The Vietnam Soldier: Weapons and Equipment for Frontline Combatants

The Vietnam Soldier: Weapons and Equipment for Frontline Combatants

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This article has been adapted from The Vietnam War: The illustrated history of the conflict in Southeast Asia, edited by Ray Bonds and published by Salamander Books in 1979. The words and illustrations are under license from Pavilion Books and have been published from the 1979 edition without adaptation. The featured image above was sourced from Shutterstock.

The conflict in Vietnam from French occupation to US involvement and evacuation raged on for over 20 years. Across this timespan, several nations allied themselves with South Vietnam in order to defeat the Communist forces.

Within Vietnam itself, there were also numerous factions – with a clear division on the Communist side between the North Vietnamese Army, who fought a conventional war, and the Vietcong, which fought a guerrilla campaign against the south. This article describes the equipment of the different combatants.

Anti-Communist forces

The anti-Communist forces in Vietnam included the South Vietnamese (Army of the Republic of Vietnam, ARVN), French, American and Australian. The ARVN were often compared unfavourably with the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong, but the ARVN fought well when led well. The French fought in Indochina from 1946 to 1954, losing 94,581 killed and missing, with 78,127 wounded.

The US infantrymen bore the brunt of the Second Vietnam War effort; there were more than 500,000 US troops in Southeast Asia in 1968-69. Between 1964 and 1973 45,790 had been killed, making the war increasingly unpopular in the United States. The Australians had 7,672 men committed in 1969.

The Australian

This Australian infantryman carries his squad’s 7.62mm light machine gun and two spare ammunition belts. The weight of his web equipment is taken by the belt; the front of his body is clear so that he can lie comfortably in the prone firing position. The Australians were heirs to two generations of jungle warfare, and this experience is shown by his extra waterbottles, the value of which more than offsetting the extra weight involved.

The American

This private in the US Marine Corps during the battle for Hue, February 1968, wears standard olive-drab combat dress and a flak jacket. The bayonet on his M16A1 5.56mm rifle is fixed for house-to-house fighting, and slung around his body is a belt of 7.62mm ammunition for his squad’s M60 light machine gun. His pack contains spare clothing and equipment.

The French Soldier

This corporal of a line regiment from Metropolitan France (above) carries the compact, reliable 9mm MAT-49 sub-machine gun. He wears a jungle-green uniform and canvas and rubber jungle boots like those worn by the British in Malaya. His pack is the French canvas and leather pattern; his web equipment and steel helmet are of American manufacture.

The South Vietnamese soldier

This soldier of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam is equipped with US weapon, uniform, webbing, and radio pack. He carries the M16A1 Armalite rifle, which the small-statured Vietnamese found ideally suited to their needs.

While his allies came, fought, and left, the ARVN soldier had to live with his successes and failures. When well led he was fully the equal of his enemies: during the Communists’ Tet offensive of 1968, for example, despite being caught badly off-balance the men of the ARVN stood firm and defeated the Viet Cong.

The Communist forces

The Communist forces included the Viet Cong, which was the indigenous national liberation movement of South Vietnam, and the North Vietnamese Army, of which it was nominally independent. There were regular VC units of up to regimental strength and many small, part-time units in villages under Communist control.

The North Vietnamese Army at first supplemented and then took over from the VC. The Communist victory in 1975 was the result of a conventional invasion by North Vietnamese armour and infantry.

The Viet Cong soldier

This Viet Cong soldier wears the “black pyjamas”, which have come to characterize the guerrilla fighter, and a soft khaki hat and web equipment produced in jungle workshops. His light, open sandals are probably cut from an old truck tire. He carries a Soviet Kalashnikov AK-47 rifle.

The North Vietnamese soldier

This soldier of the North Vietnamese Army wears a green uniform and a cool, practical helmet resembling the pith helmet of earlier European colonizers. The basic personal weapon of the NVA was the AK-47, but this man carries a Soviet-supplied RPG-7 anti-tank missile launcher. His food-tube contains sufficient dry rations and rice to last seven days.

The “People’s Porter”

This Communist porter can carry some 551b (25kg) on his back for an average 15 miles (24km) per day in flat country or 9 miles (14.5km) in hills. With the modified bicycle seen here the payload is some 150lb (68kg). The bamboos attached to handlebar and seat column enable him to control his machine even on rough ground.

What Life Was Like As A Soldier In The Vietnam War

"War is hell" declares the handwritten slogan on a young GI's helmet in one of many famous photos of the Vietnam War. And after seeing the images of the Vietnam War on television, after seeing the pictures taken by war correspondents, and after hearing accounts of war atrocities, most of the American pubic in the 1960s was inclined to agree. The seemingly endless war, fought by American GIs thousands of miles away, had lost whatever sheen it might have had in 1955, when Americans at the height of the Cold War, committed to the Western ideals of freedom and democracy, were determined to stop the spread of communism in Asia.

That idealism faded away as the war progressed, as the U.S. sent more troops, more resources, and more money overseas, as more and more young American men failed to come home in one piece. And they were young men. The average age of a U.S. soldier dropped from 26 in World War II to just 19, not even old enough to vote at the time. Here's what life was like for U.S. soldiers in the Vietnam War.


Before 1945 Edit

The first historical record of Vietnamese military history dates back to the era of Hồng Bàng, the first recorded state in ancient Vietnam to have assembled military force. Since then, military plays a crucial role in developing Vietnamese history due to its turbulent history of wars against China, Champa, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

The Southern expansion of Vietnam resulted in the destruction of Champa as an independent nation to a level that it did not exist anymore total destruction of Luang Prabang the decline of Cambodia which resulted in Vietnam's annexation of Mekong Delta and wars against Siam. In most of its history, the Royal Vietnamese Armed Forces was often regarded to be one of the most professional, battle-hardened and heavily trained armies in Southeast Asia as well as Asia in a large extent.

Establishment Edit

The PAVN was first conceived in September 1944 at the first Revolutionary Party Military Conference as Vietnam Propaganda Liberation Army (Việt Nam Tuyên truyền Giải phóng Quân) to educate, recruit and mobilise the Vietnamese to create a main force to drive the French colonial and Japanese occupiers from Vietnam. [5] Under the guidelines of Hồ Chí Minh, Võ Nguyên Giáp was given the task of establishing the brigades and the Vietnam Propaganda Liberation Army came into existence on 22 December 1944. The first formation was made up of thirty one men and three women, armed with two revolvers, seventeen rifles, one light machine gun, and fourteen breech-loading flintlocks. [6] The United States' OSS agents, led by Archimedes Patti – who was sometimes referred as the first instructor of the PAVN due to his role, had provided ammunitions as well as logistic intelligence and equipments and they had also helped training these soldiers which was later become the vital backbone of the later Vietnamese military to fight the Japanese occupiers as well as the future wars.

The name was changed to the Vietnam Liberation Army (Việt Nam Giải phóng Quân) on 15 May 1945. [7] The Democratic Republic of Vietnam was proclaimed in Hanoi by Ho Chi Minh and Vietminh on 2 September 1945. Then in November, the army was renamed the Vietnam National Defence Army (Việt Nam Vệ quốc Quân). [7] At this point, it had about 1,000 soldiers. [7] On 22 May 1946, the army was called the Vietnam National Army (Quân đội Quốc gia Việt Nam). Lastly, in 1950, it officially became the People's Army of Vietnam (Quân đội Nhân dân Việt Nam).

Võ Nguyên Giáp went on to become the first full general of the PAVN on 28 May 1948, and famous for leading the PAVN in victory over French forces at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and being in overall command against U.S. backed South Vietnam at the Liberation of Saigon on 30 April 1975.

French Indochina War Edit

On 7 January 1947, its first regiment, the 102nd 'Capital' Regiment, was created for operations around Hanoi. [8] Over the next two years, the first division, the 308th Division, later well known as the Pioneer Division, was formed from the 88th Tu Vu Regiment and the 102nd Capital Regiment. By late 1950 the 308th Division had a full three infantry regiments, when it was supplemented by the 36th Regiment. At that time, the 308th Division was also backed by the 11th Battalion that later became the main force of the 312th Division. In late 1951, after launching three campaigns against three French strongpoints in the Red River Delta, the PAVN refocused on building up its ground forces further, with five new divisions, each of 10–15,000 men, created: the 304th Glory Division at Thanh Hóa, the 312th Victory Division in Vinh Phuc, the 316th Bong Lau Division in the northwest border region, the 320th Delta Division in the north Red River Delta, the 325th Binh Tri Thien Division in Binh Tri Thien province. Also in 1951, the first artillery Division, the 351st Division was formed, and later, before Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, for the first time in history, it was equipped with 24 captured 105mm US howitzers supplied by the Chinese People's Liberation Army. The first six divisions (308th, 304th, 312th, 316th, 320th, 325th) became known as the original PAVN 'Steel and Iron' divisions. In 1954, four of these divisions (the 308th, 304th, 312nd, 316th, supported by the 351st Division's captured US howitzers) defeated the French Union forces at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, ending 83 years of French rule in Indochina.

Vietnam War Edit

Soon after the 1954 Geneva Accords, the 330th and 338th Divisions were formed by southern Viet Minh members who had moved north in conformity with that agreement, and by 1955, six more divisions were formed: the 328th, 332nd and 350th in the north of the North Vietnam, the 305th and the 324th near the DMZ, and the 335 Division of soldiers repatriated from Laos. In 1957, the theatres of the war with the French were reorganised as the first five military regions, and in the next two years, several divisions were reduced to brigade size to meet the manpower requirements of collective farms.

By 1958, it was becoming increasingly clear that the South Vietnamese government was solidifying its position as an independent republic under Ngô Đình Diệm, who staunchly opposed the terms of the Geneva Accords, which required a national referendum on unification of north and south Vietnam under a single national government. North Vietnam prepared to settle the issue of unification by force.

In May 1959, the first major steps to prepare infiltration routes into South Vietnam were taken Group 559 was established, a logistical unit charged with establishing routes into the south via Laos and Cambodia, which later became famous as the Ho Chi Minh Trail. At about the same time, Group 579 was created as its maritime counterpart to transport supplies into the South by sea. Most of the early infiltrators were members of the 338th Division, former southerners who had been settled at Xuan Mai from 1954 onwards.

Regular formations were sent to South Vietnam from 1965 onwards the 325th Division's 101B Regiment and the 66th Regiment of the 304th Division met U.S. forces on a large scale, a first for the PAVN, at the Battle of Ia Drang Valley in November 1965. The 308th Division's 88A Regiment, the 312th Division's 141A, 141B, 165A, 209A, the 316th Division's 174A, the 325th Division's 95A, 95B, the 320A Division also faced the U.S. forces which included the 1st Cavalry Division, the 101st Airborne Division, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, the 4th Infantry Division, the 1st Infantry Division and the 25th Infantry Division. Many of those formations later became main forces of the 3rd Division (Yellow Star Division) in Binh Dinh (1965), the 5th Division (1966) of 7th Military Zone (Capital Tactical Area of ARVN), the 7th (created by 141st and 209th Regiments originated in the 312th Division in 1966) and 9th Divisions (first Division of National Liberation Front of Vietnam in 1965 in Mekong Delta), the 10th Dakto Division in Dakto – Central Highlands in 1972.

On 20 December 1960, all anti-American forces in South Vietnam joined together to form a united front called National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (Mặt trận Dân tộc Giải phóng Miền Nam Việt Nam) or simply known as the Vietcong in the United States. On 15 December 1961, the NLF established its own military called Liberation Army of South Vietnam (LASV) to fight against Americans and Army of the Republic of Vietnam. The LASV was controlled and equipped by the PAVN.

General Trần Văn Trà, one-time commander of the B2 Front (Saigon) HQ confirms that even though the PAVN and the LASV were confident in their ability to defeat the regular ARVN forces, U.S. intervention in Vietnam forced them to reconsider their operations. The decision was made to continue to pursue "main force" engagements even though "there were others in the South – they were not military people – who wanted to go back to guerrilla war," but the strategic aims were adjusted to meet the new reality.

We had to change our plan and make it different from when we fought the Saigon regime, because we now had to fight two adversaries — the United States and South Vietnam. We understood that the U.S. Army was superior to our own logistically, in weapons and in all things. So strategically we did not hope to defeat the U.S. Army completely. Our intentions were to fight a long time and cause heavy casualties to the United States, so the United States would see that the war was unwinnable and would leave. [9]

During the Vietnamese Lunar New Year Tết holiday starting on 30 January 1968, the PAVN/VC launched a general offensive in more than 60 cities and towns throughout south of Vietnam against the US Army and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), beginning with operations in the border region to try and draw US forces and ARVN troops out of the major cities. In coordinated attacks, the U.S Embassy in Saigon, Presidential Palace, Headquarters of the Joint General Staff and Republic of Vietnam Navy, TV and Radio Stations, Tan Son Nhat Air Base in Saigon were attacked by commando forces known as "Dac Cong". This offensive became known as the "Tet Offensive". The PAVN sustained heavy losses of its main forces in southern military zones. Some of its regular forces and command structure had to escape to Laos and Cambodia to avoid counterattacks from US forces and ARVN, while local guerrillas forces and political organisations in South Vietnam were exposed and had a hard time remaining within the Mekong Delta area due to the extensive use of the Phoenix Program.

Although the PAVN lost militarily to the US forces and ARVN in the south, the political impact of the war in the United States was strong. [10] Public demonstrations increased in ferocity and quantity after the Tet Offensive. During 1970, the 5th, 7th and 9th Divisions fought in Cambodia against U.S., ARVN, and Cambodian Khmer National Armed Forces but they had gained new allies: the Khmer Rouge and guerrilla fighters supporting deposed Prime Minister Sihanouk. In 1975 the PAVN were successful in aiding the Khmer Rouge in toppling Lon Nol's U.S.-backed regime, despite heavy US bombing.

After the withdrawal of most U.S. combat forces from Indochina because of the Vietnamization strategy, the PAVN launched the ill-fated Easter Offensive in 1972. Although successful at the beginning, the South Vietnamese repulsed the main assaults with U.S. air support. Still North Vietnam retained some South Vietnamese territory.

Nearly two years after the full U.S. withdrawal from Indochina in accordance with the terms of the 1973 Paris Peace Accords, the PAVN launched a Spring Offensive aimed at uniting Vietnam. Without direct support of the U.S., and suffering from stresses caused by dwindling aid, the ARVN was ill-prepared to confront the highly motivated PAVN, and despite the paper superiority of the ARVN, the PAVN quickly secured victory within two months and captured Saigon on 30 April 1975, effectively ending the 70 years of conflict stemming from French colonial invasion of the 19th century and unifying Vietnam.

After national reunification, the LASV was officially merged into PAVN on 2 July 1976.

Sino-Vietnamese conflicts (1975–1990) Edit

Towards the second half of the 20th century the armed forces of Vietnam would participate in organised incursions to protect its citizens and allies against aggressive military factions in the neighbouring Indochinese countries of Laos and Cambodia, and the defensive border wars with China.

  • The PAVN had forces in Laos to secure the Ho Chi Minh Trail and to militarily support the Pathet Lao. In 1975 the Pathet Lao and PAVN forces succeeded in toppling the Royal Laotian regime and installing a new, and pro-Hanoi government, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, [11] that rules Laos to this day.
  • Parts of Sihanouk's neutral Cambodia were occupied by troops as well. A pro US coup led by Lon Nol in 1970 led to the foundation pro-US Khmer Republic state. This marked the beginning of the Cambodian Civil War. The PAVN aided Khmer Rouge forces in toppling Lon Nol's government in 1975. In 1978, along with the FUNSK Cambodian Salvation Front, the Vietnamese and Ex-Khmer Rouge forces succeeded in toppling Pol Pot's Democratic Kampuchea regime and installing a new government, the People's Republic of Kampuchea. [12]
  • During the Sino-Vietnamese War and the Sino-Vietnamese conflicts 1979–90, Vietnamese forces would conduct cross-border raids into Chinese territory to destroy artillery ammunition. This greatly contributed to the outcome of the Sino-Vietnamese War, as the Chinese forces ran out of ammunition already at an early stage and had to call in reinforcements.
  • While occupying Cambodia, Vietnam launched several armed incursions into Thailand in pursuit of Cambodian guerrillas that had taken refuge on the Thai side of the border.

The PAVN has been actively involved in Vietnam's workforce to develop the economy of Vietnam, to co-ordinate national defence and the economy, as for the result of its long-relationship of Vietnamese economic development within military history. The PAVN has regularly sent troops to aid with natural disasters such as flooding, landslides etc. The PAVN is also involved in such areas as industry, agriculture, forestry, fishery and telecommunications. The PAVN has numerous small firms which have become quite profitable in recent years. However, recent decrees have effectively prohibited the commercialisation of the military. Conscription is in place for every male, age 18 to 25 years old, though females can volunteer to join.

International presence Edit

The Foreign Relations Department of the Ministry of National Defence organises international operations of the PAVN.

Apart from its occupation of half of the disputed Spratly Islands, which have been claimed as Vietnamese territory since the 17th century, Vietnam has not officially had forces stationed internationally since its withdrawal from Cambodia and Laos in early 1990.

The Center for Public Policy Analysis and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well as Laotian and Hmong human rights organisations, including the Lao Human Rights Council, Inc. and the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc., have provided evidence that since the end of the Vietnam War, significant numbers of Vietnamese military and security forces continue to be sent to Laos, on a repeated basis, to quell and suppress Laotian political and religious dissident and opposition groups including the peaceful 1999 Lao Students for Democracy protest in Vientiane in 1999 and the Hmong rebellion. [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] Rudolph Rummel has estimated that 100,000 Hmong perished in genocide between 1975 and 1980 in collaboration with PAVN. [24] For example, in late November 2009, shortly before the start of the 2009 Southeast Asian Games in Vientiane, the PAVN undertook a major troop surge in key rural and mountainous provinces in Laos where Lao and Hmong civilians and religious believers, including Christians, have sought sanctuary. [25] [26]

In 2014, Vietnam had requested to join the United Nations peacekeeping force, which was later approved. [27] The first Vietnamese UN peacekeeping officers were sent to South Sudan, marked the first involvement of Vietnam into a United Nations' mission abroad. [27] Vietnamese peacekeepers were also sent to the Central African Republic. [28]

The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is the President of Vietnam, though this position is nominal and real power is assumed by the Central Military Commission of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam. The secretary of Central Military Commission (usually the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam) is the de facto Commander and now is Nguyễn Phú Trọng.

The Minister of National Defence oversees operations of the Ministry of Defence, and the PAVN. He also oversees such agencies as the General Staff and the General Logistics Department. However, military policy is ultimately directed by the Central Military Commission of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam.

  • Ministry of Defence: is the lead organisation, highest command and management of the Vietnam People's Army.
  • General Staff Department: is leading agency all levels of the Vietnam People's Army, command all of the armed forces, which functions to ensure combat readiness of the armed forces and manage all military activities in peace and war.
  • General Political Department: is the agency in charge of Communist Party affairs – political work within PAVN, which operates under the direct leadership of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Central Military Party Committee.
  • General Military Intelligence Department: is an intelligence agency of the Vietnamese government and military.
  • General Logistical Department: is the agency in charge to ensure the full logistical and military unit.
  • General Technical Department: is the agency in charge to ensure equipped technical means of war for the army and each unit.
  • General Military Industry Department: is the agency in charge guide task to defence perform and production.

The Vietnamese People's Army is subdivided into the following service branches:

    Vietnam People's Ground Force (Lục quân Nhân dân Việt Nam) Vietnam People's Air Force (Không quân Nhân dân Việt Nam) Vietnam People's Navy (Hải quân Nhân dân Việt Nam) Vietnam Border Guard (Bộ đội Biên phòng Việt Nam) Vietnam Coast Guard (Cảnh sát biển Việt Nam) Cyberspace Operations (Tác chiến Không gian mạng) President Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Defence Force (Bảo vệ Lăng Chủ tịch Hồ Chí Minh)

The People's Army of Vietnam is a "triple armed force" composed of the Main Force, the Local Force and the Border Force. As with most countries' armed forces, the PAVN consists of standing, or regular, forces as well as reserve forces. During peacetime, the standing forces are minimised in number, and kept combat-ready by regular physical and weapons training, and stock maintenance.

Vietnam People's Ground Force Edit

Within PAVN the Ground Force have not been established as a full separate Service Command, thus all of the ground troops, army corps, military districts, specialised arms belong to the Ministry of Defence, under the direct command of the General Staff. The Vietnam Strategic Rear Forces (Lực lượng dự bị chiến lược) is also a part of the Ground Force.

Men Against Fire: How Many Soldiers Actually Fired Their Weapons at the Enemy During the Vietnam War

In a squad of 10 men, on average fewer than three ever fired their weapons in combat. Day in, day out — it did not matter how long they had been soldiers, how many months of combat they had seen, or even that the enemy was about to overrun their position. This was what the highly regarded Brigadier General Samuel Lyman Atwood Marshall, better known as S.L.A. Marshall, or ‘Slam,’ concluded in a series of military journal articles and in his book, Men Against Fire, about America’s World War II soldiers. Marshall had been assigned as a military analyst for the U.S. Army in both the Pacific and Europe. The American, he concluded, comes ‘from a civilization in which aggression, connected with the taking of life, is prohibited and unacceptable….The fear of aggression has been expressed to him so strongly and absorbed by him so deeply and pervadingly — practically with his mother’s milk — that it is part of the normal man’s emotional make-up. This is his great handicap when he enters combat. It stays his trigger finger even though he is hardly conscious that it is a restraint upon him.’

Marshall’s claims did not go unchallenged, but despite the disagreements they were widely accepted as truth both within the nation’s military and by those writing about the war and its American fighting force. Marshall continued in his role as analyst and self-proclaimed military historian before, during and after the Korean War, authoring many more books and frequently appearing as a guest lecturer at Fort Leavenworth and other installations around the United States. It is not an exaggeration to say that he was more or less a living legend by the mid-1960s. Largely due to his influence, noncommissioned officers and officers sent to Vietnam at the beginning of the American buildup were concerned that their soldiers and Marines would not fire at the enemy.

The American fighting man made sure that these concerns were short-lived. He showed little hesitation to use a rifle, pistol, shotgun, machine gun, grenade launcher or whatever other weapon he carried. Marshall himself visited Vietnam to conduct studies similar to those done during World War II and later emulated in Korea. He concluded that much had changed since those earlier conflicts and that it was not unusual for close to 100 percent of American infantrymen to engage the adversary during firefights in Vietnam. It seemed that all was well. Marshall had seemingly found that the Americans’ hesitation to fire was all but gone.

Some 20 years later, the validity of Marshall’s analysis was called into doubt. Respected researchers interviewed those who had accompanied him in World War II and also pored over his personal notes during the mid-1980s. Convincing evidence pointed to his having fabricated his World War II ratio-of-fire values, still so widely accepted at the time. The question seemed inevitable: Had there been a problem with Americans’ willingness to engage the enemy in World War II? If so, had it actually been rectified during the Vietnam War as Marshall claimed, or was the research done there just as flawed as had been the case a quarter of a century before?

The concern was fundamental to the nation’s military readiness. Americans would die needlessly and wars would be much extended if U.S. troops failed to perform the essential act of firing on the enemy. Compelled to determine whether a problem existed, I conducted a survey of 258 1st Cavalry Division Vietnam veterans in 1987. My motivation had nothing to do with determining Americans’ willingness to use their weapons in World War II any results from Vietnam would not apply to a war fought decades before. The question was whether there might be an existing problem in the U.S. armed forces. Despite Marshall’s fall from grace, there were those who had agreed with him. The issue was important enough to investigate rigorously. Since Vietnam was the most recent U.S. war, its veterans were the men who could provide answers to critical questions addressing willingness to fire. Ultimately it was their responses that formed the basis for a detailed study of this issue and the influence of training, the 12-month rotation and the six-month command tour on the American fighting man’s combat performance. The results of that study were published in 2000 in the book Reading Athena’s Dance Card: Men Against Fire in Vietnam. This article summarizes those findings relating to whether men fired their weapons and what factors influenced their willingness to do so.

Only nine of the 1st Cavalry Division veterans reported that they never personally fired on the enemy, a far different result from what Marshall had written was the case in the Pacific and Europe. But some might suspect that a man would hesitate to admit his own shortcomings under fire. The veterans were therefore also asked to reflect on the performance of their comrades in arms. When asked what portion of their fellow soldiers fired during any given engagement, the veterans estimated that about 84 percent of a unit’s men armed with individual weapons (rifles, pistols, grenade launchers, shotguns) and approximately 90 percent of those manning crew-served weapons (generally the M-60 machine gun) did so.

From these responses it seems that Americans in Vietnam had little hesitation to engage their enemy. Yet the observations of these veterans prompt the question of why, on average, nearly two of every 10 men were not firing when their unit was in contact. The apparent problem was not of the magnitude Marshall had reported for World War II, but losing the firepower of so many soldiers was still no small matter. In a unit with 500 riflemen, some 80 would not engage. Unlike the numbers from Marshall’s work, these estimates came directly from the men who had fought in the cities, jungles, firebases and rice paddies of Vietnam. Why did so many not fire?

No single factor explains it. A man’s duty position was one critical element. Soldiers surveyed in the 1st Cavalry Division can in general be said to have come from one of two basic groups. The primary job of the first group was to engage the enemy with small-arms fire. These men served as riflemen, machine-gunners, helicopter door gunners, vehicle crewmen or others who were to kill the adversary with the weapon they carried. The second basic group consisted of others who accompanied those of the first group. It included men who might sometimes fire on the adversary, but that was not their primary responsibility. These Marines and soldiers were squad leaders, first sergeants, platoon leaders and company commanders directing maneuvers, distributing ammunition, calling for fire or performing the many other tasks that success in a firefight demanded. They included assistant machine-gunners, whose first responsibilities were to load an M-60 and help the gunner to identify targets. Others were artillery forward observers who called for and directed artillery and aircraft fire medics caring for the wounded engineers destroying bunkers, removing mines or investigating tunnel complexes chaplains radio operators passing information or pilots flying helicopters.

In the case of the second group, vital duties were left undone if on contact these men first raised rifle to shoulder or drew a pistol to engage. There were occasions when firing their weapons was essential, but many times their choice to engage rather than perform their other duties would have done more harm than good. Lieutenant General Harold Moore recalled what his responsibilities as commander of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, demanded of him in his classic book We Were Soldiers Once… and Young. Moore noted that he was tempted by the opportunity to join his riflemen in firing on the enemy during fighting at LZ X-Ray in 1965, but he ‘resisted the temptation. I had no business getting involved with the actions of only one company. I might get pinned down and become simply another rifleman. My duty was to lead riflemen.’ For a very different reason, chaplains rarely engaged the enemy. Regulations proscribed men in those positions from carrying weapons, though some felt compelled to do so in a war in which medics and chaplains, who were not legitimate targets under accepted rules of war, were shot and killed nonetheless.

But even the men whose primary job was to engage the enemy found that at times they could not fire. Location was a second factor that determined whether a man pulled, or should have pulled, the trigger of his weapon. A soldier at the tail of a column winding through the dense foliage of a Southeast Asian jungle might hear an engagement to his front, yet be unable to see where his comrades were located. If he fired, he risked shooting his own men. That same infantryman might later be on the perimeter of a defensive position when the enemy attacked the other side of his firebase. Sluing his weapon around in the dark and firing meant those bullets could strike other defenders in the back.

And it should be no surprise that at times fear kept men from firing. Although the habitual coward was rare, 80 percent of those explaining why a fellow soldier did not fire cited fear as one of the causes. Yet these respondents noted at the same time that fear was generally a passing condition a man not engaging on one occasion could be expected to use his weapon later in the same engagement, or during subsequent battles. Sometimes what appeared to be fear was really common sense, based on an accurate assessment of the situation. A man could be pinned down by heavy and accurate incoming fire. Given that everybody in a unit rarely faced such focused attention, men would wait until the enemy pointed their weapons elsewhere before engaging. One veteran recalled situations when ‘many soldiers don’t return fire because they are behind a tree or log under heavy suppressive fire. Once artillery or other units create a distraction of fire with the enemy, these same soldiers will return fire with relish.’ Another bitterly recalled that his platoon leader ‘chickened out and let a large NVA force through our ambush without engaging them,’ perhaps because he had been fearful. Then again, perhaps it was good judgment on the part of an experienced lieutenant. It was not unusual for an ambush party to let the enemy pass because the Americans were so greatly outnumbered that engaging would have led to disaster. Several veterans recalled that they had been on ambushes where they did not spring the trap for just such a reason.

Level of personal experience could be linked to how scared a man was. New men were too frequently overwhelmed by the sudden roar of a contact, the flying debris of dust, leaves and wood. Even experienced men could find such situations difficult they were potentially terrifying when first encountered. The consequence of a replacement’s failure to respond could sometimes mean the new man’s death. A 1st Cavalry Division veteran recalled one recent arrival who lost his life ‘because he was apparently looking for a foxhole with a concrete lining. As he was dying, he kept saying, `I couldn’t find a hole.’ He was hit about 10 to 15 seconds after we received the first shots and was standing up looking confused. He didn’t respond to the `get down’ yells by other troops.’ Another soldier concluded that when someone failed to fire, it ‘was usually during their first firefight experience and was mainly due to fear or the unsure feeling of how to respond.’ A third admitted that this was undoubtedly the case for at least one rifleman: himself. He wrote that he did not fire in one of his first encounters with the enemy due to fear, adding, ‘I am ashamed to admit this.’ Not firing on one or two occasions did not mean the same man’s response would not be far different during a subsequent event, however. And in fact fear could also have just the opposite effect, as was the case with a veteran who recalled that he was ‘too damned scared to do anything else than shoot and hope I did not get shot.’

Weapons malfunctions sometimes kept a man from engaging even if he wanted to — as did unfamiliarity with a weapon. Controversy regarding the M-16 rifle and its variants developed soon after it was designated as the rifleman’s primary weapon in the theater. Many veteran respondents remained bitter about what they perceived to be a failure to properly train them during the transition from the M-14 to the newer rifle. A considerable number recalled how the weapon they used during basic and advanced individual training was the older M-14, but that the M-16 was issued on their arrival in Vietnam. Too often these men received inadequate training on the unfamiliar rifle before they were committed to active operations. Others are equally passionate about the M-16’s alleged mechanical unreliability. Whether he carried an M-16 or some other weapon, a soldier was fortunate if a rapid reaction drill corrected the problem. If not, a replacement weapon had to be found either during or after the firefight. In either case, the warrior was under fire with no means to engage his attackers.

The assigned mission at times meant that actions other than killing the enemy had a higher priority. Units on intelligence collection operations frequently let a threat pass by unmolested. The members of these patrols sometimes called for artillery to engage the targets after they passed in other instances, the Americans simply reported what they had seen. Firing their weapons risked compromising a patrol’s position, whereas resisting the temptation could provide the information-collectors with several more days of unmolested activity. Given the difficulty of inserting a patrol in many instances, preserving secrecy could easily outweigh the immediate benefit of a few enemy taken under fire.

Similarly, good tactics at times meant that a soldier did not use his primary weapon, if he engaged at all. Experienced units often shifted some if not all of their men just before or after darkness fell so that the NVA or VC could not mark American locations for attack later that night. Enemy sappers routinely made post-sunset attempts to determine the location of U.S. perimeter defensive positions. They sought to cause the Americans to fire so that muzzle flashes would give the defenders’ positions away. Determining the location of heavy weapons such as machine guns was especially desirable those were primary targets during any attack because of their greater killing potential. Men in well-trained units knew when to detonate a Claymore mine, call for mortar or artillery support, or throw a grenade instead of using a rifle, pistol, machine gun or grenade launcher. These alternatives were means of dealing with a threat without compromising firing positions.

Personal beliefs did play a role, though a far less pervasive one than Marshall claimed was the case during World War II. Conscientious objectors accompanied infantry units into combat as medics, ammunition bearers for machine guns, or in other noncombatant roles. They often put themselves at greater risk by not carrying weapons. If the 1st Cavalry Division respondents reflect the majority veteran view, such men generally performed their duties well and were often respected for their convictions. A veteran respondent remembered that he ‘had a medic who was a conscientious objector in the platoon. He chose not to carry a weapon during his tour. When asked if he would fire a weapon if our platoon was being overrun and some of his buddies might die if he did not, his answer was that he `would not fire a weapon.’ He was still respected for his deep conviction against weapons.’

A unit could be in a no-fire zone, an area in which using weapons was prohibited. Poor training that improperly prepared soldiers for combat underlay other cases of failing to engage. In at least one instance a man turned to point out an enemy soldier rather than firing as he should have. Finally, one veteran recalled his simply being outgunned as he stood ‘naked on top of a shower stall put-ting water in. I threw the water can at the enemy, but the round fell way short.’

The list is not exhaustive, but it helps to explain why a unit might have several men not engaging despite being under fire. Often every man fired during a contact at other times, only a few had the opportunity. And there were occasions when fear, cowardice, poor judgment or confusion kept men from employing weapons against their foes when they should have. However, such occasions were the exception in Vietnam.

It is evident that the vast majority of those whose duties put them in harm’s way fired when the situation dictated they should do so. But what factors influenced how many times a man had the opportunity to engage the enemy during his time in Southeast Asia? Were there factors that made it more likely for some men to fire than others? We already know that duty position had such an effect, but the likelihood that someone engaged varied even among those whose primary job was to shoot to kill. More than a third of the 1st Cavalry Division veterans fired on the NVA or VC less than 15 times while in-country. Nearly 80 percent engaged 50 or fewer times. Members of one group in particular, however, consistently saw much more action: aviators and their door gunners. Enlisted men, warrant officers and commissioned officers who flew or crewed aircraft tended to have considerably more engagements on average. A third of this group engaged the enemy more than 100 times fewer than half fired on the enemy less than 50 times.

Besides influencing whether and how often a man fired, duty position also greatly affected his chances of coming home alive. On average, two 1st Cavalry Division soldiers awoke to their last sunrise every day of the 612 years the unit was in Vietnam. Riflemen, door gunners and others who served at the cutting edge, men like the vast majority of those who took my survey, were of course more likely to suffer wounds than others in less exposed specialties.

Climate was another element that made a given day more or less likely to involve enemy contact. The northern part of South Vietnam normally had its rainy season from September to January, the southern part from May to September. That meant enemy infiltration routes were difficult to travel during all but the February-to-May period. Not surprisingly, American units (and the French before them) suffered their largest numbers of casualties during these late winter and spring months.

Likewise, men quickly learned where the chances of enemy contact were greater. That was true locally, in that a given village or region habitually had more contacts than did others in the vicinity. It was also true at the province level. Three of South Vietnam’s provinces (Quang Tri, Quang Nam and Thua Thien) accounted for more than 40 percent of American casualties. More than three-quarters of U.S. servicemen were killed in action in just 10 of the country’s more than 40 provinces.

Time likewise played its part. Although it was not evident until after the war, 1968 was undeniably the year in which the chances of being killed were greatest. It was the only year during the U.S. participation in the conflict in which more than 10,000 Americans lost their lives. For every 1,000 Americans in Vietnam in 1968, 28 died, a higher ratio than in any other year.

Time influenced fatalities in another way, too. The amount of combat experience played a dominating role in the likelihood a man survived. The replacement who was killed while in a panic-stricken search for a ‘concrete foxhole’ lost his chance to learnthe skills needed to survive. Veterans repeatedly cited how vulnerable the new man was until he had a chance to learn the ropes after arriving in the combat theater. The chances that a man would die during his first three months in Vietnam were virtually equal to those for the last nine months of his tour combined. The likelihood that a man survived to return home alive dramatically increased if he lived long enough to discover the lessons of war.

A nation sending its youth to war must prepare them well if those individuals are to survive the experience. Veterans who responded to the survey regarding their months at war passed on many thoughts regarding their performance, expectations, weapons, training, the 12-month tour of duty and the six-month command tour. The lessons of Vietnam are there for those willing to learn.

This article was written by Russell W. Glennt and originally published in the April 2002 issue of Vietnam Magazine.

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Census Stats and “I Served in Vietnam” Wannabees

1,713,823 of those who served in Vietnam were still alive as of August, 1995 (census figures).

During that same Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served was: 9,492,958.

As of the current Census taken during August, 2000, the surviving U.S. Vietnam Veteran population estimate is: 1,002,511. This is hard to believe, losing nearly 711,000 between ’95 and ’00. That’s 390 per day. During this Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country is: 13,853,027. By this census, FOUR OUT OF FIVE WHO CLAIM TO BE VIETNAM VETS ARE NOT. This makes calculations of those alive, even in 2017, difficult to maintain.

The Department of Defense Vietnam War Service Index officially provided by The War Library originally reported with errors that 2,709,918 U.S. military personnel as having served in-country. Corrections and confirmations to this errored index resulted in the addition of 358 U.S. military personnel confirmed to have served in Vietnam but not originally listed by the Department of Defense (All names are currently on file and accessible 24/7/365).

Isolated atrocities committed by American Soldiers produced torrents of outrage from anti-war critics and the news media while Communist atrocities were so common that they received hardly any media mention at all. The United States sought to minimize and prevent attacks on civilians while North Vietnam made attacks on civilians a centerpiece of its strategy. Americans who deliberately killed civilians received prison sentences while Communists who did so received commendations. From 1957 to 1973, the National Liberation Front assassinated 36,725 Vietnamese and abducted another 58,499. The death squads focused on leaders at the village level and on anyone who improved the lives of the peasants such as medical personnel, social workers, and school teachers. – Nixon Presidential Papers.


This Colt automatic assault carbine was favored by many infantrymen thanks to its compact size and short barrel. It was in production until 1970, but was still in use until the end of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. It was later abandoned by Colt so that the company could focus on developing more heavy-barreled weapons. But AR-15s remain some of the best and most popular semi-automatic rifles.

First introduced in 1957, this 7.62 mm behemoth served as a squad automatic firearm during the war among many U.S. units. M60s typically blazed through rounds so quickly that every soldier in a squad typically carried an extra 200-round belt of ammo just for the weapon. During the war, it garnered the nickname “the Pig” because of its hefty size. Despite its power, the weapon suffered its share of drawbacks. Chief among these was the inability of crews to change out the barrel rapidly after prolonged firing. It was also susceptible to the Vietnamese climate, which made damage and deterioration inevitable. Regardless, the M60 served all branches of the U.S. military.

The M2 Browning has seen action in every major American conflict for the past century. The .50 Cal earned a place in history during Vietnam thanks to the efforts of legendary Marine sniper Sergeant Carlos Hathcock who bagged 93 kills at ranges of up to 2,500 yards, many of them with an M2 outfitted with an improvised special telescopic sight he kept in his gear. An automatic, recoil-operated, air-cooled machine gun, the M2 had adjustable headspace which made it a favorite at fixed installations (firebases and the like).

The T223 was designed as a copy of Heckler & Koch’s HK33 assault rifle, which was used by Navy SEAL teams. It was revered for its available 40-round magazine and, soon, it was issued experimentally to small units of U.S. military forces in South Vietnam. Perhaps the most well-known variant was the Stoner 63, a completely modular machine gun that has been called the “trumpet of the SEALs.” It appeared only in limited numbers, but delivered great results.

TL-191 Uniform, weapons and equipment of the Secondary Combatants.

That's a little tricky, Germany was allied to the US during the Great War and therefore at war with Mexico but they would be buying the guns from Switzerland, however in TL-191 the guns might have been manufactured in the CSA instead of Switzerland, in which case no they (Germany)would not be able to purchase the Mandragons.

Another interesting gun question, was the Garand M1 butterflied in TL-191? If not would Germany be interested or inspired by the M1?





S. Marlowski

S. Marlowski

A Lohner-Werke LW. 175C-2 fighter bomber from the 12th Austrian Fighter Squadron in Northern Ukraine, circa 1943. The LW. 175 was an Austro-Hungarian development of the Curtiss Model 75 fighter, in which it would feature a longer and larger tail section, a DB-601 engine, two MG. 1938 15mm machine-guns in the nose, and two 7.92mm MG. 1934 machine-guns in the wings, the provision to carry four 100 lbs bombs under the wings and a single 250 lb bomb under the fuselage. During it's production run from 1942 to late 1944, a total of 389 airframes would be built, in which a small number would serve in the Polish and Bulgarian Air Forces.

S. Marlowski



the Sten was designed to be as simple and as cheap as possible, to be churned out by the carload to fulfill the UK's post-Dunkirk need for SMG's. The weapon was almost universally reviled by British troops for its crudeness and cheap construction.

given that the UK was building up for war longer in this timeline, they'd likely have put some proper developmental time into an SMG. At the very least, they'd have something more refined than the Sten, something like the Sterling, for example (which WAS tested in 1944 IRL)

alternatively, perhaps the Owen Gun or something like it might be developed.


the Sten was designed to be as simple and as cheap as possible, to be churned out by the carload to fulfill the UK's post-Dunkirk need for SMG's. The weapon was almost universally reviled by British troops for its crudeness and cheap construction.

given that the UK was building up for war longer in this timeline, they'd likely have put some proper developmental time into an SMG. At the very least, they'd have something more refined than the Sten, something like the Sterling, for example (which WAS tested in 1944 IRL)

alternatively, perhaps the Owen Gun or something like it might be developed.


S. Marlowski

the Sten was designed to be as simple and as cheap as possible, to be churned out by the carload to fulfill the UK's post-Dunkirk need for SMG's. The weapon was almost universally reviled by British troops for its crudeness and cheap construction.

given that the UK was building up for war longer in this timeline, they'd likely have put some proper developmental time into an SMG. At the very least, they'd have something more refined than the Sten, something like the Sterling, for example (which WAS tested in 1944 IRL)

alternatively, perhaps the Owen Gun or something like it might be developed.



S. Marlowski

S. Marlowski

Type 13 Standard Barrel Hei-To (十三の式標準バレルヘ平東/13-Shiki Hyōjun Bareru Heitō)

The Type 13 was one of the first Japanese barrels to enter service in the Post-War period, serving with the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy from 1953 to 1973 as well as Japan's allied nations in the East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere until the early 2000s. The vehicle would be armed with a 90mm Type 12 main gun along with a 7.7mm Type-97 co-axial machine-gun and a 12.7mm Ho-103 heavy machine-gun mounted on the roof.

Type 25 Standard Barrel Ryu-Ni (二十五式標準バレルリュウニ/25-Shiki Hyōjun Bareru Ryuni)

Developed in the early 1960s as a counter to newer American and German designs, the Type 25 Ryu-Ni would serve the Imperial Japanese Military as their Primary Standard Barrel from 1965 until the mid 2000s. In addition, many of Japan's allies and client states would be equipped with this tank, with several of them still operating the type as of 2021. The vehicle would come equipped with a 110mm Type 22 Main Gun, a co-axial Type-17 machine-gun, and a roof mounted Ho-103 12.7mm machine-gun. It would also be equipped with a large searchlight, NBC protection, a smoke generator, night vision sights, and was even one of the first Japanese Barrels to use a laser rangefinder starting in the 1970s. One of the more distinctive features of the design was it's hydropneumatic system, which enabled the barrel to have it's suspension adjusted in rough terrain.

History of Relics


  • In 1905, Tsarist Russia was the first nation to discover a Relic site near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Yeniseysk Governorate. Lomonosov State University of Moscow served as the research headquarters and answered directly to the Kremlin. On June 30th 1908, due to a mishandling in the facility, a detonation occurred when control of the reactor within was lost. This was known as the Tunguska Event and is the first recorded disaster involving Relic technology.

1920s - 1930s

  • The Soviet Union's reign stabilized in the 1920s following the Russian Revolution and World War I, allowing the Kremlin to gradually resume their exploration of Relics. However, their progress was once again halted as international tensions worsened and The Great Purge began.


  • In 1945 during the last year of World War II, the US busied themselves collecting research and personnel related to nuclear research while the Soviets secured any research on Relics from the Third Reich, including the complete Relic site, Urkunde-01 housed underneath the Nordhausen-Harz mountains.


  • The Warsaw Pact was signed in 1955, allowing the Americans to have their spies infiltrate Eastern Europe during the confusion and learn of the existence of Tabasar-B. In the same year Relic D-1 was discovered within American borders, resulting in Washington setting up its own Relic research agency - ARPA, Advanced Research Projects Agency .
  • The west eventually discovered the "Starfish" facility at Tabasar through high-altitude surveillance and the American President then “blackmailed” Capitol Hill for additional funding for ARPA with news of the Soviet’s progress.
  • Funding to the Tabasar-B relic facility increased in 1955 amidst the discovery of the relic by American spies. The latest model of ternary-logic computer “Сетунь” (Setun) was deployed at the facility at the same time.


  • The OGAS system is first developed in 1960, a nationwide network based off Relic technology.
  • On January 28th, 1961 the facility at Tabasar-B successfully produced what could be called the prototype for the “Pike” Relic weapon system. The Moscow State University named these objects “Идиот” (Moron) . The machines were placed within a shielded room full of Collapse Fluid, absorbing all of the Collapse Fluid and decomposing any metal objects into pure, mono-elemental powder at the same time.
  • The Soviet Union unveiled “Moron” during the 1961 October Revolution Parade, and the next day President Kennedy announced that the Apollo program would be abandoned and funding would be diverted into exploring the “Relic civilization”.
  • The prototype control system for the “Moron” Relic weapon, “Емеля- 1” (Emelya-1) completed successful testing on June 22nd, 1962.
  • Soviet ballistic missile deployment and the stationing of the newly tested “Moron” units in Cuba following a meeting with Castro led to the Cuban Moron Crisis . The American government’s lack of information regarding Relic technology forced them to withdraw their nuclear warheads from Europe in exchange for the Soviets removing “Moron” from Cuba.

This is a direct parallel to the real historical event, the Cuban Missile Crisis .

Markus Wolff, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Bureau of the Ministry of National Security, was lead of the project tasked with researching the excavated remains of the First Relic (Urkunde-01) after their Soviet allies had already pulled out anything of value from within.

Following trials which lasted for 9 months, the Americans were the first to directly use Collapse Fluid in warfare after the President signed the order to bomb North Vietnam with the substance.


  • An electronic surveillance center was constructed to monitor, analyze, and decrypt the signals from the First Relic (Urkunde-01).

It was designed by the First Relic Investigation Working Group of the Leipzig University of Karl Marx. The name of this group was changed to 90Wunsch in 1971 by Markus Wolff. The original codename was Listening Post 90 - Wrack. The change was made to avoid using the conventional naming system of listening posts, but also contained Wolff's own personal wishes.

The ARPANET had no core server, did not require central control, and all communications data and message packets were routed through network nodes. Transmissions in this network could still proceed through even if various terminals and nodes on the network were taken out, as long as there were remaining nodes and terminals still in operation.


  • The “Pike” Relic weapon system was deployed at Khyber Pass in Afghanistan on January 5th, 1981 in order to assess its effectiveness against a rebel training camp. The test was conducted by the 794th Guards Engineering Corps . The “Pike” units were subjected to heavy machine gun fire, anti-tank rockets, 105mm cannons, and 60mm to 80mm artillery, however, no damage was sustained. The units broke through the enemy’s defensive line and advanced on the American military consultants’ camp. The heart of Landi Kotal was overtaken and combatants began to flee. The operation took only one hour.

Post-operation reconnaissance revealed that the “Pike” units break down all matter in their path, as evidenced by a photo of a house sliced in half where one had passed through. Scorch marks were found which indicated the “Pike” units produced heat over 1000 degrees while in operation. This is evidenced by shiny, glazed objects found in their path - ore in the ground which had been subjected to extreme heat.

Those discussions reached mutual agreement on the issue of the continued use of Relic weapons would lead to further spread of ELID and that the policy of “mutually assured destruction” would indeed lead to “mutual destruction”. The US and USSR quickly reached a consensus and revealed their stockpiles of Relic weapons and current state of their Relic research to each other.


  • The Relic Technology Convention was passed on October 31st, 1991 by the UN as global fear of Relic technology continued to grow. All related research and technology was to be sealed. However, in 1993, global interest in Relic technology resumed once more.
  • On August 19th, 1991, the Soviet Union had a regime change. The Russian Federation was established in December of that year. Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan went Independent in succession as a result. These five countries had been important military hubs and once housed “Pike” systems. On top of that they contained stockpiles of at least 5,000 cubic meters of Collapse Fluid.

The UNRA grew concerned over this because they feared these relic weapons might fall into the wrong hands. Although the UNRA was sure that because of the notoriety surrounding “Pike” no corrupt element, terrorists, or black market dealers would risk dealing in merchandise whose origin was immediately identifiable. The UNRA instead focused on the management and control of the stockpiles of Collapse Fluid left behind after the shift in power within Russia.


United States Army & Marine Corps Edit

Infantry weapons Edit

AT Tanks Edit

    MBT (Main Battle Tank) 105mm cannon type Abrams MBT (Main Battle Tank)
  • M1A1 HA Abrams MBT (Main Battle Tank) Heavy Armor MBT (Main Battle Tank) (USMC) MBT (Main Battle Tank) (US Army) TTS (Tank Thermal Sight) Armored Reconnaissance Airborne Assault Vehicle
    IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) Bradley CFV (Cavalry Fighting Vehicle) Assault Amphibian Vehicle Personnel (USMC) Light Armored Vehicle (USMC)
  • LAV-AT Light Armored Vehicle (Anti-Tank) (USMC) APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) APC NBC and EW variants (UOR acquisition from Germany) ITV (Improved TOW Vehicle)

Self-propelled artillery/mortars/rockets

  • LAV-M Light Armored Vehicle (Mortar) (USMC) Self-Propelled Mortar Carrier 155 mm SPH (Self-Propelled Howitzer) 8 inch SPH (Self-Propelled Howitzer) Multiple Launch Rocket System
    Vulcan Air Defence System Self-Propelled SAM (Surface-To-Air Missile) Launcher Humvee
  • M167 VADS Vulcan Air Defence System SAM (Surface-To-Air Missile) Launcher Man-Portable Surface to Air Missile System SAM (Surface-To-Air Missile) Launcher
  • LAV-AD Light Armored Vehicle (Air Defense) (USMC)

Artillery and mortars

Engineering and recovery vehicles

    (Combat Engineer Vehicle) (Armored Combat Earthmover)
  • M60 AVLM (Armored Vehicle Launched MICLIC (Mine-Clearing Line Charge)) (Armoured Recovery Vehicle) (Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge) (Armoured Recovery Vehicle) Armored Bulldozer
    (Armored Command Post) Carrier (Assault Amphibian Vehicle Command) (USMC) Light Armored Vehicle (Command & Control) (USMC) (Fire Support Team Vehicle)
    Humvee (Fast Attack Vehicle) (USMC)
  • M1008 CUCV (Commercial Utility, Cargo Vehicle) 6×4 Army truck medium transportation. 6×4 Army truck medium transportation. A1 6×6 5-Ton Truck (Field Artillery Ammunition Supply Vehicle)
  • 1990 Mitsubishi Pajero V6 3.0 4WD (High Military Positions Transport Vehicle)

Aircraft Edit

    (Army) (USMC)
  • Bell AH-1T Improved SeaCobra (USMC)
  • Bell AH-1W SuperCobra (USMC) (Army) (USN)
  • Boeing CH-46E Sea Knight (USMC) (Army) (USN, USMC) (USMC) (Army)
  • Sikorsky EH-60A Quick Fix (Army)
  • Boeing HH-46D Sea Knight (USN)
  • Sikorsky HH-60H Seahawk (USN) (Army) (USN)
  • Sikorsky MH-60G Pave Hawk (USAF) (Army)
  • Bell OH-58C Kiowa (Army)
  • Bell OH-58D Kiowa (Army)
  • Sikorsky RH-53D Sea Stallion (USMC) (USN) (USN)
  • Sikorsky SH-3H Sea King (USN) (USN)
  • Bell UH-1H Iroquois (Huey) (Army)
  • Bell UH-1N (Huey) (USMC)
  • Bell UH-1V Iroquois (Huey) Aeromedical Evacuation (Army)
  • Boeing UH-46D Sea Knight (USN) (Army)
    (USN, USMC) (Army) (USN) (USMC) (USAF) (USAF)
  • Lockheed AC-130H (Spectre) Gunship (USAF) (USAF)
  • Boeing B-52H Stratofortress (USAF) (USN) (USAF) (USAF) (USN) (USAF) (USAF)
  • Lockheed C-130F Hercules (USN) (USN) (USN) (USN) Airborne Warning And Control System (USAF) (USN) (USN) (USN) Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (USAF) (USAF) (USAF)
  • Lockheed EC-130H Compass Call (USAF)
  • Boeing EC-135L Looking Glass (USAF) (USAF)
  • McDonnell Douglas F-4G Phantom II (Wild Weasel) (USAF) (USN)
  • Grumman F-14A+(B) Tomcat (USN) (USAF) (USAF) (USAF) Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon (USAF) (USN, USMC)
  • McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet (USN, USMC)
  • McDonnell Douglas F/A-18D Hornet (USMC) Dynamics F-111E Aardvark (USAF) Dynamics F-111F Aardvark (USAF) (USAF) (USAF) (USAF)
  • Lockheed KC-130F Hercules (USN, USMC)
  • Lockheed KC-130R Hercules (USMC)
  • Lockheed KC-130T Hercules (USMC) (USAF)
  • Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker (USAF) (USAF) (USMC)
  • North American Rockwell OV-10D Bronco (USMC)
  • North American Rockwell OV-10D+ Bronco (USMC) (USN)
  • Lockheed P-3C Orion (USN) (USAF)
  • McDonnell Douglas RF-4C Phantom II (USAF) (USN)
  • Lockheed S-3B Viking (USN) (USAF) (USN)

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Drones

Ships Edit

Amphibious assault ships

Guided missile cruisers

Guided missile destroyers

Amphibious transport docks

Fast combat support ships

Replenishment oiler ships

Rescue and salvage ships

Amphibious cargo ships

Mine countermeasure ships

United Kingdom Edit

Land-based Edit

    armoured reconnaissance vehicle anti-tank guided missile carrier armoured personnel carrier armoured ambulance armoured reconnaissance vehicle armoured personnel carrier
  • FV432 armoured ambulance infantry fighting vehicle NBC and EW variants (UOR acquisition from Germany)

Self-propelled artillery/mortars/rockets

    Stationary Surface-To-Air Missile Launcher Stationary Surface-To-Air Missile Launcher Mobile Surface-To-Air Missile Launcher surface-to-air missile launcher

Artillery and Mortars

Engineering and recovery vehicles

    - armoured vehicle launched bridge armoured recovery vehicle (ARV) ARV
  • FV512 Warrior Mechanised Combat Repair Vehicle
  • FV513 Warrior Mechanised Recovery Vehicle (Repair)
  • Chieftain Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle (CHARRV)

Aircraft Edit

Rotary-wing Edit
Fixed-wing Edit
    (RAF) IDS (Interdictor/Strike) (RAF) (RAF) ADV (Air Defence Variant) (RAF) (RAF) (RAF) (RAF) (RAF) (RAF) (RAF)
  • Lockheed Hercules C.3 (RAF) (RAF)
  • Vickers VC10 K.2 (RAF)
  • Vickers VC10 K.3 (RAF)
  • M.D.FGR-2 Phantom (92/19 Sqns RAFG)

Ships Edit

Fleet support tankers

Landing Ship Logistics

Mine countermeasure vessels

Primary casualty reception vessels

Kuwait/Free Kuwait Edit

Land-based Edit

Aircraft Edit

France Edit

Land-based Edit

    Armoured Car Armoured Car Armoured Car (Véhicule de l'Avant Blindé)
  • VAB-VCAC/HOT (Véhicule de l'Avant Blindé) ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile) Launching Vehicle
  • VAB-VTM (Véhicule de l'Avant Blindé) Mortar Tractor

Artillery and mortars

Aircraft Edit

Ships Edit

Qatar Edit

Land-based Edit

    (Véhicule de l'Avant Blindé)
  • GIAT VAB-VCAC/HOT (Véhicule de l'Avant Blindé) ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile) Launching Vehicle

Aircraft Edit

Saudi Arabia Edit

Land-based Edit

Engineering and recovery vehicles

Self-propelled artillery/mortars/rockets

Artillery and mortars

Aircraft Edit

Ships Edit

Egypt Edit

Land-based Edit

Self-propelled artillery/mortars/rockets

Italy Edit

Aircraft Edit

Ships Edit

  • 1 Audace-class destroyer (Audace)
  • 3 Lupo-class frigates (Orsa, Lupo, Sagittario)
  • 2 Maestrale-class frigates (Zeffiro, Libeccio)
  • 1 San Giorgio-class amphibious transport dock (San Marco)
  • 2 Stromboli-class replenishment oiler (Vesuvio, Stromboli)

Canada Edit

Ships Edit

Belgium Edit

Sweden Edit

Syria Edit

Iraq Edit

List of substantial numbers of various military equipment in Iraq's possession from around 1970 onwards. (Not a guarantee that all were used in combat or in theatre during the war.)

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