US Marine Corps in Vietnam Order of Battle

Page Title - USMC Order of Battle
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US Marine Corps in Vietnam Order of Battle
Submitted by Richard A. Rinaldi © 1999


The Marines were under the control of III Marine Amphibious Force ( III MAF), a corps-level headquarters in I CTZ. III MAF was subordinated (not always happily) to Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV). The first units came from 3rd Marine Division, stationed on Okinawa. These were soon joined by the California-based 1st Marine Division. Two regiments of the newly-formed 5th Marine Division would also serve in Vietnam: the 26th (from 1966) and the 27th (1968 only). While normally each Marine division would be supported by an aircraft wing, all Marine aviation in Vietnam was controlled by 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. While Marine divisions had three infantry regiments, battalions did not always serve under their nominal regimental headquarters but could be shifted as necessary1. Once both the 1st and 3rd Marine Divisions were fully-committed in Vietnam, one of their battalions would be periodically pulled off of other duties and utilized afloat as the Special Landing Force (SLF) with Seventh Fleet.

Notes:

  1. All Marine regiments were designated simply “Marines” without branch designators: e.g., 1st Marines was infantry and 12th Marines were artillery.

United States Marine Corps TOE’s

Marine Infantry Battalion ca. 1965

  • Headquarters and support: ? (includes 8 81mm mortars and 8 106mm recoilless rifles)
  • Four rifle companies: headquarters (9 personnel), heavy weapons platoon (66 personnel, 6 MMG, 6 3.5" rocket launchers, 3 60mm mortars), and three rifle platoons (47 personnel each).
  • Company aggregate: 216 personnel

Marine Infantry Battalion Jun 1967 TOE

  • Headquarters and Service Company (329 USMC and 56 USN personnel)
  • Four rifle companies (each 216 personnel)
  • Battalion aggregate 1193 USMC and 56 USN (1249)

Reconnaissance Battalion

  • Organized in four companies, and a purely infantry unit (unlike Army reconnaissance units, which were generally mechanized)

DS Artillery Battalion Apr 1964 TOE

  • Three batteries of towed 105mm howitzers (6 each) and a battery of "howtars" (4.2mm mortar barrel on the carriage of a 75mm pack howitzer, 6 weapons)

GS Artillery Battalion Apr 1965 TOE

  • Three batteries of 155mm howitzers (6 each). These officially converted to the M109 SP 155mm howitzers. However, both Marine divisions went to Vietnam with two batteries SP and one battery still towed. Even when the third battery became SP, they retained a provisional towed battery for some time.

Tank Battalion 1968 TOE

  • HQ and Service Company (2 M48 and 9 M67A2 flamethrower tanks)
  • Three tank companies (each 17 M48)
  • Antitank Company (20 Ontos vehicles)

Amphibious Tractor Battalion Mar 1967 TOE

  • HQ and Service Company (12 LVTP, 3 command LVTP (CMD), 8 engineer LVTE, one recovery LVTR)
  • Two companies, each with 44 LVTP, 3 LVTP (CMD), 1 LVTR
  • Units generally had additional LVTR’s

Armored Amphibian Company

  • 12 LVTH (105mm howitzer mounted)
  • There had earlier been provisional platoons of 6 LVTH each

Sources

Commander in Chief, Pacific and Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. Report on the War in Vietnam (as of 30 June 1968). Washington: Government Printing Office, n.d. [1969]

Marine Official Histories [in sequence]

Shulimson, Jack and Maj Charles M. Johnson. U.S. Marines in Vietnam. The Landing and the Buildup, 1965. 1978)

Shulimson, Jack. U.S. Marines in Vietnam. An Expanding War, 1966. (Washington, DC: History and Museums Division, Headquarters U.S.M.C., 1982)

Telfer, Maj Gary L. and Lt Col Lane Rogers. U.S. Marines in Vietnam. Fighting the North Vietnamese, 1967. (Washington, DC: History and Museums Division, Headquarters U.S.M.C., 1984)

Shulimson, Jack, Lt Col Leonard A. Blaisol, Charles R. Smith and Capt David A. Dawson. U.S. Marines in Vietnam. The Defining Year, 1988. (Washington, DC: History and Museums Division, Headquarters U.S.M.C., 1997)

Smith, Charles R. U.S. Marines in Vietnam. High Mobility and Standdown, 1969. (Washington, DC: History and Museums Division, Headquarters U.S.M.C., 1988)

Cosmas, Graham and Lt Col Terrence P. Murry. U.S. Marines in Vietnam. Vietnamization and Redeployment, 1970—1971. (Washington, DC: History and Museums Division, Headquarters U.S.M.C., 1986)

Murphy, Edward F. Semper Fi Vietnam: From Da Nang to the DMZ, Marine Corps Campaigns, 1965 – 1975. Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1997.

Stanton, Shelby L. Vietnam Order of Battle. Washington, DC: U.S. News Books, 1981.

Webster’s New World Dictionary of the Vietnam War. (New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1999)

Weller, Jac. Fire and Movement: Bargain-Basement Warfare in the Far East. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1967.

Fragmentary historical information can be found on the following USMC home pages: "Marine Aircraft Group 11" [the best] (http://www.miramar.usmc.mil/mag11/index.htm), "3rd Marine Aircraft Wing" (http://www.miramar.usmc.mil/main/3dmaw.htm), and

"1st Marine Aircraft Wing" (http://www.1maw.usmc.mil/).

 

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