If the US invades North Vietnam and China intervenes afterwards, where would the front line end up?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,070
SoCal
#1
If, during the Vietnam War, the US would have invaded North Vietnam--followed by a Chinese military intervention to help the Northern Vietnamese like Mao Zedong planned to do--where would the front line end up?
 
May 2016
23
Wyoming U.S.A.
#2
Good question . Because of the difficult terrain in Vietnam , jungle and mountainous , few roads I think that the fighting would have been similar to South Vietnam . That is concentrated along the eastern coast of North Vietnam where there are larger towns and better roads.
 
Likes: Futurist
Aug 2018
353
Southern Indiana
#4
I've been to Vietnam a couple of times and one of the first things I pondered is, "How the hell do you fight a war in a country like this?" . Jungle, canals and people everywhere, even inhabited areas are a teeming maze. For many Vietnamese it was a war for independence from foreign invaders, there are not close feelings between the Chinese and Vietnamese either, so I'm not sure how much or how long the Chinese would be welcome in Vietnam. Vietnam was a war where the frontline didn't matter so much.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,070
SoCal
#5
China and weapons of mass destruction

There are no front lines in a nuclear war...
China wouldn't have been stupid enough to use nukes against the Americans since that would have meant Chinese annihilation due to the US's overwhelming nuclear superiority.

I've been to Vietnam a couple of times and one of the first things I pondered is, "How the hell do you fight a war in a country like this?" . Jungle, canals and people everywhere, even inhabited areas are a teeming maze. For many Vietnamese it was a war for independence from foreign invaders, there are not close feelings between the Chinese and Vietnamese either, so I'm not sure how much or how long the Chinese would be welcome in Vietnam. Vietnam was a war where the frontline didn't matter so much.
While the Vietnamese might not have liked the Chinese, they would have almost certainly accepted help from anyone--including the Devil himself--if it was necessary in order to prevent the Americans from overrunning North Vietnam.
 
Jul 2016
9,104
USA
#6
China wouldn't have been stupid enough to use nukes against the Americans since that would have meant Chinese annihilation due to the US's overwhelming nuclear superiority.
Wrong. The PRC was already pursing an aggressive breeding program, pushing large families, up until the late 70s just to counterattack the effects of a nuclear war.

And it doesn't matter if you think they'd use nukes or not, the powers that be in the US govt feared all out war against the PRC, and the USSR (also an ally of the North Vietnamese, stronger actually in many ways than the PRC), which is why they never invaded North Vietnam, and even limited attacks heavily on them.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,070
SoCal
#7
I was under the impression that the Americans feared a conventional war with China over North Vietnam since there was a very real and serious risk that it would end up being a repeat of the Korean War.
 
Likes: Hoosierhiver
May 2016
23
Wyoming U.S.A.
#8
I've been to Vietnam a couple of times and one of the first things I pondered is, "How the hell do you fight a war in a country like this?" . Jungle, canals and people everywhere, even inhabited areas are a teeming maze. For many Vietnamese it was a war for independence from foreign invaders, there are not close feelings between the Chinese and Vietnamese either, so I'm not sure how much or how long the Chinese would be welcome in Vietnam. Vietnam was a war where the frontline didn't matter so much.
“Frontline” was more like a perimeter . There may have been a line but I think it was more like a circle of bunkers, fighting holes and wire . “ fire bases “ I think they were called .

I have heard that there was Chinese advisors in North Vietnam and a few with NVA line units below the Demilitarized Zone.
 
Jul 2016
9,104
USA
#9
Good question . Because of the difficult terrain in Vietnam , jungle and mountainous , few roads I think that the fighting would have been similar to South Vietnam . That is concentrated along the eastern coast of North Vietnam where there are larger towns and better roads.
Front lines don't matter much in unconventional fighting against forces like the Vietcong, the issue is Whack a Mole. South Vietnamese combat forces (ARVN) or US controlled specific portions of land, charged with pacifying it. The US focused more on the "main line" VC, and were often moved often around South Vietnam to areas of suspected high concentration, where they'd establish the famous fire bases and use them to launch helicopter insertions for their Search and Destroy operations. This doctrine was largely unsuccessful, as it ignored the phase 1 and 2 insurgents (fighting from shadows in small cells), and didn't even do a good job against the Phase 3 (massed, organized, well armed, often uniformed, fighting near conventionally). The doctrine changed with new leadership in from 1969 onwards to a more effective COIN method, but by that point it was largely too little, too late, as the US media, public, and political opinion had shifted so far against the war that continuing it, even under better conditions, was nearly impossible.

Against the NVA, infiltrating the South largely from Laos and Cambodia, the front line was the border region. In those engagements it was essentially conventionally fighting, with the NVA infiltrating, attempting to mass and attack US and ARVN forces, their units becoming battered, retreating back to safe havens across the border to recoup and rehabilitate, then repeating, all the while supplies flooded into South Vietnam from the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
 

Mrbsct

Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
2,620
USA
#10
Weren't most US forces concentrated around Eastern Europe and East Asia? I am not sure if US has the number of troops and resources to fight a sustained war in North Vietnam
 
Likes: Futurist

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