When I started editing my work on Vietnam, two photos became icons of the civil war for me, and helped me understand why the US and its South Vietnamese ally lost the war to North Vietnam and the Vietcong.
An ARVN, a soldier of the army of South Vietnam, is equipped and armed by the United States with an M16 rifle. He is resting on a US-built car. A Vietcong guerrilla on patrol in a sampan, in the Delta region of South Vietnam, carries all his belongings in his rucksack and has a Russian-built Kalashnikov at his feet. The Vietcong carries a torch, a hand grenade and his pharmacy around his belt. He paddles the sampan himself.
The US-backed South may have had the technology and the hardware, but their opponents had mobility and self-reliance. They could wage a war with everything they needed on their back.