NVA/VC Part Two
VC - NOT MAINFORCE VC - BUT PLAIN JANE VC, seem to have operated on
an extended platoon organization based around a HQ squad and no set
number of other squads. Each village seemed to provide it's own
squad or maybe more, if it was a big village. The HQ always came from a
NVA trained cadre from the MAINFORCE VC as near as I could tell at Grunt
and MP level. This HQ squad seemed to always have a small squad size
base camp in the jungle, and seldom entered the villages and hamlets as a
Squads from hamlets and villages rendezvoused with this HQ squad for
operations, and never seem to actually visit the base camp. But they
always knew where to find the squad contact point.
Everyone had official RVN citizen ID cards-never saw a dead gook without
I think that these guys were organized in approx squads of 6 - 9
guerillas. Most had access to SKS rifles, Hand Grenades, LMG
(sometimes) and an RPG. Soldiers in country almost a year before me
said they used to have old French, WWII German, and ex ARVN (USA WWII)
weapons. I myself picked up as a trophy a WW II German Army Walther 9mm
with extra mags off of a dead VC NCO or Officer. And of course
these guys all wore the papasan hat, black pjs, and flipflops in addition
to weapons - hide the weapons and they were civilians. Units had men
and women - men were either under age for ARVN service or overage, or
"disabled" but military age.
Mainly used as rear area harassment troops, AP, mining roadways,
setting up mantraps, scouts, spies, terrorists, etc. Occasionally used to
fight with US troops but preferred to fight with ARVN and National Police
troops. Sometime platoons would come together for company and
battalion size operations - usually against the ARVN or the National
Police units or installations. Operated mainly at night and during bad
weather in spite of local superstitions.
MAINFORCE VC AND NVA ARE THE SAME GUYS, MOSTLY, BUT WITH DIFFERENT
UNIFORMS AND COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well trained. well armed, brave, brutal, and well led with very good
morale. Good at jungle operations, very good at ambushes of any size, day
or night. Very casual in their execution of POWs, the wounded, and
anyone else that was a threat or as a needed example for all to
Squads of 6 - 9 soldiers, always with AKs, HG, RPG, and RPD machine
guns, platoons always with some kind of mortar support,
sometimes as large as 120mm mortars, and 122mm rockets (company and
battalion size units only had these weapons). Operated day or night, stand
fights no problem, but prefer night and bad weather operations (US
airpower and artillery handicapped by same was their theory).
They were NOT REAL FLEXIBLE THOUGH!!!!!!! Sometimes using the
same attack plans , or continuing with what ever the plan was until
casualties became too high. Officers seemed to view soldiers like rifle
They always tried to recover
weapons, wounded and bodies to hide their loses in personnel and to cut
down on equipment loss.
They never used our M-16s,
preferring the much more reliable AK to our weapon. They would use them in
a pinch. They liked our M-60s, M79s, and .45 Colts. Our
mortars were used against us too - ARVNs kept them in a ready supply
of abandoned or sold outright weapons.
The MAINFORCE VC/ NVA always seemed to outnumber us in firefights.
This may seem odd but a lot of US companies that had 250 on
paper, really had anywhere from 150 -100 in the field in real life. Some
were smaller - one company in my battalion had about 90 guys. And
although there are 4 fighting Co in a battalion, 1 is always standing down
at base camp, so that leaves 3 in the field. My company had 200 men
after just a short while in country, in 4 platoons, plus a HQ platoon
(mostly at base camp).
Fights were always hard, and it was rare to see the enemy until either
they assaulted you, or you assaulted them!!!!! Mostly just shoot at muzzle
flashes, dancing leaves/dust (muzzle blast effect), sounds, an
occasional man seen running or moving briefly. Same for
them! Best way to survive was not become a target or stay in
one place too long, Firefights usually start at short range , say 10 - 25
yards or less, and both sides rapidly form firing lines, sometimes trying
to get around or on the flanks of the enemy, but mostly a slugfest!
Eventually, when they got close enough, they would try to close with
us to avoid airstrikes, mortars, and artillery fire.
Night battles always saw them rush our NDP time and time again, sometimes
they would get close enough for hand to hand, or penetrate the NDP or the
perimeter (you were in real trouble if you were fighting inside a circle
in the jungle - you were surrounded) or the firing line.
ARVNs seem to have been organized along the lines of 1950s USA/USMC at
first, and later similar to USA/USMC of the 60s.It is hard to tell
as I never had much to do with the ARVN, RF or PF troops - some one that
served as an MACV or Divisional advisor would be of more help here.
I mainly operated with ARVN MP and National Police later. I do
know that ARVN's were poorly paid, poorly led, poorly motivated, and
poorly equipped with shortages of everything - including the will to fight
in line units. Airborne, Ranger, Marines and Seals were all a much better
story, as were the ARVN MPs (QC). The RF/PF were real losers, as
were the National Police..............
Well, Michael I hope this helped answer some questions. I will answer the
others as I can!
TO "DELTA, MIKE 2" INDEX
Infantry Division TAOR (1969)
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