The first known incidents of fragging in South Vietnam took place in 1966, but events in 1968 appear to have catalyzed an increase in fragging. After the Tet Offensive in January and February 1968, the Vietnam War became increasingly unpopular in the United States and among American soldiers in Vietnam, many of them conscripts. With soldiers reluctant to risk their lives in what was perceived as a lost war, fragging was seen by some enlisted men “as the most effective way to discourage their superiors from showing enthusiasm for combat.“
The resentment directed from enlisted men toward older officers was exacerbated by generational gaps, as well as different perceptions of how the military should be conducted. Enforcement of military regulations, especially if done overzealously, led to troops’ complaining and sometimes threats of physical violence directed toward officers.
The total number of known and suspected fragging cases by explosives in Vietnam from 1969 to 1972 totaled nearly 900 with 99 deaths and many injuries.