an

happen

never

perienced

able to adapt
in

looked

engagement,
"as

he

SUCCe=sfullv

Howe.

Ze

moves with So much

The

to the

that thie war

was unable tc

the enemy
(4:91)

to engage the

Although General

in America. realized

more celerity than we possibly can."


was

as

forces?

Commander

clearly

as well

British forces

the British unable

recognized

"regular troops are alone

they never exceeded

The British. per


colonial

Washington

is attempted

(9:177) However,

-enturv warfare Since


then

General

British

militrw

conditions they

ee-

North America:

The British hidebound by their European


background never improvised sufficientl,
Howe. despite his reputation as a leading
proponent of Light Infantry, followed
exactly the art of war of Europe in the
eighteenth centUry--the occupation of
posts and cities, constant manoeuvering,
fighting as few major battles, and losing
as few men as possible.
(4:99)
Blindly confident
ers

disregarded

warfare on

Samoa

in

traditional

the tactical

the North

American

and

doctrine. British
stratelc

continent,

and

realiti-_
relied

to:-

:omman,,df 'and

.-

hea,iI

on support from

Loyalist forces which

numbers.

appreciable

Both

major

failure in British

tain

offensive operations

also be

attributed

of

failed to materialize

these deficiencies contributed

military operations--the failure

British

reluctance of

to

to sus-

This failure can

throughout the war.

to the

ir.

commanders

tc

expose their troops to hostile fire:


Howe confessed that 'as my opinion has
always been, that the defeat of the rebel
regular army is the surest road to peace,
I invariably pursued the most probable means
of forcing its commander to action.' but
with one proviso,
under circumstances the
least hazardous to the royal army; for even
a victory, attended by a :eavy loss of men
on our part, would have given a fatal checI
to the progress of the war, and might have
proved irreprable.'
This explains another
British disadvantage.
Being predictable is
a cardinal sin in war.
(4:98?
Early

in

the war,

the offensive

in

from

commitment

lack

of

believed that
its

the British

the belief

for

early in

army

the war

As

an

compelled

at

one

to t.a4e

army would

crumble

example, the

Sr.t.sh

which routinely had

reenlistment

1776. could not endure.


British

the American

and supply.

the American

membership up

that

never felt

time.

This lack of initiative


allowed the colonists to

as

the bull.
in

of

December

on the part

nz

gain strength,

confidence, and experience, and most likely was the result Q+ th--,
British underestimating the enemy's capabilities.
The British experience in doctrinal deficiency was
by

the American

military nearly two centuries

army was a large standing

later.

repeated

The American

army principally trained and

eqi_.uipped

to defend Western Europe and. essentially, was predisposed to the


tactics of 20th century conventional

14

war as fought in World

War

II.

American

forces were psychologically ill-prepared to

jungle

war against

trained

in

highly motivated,

the art of

counterparts,
realities of

revolutionary

indigenous

fight a

Communist

warfare. Like

United States military doctrine did

their

forces
British

not support

the

the war:

Rather than planning to fight small wars,


the defense establishment from the Secretary.
of Defense on down hopes to initmidate potential opponents and therefore obviate the
need for fighting. . . The failure to grapple with with the difficult task of pr_viding a doctrine for the employment of force
in a small war is an old one.
(I.:22)
Colonel
Vietnam War
by

the

mise is

Harry
in

G.

Summers,

Context,

summarizes

United States military

in

that

IK,

prior to World

War

on the ultimate objective of


as

to force him to

timate doctrinal
tional

sue for

surrender.

This

two

the Chinese
fundamental

fined
the

to

in

restraints

war,.through
peacetime
between

power

cold war

1962,

II

and

war,

to

than

war

15

fncuse

enemy's forces
changed this

of
war.

so
ul-

could not

military

in

Kcrea

introdce,_

in concert
that

ac-

would

war can

limited war

was

te

rede-

the objective. According

general

between

limited

the

two,

faced

the enemy's uncondi-

first,

change, the spectrum

struggle
and

the

doctrine which

war,"

means rather

limited

of

The

Summers' pre-

and problems we faced

in Vietnam:

a "spectrum of

dilemma

military doctrine had

In

its

Strategy:

Vietnam. Colonel

perhaps subtle difference

changes to

1962 doctrinal

On

doctrinal

simply forcing

intervention.

limit the

the

peace. World War

eventually prove diastrous


considered

his book

destruction

objective to

commodate the political


after

in

war ranged
The

nations with

frcm cold

former
the

"neither distinct

or

t-

being

dividng

line

absolute.''

Erasing the line between war and peace


It conwas to prove a serious flaw.
tributed to our failure to declare war
over Vietnam, as well as the credibility
gap that developed between the govern(11:42)
ment and the American people.
in

The similarity

both conflicts each


of

art

sitated
concept
detail.
in

superpower

the traditional

prosecution of
of

The degree of

its

national

needs to be

military force

National

variable.

objectives.

policy and national

policy

the basis for


It

explored

national

neces-

polic,.
It
in

a nation chooses

consequence of

together form

coupled

each nation's mili-

and

"limited means."

the war with

is a direct

Model

when

the period

force that

limited

a conflict

Fabyanic

wars of

is this
greater

to empcy

policv--anothe-

and national

"how" a nation

is from this combination of

strategy
achieves
national

strategy that military doctrine results.

what policies did the doctrine of

In
the

in

army trained

had a regular

influenced by contemporary national

tary doctrine,

the

of

doctrines

forces in the two wars is quite apparent.

and American

British

and

structures

force

limited use

of

!rom

force evolve?

POLICY
National

policies and

since policies support


cussing

The
pendent
and

the attainment

policy, however,

the combatants

is

American

retrospect,

of

a review

of

objectives
of

are

objectives.

the national

intertwined
Be-ore

dis-

obiectives

=4

in order.
colonists clearly wanted

confederation

conduct

national

of

the

of

the

16

was

yet to

Americans

in

an

the enact

colonies although

the government

the policies

to establish

be

indeform

determined.

1775 were

In

rather

-~~~~~

fragile and

certainly not a unified

separatists.
a policy of
British

However,

Clearly then,
tus
War

the colonies did

self-determination and

forces from

North

America

in

the minds of

it

----

the

collectivel,

subscribe to

independence with

e.xpulsion of

as their

primary

objective.

Great Britian's ob;ective was to preserve the

quo and the Empire such as


in

concept

sta-

was following the Seven Year's

1763:
As late as June 11. 1779, the King remarked to Lord North that he should
think it the greatest instance among
the many he had met with of ingratitude
and injustice if it could be supposed
that any man in his dominions 'more
ardently desired the restoration of
peace and solid happiness in every part
of this Empire' than he did. 'There is
no personal sacrifi:e I could not readily yield for so desirable an object.'
But, at the same time, no desire to get
out of the present difficulties would
incline him to enter 'into what I look
upon as the destruction of the Empire.'

However,

while the

policy on how to deal

British
with

objective was
the American

(4:24)

relatively

situation

was very

in dispute.
Whereas the government and its supporters
found the issue in supremacy of Parliament-or rather, the colonial rejection of parliamentary supremacy--the opposition found the
issue
in colonial resistance to discrete
measures taken by the metropolis since
176: and, above all, to measures of tanation.
.
. . Throughout the almost continuoUs dispute on American policy that
raged in the Commons and 1ords from the
beginning of 1774 to the spring of 1775.
it is this difference in understanding
that overshadows all other points at controversy. . . . This affinity of historians for the political opposition in Parliament rests, of course, upon far more
than simply the latter's insistence that
the dispute might have been settled with-

17

clear.

the
much

out war.

(5:384-385)

Unable to agree,
. . . the record of the North ministery
was clearly open to the charge that its
American policy was marked by inconsistency and sheer inadvertence . . . and
was one not only of compromise, but of
compromise that had been neither well
conceived nor consistently pursued. (5:391)
British policies
stemmed

in part from the paradox

British citizens under


tion,

and that every

should be made.
alienate

to

the protection of

thus making long

sive action on the part of

(4:51)

This

:onstlt

back into the Empire

killing force would cnl,,


term pacification that
inconsistency

plagued

and contributed to indeci-

then, were the objectives of the United States during

ten years following the

is by no means a dead
withdrawal

issue.

States chose to enter into a

*Schlesinger.

Jr.

%18

the

land war in Asia. As Arthur

said in 19T:

Vietnam is a triumph of the politics of


inadvertence.
We have achieved our present entanglement, not after due and deliberate conside-ation, but through a
series of smal. decisions. . . . Each step
in the deepening of the American commitment
was reasonably regarded as the last that
would be necessary.
Yet, in retrospect,
each step led only to the ne.t. u-ntil we
find ourselves entrapped today,; in that nightmare of American strategists. a land war in
Asia--a war which no President........

11

To-

of American troops from

South Vietnam. historians and analysts are still debating wh,


United

and

British commanders.

the Vietnam War?' This question


day,

the British

effort to bring them

achieve.

appeasing

that the colonists were indeed

execution of military operations

What.

firm and

However, the overuse of

them further,

more difficult
the

were alternately

The Vietnam stor'

desired or intended.

a tragedy without Villai1nS.


*A decade ago,

Appro ,imately

showed that 70) percent of


to be LUnclear

Vietnam

i-

(7: 147 )

a poll

t--A[ en

of

US Arm%..,-'
a

them considered American ctbjectives

and uncertain,

that America should decide what

and 91 percenit

of

them felt

it wanted to accomplish ne-fcre it

chose to commit military forces in

fUtt~re conflic-s:

in fact, the United States did pUr=Lte defined objectives in Indochina; the trOLttie
was that it kept changing its man-nd as to
what they were.
From first
to last there=
was consistent agreement only/ about wh~at
our objective w.as not: we were not fighting
to make South Vietnam into a=n American colony .
Unfortunately, that as exaz-ctl%,' what a great
man>' people thought we were doing.
S:'
agreement

Whal1e

on

specific

-Achieve, perhaps the


nism"

is

ob jec tives

M-A'.V

broad objective of

be

conntainment

suff+iciently, accurate to begin

a d15cussaon

M~ImTI
L

on Amera4::kr

policy dUrina the war.


political

American
doma.noe
tilon.
mnust

theory'

And

if

leadership was

frst

one

espouised

by/ necessity a realistic

the

Cy

in

military

sion.

in

Vietnam was to contain


butt

the

by/ Using

military

(11:71)

The

'e

polt-

The- '::nm:ra'-e

the dilemma face=d t,

Revolu~tion.

Uni ted States was not

United StaIte=

obeca..

the
po:I

Communa1 St po--wer

wq-Ii7-g

means to desctro% the

IP1P

te
-

wh-c

the expansi on cf

contaanment'

ecta .o,

that ob ,ecz~e
1

a political

the American

cb

t:: the

-ad M a7Sr'Z

11ama ted mi 1 atar

for the American military/ like

the region,
,,.jar

utse of

consequLence cf

tainment" objective spawned

British

uinder the Ei sen-how-er

accepts the "containment"

also acknowledge that

dilemma

defanately weddedi

BCUrce

toi- ra5 ,
z-4:

the

thr2:s

an

-1 -1=,
g't

_7

the policy of

flexible response

American military doctrine

and this policy resulted in

the

(subsequent to 1962) of limited use of

force, or limited means.


The

United States was confident that American forces could,

through a policy of

flexible response, demonstrate American

re-

solve to keep South Vietnam free of Communist domination by gradually escalating the
the threat.
ular

of conflict

as necessary to

counter

Not only did the military have to adapt to an unpop-

policy of

expected

level

response

flexible

and

"gradualism,"

but

also

was

to support and carryout such nontraditional missions as

coalition warfare, nationbuilding activities, and Vietnamization.


During the course of
change the social
trying

the war,

fabric of

South

to prosecute the war. For

military's ultimate

Vietnam while

simultaneou.si'.

the first time in history, the

objective was

enemy's armed forces in battle,"

the United States attempted to

not the

"destruction of

the

but rather.

"The fundamental purpose of US militar,,,


forces is to preserve, restore, or create an environment of order or stability
within which the instrumentalities of
government can function effectively under
a code of laws.'
We had come a long way
from the pre-Vietnam war doctrine that
called for the 'defeat of an enemy by
application of military power directly or
indirectly against the armed forces which
support his political structure.' (11:49)
The similarities
Vietnam

War

between fie

are remarkable.

Both

American Revolution
British and

and

the

American forces

were clearly shackled by governmental policies and military

trines

doc-

which precldded the effective initiation of o-ffens,.ve

erations. The British

11212
x

faced the dilemma

that general

war

would

never

lead

to an

amiable settlement

and

to encourage the rebels.

The dilemma

Vietnam was

complicated,

from

perhaps more

the perceived

realities of

both cases, military commanders


using

"sufficient" force

EARLY

IN

THE WAR.

but

world
were

government

variables in

addressed:

the threat

and

Britain
Would

threat of

immediate
was twofold.

signal

First.

to other

Great

would have

the

if

nonetheless.
Drevented

in

4ro T

of

ars.,t',

orQCLtuce(

f'awe:

sch

the Fab.,ani-

the

colcnial

crce.

hi-

Ioce-

rebellion

revolution was
the

adverse

in the world

was

Great

the colonies

impact
at

tz

3r=t

Empire that

the deoarture of

a severe

Britain's prestige

in

TARGETRv

members of

was fallible, and second.


Empire

States

targetry.

THREAT AND

The

the use of

ser,'

originati,.

center

policies

brings

two

politics

effectively

precluded

last

a dilemma

against the enemy's

Flawed

oni,

would

facing the United

doctrine which effectively


us to the

leniency

on trade.

Britain

f-rm

tie

Fcremcst.

staie:

there not being. . . a single instance in


all
histor,,,
of an, nation surrendering e
distant
province Voluntarily
and of free
chnoice.
notwithstanding it was greatl, i
their interest to have done it.
(4:24'
If

the British

other

failed

colonies might

States during the the


'ersion

of

Parliament's
What
the United

to
be

contain

"containment."
power

threat

did

States

196@s.

containment

and preservation
the potential
Like

of

colonial

t'er
tne_

had tei
cooiti

owr

tc

the Emoirs.

Britain.

21

_i!

of

LiLe

the British

fall.of

Great

re-sl>:_-r

ollow S-UIt.

inclined to

l05(s and

c.itizen

this

South
was

.'it

Ic=_

4-m

prestige

in the

world

perhaps

States

chose to make a stand

States,

as leader

of

the

the main
in

world

the free
choice

that

,/4orld. It

was necessary

world order? The

is

United States felt

monolithic Communism

conclude

threatened

and,

by

unable to comprehend a world which


ard

conscious

international

and

champion

that

in

the perceived

in

the free

of

a broad

context.

expansion ot

2-)) years earlier.

was contrary to

of

was

its own making

control.
In

June

1P56.

then

in

Vietnam"

"America's stake
sentiments of
:1ared

that

a broad

Senator
in a

spectrum of

John

F.

speech

political

region. Most

:etnam

represents

and

prestige

important,
a test of

however,

opinion.

that

the

K*.ennedy de-

the free world

ground

is

outlined

expressed

Vietnam represented the cornerstone of

the

tion.

Kennedy

which

Eoutheast Asia and represented a proving


i

on behalf

to ensure

the British

like

intervene?

answer probably lies somewhere

"saving face"

probably fair to

Vietnam

South

leadership make

American

the extremes of

between

of

United

the United

a duty to

free world, have

intervention

secLrity and

the

and did

that the

South Vietnam or did

Washington undertake defense

Did

reason

for

democracy

Kenned.'

said

American responsibility, determina-

in Asia:

if
it falls victim to any one of the
perils that threaten its existence...
then the United States, with some justification will be held responsible; and
Cur prestige in Asia will sink to a new

I ow.
2oth

Great

(.5:6 QQ 11
Britain

and

insurgencies to be a threat

the

United

States

to their dominance

in

considered
the world

-.

the

arena

and that

the

case of

was

or

not

become

a bastion

United States was


see a vivid

might
of

States

indicate were illusory to

fact

Asia

has

perhaps the

paranoia. Again.,

that both Great

threats

the national

we

that

security

history
interests

the nation.
The last

variable

be targetry. What

in the Fabyanic Model

were the

in the early
scrted

colonial

no match
"modern"
the

draw

for

British

guerilla

regulars.

mentioned. General

in

forces were to avoid

declined

and

the colonies. Contrary

stall

to one of

a major

Washington

and

militias were

the first

conflict.

time while the

enter

the myths

not

off

win

time

The aims

the climactic battle,

for

France would

the citizen soldier did

upon

the British

the colonial

This may have been

forces were used

when outnumbered, and

gravity,

the American army re-

aimed at keeping

leaders recognized that

colonial

to fight

ution.

the Revolution,

as previuously

of

will

the rebellions depended?

to harrassment tactics

balance since,
the

stages of

to be discussed

targets, or centers

.which the success or failure of

of

national

perceived

was

although only eleven

between the two conflicts in

the United

the threat

indicate that in

gross

in

indicate that

anti-West Communism and that

guilty of

parallel

Britain and

of

the war--that

By the same token,

post-war events would

years ago,

history would

the American Revolution,

more contrived than real.

"was

As noted previously,

it contrived?"

Great Britain could have prevented

insur-

the

however, must be asked,

gencies were defeated. The question,


the threat real,

if

would be served

interests

national

their

with-

British will

the war on the side


of

of

the American Revol-

the war.

Americans have long believed


ology

of

the

a determined provinicial

arm-in-arm

in

the struggle

"standard patriotic

free-holding populace marching

to overcome tyranny."

this notion certainly has strong sentimental


ly

it

der

is not

true. As previously mentioned,

the command

in the

colonial

jective

during

of

General

offensive operations
never
that

able to

Washington

cause and remained


the war.

However,

imposed on

(12:211)

appeal.

unfortunate-

the regular

was the center

the real

army
of

un-

gravity

British military

ob-

given the severe limitations on


the

engage the colonial

British

were clearly a

stood

that the North

tial

to the

American

survival

quently, they seized

British
army in

of

long

their

forces,

they

were

the decisive battle

and occupied

of

the

sanctity of

their

"home" and

essen-

the continent.

Conse-

in New England

they soon discovered,

garrisons, the American

once

they

population

recalcitrant and frequently transformed

guerillas

1777. unable to

engagement,
decided
their

the

earlier

detail

thereby

close with

British

to embark

engage.

under

In

addition,

increasing

British

the colonial
the

the

general
itself

frustration.

armv for

command of

Gneral

a decisive
Burgoyne

on a bold offensive essentially deviating

indirect

strategy. This will

left

army and militia

elusive to

into bands of

and

occupied these seaports for

units proved very


proved

under-

seaports were

the seaports

most

although, as

from

forces on

South. The British successfully


the war

way

and Canadian

the

er

While

British commanders desired.


The

In

myth-

be discussed

in

from

great-

later.

Similar

to the British

in

1777. the United States

24

military

experienced
in

many of

that they

vity.
two

the

same frustrations during

were unable to strike at

(11:80) Like the British


types of

military

military

undertook

the Viet Cong


and

Vietnam.
troop

by

first

1967,

successes,

States began

involvement
seriously

just a guerilla
Like the

States

of

consider

with

in

the

initial

the war

that

stages of

key to defeating

the conclusion

tions against the Hanoi

unacceptable due
in

to

that

its

direct

1-*;

after

the

the United

as being

Once

regular

United States
than

limited

regime were needed

conclusion.

the region.

recognized

the American
the

To

more

do so was

Great Britain

25

we see

and

United
cf

after

army was
never

the
the
the

reall',!

offensive opera-

in order

provoking ever

again,

the

in the early stages

British who

that more

to the risk of

two conflicts. Both

into South

American Revolution,

the rebellion,

to a successful

Cong

increased

began

forces,

against

States esca-

men

States

the

American

the Viet

the conflict

a guerilla war
the

conflict

16,000

and

facod

progressed.

1964. five years

American

Unlike

war

to defeat

inserted

not unitl

conflict. However.

accepted

an effort

gra-

war.

British

was faced

to

war., the

the United

years, the United

It was

of

insurgency campaign

in-country to 2-,C)0 men

the North.

direct

in the

War

guerillas and

forces units. As the war

had

In the next two

strength

focus to

than

using special

and,

Viet Cong

a classic counter

its combat operations in

directly

the

army. Early

in response to Viet Cong

lated

the enemy's center

before them, the Americans

forces:

North Vietnamese regular

the Vietnam

to bring

the

deemed politicall.,
greater

a oarallel

the United

levels

of

between

the

States

failed to

engage the
during
which,

rebel

the

centers of

early years,

gravity--the

regular
with a

were preoccupied

armies--and
guerilla wa-

in reality, proved to be secondary in nature.

This
light of

the assessment

concludes
this

assessment,

the Fabyanic

of

strategies

military

the

Model.
of

In

Great

Britain and the United States in the respective conflicts will be


discussed next.
STRATEGIES
THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
As Richard Preston and Sydney Wise wrote in Men

in Arms:

The American Revolution marks, indeed, an


important transitional step in the history
of warfare. The professional military methods of the eighteenth century, which had
come to be predominant in the Anglo-French
Seven Year's War, were more important in the
Revolution than popular legend admits.
At
the same time! the war was a portent for the
future, pointing toward conflicts quite different from those of the dynastic quarrels of
eighteenth century Europe. (0:172)
The British forces in North America were faced with what ma
have been an impossible situation. As a consequence of
ble relationships illustrated by the Fabyanic Model
at

the vara-

which existed

the start of the Revolution.

the British initiallv adopted a

deterrent and indirect strategy.

It was believed that the cumula-

tire

effects of such a strategy

would demonstrate to the rebels

that a war with Great Britain was unwinnable. But.


calated.

it became

increasingly clear

to the

as the war es-

British military,

that direct offensive operations aimed at destro-ying the =olonial


army

were necessary if

a militar'y

victor,

was to be achieved.

It

was this dichotemy in strategies which characterized British con-

.6

,happ

'"

'1

I"

..

.......

duct

of

and

the offensive strategy

of

the

war.

The

British military
In

ulace,

view of
long

indirect

strategy could

was a

not

strategy that,

win the
given

capabilities, was foreordained

to

war.

the state

defeat.

British doctrine, terrain, hostile civilian

lines of

supply,

lack

of

support

at

pop-

home, etc..

the

British military were unable to sustain effective offensive operations.

In

addition, the

commanders
destroy
timent

hindered

the enemy.
of

extreme caution

aggressive

This latter

exhibited by

operations
condition,

necessary
and

British

to seek

the prevailing

the British military, was expressed by

General

and
sen-

Howe:

if I could by any manoeuvre remove an


enemy from a very advantageous position.
without hazarding consequences of an
attack, where the point to be carried
was not adequate to the loss of men to
be expected from the enterprise, I should
certainly adopt that cautionary conduct,
in the hopes of meeting my adversary upon
more equal terms. (4:11C)
Given
military,

this penchant for


it

caution

is not surprising

that

on

the part

the turning

of

point of

-esulted from a bold offensive campaign

which was

tion

from their

strategv. This

from

their

that

plagued

the

Saratoga

initial

the inability
thrusts

However,

John

for

indirect

illustrates

military

campaign,
of

and

strategy

British

into rebel

The idea
General

deterrent

this

forces

the dual

in

to

British
the

war

je'.a-

a mar-ed

departure

strateg'n

dilemma

the colonies. known

operation was

the British

the

classic

mount and

sustain

example

As
of

offensive

territory.
the

Burgoyne

campaign

and,

as the analysis

of

in

was

the

theory, was

brainchild
basicall,

the Fabyanic Model

297

has

of
soumd

shown,

Major
plan.
given

British

force

doctrine.

structure.

policy,

society.

se*era

etc..

insurmountable obstacles existed which prevented the British military from conducting
against

an

and sustaining

indigenous rebel

(approximately

from

the

North

'!banv.

New

Colonel

St.

Hessians.
two

York.
Leger

they met

the Hudson
England
Albany.

from

General

command

New

of

Hudson
to

be

mixed

by strikina

Rivers.

taks

met bv Lieutenant

force

-f

Brt

s'

Indians, from Oswego on Lake Ontario. These


crush

all

York.

rest

colonial

led by
This

of

opposition

General

campaign

in their matr

Howe driving north


would

the colonies.

On

then sever

the

the campaign

Up
Net.

drive south

Burgoyne was to capture weakly held

history shows that

ginning.

to

Ticonderoga.

was doomed from the be-

(1 ':_'7'A-'_55)

key

part

Canadians, and
This

Burgoyne was

a British force

from the

However.

then

and

Anglo-Germar.

and,

from Montreal

the Richilieu

in

Tories, and

to lead a strong

men)

At Albany.

forces would

Rs

6,500

along

ooeration-

army.

The plan called for Burgoyne


force

bold offensive

Indians

provision of

tions and in at
Sritish:

1)

of

-lan

the
to

supplement

least

one

only approximately
2)

the

transplanted Englishman

society

and was

to

travel

favor
with

one of
with

the regular
fell

11100 Tories
idea of
was

the reasons

the war.

heavy

thousands

far

aspect unaxpectdlv

against

lost

for

the plan, however,

actually recruited, and

I-

was

(some

400

e,cecta-

aalnst
Indians

immoral

English

18

+,_)rc-,

Indians to

using

in addition.

artillery

worked

considered
that

British

short of

and

Tris=.

Cf

societ.

Burgoyne was
artiller

NAM

b,

4-!. ,e

were
fight

Encli-h

eer.
deterri2ed
mie,-:

and

all

all

the traditional

One final

a-rmv.

trappings of

an eighteenth

item would prove equally disastrous.

cent r1u

Informati, n

that Howe's forces were in Pennsvlvania. and would not be


able

for the drive north to

Burgoyne

forces

Albany.
would

believing that London

available

for the

home.

in

Julv 17'

ths Saratoga camoaign--a

-ampaign

sp2Trt

of declining_
left Montreal

can,

sv

uoon which the hooes oLr,-

administration rested.

North's

The march
cruci atl,ngl v

South through
slow due to

the mountains of

cessful

in driving the Americans

-upply were unable to support


all

New York

the e;-cessi ye hardware

and the inhospitable terrain.

Sritish

that

Burgoyn,-

Howe'

the war.

camoaign of

in the face

General

diarecarded b

surely make General

most imoortant

Undermanned, overburdened and


-nm

was casually

ava1-

as.--

zarrie-

t_.- tn..

Burgo'vne was

Although

from Ticonderoga. his lines ,f

his army and the Americans

ensured

supply along his route of march was destroyed.


This supply problem was never satisfactoily
solved by the British:
hence thei-elative immobility. 'tethered by/ their
supplv lines to the coast.'
and the contin-_ting stress placed on the Lovalits--t=
!eeo the country open behind the fighting
trooos in a terrain where all were oopcsei
or eauivocally
neutral until
oroof
of abiit'
to retain advantages was shown. ':IK,

The

detailed account

,.jell worth reading.

It

is

of General
an

Burgovne

march

south

epic story of the Fevo!ution

1M

which

clearly

illustrates the shortcomings of the British militar', oc-

tu.re in

America

The slow oace of

and the strength of will

of the citizen

the British allowed the colonial for,=es

: citizen arm/ which overwhelmed the British force.

The

=-c,!fier.

t:) amaso-ICnjal

20

. .... ~~~~

....

"''i

'

..

- " .....
,

':

"'"M

MM
~_ _

"@'

forces

were

October

14.

supply,

of

Saratoga.

two

he

General

defeat

primary

eqLUip
British

for

':new would

reasons:

,.,ears of

Both

Although

with France
these

well

full

York

the British

France

that

a trained

objectives were

to

final

achieved

the

forces

British

were crucial

With

in

the

vict

at!e

were

after

on

,-ar

f'irst
-

arreml
m.,

the

the resources.

men.

and

_olonia

renewed confidence brcucht t.

cause by

the French. a

combined force oz

.nd

regulars

defeated

British

French

Yorktown

in

c'evoluton.

Cut

off bv French seaDower


increasing

England. General

in

the

concluded

the

from their

the American

initially,' adopted

Model

situation

Revolution.
very

Ameri,-a'
=-bac!

lashincton.

VIETNAM WA

the Fabyanic

the same

.-attl-

lines =f

Cornwallis surrendered to General

analysis of

States faced much

at

c-lonz.,

and declining supoort

casualties

THE
The

the

essentially

and

1791

faced with
+l-.

shio

and

-ide

the

the colonial

Laced

and

at Saratoga.

v'ictory

.u

cause for

engage

into

the

roo_

village

this time. both

b,

the colonial

aaainst

thev knew

the New

capability to

bro~ught

O,

reasonable

colonies time to train

it

.ictories

men.

17. 000

with nc

to

battle which,
and

to

near

Sufficlent

the Americans.

the war.

and

surrendered

gave the

the decisive

and an alliance
war.

it

army of

numerous

to score

4. 000)

from

Saratoga was critical

have to occur.

of

the side

swel l

Burgoyne

at

re.ular

to

1777. totally outnumbered

of

able

that

Vietnam that

ConseQuentlv.

much the

o0

in

shows

*he
the

American

Llnited
_ -i.=
leader-

same militar%. strateg

a=

the British. Early

in

the war

attempted to halt Communist


a cumulative
clear

deterrent

that this

escalating
more

the

(prior to

expansionism in

and

indirect

strategy was

level

of

direct strategy

1964),

strategy. When

it

became

the Communists were

the United

(although limited)

States

South Vietnam through

failing, and

conflict,

the United

States adopted

designed to bring

North

Vietnam to the negotiating table.

than

To

be sure,

the

American Revolution. However.

earlier,

two years.

creasingly

special
more

its efforts

increased

16.00C)

troops had
to

material

on

of

United

to South Vietnam.

like

grad!0A=,

19S4.

and

ii

the Unte-d

the British

strategy.

air

In-

States

of

In

aggression.

intensified

the

first

and

the end

increased requirement

of

1964,

the

By

in-

role to that of

the Viet Cong

the North and.

an

the

Viet Cong became

changed their

strategy was

the end

the

Communist

rears

200

initially with the

commitment.

increasing

dramatically

more *~mp1e;

British

its military

defeating

been deployed

to meet the demands

By

deal

and successful,

chose to begin bombing

change of

like the

units. As

its military

ever

the Revolution,

tions.

forces

aggressive

ually

this

to

politically

force as possible. For

as little use of

to focus

response

was

the United States limited

advisors and

States

War

the United States hoped

surgency with

began

the Vietnam

Incumbent
for

mon

1n
in
and

ground opera-

American military

had

2l,

troops in-country.
The change to
the

bombing of

achieve

a more

targets

an unconditional

direct
in

offensive strategy,

the North,

surrender,

nor

was undertalen
the total

principally
neither

destruction

to
of

the enemy's
bring

war fighting

the Communists

this gradual
ed

the American

the North

rather was

battle of

years

1968

significant
was a

the American

tc

later.

sides culminat-

Unlike the British.

tasted

nonetheless., Tet

Vietnamese against

Tet.

desicned

table. Four

military force by both

military never

But,

but

to the negotiating

escalation of

in the dramatic

field.

=apability,

however,

defeat

significant
center of

in

the

victory

for

gravit/:

Rather than commending the military


victory. Americans were instead hcrrified by the brutality of war. and Tet
marked the beginning of a radicall',, intensified antiwar protest. (14:756)
American
they

wished

support
ed.

society and
to see.

for the war

Three years

segments of
In

its

the face of

declined,

later,

the

leadership chose the ra


increasing casualties.

and pressure to
United

States

OLb

t,,,
1

'

ietiate
'
_pulled

of

out

Sout!-,

Vietnam.
The United
reasons for
and

Model

States had

the defeat are


closely

British

during

failed

to adapt

ties

the war

of

derestimating

in

the

the Revolution.

they found
their

the

sult,

hope of

in

the analysis
conditions

strategic,

a strategy of

Had the United

limit

use of

force

and

The

Fabvani c

the

b'.

the

United States

had

political

adopting

"gradualism,"

strategic offensive early

Vietnam.

of

the war.

reali-

Southeast Asia while completel-, un-

enemy's capabilities. By

preventing

lost

encountered

Essentially. the

tc the tactical,

disdained

the

found

parallel

response oolicy and

any

won the battles, but

the

the United States

in the war

Communist

the

war

and.

takeover

States not felt politically


early in

a flexible

then,

like

as a reSouth
0

com-elled to
the

British

e'j0erience
have

mioht

the

in

Revolution,

Ameri.-an

been very

the outcome

of

the

war

different.
CONCLUS I ON

that

The

analysis

both

the British

true

nature of

the

,Itions

and

commitment,
level

American

of

was

national

While

respond

conflict

commanders

the

military

limited

resulted

from

were

And.

the

tional

command

reducing

gradually to

military

in

authorities
negotiating

while written about

of

war.

in

the British

these

The use

ng

saddled

incapable

of

limited

ob

, ,-

obect,

ob ect._s
es

military

oQeratins

for

following

the American

linited teer

national

It is a sound ma"im in war to be clear


about one's objective--all the rest
will follow, given sufficient resources
and activity.
Until
1778.
this
was ignored by the British who were uncertain
about their main motive. Was it to con-

.1

ene!,,'=_

,ConclusiCn.

also applicable to the Vietnam War:

<

the concept

The

armies.

military

that

...

clear

absence of

fle.-ibility.

-,

es,- aat

doctrines

to achieve..

the fact

inhibited

cl-

the

an

the rebel

resoec-

true rev,-!-

Full\. comprehend

successful

means

contrary to the principles

wars were

the

radi~lp!

which

wars

Both

commanders can understand

the use of

unclear.

in

appreciate

Vietnam War

both wars were

conflicts to a

in these wars

of

in

to

the zonventional

dictated by

which resulted

policies

objectives,

to

and

livil

the time.

failing

forced to

intensity/ of

bringing

of

variables clearly shows

failed

Revolution

revolutionary

each nation,

The military

lias

and United States

were representative

which

Model

into conflicts approaching

escalated

of

the Fabyanic

wars were

Both

tivelv.

of

tear

thcuQht,

Revolution,

ar.

ciliate, or to subdue, the Americans;


negotiated peace or war? This lack of
determination meant immediate loss of
initiative. Too vigorous a policy would
ruin the chance of a settlement whilst
too lenient handling of the rebels could
only encourage them. IT SEEMS CLEAR
THAT HAD AN ENERGETIC POLICY BEEN FOLLOWED FROM THE START BY POURING TROOPS
AND SUPPLIES TO THE DECISIVE POINTS,
BY ISOLATING THE MAIN AREAS OF DISSAFFECTION, AND BY DEALING DECISIVELY
WITH EACH ONE, THE REBELLION COULD HAVE
BEEN CRUSHED BEFORE FRANCE ENTERED THE
WAR. THERE WAS NOT IN THESE YEARS ONE
OVERRIDING PLAN TO WHICH ALL ELSE WAS
SUBORDIINATED. THE BRITISH WERE HOPING
TO HEAL AND SETTLE, AS WELL AS TO CONQUER, AND IMAGINED THAT BY THEIR VERY
APPEARANCE THE REBELLION COULD BE PUT
DOWN AS SUDDENLY AS IT HAD BROKEN OUT
-- HENCE THEIR NEGLECT OF WHAT SHOULD
ALWAYS ACCOMPANY THE MAINTENANCE OF
THE OBJECTIVE, SUFFICIENT RESOURCES
READILY AVAILABLE FOR ITS ATTAINMENT. (4:113)
One

last parallel

between the two

only to show that the use


for

a national

leadership

wars is significant--i+

of military force was merely a


bereft of clear

facade

political vision.

In

both wars, each nation attempted to negotiate peace while engaged


in

offensive operations against the

enemy. Again, the followinc

passage was written about the American Revolution, but is ramarkable in its applicability to the Vietnam War:
To pursue approaches for peace while
using to their utmost extent the soldiers
and ships which were provided were in
reality two incompatible aims - AND IT
WAS THIS MISCONCEPTION WHICH FRUSTRATED
THE UNDOUBTED ADVANTAGES WHICH THE BRITISH
OPENED OPERATIONS AGAINST THE COLONIES,
AND HINDERED THEM IN ACTION AGAINST
THEIR SMALL, UNORGANISED ENEMY. (4:113)
The

principal

lesson to

be learned from both

wars is that when

military force is to be used as an instrument of policy in

34

deal-

ing

with

swift.

revolutionary civil
If

means to

this action
the

In

in many

each nation's political

tional
on

of

limited

and

use of

Volutionary civil
tary

.I.

. .

Revolution

ways.

In

wars,

both

failure can

force.

and the

be

cases, the primary

be traced

of

In

the

Vietnam War wers

the

to

political
early in

'

., i .

',

situation will

,_vn-

urcle-ar rF-

initially

future, when

cause
of
-

a !ac

conflicts.

military commanders should

force only when the

. . . .

force must

military strategies

1isive military campaign

...

military

the true character

objectives,

the

of

summary, the American

derstanding

_
at.e

objectives.

remarkably similar
of

the force must be

is politically untenable, then alter-at,.e

application

achieve national

wars.

cred:_at
faced

with

re-

advocate milisup-Crt

Ie-

the conflict.

'-

...

_.

. .,

M I L

VAR

I T A RY

ABLE

S T R A

T E G Y

I ONSH

RELAT

I PE

Force Structure

Pol

Doctrine

icv

ety!
I
k3_=Oc

a er hi ,

Strategy

Threat

Targetry

Technology

4-.---T i me

.Aopendi ,

!IST OF REFERENCES

1.
Clauswit:. Carl von.
University Fress, 1976.

On War.

Princetor. NJ:

Gates, John M.
"Vietnam the Debate Goes On. " Parameters
4ournal
a+ the US Arm\' War Colleae. Carlisle Barracks, r-9:
C:
1984
2.

.
Fabyanic. Dr Tom.
"Fundamentals of Military, Strategy."
Lecture.
Montgomery. Al.:
Air War College, August !

-4. Robson. Eric.


The American Pe,o!ution In Its ':,1 t-Z! amt
Military
Asoects 1763-178.
New Yorl.. New Ycr : W. W.
,rt.
2o.. 1966.
=. Tucker. Robert W. and Henarickson, David C.
Th
..
all - tr's
First British Empire - Oriains of the War of Amerizar
indeoendence.
Baltimore. Md:
The John Hopkins Univer-it<,- ...
1982.

6.
Lewev, Guenter.
"The Implications of Barriers to Efficient
Defense Rolicy Making.
The Roots of the American Invocveren_
Vietnam.
American Defense Folic,, edited by Feichert
_.on F.
and Sturm. Steven R. 5th ed. Baltimore, Md: The Jonn Ho-ki+ s
University Press. 1982.
Kezirian. Richard.
American History:
Maior Controversies
R.viewd
New York. New York:
Kendall Hunt Publishng Cc..
'.

! 983.

9.
Frumkin, David and Chase, James.
"What are the Lessons
Vietnam?"
Forei. n A-fzir . Vol 6 . No. 4. Spring 1985.

9.
Prestcn. Pichard A. and Wise. Sydney F.
Men in Arms. A
Histor- of Warfare and Its Interrelatianshios with Wester4th ed. New York. New York:
Holt, Finehart.
-and
Winston.

1979,

1'. Cohen. Eliot A. "Constraints on America's Conduct of Small


Wars. "
Internaticna! Sec-rit'.'. Fall 1984.
Reorinted
rom .
Study on the Role of Air Power in Low Intensity Conflict. Air War
College. Montgomery. Al: 1984
11. Summers. Harry G.
On Strateov:
The Vietnam War in Context.
US Army War College. Carlisle Barracks. Pa:
173?
.2. Martin. James Kirby, and Lender. Mark Edward.
A Respectatle
Arm,,,:
The Military Orioins of the ReQublic,. 176:-!7R.
Arlington Heights. Ii:
Harlan Davidson, Inc., 1982.
1.
American Heritage Series.
The Revolution.
York:
American Heritage Publishing Co.. Inc.,

-7

New Yort.
!0.1.

Ne

14. Wheeler, John.


"Coming to Grips with Vietnam."
Affairs. Vol 6.1. No. 4: Spring 1l?6M

:78

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