The Dau Tranh Neck Knife Story

We at Attleboro Knives love a great knife with a great story. Our new Dau Tranh is such a knife with terrific quality and another outstanding story. There are two specific definitions for Dau Tranh: First, in Vietnamese Dau Tranh translates as “struggle” – to never quit and drive on until you succeed. Second, Dau Tranh is a theory of protracted warfare which combines a nation’s military and political focus to achieve victory. The Vietnamese realized that without political will in coordination with military requirements victory in war was generally doomed to failure.

In 2000 I was assigned to the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and enrolled in the Command and General Staff School (CGSS). CGSS is a US Army course which is designed to teach mid-grade officers effective leadership, reinforce US Military doctrine, plus efficient staff planning in a Joint (other services) and Combined (other allied countries) environment.

While researching the history of the battle where dad was lost, I came across the North Vietnamese strategy of Dau Tranh. A great overview follows:

"The Protracted War Conflict Model"

Prosecution of the war followed the Maoist model, closely integrating political and military efforts into the concept of one struggle, or dau tranh.[3] Dau Tranh was and remains the stated basis of PAVN operations, and was held to spring from the history of Vietnamese resistance and patriotism, the superiority of Marxism-Leninism and the Party, the overwhelming justice of Vietnam's cause, and the support of the world's socialist and progressive forces. War was to be waged on all fronts: diplomatic, ideological, organizational, economic and military. Dau Tranh was divided into military and political spheres:

Political dau tranh: three elements

• Dan Van- Action among your people: Total mobilization of propaganda, motivational & organizational measures to manipulate internal masses and fighting units. Example: Intensive indoctrination and total mobilization of all civilian and military personnel in North Vietnam.

• Binh Van- Action among enemy military: Subversion, proselytizing, and propaganda to encourage desertion, defection and lowered morale among enemy troops. Example: contribution to large number of South Vietnamese Army deserters and draft evaders in early years.

• Dich Van- Action among enemy’s people: Total propaganda effort to sow discontent, defeatism, dissent and disloyalty among enemy’s population. Involves creation and/or manipulation of front groups and sympathizers. Example: work among South Vietnamese and US media, activist and academic circles.

Military dau tranh: the three phases

The strategy of the communist forces generally followed the protracted Revolutionary Warfare model of Mao in China, as diagrammed above. These phases were not static, and elements from one appear in others.[17] Guerrilla warfare for example co-existed alongside conventional operations, and propaganda and terrorism would always be deployed throughout the conflict.

1. Preparation, organization and propaganda phase

2. Guerrilla warfare, terrorism phase

3. General offensive – conventional war phase including big unit and mobile warfare

As part of the final stage, emphasis was placed on the Khoi Nghia, or "General Uprising" of the masses, in conjunction with the liberation forces. This spontaneous uprising of the masses would sweep away the imperialists and their puppets who would already be sorely weakened by earlier guerrilla and mobile warfare. The Communist leadership thus had a clear vision, strategy and method to guide their operations.[18]

Translation of Dau Tranh doctrine into military action

Militarily this strategy translated into a flexible mix of approaches on the ground:

• Continued efforts to build the revolutionary VC infrastructure and weaken GVN forces via propaganda and organization.

• Broad use of terrorism and low intensity guerrilla warfare

• Widening the field of conflict logistically by expanding bases and troop movement in Laos and Cambodia

• Small-unit mobile warfare using VC Main Forces and NVA regulars over the expanded space- especially during seasonal offensive thrusts

• Limited conventional operations where overwhelming numerical superiority could be concentrated to liquidate the maximum number of enemy effectives or control strategic blocks of territory

• A General Uprising by the aggrieved masses as the enemy weakened,

• Full scale offensives by conventional forces with secondary guerrilla support

Overall, this approach was generally successful. It did not occur in a vacuum however. It both shaped and reacted to events in the arena of struggle. To fully grasp NLF/PAVN strategy, it is necessary to examine the counter-strategies used by the opponents of the NLF and PAVN: the South Vietnamese and the United States.“

Source – Wikipedia, last modified on 10 May 2014 at 13:14.,_organization_and_structure

The Dau Tranh as currently planned will be the last in our Vietnam Series. Our next knife will commemorate the Cold War and all of the sacrifices made to secure Freedom for the western world. Please keep in contact for our 2016 release of this newest and first Attleboro Knives, folding knife.