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Weapons and Tactics of the Vietnam War

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Presentation on theme: "Weapons and Tactics of the Vietnam War"— Presentation transcript:

1 Weapons and Tactics of the Vietnam War
1965 to 1972

2 VC/NVA Weapons The North Vietnamese Army and the southern communist Vietcong relied heavily on supplies sent from communist China and the USSR. AK-47 and RPG 7 were most common weapons supplied. The VC also relied on stolen weapons and ammo, first from the French in the 1950s, then in the 1960s, from the Americans The most common weapon used by the NVA and VC was the reliable Russian designed AK-47 assault rifle. It was a cheap, easy to use rifle but inaccurate rifle which required little cleaning or maintenance: Perfect for the wet jungles of Vietnam.

3 VC Booby traps The communist guerillas in the south (VC) also became masters of digging tunnels and setting up mines and booby traps along jungle trails the Americans and ARVN would patrol. A common tactic was to sharpen bamboo sticks (called PUNJI sticks) dip them in feces and place them point up in pits along the trail. A GI would step on the punji sticks, get injured so he could not walk and have to be evacuated (evaced) to safety, thus reducing the men out on patrol while the VC never had to fire a shot!




7 Common VC traps VC punji trap: Spiked ball:
Toe popper made from a single bullet round…

8 Additional VC traps/mines
Trip wires attached to a grenade pin Was a simple VC trap often using Captured US grenades! * The VC would booby-trap anything they thought the Americans might pick up or walk by: Traps were even set deep inside their Tunnels, causing even more casualties


10 U.S. vs. V.C. Tactics When the Americans arrived in Vietnam in 1965 they only really controlled the cities and towns along the coast , the VC controlled the interior mountains and jungles. Each night the VC guerillas would lay land mines, traps and ambushes along the roads and trails that connected those American held towns and cities. Each day the Americans would send out patrols to clear these roads and trails and they would conduct search and destroy operations: looking for the enemy and trying to kill enough of him so they would quit (war of attrition strategy)

11 Special Forces In Vietnam:
Green Berets Navy Seals with South Vietnamese

12 US weapons To fight the VC (and the regular NVA who fought the US up by the 17th parallel), the US brought in overwhelming firepower including jets/ bombers, (B 52s) napalm (jellied gasoline) to burn the VC out of their tunnels and jungles. We used lots of artillery and some tanks. They even used the chemical Agent Orange* to destroy jungle plant life thus trying to deny VC hiding places near US held towns. US soldiers were at first issued with the heavy but reliable M-14 rifle then quickly switched to the lighter and highly accurate M-16 which required a lot of cleaning each day to make sure it fired…

13 Weapons the USA used in Vietnam:

14 Firebases/helicopters
To fight the VC in the jungles, the US would use helicopters (most common ones: Bell UH 1’s nicknamed Hueys) in large numbers to fly out troops and equipment and set up “fire bases” on jungle hilltops from which they could send out patrols and shell the enemy with artillery fire. Vietnam was the first war in which helicopters were used not just as transports or for medical evacuations, but also were set up with machine guns and rockets and used for attack!


16 US Equipment A Huey landing in a rice paddy field:
B-52 bombers would carry out huge bombing missions high over VC strongholds dropping tons of bombs: M113 APC carried troops in semi safety around Vietnam: Napalm strike: M 60 Machine Gun

17 B 52s: APC

18 A Napalm Strike:

19 US wins but loses? US never lost a major battle in Vietnam but due to constant casualties and protests at home the US was forced to withdraw all combat troops by 1972. South Vietnam fought on until it fell to the NVA in 1975, remaining poor and communist to this day.

20 Evacuation of US Embassy in Saigon…
U.S. Embassy Saigon, April 29, 1975.

21 Vietnam War Memorial

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