The Viet Cong traveled light and were very mobile. They remained hidden during the day and came at night to infiltrate villages, ambush American soldiers and run other missions. In the day, the Viet Cong donned farmer clothes. American had no idea who was a farmer, who was Viet Cong, who was a Viet Cong sympathizer, and who was farmer fighting for the Viet Cong.
Former OSS officer Carelton B. Swift Jr. wrote in the Washington Post: “Consider Giap’s poor soldiers: An old woman carries a covered basket that contains arms for hiding Viet Cong. Kids try out a little English on a passing GI, learn which way his unit is moving, and pass the information on. American forces could not deal with this kind of enemy; they grew frustrated and guilty when forced to fight them.”
A former Viet Cong soldier names Nguyen Huu Vy told Robert Kaiser of the Washington Post that when he began fighting for the north he had no weapons. “his first squad armed itself with fake rifles carved from the heavy, butt end of coconut palm fronds. With them they ambushed [South Vietnamese] soldiers who were apparently too frightened to look closely at the weapons. The squad built up an arsenal by stealing the weapons of Diem’s forces, usually in ambushes. With new weapons he could expand his force to a platoon, then a company, then a battalion.