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The combatants of the Vietnam War

By Sakhal

In the long war in Vietnam, the human factor was so or more important than the armament deployed, even if the most sophisticated - and also the most primitive - weapons were used. This article describes the combat forces deployed in the conflict.

The anti-communist forces in Vietnam included the Army of the Republic of Vietnam - or simply South Vietnamese Army - and the American, French and Australian forces. Of all the fighting forces, the Americans endured the harshest in the Second Vietnam War. They had deployed more than 500000 men in Southeast Asia in 1968-69. Between 1964 and 1973, 45790 were killed.

The South Vietnamese soldier

This soldier of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam is equipped with American weapons, uniform, bags and radio transmitter-receiver. He carries an assault rifle M16 A1 Armalite, which the Vietnameses, of low stature, considered very appropriate for their needs. While their allies made the war to later leave, the soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam had to remain there with their victories and their defeats. When they had good commanders, they were a match for their enemies. For example, during the Tet Offensive launched by the Communists in 1968, despite having been took by surprise in a badly unbalanced situation, these men resisted firmly and eventually defeated the Viet Cong.

The combatants of the Vietnam War

The American soldier

This soldier of the US Marine Corps operating during the Battle of Hue in February 1968, wears the combat uniform in green olive color with anti-bullet vest. The bayonet is mounted in his assault rifle M 16 in caliber 5.56 millimeters, in prevision of melee combat; an ammunition belt in caliber 7.62 millimeters for the light machine gun M60 surrounds his torso while in the backpack he carries spare clothing and equipment.

The combatants of the Vietnam War

The French soldier

This corporal from a French line regiment carries the compact and reliable submachine gun MAT-49 in caliber 9 millimeters. He wears uniform in jungle green color with camouflage pattern and boots manufactured with canvas and rubber like the ones previously used by the British in the Malaysian jungle. His backpack is of the French model, manufactured with canvas and leather. Both the harness and the steel helmet are of American manufacture.

The combatants of the Vietnam War

The communist forces included troops of the Viet Cong, which was the local liberation movement of South Vietnam, and the People's Army of Vietnam - or simply North Vietnamese Army -, which was nominally independent. There were regular units of the Viet Cong organized in regiments and smaller units of partial dedication in the villages under communist control. The communist victory in 1975 was the result of a conventional invasion carried by the North Vietnamese Army with armored forces and infantry.

The North Vietnamese soldier

This soldier of the People's Army of Vietnam wears uniform in green olive color and a fresh and lightweight helmet whose design reminds of the salacot used by the first European colonizers. His basic personal weapon was the assault rifle AK-47, but this soldier holds an anti-tank rocket launcher RPG-7, supplied by the Soviets. His food-storing tube stored enough dry provisions and rice to feed him during seven days.

The combatants of the Vietnam War

The soldier of the Viet Cong

This soldier of the Viet Cong wears the "black pyjamas" that characterized these guerrilla fighters and is armed with the Soviet assault rifle Kalashnikov AK-47. He wears a soft hat and a set of pouches, in khaki color and manufactured in workshops in the jungle. His lightweight sandals were probably made from pieces of rubber from discarded truck tyres.

The combatants of the Vietnam War

The "Carrier of the People"

This communist carrier could load up to 25 kilograms per day in flat terrain and along 25 kilometers. In mountainous terrain that distance could be reduced to 14.5 kilometers. With the modified bike shown in the illustration he could transport loads of up to 68 kilograms. The bamboo canes fixed to the handlebar and to the column of the saddle allowed him to control the movement of the bike in the roughest of terrains.

The combatants of the Vietnam War

Categories: Infantry - Cold War - 20th Century - [General] - [General]


Website: Military History

Article submitted: 2014-12-14

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