This is coolbert:
From the iconoclastic web site G2mil we have descriptions as gleaned from the Internet of American military failure during the Vietnam War.
"Lost Battles of the Vietnam War"
Accounts of combat not necessarily "battles" but rather as either raids for engagements, according to the military definition of those terms. But defeat nonetheless, failure quite often very humiliating in nature.
According to G2mil: "Internet research turns up these 70 lost battles of the Vietnam war".
Sappers, special operations type troops of the communist enemy in Vietnam, North Vietnamese Army [NVA] or Viet Cong [VC] insurgent in particular very effective fighters, highly trained and skilled at infiltration of the most sensitive American military bases, installations, airfields, able to wreak the most terrible damage using expedient and relatively unsophisticated weapons. Weaponry to include:
* shaped-charge antitank grenade.
* conventional hand grenades.
* Satchel charges.
* Pole charges.
SAPPERS [NVA AND VC BOTH] OFTEN GOING INTO BATTLE NAKED! NO ARTICLE OF CLOTHING TO GET CAUGHT ON BARBED WIRE OBSTACLES!
Those sapper attacks during the Vietnam War enemy success in the extreme:
3. "The Sinking of the USNS Card - This World War II aircraft carrier was later used as a transport for American military cargo. On May 2, 1964, it was moored in a heavily defended harbor in the Saigon River. Two VC commandos crawled down a sewer pipe and attached explosives to the ship. The explosion knocked a huge hole in the hull and killed five American crewmen, causing the ship to sink 45 feet to the river bed."
7. "Sapper Attack on Da Nang Airbase - North Vietnamese Army (NVA) sappers infiltrated this airbase on July 1, 1965. They destroyed three large C-130 transport aircraft, three F-102 fighters, and damaged three more F-102s. The sappers escaped leaving behind one dead."
12. "Attack on Marble Mountain - Some 90 Viet Cong sappers infiltrated this huge Marine Corps airfield and destroyed 19 helicopters and damaged 35 (11 of them severely). After this 30-minute rampage, the Viet Cong withdrew, leaving behind 17 dead and 4 wounded. American casualties were 3 killed and 91 wounded."
49. "Battle for Firebase Mary Ann - Some 50 NVA sappers attacked at night, then slipped away. The U.S. Army suffered 33 killed and 83 wounded among the 231 soldiers at the base. Their brigade commander was relieved of duty and the firebase closed."
61. "Attack on Cu Chi - In February 1969, enemy commandos attacked the large U.S. Army airfield at Cu Chi. They destroyed nine large CH-47 helicopters, heavily damaged three more, and caused minor damage to two others. 14 Americans were killed and 29 wounded during the three-hour battle."
63. "Firebase Airborne Overrun - There are several short, vague accounts about how this artillery firebase was overrun on May 13, 1969. One veteran believes it was bait to draw the NVA into combat. VC sappers slipped inside its weak defenses and exploded the artillery ammunition dump, killing a dozen and causing confusion. The NVA swept through the base at night killing and wounding most defenders and destroying its big guns. Many Americans managed to hide until the NVA left before dawn, so the base was never officially captured. However, it was wrecked and later abandoned."
66. "Attack on FSB Henderson - As American troops withdrew from Vietnam, NVA sappers attacked this artillery base. They charged through the hilltop killing 27 soldiers from the 101st division and wounding 40. Most of the howitzers and artillery ammunition were destroyed by satchel charges before the NVA disappeared into the night."
My thought has always been that these successfully sapper attacks primarily were the result of U.S. personnel either performing poor on non-existent sentry duty. A man negligent in his duty not alert or even falling asleep!
But this does not seem to be the case. From the accounts of a Vietnam combat vet:
"the NVA sapper units would get through with double sentries, everyone awake and previously alerted to an attack. We had captured/turned sappers who would show audiences of US troops and airmen how they did it, going through fences and defended ground at night in front of us, without us seeing them"
IT WAS NOT SO MUCH THAT THE AMERICAN TROOPS DID THEIR JOB POORLY AS THE NVA/VC SAPPER DID THEIR JOB SO WELL!