How would the US military fight a jungle canopy guerrilla war today?

Vietnam in 2014 basically. Why doesn’t matter. The enemy is every bit (in tactics and equipment and numbers) what they were before, and they’ve got some realistically limited access to more modern weapons as well - via China, let’s say. So everything from black PJs and AK-47s to more modern Chinese shoulder-fired anti-air weapons. Ditto aircraft, artillery, and other vehicles. It’s a mix of old and new.

What does the US have to do better the second time around? I doubt they’d get away with a modern defoliant, so how’s that problem worked?

More napalm – lots more!

Is the question what we actually would do, or what we should? If the latter, then it all depends on what our objectives are, and depending on the objectives, we might be able to ignore the guys in the jungle entirely.

We’re in the fight and have hopefully learned from history. I’m looking for tactics and weapons we’ve got in 2014 that could solve the problem.

Are our methods unsound?

I would think using infrared and night vision technology along with surveliance drones we could use nothing but air power, bombers and guns to quickly control the situation.

Tactically, there was little wrong with what the US Military was doing in the jungles of Vietnam in the 60’s. That wasn’t the issue. I don’t see them doing it much differently today, but with better equipment, especially in regards to communications/battle awareness. Probably no defoliants (Agent Orange) this time around, though.

Poorly, just like the other times. Have invading forces ever succeeded against an indigenous military force in a dense, tropical area? Fought against another invader and didn’t get slaughtered, yes. But that’s been as good as its ever gotten for a reason. That’s why guerrilla tactics in dense cities are so violent but often less-than-productive.

Quite obviously you have gone insane.

OP: I’m thinking, for those times when a jungle patrol is necessary, ground rover drones with IR cameras. We should be able to have those by now (hell, we can control one on Mars) if we don’t already. Human forces would be free to maintain specific objectives with more controlled conditions.

Great idea. That’s just the sort of thing we couldn’t do in the 60s and 70s, but would work today.

Basic US strategy; control the air, pound infrastructure, hold/control strategic points.

Tactics depend on the situations. Adapt and overcome.

Convert the jungle into farms for genetically modified crops.

Thermal imagers. Much more advanced night vision equipment. Better satellite imagery. Surveillance drones. Better communications and data links. Our ability to share information between the different military services is light years ahead of what we had in the late 1960’s. Imagine Operation Linebacker with today’s smart bombs and missiles.

Probably the most important issue would be less micromanagement from government officials. Here is your end objective, make it happen.

Hopefully our enemies will have never seen Predator.

Know how I know you’ve never walked through a jungle? :wink:

For better or worse, pretty much our entire training doctrine and strategy is based on lessons learned in Vietnam. Even Ranger School is more similar to Vietnam type combat than Afghanistan, Iraq or any COIN based operations. The US Army has been training for Vietnam ever since we left. I think we would be much better prepared than before, at least at the tactical and operational level. Strategically, we’d probably blow it again.

Let’s see:

If you have a clearly defined enemy which is located inside a relatively fixed area:

[li]Massive and repeated airstrikes - Since napalm and cluster muntions are no longer allowed, then you’d have make the difference with numerous B-52 Arclight-style strikes and lots of thermobaric weapons.[/li][li]Folllow this with massive artillery barrages using the altest in GPS-guided rounds and MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems)[/li][li]Afterward have Special Forces infiltrate the area and dispose of any remaining hardpoints.[/li][li]Send in loyal local forces (if any) supported by ground trrops which have immediate access to air support by close support aircraft and helicopter gunships[/li][li]Repeat as ncessary[/li][/ol]

If you do NOT have a clearly defined enemy or an enemy who freely mixes with the indigenous population, then:

[li]Arm the indigenous population and train them in the use of weapons[/li][li]Offer essentially “bounties” for the number of insurgents which are killed (NOTE: As teh French learned too late in Algeria,offer these to entire village, not just individuals , as it is easier to kill individuals than it is an entire village of people to dissuade attacks)[/li][li]Use Special Force infiltration to identify targets and watch those closely using drones and satellites. Launch attack at random intervals and demand accurate damage assessments.[/li][li]Use loyal local troops (if any) who have been thoroughly vetted on search and destroy operations. Support them with air strikes as necessary.[/li][li]Keep the local situation in flux, rather than depending too much on a single ally. As the French learned too late in Algeria and Vietnam when you only have interlocutor to negotiate with, THEY control the tempo of the conflict, not you.[/li][li]Set limited objectives and withdraw after those objectives have been met. Reserve the right to return as needed.[/li][/ol]

Vietnam was lost politically, not militarily. Foliage has nothing to do with it.

Lets see now:

(Drones + thermal imaging) divided by (tropical jungle + local guerrillas) = Fail.

What? the floor is totally flat and free of undergrowth–I’ve seen Tarzan. Ok, maybe a rover that has 20 foot long flexible arms and grabs onto tree trunks…