Facts & Figures

U.S. Aircraft spraying chemicals

U.S. Aircraft spraying chemicals

Technology

The United States developed a powerful chemical weapon called Agent Orange. This was a highly toxic weedkiller ; and was used to destroy the jungle where the Viet Cong hid. The Americans used 82 million litres of Agent Orange to spray on the thousands of square kilometres of jungle Napalm was another widely used chemical weapon. Its aim was to destroy the jungles where the guerrillas might hide. But, if it landed on human skin then it had the effect of burning through skin to the bone. Many soldiers and civilians were killed in this way.

Search and destroy: US tactics in Vietnam

Bombing did not defeat the guerrilla forces of the Viet Cong. So US Commander General Westmoreland developed a policy, which became known as search and destroy. US bases in the south of the country launched raids, by aid of a helicopter. They would descend on a village and destroy any Viet Cong forces they would find. But this was not always successful as US troops often walked into traps, sometimes innocent villages were attacked causing civilian casualties. All of which increased the support for Viet Cong amongst the Vietnamese.