ORDER of BATTLE
Submitted by Richard A. Rinaldi © 1999
South Vietnam had a Joint General Staff, in command of all of the armed
forces. In the Army, most forces came under the commander of a corps. These were
geographic units, known as corps tactical zones (CTZ) and later as military
The original Army organization grew from seven divisions to four corps
tactical zones (I-IV) and nine divisions. From north to south:
- 1st Infantry Division (1st, 2nd
and 3rd Infantry Regiments?)
- 2nd Infantry Division (4th, 5th and 6th
- 51st Infantry Regiment.
- 22nd Infantry Division (40th, 41st
and 47th Infantry Regiments?)
- 23rd Infantry Division (44th and 45th
- 42nd Infantry Regiment.
- 5th Infantry Division (7th, 8th
and 9th Infantry Regiments?)
- 25th Infantry Division (46th, 49th and
50th Infantry Regiments?)
- 43rd and 48th Infantry Regiments.
- 7th Infantry Division (10th, 11th
and 12th Infantry Regiments?)
- 9th Infantry Division (14th, 15th and
16th Infantry Regiments?)
- 21st Infantry Division (31st, 32nd, and
33rd Infantry Regiments?).
There were also armor, ranger, airborne, and marines units (see sections
below on them). GHQ artillery included six battalions of 155mm howitzers, and
some separate batteries of 75mm guns and 105mm howitzers equivalent to another
- 1st Infantry Division was headquartered near Hue for its
- 2nd Infantry Division was originally at Da Nang, moving
its headquarters to Quang Ngai in May 1965, then to Chu Lai in early 1972.
- 5th Infantry Division was headquartered at Phu Loi from
Jul 1964, moving to Lai Khe Feb 1970.
- 7th Infantry Division had its headquarters at My Tho,
moving to Dong Tam (near My Tho) in Sep 1969; Dong Tam had been the base
camp for the 9th [U.S.] Infantry Division.
- 9th Infantry Division had its headquarters at Sa Dec
until Apr 1972, when it moved to Vinh Long (a former U.S. base).
- 21st Infantry Division was headquartered at Bac Lieu.
- 22nd Infantry Division had its headquarters at Kontum
until Mar 1965, when it moved to Ba Gi.
- 23rd Infantry Division had its headquarters at Ban Me
- 25th Infantry Division had its headquarters at Duc Hoa
from Dec 1964. It moved to Cu Chi (former base camp of the U.S. 25th
Infantry Division) Dec 1970.
Around 1959, a division totaled 10,450 personnel (three infantry regiments,
105mm howitzer battalion, 4.2" mortar battalion, reconnaissance company,
and pioneer battalion). This was unchanged at the end of 1964, although the 23rd
Division had only two infantry regiments assigned. From summer 1965, all
infantry regiments began forming fourth battalions.
The 10th Infantry Division was activated 16 May 1965 at Xuan Loc,
in III CTZ (taking in the exiting 43rd and 48th Infantry
Regiments and the new 52nd Infantry Regiment); it was renumbered by
the end of the year (or as late as Jan 1967?) as 18th Division. A new
separate infantry regiment was authorized Nov 1965. In addition, all infantry
divisions began replacing the mortar battalion with a second battalion of 105mm
howitzers. The 23rd Infantry Division acquired a third regiment (53rd
Infantry Regiment) in 1967 or 1968. In early 1968 all divisions were authorized
three 105mm and one 155mm artillery battalions.
Overall organization mid 1968 included the 10 divisions, 3 separate
regiments, airborne division, Ranger command (20 bns), and 11 armored cavalry
bns. Artillery expanded after that point; by the end of 1970 there were 43
battalions of 105mm howitzers and 15 battalions of 155mm howitzers; divisions
actually had 46 of the battalions, exceeding the number arrived at by assuming
three 105mm and one 155mm battalion each (40 battalions). Spring 1970 saw the
authorization of two 175mm gun battalions and two AA battalions (40mm AA and
quad .50). Increases in armor were also authorized.
In 1971, infantry regiments were reduced to three battalions again, but each
battalion was reorganized with four companies. The 3rd Infantry
Division was activated 1 Oct 1971 in I CTZ. Its headquarters was established at
Ai Tu, near Quang Tri city. After the loss of Quang Tri in 1972, it was
reconstituted at Da Nang. By this date, all of the separate regiments were
incorporated into divisions. Following the 1972 Easter offensive, two more AA
battalions and three more 175mm gun battalions were authorized.
December 1972 organization
- 1st Inf Div (MR I: Hue) - 1st, 3rd, 51st,
54th Inf Regts
- 2nd Inf Div (MR I: Quang Ngai) - 4th, 5th,
6th Inf Regts
- 3rd Inf Div (MR I: Quang Tri) - 2nd, 56th,
57th Inf Regts
- 22nd Inf Div (MR II: Bai Gi) - 40th, 42nd,
47th Inf Regts
- 23rd Inf Div (MR II: Ban Me Thuot) - 41st, 44th,
45th, 53rd Inf Regts
- 5th Inf Div (MR III: Lai Khe) - 7th, 8th,
9th Inf Regts
- 18th Inf Div (MR III: Xuan Loc) - 43rd, 48th,
52nd Inf Regts
- 25th Inf Div (MR III: Duc Hoa) - 46th, 49th,
50th Inf Regts
- 7th Inf Div (MR IV: Dong Tam) - 10th, 11th,
12th Inf Regts
- 9th Inf Div (MR IV: Rach Gia) - 14th, 15th,
16th Inf Regts
- 21st Inf Div (MR IV: Bac Lieu) - 31st, 32nd,
33rd Inf Regts
- Abn Div (GR: Saigon) - 1st, 2nd, 3rd Abn
Bdes, 7th Ranger Gp
- Marine Div (GR: Saigon) - 147th, 258th, 369th
- 3rd Rgr Cmnd (Bien Hoa) - 3rd, 5th, 6th
- MR 1 (Da Nang) - 1st Ranger Gp, HQ 1st Armor Bde
- MR II (Pleiku) - 2nd Ranger Gp, HQ 2nd Armor Bde
- MR III (Bien Hoa) 81st Ranger Bn, HQ 3rd Armor Bde
- MR IV Can Tho
- 44th Spec Tac Zone (at Chi Long) - 4th Ranger Gp,
HQ 4th Armor Bde
- Armd Cav Regts: 18 (11 divisional, 7 separate)
- Ranger Bns: 22, plus 33 border ranger defense (successor to old Special
Forces CIDG), and 81st Ranger "Force"
- 105mm How Bns: 33 divisional, 8 separate, 3 airborne
- 155mm How Bns: 11 divisional, 4 separate
- 175mm Gun Bns: 5
- Air Defense Bns: 4 (40mm and quad .50 MG)