Documents of an Elite Viet Cong Delta Unit: The Demolition Platoon of the 514th Battalion

Part Three: Military Organization and Activities

by David W. P. Elliott, Mai Elliott

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Translations of Viet Cong documents pertaining to the military activities of a demolition unit operating in the Mekong Delta. This Memorandum is third in a series representing the entire file of unit records captured intact. (The others are RM-5848, RM-5849, RM-5851, and RM-5852.) In the period covered by the documents, early 1966 to mid-May 1967, the battalion was under-strength and saw little action. Most of these documents illustrate the unit's activities during extended intervals between military engagements, during which life was a succession of political indoctrination, military training, and Party activities. Notable are the records of [Kiem Thao] (review and discussion) sessions, which used the technique of self-criticism to resolve organizational problems such as the unit's performance in combat. Other documents deal with military organization and management. They all disclose an elaborate pattern of interlocking channels of command, supervision, and reporting, from the battalion to the squad. Beyond its usefulness for surveillance and control, the system involves even the lowliest fighter in the responsibility for success or failure in military operations.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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