Spatial dimensions of the Tet offensive and hamlet security during the Vietnam War.

Authors: Gordon Cromley*, Kent State University
Topics: Military Geography, Historical Geography, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Vietnam War, Military Geography, Historical Geography, Spatial Point Pattern Analysis
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Bonaparte, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Historical GIS has been used to explore the spatial dimensions of well-known historical events. Studies of conflicts occurring before the 1960s rely on archival data transformed from their original analog format into digital formats. In contrast, the Vietnam War (Second Indochina War) is a conflict that has been documented with computerized spatial data collected during the war. These datasets have been used to examine the environmental impacts of bombing and exposure to chemical defoliants. This study compares the historical narrative of the Tet offensive in early 1968 with the spatial pattern of hamlet security during that time period using data derived from the Enemy Base Area and the HAMLA version of the Hamlet Evaluation System datasets downloaded from the National Archives. A marked correlation analysis of the spatial relationship between the UTM coordinates of the enemy base camps and the security level across hamlet locations was performed using the Programita software system. Preliminary analysis suggests only minor changes occurred in the spatial structure of Viet Cong/Non-Viet Cong controlled hamlet distribution after the conclusion of the Tet offensive suggesting it had little impact on hamlet security.

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