Skip to comments.Low-yield tactical nukes in Vietnam?
Posted on 07/11/2012 7:25:41 AM PDT by moonshot925
Would it have been worth it to use low-yield tactical nuclear weapons during Vietnam War?
3,100 were produced from 1963 to 1967.
It could be carried by the F-4 Phantom II, A-6 Intruder, A-4 Skyhawk, SH-3 Sea King and other aircraft.
Dikes, dams, bridges, roads, tunnels, caves and other targets could be bombed with these low-yield weapons.
are we still fighting that war?
Much simpler, lower cost strategy would have been to invade Cambodia and capture the entirety of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. One northern general stated that if the US had done that, the war would have been over in 6 months. It’s all about supply lines.
Could have done it from orbit...it's the only way to make sure.
Yes. We were fighting a war our leaders were unwilling to win. One nuke between N Vietnam and China would have done the trick. Our enemies learned we weren't willing to use our own weapons. We still aren't.
I don’t know about Vietnam but they sure would have come in handy in Korea.When the (insert racial slur here) started pouring over the border a couple of small,well placed,nukes on the *Korean* side of the border along with the public announcement that “there are plenty more where *those* came from” would have been very effective.
We needed something like a bunker buster that could cave in tunnels. 2/3 of the NVA lived ungerground. We needed to fight an insergant war like an insergant war. This was NOT WWII
Destroying the dikes and dams surrounding Hanoi during their rainy season would have caused at least 100,000 to drown.
Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier...
Wouldn’t have done any good.
After the Demonrats took-out RMN, they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in VN.
I don't know, but they would have been wizard at Tora Bora.
How many “boat people” drowned after the Communists captured the South?
Supply lines are no good if there's nothing to supply. If we had bombed Haiphong and Hanoi into rubble, smashed the NViet irrigation systems and dropped Agent Orange onto their rice paddies, North Vietnam would have struggled to feed their own people and would have no capabilities left over to bother the South.
We were unwilling to fight as we fought WW2. And so we lost.
We weren’t just fighting the North Vietnamese but the Soviet Union and Red China. Any use of nukes on our part would have prompted a similar response from North Vietnam’s two major patrons.
From a purely military POV this would no doubt have been highly effective.
However, we were engaged in a cold war in which Vietnam (and Korea) were merely sub-theaters.
Maintaining plausible status as “the good guys” was critical to our eventual victory in that war. Our deciding to use nukes to deal with an essentially irritating rather than existential threat would have dealt a severe blow to that plausibility.
It also ignores the distinct possibility of escalation by the other side.
We got through the Cold War without it going nuclear. We really shouldn’t pretend today that things couldn’t have gone very wrong indeed. Hundreds of millions, possibly billions, of people could have died.
Anywho, would we have wanted to give our implicit approval to the use of nukes in counter-insurgent warfare? If so, on what logical basis could we have objected to the Soviets later using them in Afghanistan?
I have always thought we should have taken all the good Viet Namese and put them out to sea in a single kayak, then nuke the entire country, sink the kayak and wait for radiation to subside and pave it so it could be a parking lot for SE Asia.
For obvious reasons, details of this deployment are super-sketchy. I only know about it from collecting anecdotes about how difficult it was to transport the equipment sets, which were not designed for forward deployment. There was a similar (confirmed) nuclear deployment in S. Korea in the same timeframe. A battery consisted of 18-24 missiles. I've got no details on warheads equipped, exact timeframes or length of deployment.
And to answer the titular question, IMHO nukes would have been next to useless in 'Nam. The whole issue in 'Nam was that we were fighting a guerilla war with a decentralized enemy. There wasn't any target anywhere worth wasting a nuke on.
In 1965 we had 9,345 strategic warheads while the Soviets only had 929.
We had a 10 to 1 advantage.
It would be foolish for the Soviets to respond because we were the ones who had nuclear superiority.
You’d have to drive INTO Hanoi just to deploy the thing.
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