September 20, 2017
This episode focuses on North Vietnamese troops and materiel stream down the Ho Chi Minh Trail into the south. The flow is uninterrupted by U.S. airpower over Laos.
Meanwhile ARVN struggles to “pacify the countryside.” By safeguarding the population in strategic hamlets, increasing the use of popular force units to guard villages and aggressive patrolling. This effort was of marginal effectiveness according to the documentary. This result may not be as negative as the series would have us believe. This will become much more evident a year or so later when ARVN and others do not join the VC during the Tet offensive.
The episode also includes the growing antiwar movement. The authors attribute this to college students who have avoided the draft. This draft avoidance is also allegedly a cause for the force being more and more populated with uneducated and lower intelligence personnel. This is truly a slap at those brave men and women who served.
As the need for more troops for Vietnam increased, draft rules were changing and this further fueled the anti-war movement.
Finally, the episode argues that the soldiers and Marines discover that the war they are being asked to fight in Vietnam is nothing like their fathers’ war—mostly World War II. As one of those soldiers whose father was killed in World War II, and who is a student of war. there was no illusion that the war I was fighting was like my father’s. However, during the siege of the Khe Sanh Combat Base. I sometimes likened my experience to the trench warfare of World War I.