Were tanks used in Vietnam?

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In 1960, on behalf of the United Nations, the USA took over the protection of the territory of the Republic of South Vietnam against the progressive infiltration by the underground fighters of the Viet Cong supported by the communist North Vietnam. Initially, only a few military advisers were present in South Vietnam. Later, with the increasing intensification of the conflict after the incursion of regular North Vietnamese troops on southern territory, well over 100,000 soldiers fought in the country. They had some of the most modern weapons in the American arms industry at their disposal. Some of the vehicles described here can also be found in the Battlefield 1942 Mod "Eve of Destruction".
Transport boat "Tango" ATC

The Mobile River Force (MRF) of the US Navy had a variety of boat types available for the various tasks in the extensive river systems of Vietnam. These rivers were often the only way to bring soldiers and material to their place of action. The TANGO ATC (= Armored Troop Carrier) was specially designed for this purpose, a 66-ton, armed and armored boat that could transport troops and heavy equipment even in shallow waters and unload them via a bow ramp. Copies of the later series also had a landing platform for helicopters. In the impassable jungle areas of Vietnam, the tangos also provided valuable services as floating repair shops and for evacuating the wounded. They were also used for patrol duties, because the enemy also used the rivers as a supply route. For self-defense, the Tangos were armed with machine guns, rapid-fire cannons and a grenade launcher in armored rotating turrets. The drive was provided by two Gray Marine 64HN9 engines with 225 hp each, which were sufficient for a top speed of 8.5 knots. When the USA withdrew from Vietnam in 1970, many tangos were handed over to the South Vietnamese troops.

Crew:Seven menArmament:four MG caliber 7.62mm, two to three rapid-fire cannons caliber 20mm and a 40mm grenade launcherClassification:Armored transport and landing craft

These boats, which are extremely light at only 6.8 tons and very fast at almost 28 knots, were used by the Mobile River Force on the rivers of Vietnam from 1965 to gain control of these extremely important waterways. It was their job to control all ship and boat traffic. This was to cut off the Viet Cong from supplies and prevent it from infiltrating into areas further controlled by South Vietnam. The PBRs (= Patrol Boat, River) were a military version of a sport boat from the United Boat Building of Bellingham and were perfect for the conditions in Southeast Asia. Their hull is made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic, which is light and strong but offers little protection against projectiles. This also applies to the armament: All machine-gun positions are almost without cover for the shooters, which is why the PBR are only of limited use for combat missions. They are powered by two 216 HP Gray Marine 6V53N diesels, which act on two water jet nozzles. The PBRs became famous above all through the film "Apocalypse Now", in which such a boat is assigned to a special mission.

Crew:Four to five menArmament:One 12.7mm Browning twin MG in the front, one 12.7mm Browning and two 7.62mm M60 MG in the rearClassification:Patrol speedboat


Ford M151 4x4 MUTT with TOW

In the 1950s, Ford developed a successor to the jeep from World War II, which was used by the US troops up to that point. The vehicle went into series production in 1960 and was named M151 MUTT (= Military Utility Tactical Truck). Outwardly, it was very similar to its predecessor. Under the sheet metal, however, the construction differs drastically: Instead of rigid axles, the M151 has an independent wheel suspension guided by coil springs, a body pressed from one piece and a new 2.3 L four-cylinder engine with an overhead camshaft that produces 72 hp. The M151 was fast, robust and offered a relatively high level of driving comfort, but always suffered from a particular tendency to oversteer, especially when unloaded. Rapid entry into tight bends could even lead to a rollover. Despite many improvements to the chassis, this could never be completely eliminated. Nevertheless, from the Vietnam conflict up to the 1980s, the vehicle was used in large numbers by the US armed forces in a large number of variants, e.g. as a command and ambulance vehicle and weapon carrier. One of these variants is armed with a TOW anti-tank missile launcher. TOW means "Tube launched optically tracked wire-guided anti-tank missile", so it is a wire-guided missile that is fired from a tube and optically steered by the shooter to the target. It was produced by the Hughes company from 1968 and proved itself for the first time on the battlefields of Vietnam as an effective "tank cracker". It can be transported by small groups, but was also mounted on vehicles and built into helicopters. Disadvantage: Since the shooter has to aim at the target until it has reached the rocket (up to 20 seconds), a TOW launcher is very vulnerable, especially since the smoke trail of the rocket reveals the location of the shooter. By the way, each rocket costs $ 18,000.

Crew:Three menArmament:One TOW anti-tank missile launcher, two reserve missiles.Classification: Military vehicles


M113 infantry fighting vehicle

With around 80,000 units produced, the types of the M113 family are still the most widely built and most versatile armored vehicles of all. The development began in the 1950s with a requirement by the US military for a cheap, light, manoeuvrable and buoyant transport vehicle. In 1960 the M113 went into production at FMC as an armored personnel carrier (APC). All drive components are concentrated at the front, while a large foldable ramp at the rear enables the mounted troops to quickly exit the tank and get back into the tank. The M113, jokingly referred to as the “battle taxi” by the soldiers, received their baptism of fire in the Vietnam conflict, where they were soon modified for other purposes: as ambulance vehicles for the rescue and care of the wounded, as a moving command center and, last but not least, as fire support vehicles that can be used equipped with additional machine guns, grenade launchers or anti-tank weapons. Over forty standardized versions of the M113 are known today, plus an almost unmistakable number of improvisations. The M113 has been delivered to more than 50 countries and is still in service with many armies around the world, where it is continuously modernized and adapted to current requirements. In the US Army, for example, it no longer serves as an APC - the M2A3 Bradley has taken on this role - but as a carrier vehicle for the M163 Vulcan air defense system. From version A1 (from 1964) the M113 has a 275 hp Detroit 6V53T diesel engine, which is sufficient for a speed of approx. 65 km / h. The armor of the almost 12-ton M113 is made of a special aluminum alloy and protects the occupants from light machine-gun fire and shrapnel. Many M113s were later fitted with additional steel armor. The M113 A1 in the picture above carries an additional protective shield for the machine gunner, which is often used in Vietnam. A fold-down panel is attached to the bow plate, which serves as a splash guard when crossing bodies of water, but has been removed from many vehicles. The wire netting was stretched around the tank when the crew took breaks from the march and camped. This was intended to intercept slowly flying anti-tank missiles (e.g. RPG-7).

Crew:Two men plus eleven soldiers, in the game a driver, machine gunner and four soldiersArmament:a 12.7mm MGClassification:Armored personnel carrier


Main battle tank M48 A3 Patton

The M48 Patton was the main battle tank in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. The 52-ton colossus was built in over 11,000 copies between 1952 and 1959 and was baptized by fire during the Korean War. It was equipped with the most modern fire control system of its time: a stereo-optical rangefinder supplied the data to a mechanical ballistics computer, which within a few seconds automatically set the cannon barrel to the angle of elevation required for a hit. Under optimal conditions, a well-trained crew was able to stop in just seven seconds from a speed of 40 km / h, lock on the target and fire a shot - with a probability of a first shot kill of 90 percent. The area in Vietnam, where the A3 version of the M48 was used from 1968, was actually extremely unsuitable for classic tank combat. That is why a few M48s were sent to Vietnam very late and only on special request. However, they soon provided excellent service in direct infantry support, in the destruction of bunkers and positions, and in the protection of convoys. The reason for this was their ability to break a swath through even the thickest jungle. Added to this was their enormous cross-country mobility, thick armor and relative resistance to mines. M48 survived mine explosions that would have torn an M113 apart without losing more than the chain and a few wheels. The greatest danger threatened the M48 from shaped charge projectiles, e.g. anti-tank missiles and RPGs (= Rocket Propelled Grenades). The crews therefore attached all kinds of equipment to the outside of the tank, which were supposed to trigger the detonator of such projectiles before they hit the armor and thus weaken their effectiveness. There was only one real tank battle in Vietnam, in the Battle of Bien Het, when M48s met North Vietnamese T-54s. The M48 A3 is powered by a 750 hp AVDS 1790 diesel engine. The tank in the picture above has an infrared spotlight above the cannon for night combat. As with this tank, many crews mounted an additional 12.7mm MG on the outside of the commander's cupola, which had a better field of fire than the gun mounted on the inside.


Four men, two in the game


One 90mm cannon, one coaxial 7.62mm machine gun and one 12.7mm machine gun in the commander's cupola.

Classification:Main battle tank


M551 Sheridan light tank

The M551 Sheridan was developed and produced from 1966 to give the US Army an air transportable tank that is suitable for reconnaissance tasks and at the same time has a large firepower. For this, the vehicle had to be light on the one hand and heavy armament on the other. Such a design requires compromises, so it is not surprising that the Sheridan was not a particularly lucky design. The tank, which weighs only 17 tons, has an aluminum hull and a futuristic-looking steel turret. Its armor is so thin that it can be penetrated by heavy machine guns at close range. Mines have a particularly devastating effect on the Sheridan - and mines have been and are more than enough in Vietnam. Due to its low weight, however, it is even possible to parachute the Sheridan down. A special feature of the Sheridan is its armament: it has a 152mm cannon that can fire both conventional HEAT (High Explosive Anti Tank) and Shillelag anti-tank missiles. In use, it turned out that the rocket's electronics frequently failed, which is why in Vietnam, where the Sheridan appeared from 1968, not a single one of these rockets was fired at the enemy. But normal ammunition also caused problems. The recoil of the large-caliber shells was enormous and carried over to the entire vehicle, which led to frequent defects. Nevertheless, the Sheridan was used more and more frequently towards the end of the Vietnam War, which was mainly due to its excellent mobility. With his 300 hp Detroit 6V-53T two-stroke turbodiesel, he still reached 72 km / h on the road, and in the swampy rice fields of Vietnam it proved to be an advantage that the Sheridan was partially buoyant. After the end of the Vietnam War, most of the Sheridan were retired or given to the National Guard. The 82nd Airborne Division of the US Army, however, kept 330 copies and subjected them to a combat upgrade, the details of which are unknown, but should include a modern fire control system and optimized ammunition, among other things. These vehicles were last used in Operation Desert Shield in 1991 against Iraq and probably also in Operation Iraqi Freedom in spring 2003.

Crew:Four men, in game three: driver, gunner and a passenger


One 152mm cannon, one coaxial 7.62mm machine gun and one 12.7mm machine gun on the commander's cupola, six radio-controlled Shillelag anti-tank missiles.Classification:Light main battle tank


Self-propelled howitzer M110

The self-propelled howitzer M110 was developed to provide the US troops with mobile fire support over medium distances. It has an unarmoured mount that uses the same drive and chassis components as the M113 and is powered by a Detroit Diesel 8V-71T with 405 hp. A 203mm gun is mounted on this mount, which can fire shells weighing 100 kilograms up to twice a minute for 18 kilometers. With special rocket-supported ammunition, a range of 30 kilometers can be achieved. The total weight of the vehicle is 31 tons. The M110 self-propelled howitzer was produced in a number of just over 1000 units from 1963 and was used extensively during the Vietnam War. It later belonged to the arsenal of many NATO member states until it was gradually replaced by new systems at the beginning of the 1990s. A crew of 12 soldiers is required to operate them. In the firing position, a support shield attached to the stern is lowered to absorb the recoil of the heavy gun. The M110 is air transportable and mobile enough to be used even with advancing armored units and to support them with their murderous hail of missiles. In addition to the preparatory bombing of enemy deployment areas and defense lines, the main purposes of use are the elimination of enemy artillery batteries and air defense positions.

Crew:Eight men, in game two: driver and shooterArmament:A 203mm howitzer with drawn barrel and muzzle brake, rotating swivel breech block, ammunition types: HE fragmentation grenades (= High Explosive), HE grenades with rocket support, projectiles with cluster bombs (bomblets) or chemical warfare agents, smoke and light grenadesClassification:Self-propelled artillery gun


Bell UH-1D Iroquois transport helicopter

The Bell UH-1 Iroquois, often just called "Huey" by the soldiers, was developed from 1955 onwards due to a request from the US Army for a new transport helicopter. The enlarged UH-1D version first appeared in Vietnam in 1963. Since then, the image of this machine has been inextricably linked to the Vietnam conflict, to which numerous war films have contributed. In fact, the indestructible and powerful helicopter soon became the workhorse of the US troops in Vietnam.Often the only possible means of transport to bring troops, equipment, and supplies to the scene in the dense jungle-covered country with hardly any roads, the Hueys were ubiquitous - the US Army had 5,000 of them in Vietnam in action. They were also used to care for and evacuate wounded soldiers. For self-defense, the actually unarmed machines in Vietnam were armed with two machine guns firing from the side of the cargo hold doors. The Bell UH-1 is powered by a Lycoming T53-L-11 turbo shaft engine with a continuous output of around 1100 hp and thus reaches a maximum speed of 225 km / h. A total of 9,000 UH-1s were built and they are still in use in over 40 countries around the world.Crew:Two pilots and up to 12 soldiers, in the game pilot and copilot and 4 passengersArmament:two 7.62mm M60 MG in the side loading doorsClassification: Transport helicopter


Bell UH-1D Iroquois attack helicopter

Anyone who has ever seen Apocalypse Now will know the scene when heavily armed Hueys rush into an unsuspecting Vietnamese village to the sound of Wagner's “Ritt der Walküre”. In fact, the US Army also used the versatile Bell UH-1D as an attack helicopter, and the scene clearly shows what these machines were capable of. For combat missions, the Hueys, which are otherwise identical to the transport version, could be equipped with a whole arsenal of weapons, limited actually only by the maximum take-off weight of around 5 tons. These included machine guns, missiles, grenade launchers, and anti-tank missiles. The Bell UH-1 was the first ever helicopter to be converted for combat missions on a large scale. Their successes in supporting ground operations eventually led to the development of the AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter. Its nickname "Huey Cobra" also reveals that the good old Bell UH-1 is still hidden under the heavily modified exterior. The picture above shows a Bell UH-1 of the famous 174th Assault Helicopter Corps, which was deployed in Vietnam between 1966 and 1971. Characteristic of this unit were the painted shark mouths, which is why they were also called "Sharks". Crew:Four men, plus up to 8 soldiersArmament:

Optionally a subsystem with four forward-firing 7.62mm M60 MGs, missile containers for unguided air-to-ground missiles, a 40mm grenade launcher mounted rotatably under the helicopter nose and up to six wire-guided AGM-22B anti-tank missiles.

Classification:Attack helicopter


Bell AH-1G Huey Cobra attack helicopter

The Bell AH-1 Cobra first flew in 1965 and was the world's first all-attack attack helicopter. The machine was created due to a demand by the US military for a small and agile attack helicopter with large firepower, whose operation and weapon controls were so easy that they could be quickly and intuitively mastered by the soldiers. For the Cobra, Bell had used tried and tested components from the UH-1 Iroquois helicopter and constructed a completely new fuselage around them. It has an extremely narrow profile because the two crew members were positioned one behind the other, similar to a fighter jet. As a result, the Cobra was not only almost twice as fast as the UH-1, it was also a poor target and was difficult to spot. The Cobra flew its first missions in Vietnam, where it initially performed escort and fire support tasks in joint operations with troop transport helicopters. Soon, however, it was also increasingly used for offensive combat against enemy ground troops and tanks. It spread fear and terror in the opponent mainly because it was able to find and hit its targets both during the day and at night. Cobras worked in Vietnam for over a million hours until the US armed forces withdrew and formed the backbone of the American combat helicopter associations until the 1990s. In the meantime, however, the machine has been completely replaced by the more modern AH-64 Apache in the US Army. The US Marines are still using a number of Super Cobras of the type AH-1W, which have two instead of one engine. They are currently being modernized and should be in service until 2013.

Crew:two men (pilot and weapons officer)Armament:

A multi-barreled 7.62mm minigun or a 40mm grenade launcher in a turret under the nose, weapon stations for four TOW anti-tank missiles, multiple air-to-ground missile containers, AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and weapon containers with 7.62mm miniguns and 20mm cannons.

Classification:Attack helicopter


Boeing Vertol CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter

The CH-47 Chinook is a large transport helicopter that is able to bring troops, weapons, ammunition and equipment to their place of use during the day and at night in almost all weather conditions. In addition, he has night vision devices and a complete instrument flight facility. The hull of the Chinook is around 15 meters long - as long as a semi-trailer. If you add the span of the two 18-meter-diameter rotors, you even get double that. With its two 2650 HP Lycoming T55-L7 gas turbines, the Chinook reaches a top speed of 340 km / h, the normal flight speed is 260 km / h. The machine was developed in the second half of the 1950s, the first CH-47A models reached Vietnam as early as 1962, where they performed indispensable services in replenishment and logistics. Based on the experiences made there, the Chinook has been continuously improved - until today, because even after 40 years there are still numerous Chinooks in active service in the US Army. Above all, the payload of the CH-47C, which was produced from 1967, was increased from five to ten tons by boosting engines to 3700 hp and a reinforced fuselage. Modern versions of the CH-47 even manage up to 13 tons! Above all, the ability of the CH-47 to lift heavy loads hanging from ropes under the fuselage proved to be very useful. As a “flying crane”, they were able to bring guns and vehicles quickly from one place to another and help with the recovery and repair of vehicles and aircraft. As a troop transport, the Chinook has space for 33 soldiers or - in the medical version - for 24 stretchers. For self-defense, many Chinooks had machine guns in the side hull doors and in the rear hatch. There was also an attack helicopter version of the Chinook, the ACH-47 (the A stands for "Attack"). It was armored to protect the occupants and important parts of the helicopter against machine gun fire from the ground. The armament consisted of up to four 12.7mm Browning or 7.62mm M60 MGs firing on either side of side doors or hull windows and one or two M60 MGs in the rear cargo hatch. Missile containers, 20mm cannons and 7.62mm Gatlings (so-called "miniguns") could be attached to weapon pylons on the outside of the fuselage. A swiveling 40mm grenade launcher was also housed under the nose of the fuselage. Due to the heavy weight of armor, weapons and ammunition, the ACH-47 could only be used to a very limited extent for transport tasks.

Crew:Four men plus up to 33 soldiersArmament:

Three 7.62mm machine guns.

Classification:Heavy transport helicopter


Fighter-bomber McDonnel F-4 Phantom

The F-4 Phantom is one of the most notable and important combat aircraft of the post World War II era. With over 5000 units, it is not only one of the most frequently built fighter jets, but also the first to completely dispense with rigidly installed on-board cannons. The two-seat machine was originally developed as an all-weather interceptor and air superiority fighter. For this, it was provided with extensive equipment for electronic warfare and received the most modern missile systems available. The second man in the cockpit was a weapons officer whose main task was to operate the on-board electronics. The production and commissioning of the F-4 Phantom in the US Navy, the US Marine Corps and the US Air Force began in 1963, and Phantoms were soon used in increasing numbers in the Vietnam conflict. There it turned out that the Phantom was also a formidable fighter-bomber, excellently suited to provide air support to ground troops wherever necessary. Its two powerful General Electric J79 engines not only allowed twice the speed of sound, but also an enormous bomb load. In 1995 the F4 Phantom was taken out of service with the US Air Force. However, this outstanding fighter jet still flies with many smaller air forces today.

Crew:Two menArmament:Either two air-to-air missiles of the types AIM-9M Sidewinder and AIM7 Sparrow or air-to-surface missiles of the types AGM-65 Maverick and AGM-88 HARM, or a maximum of 5600 KG high explosive and incendiary bombs at a lower fuselage station and four underwing stations.Classification:Interceptors, fighter-bombers


Vought A-7 Corsair fighter-bomber

The A-7 Corsair was also brand new when it was first used in 1967 by two US Navy carrier combat groups over the Vietnamese combat areas. It was specially designed to carry as high a payload as possible for a variety of uses. Around 200 different combinations of weapons, additional tanks and special containers with a total weight of more than 7500 kilograms can be accommodated at a total of eight outstations. It is even capable of refueling other aircraft in the air. Its prime role, however, is the direct air support of ground units, where it has proven to be unrivaled in effectiveness. The electronic equipment allowed her the same accuracy at night as during the day. This dangerousness in connection with her extraordinary robustness and the not very elegant appearance soon earned her the nickname "Sluff" (= short little ugly fat fellow). The on-board systems are compatible with all standard weapon systems in the US arsenal, so that it can carry both air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles and a variety of bomb types on its pylons. Critical areas of the Corsair are armored against machine gun fire. With its Allison / Rolls Royce TF41-A-400 turbofan engine, it reaches a maximum of Mach 0.94, i.e. around 1120 km / h. The last missions under US sovereignty flew the Corsair in 1991 with Operation Desert Storm, in 1992 the last squadrons were switched to the new F-18 Hornet. But it is still flown by the air forces of Greece, Portugal and Thailand to this day.

Crew:A pilot Armament:A six-barreled 20mm Vulcan cannon rigidly in the fuselage, six underwing stations for a total of 7,500 kilograms of weapons payload.Classification:Multipurpose fighter, fighter-bomber