Vietnam People's Armed Forces Analysis

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The Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) was founded on 22 December 1944 with a strength of only 34 personnel including 31 men and three women. Over the next four decades the VPA grew in numerical size to rank among the largest armies of the world. In the 64 years since it was founded, the VPA has been in combat more than half of this time. First came an 8 year war against the French (1946‐54), which culminated in the victory at Dien Bien Phu. Then, after a momentary respite, in 1959 the Vietnam Communist Party (VCP) resumed armed struggle to reunify Vietnam. This precipitated the Vietnam War and the reunification of Vietnam (1965‐75). Once again, after a brief respite,
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In 1987, when the VPA reached its peak strength of 1.26 million regulars, only the Soviet Union, China, the United States and India had larger regular standing armies. To this number must be added two and a half million reserves, a Border Defence Force of 60,000 and various paramilitary groups totalling another one and a half million. In sum, in the 1980s Vietnam’s military establishment numbered well over five million. The growth of the VPA has also brought with it changes in organizational structure as a basically infantry force, supported by heavy artillery, has branched out to develop a number of highly specialized commands ranging from armour, engineers, marines and transport to air defence, chemical corps, sappers and signals. Vietnam’s naval and air forces are also included as commands within the VPA, and they too have grown in size and technological sophistication thanks to the provision of aid from the Soviet…show more content…
‘All people’s national defence’ combines guerrilla warfare and main force strategy and tactics. In the 1970s, Vietnam developed a doctrine of mobile warfare based on corps‐sized formations. Vietnam’s 1979 border war with China, however, required Vietnam to develop a doctrine for territorial defence, while Vietnam’s decade long occupation of Cambodia required the VPA to develop a counter‐insurgency doctrine. Vietnam’s maritime territorial disputes with China in the Gulf of Tonkin and SCS requires a more comprehensive joint‐services approach but there is little evidence that Vietnam has developed an effective joint services

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