Vietcong Organization

Vietcong Guerrilla, River Patrol

A member of the Vietcong travels by boat.

     The armed struggle, comprised primarily of guerrilla forces, was controlled by the Central Office of Southern Vietnam (COSVN). Rather than being a physical place, COSVN was a group of officers, and some members of the NLF, that operated throughout Southern Vietnam. It was a mobile command center and often had to remain constantly on the move to avoid incessant helicopter attacks and bombing runs.[1] COSVN divided their armed forces into battalions, it was estimated in 1965 that the Vietcong had 47 battalions.[2] They operated both independently, and as joint task forces with other battalions or North Vietnamese forces. The Vietcong guerrillas can be generally divided into two groups, village guerrillas and combat guerrillas. The village guerrillas are generally new recruits or people with little combat experience. They remain near their village, provide logistical support and usually don’t carry out combat operations but may still place booby traps and conduct harassing fire. The combat forces are better trained and equipped, and village guerrillas that show promise will often join the combat forces. The combat guerrillas conduct operation across Southern Vietnam and are organized and equipped more like a typical military unit, with a command hierarchy and clearly defined military objectives.[3]

[1] Truong Nhu Tang, A Vietcong Memoir 128 (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985)

[2] [2] Douglas Pike Vietcong The Organization and Techniques of The National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, 235-238. (The M.I.T. Press, 1966).

[3] George K. Tanham Communist Revolutionary Warfare From the Vietminh to the Viet Cong. 139-140 (Frederick A. Praeger, 1967)


Vietcong Organization