In the 13th century, during the Mongol invasions of Vietnam, the Trần army developed a way of ambushing with small, elite forces, good at fighting on land, on rivers, and at sea. Trần Quốc Tuấn has directed: "Being reckless on the boat is not as good as stabbing under the boat, destroying the enemy's army is not as good as destroying the enemy's boat". Implementing that direction, General Yết Kiêu organized and trained Trạo Nhi teams consisting of strong and good swimmers who specialized in destroying the enemy's naval base. In many battles, the Trạo Nhi team secretly entered the naval base, burned the boat with flammable substances and dived into the muddy water, destroyed many Mongol troops in Chương Dương, Phả Lại, and Chí Linh and once captured them live the enemy general.
In 1410, Trần Nguyên Hãn utilized the doctrine of "Quân cốt tinh, không cốt nhiều" ("The core of an army is its quality, not quantity") and organized a famous battle with nearly 200 insurgents, stripped naked and camouflaged, and secretly infiltrated the Xương Giang citadel, Việt Trì to attack the Ming army in the citadel.
During the 1968 Tet Offensive, North Vietnamese commandos led the attack on ARVN headquarters and vital installations in most South Vietnamese cities, contributing to a 1968 Mậu Thân victory, creating a turning point in the Vietnam War. The commandos were also used during the Battle of Lima Site 85, successfully overrunning a US post in Laos, and the Battle of FSB Mary Ann where they hurled satchels at command bunkers, knifed sleeping soldiers, and destroyed all communications equipment, killing 33 US soldiers in the process at a loss of 15 men.