Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

This is coolbert: The memo written by Ginsburgh for Rostow on the situation at Khe Sanh and comparing Khe Sanh (KS) to Dien Bien Phu (DBP) illustrates some difficulties that civilians, uninitiated, have in making such an analysis. In this memo Ginsburgh makes comparisons between the force ratios of the opposing sides at DBP and the ratios of the two sides at KS. Ginsburgh says in his memo that the ratio of Viet Minh to French was 8:1 at DBP, while the ratio of North Vietnamese to Marines at KS is a much more favorable 4:1. Of course, Ginsburgh includes the coolie/porter force the Viet Minh had at DBP in his calculations. This would be an unfair addition. You would only want to include actual assault troops. The ratio of such at DBP was indeed roughly 4:1 in favor of the Viet Minh. The 8:1 ratio exaggerates and places the situation at KS in a much more undeservedly favorable light. Also, Ginsburgh says in the memo that the friendly forces in the immediate area of KS actually outnumber the North Vietnamese by a slight amount. Again, this creates a favorable image of the situation that is not exactly true. During a siege, the attacker has the initiative and is on the offensive. The attacker can concentrate his troops and obtain a substantial numerical advantage at the time and place of his choosing. The defender, the U.S. side, does not have the initiative and must spread available forces out, cannot concentrate forces at a specific point, thereby negating any numerical advantage for the U.S. commander. Ginsburgh was creating a false impression, consciously or otherwise.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home