Delta, Mike 2 - NVA/VC Part 3


NVA/VC Part Three


My first tour of duty was in 1967. The soldiers I mentioned were there from sometime in 1966 and near the end of their 12months, or working their way through a 6 month extension after completing a 12 month tour. As bad as things were, a lot of guys extended for 6 months to reduce the time remaining in the Army and receive an early out (honorable discharge). One, a Dutchman, had been in country for 3 years when I knew him and had gone from private to staff sergeant (our basic paper squad leader rank) - not the same as your staff sergeant - more like your corporal. Yes, the VC were largely well armed with SKS instead of French, German, or American relics. Pistols were mainly Tokarovs, but Colts, Browning Hi-Powers, and a French auto pistol were commonly carried, along with some Walther 9mm P-38s.

MAINFORCE VC/NVA pistols were mainly Russian or CHICOM made Tokarovs, but  there were a few ultramodern Soviet weapons - 9.5mm Stechtkins and Makarovs in 9.5mm (could use 9mm Parabellum ammo). The Toks were 7.62mm pistols using a "hot" 7.62mm round, not the puny thing common in Europe or USA.

Apparently the local VC did visit the patrol base on occasion (but it moved if they did) and yes, when questioned by the ARVN interrogators (French and Japanese schools of interrogation!) they told everything they knew or died (drowned, mostly) trying to escape. I have seen the ARVN interrogators at work in the field as a grunt and as an MP. Water was their preferred method of torture in the boonies, and Americans were always getting into "discussions" with counterparts about this and losing.......We had no authority  to stop them, short of shooting our allies, and then you would be tried for murder if  THE POWERS THAT BE GOT INVOLVED. Part of the VC success was the hatred the corrupt RVN government promoted by its actions against its own civilians. And then these same farmers were abused and murdered by the VC too. It was a mess!!!!

I was gonna say, I even saw a very few (like 2) broom handle Mausers like were common  in parts of the world around WW I. Both old and battered but usable and now living at some old ex-GIs  house.

MAINFORCE VC WERE ALWAYS IN LARGE FORMATIONS PLATOON AND UP - MOSTLY UP IN SIZE and as well armed as the NVA and as well trained and tough. Only difference I could see was the black pjs instead of khaki or green uniforms, papasan hats and scarves, instead of pith helmets (sunhelmets). It was something that apparently started in 66 - these guys and gals did not live in the villages and hamlets normally - they stayed in regular combat units ALL THE TIME!

TET WAS AN UNQUALIFIED AMERICAN VICTORY!!!!!

THE VC, MAINFORCE AND LOCAL, ALMOST CEASED TO EXIST AFTER TET.  WHOLE UNITS WERE WIPED OUT - KIA, WIA, MIA, AND POW - MOSTLY KIA DURING TET AND THE LESSER KNOWN ATTACKS THAT STARTED UP  IN JUNE 1968............... NVA UNITS TOOK HORRIBLE LOSSES TOO, BUT WERE REBUILT. OTHER NVA BECAME MAINFORCE AND LOCAL VC CADRES AFTER TET!

With my own eyeballs and from  friends info, I have no doubt that the NVA were present in local and MAINFORCE VC prior to 1967. Remember the Dutchman? He had been swapping bullets with NVA  in VC/MAINFORCE VC since about 1964 or 1965!!!

ALL VC/NVA PREFERRED A PREPARED AMBUSH TO A HASTY, BUT WERE VERY CAPABLE OF SAME TOO!!!

L-shaped  ambushes were common, also just about any linear formation; some times, after a unit entered the kill zone,  attackers would come at it from all sides, or three sides with a terrain barrier if possible.  Great believers in snipers, and spiderholes during ambushes too!! Made huge claymores out of 50-gal fuel drums packed with junk (rebar, rocks, glass, anything, explosives provided by dud bombs, artillery, and mortar rounds). Command detonated by common household extension cords in really ridiculous colors using M57 firing devices, field phones, batteries, etc, to set off the charges. And bad news!!!  All in all I guess the tactics, if not identical were similar to those of the US, the Russians, and Chinese.

YEP, they were able to remove a lot of dead and wounded when they retired from a fight. They did it the same way we did it - fought for the corpses and wounded!!! Some really vicious, close range fights could and did develop for the bodies of the dead. THEY MUTILATED OURS,  and what they sowed, they reaped!!! Few things in this world are more remorseless than an18 year old who has seen his buddies killed and butchered by the enemy.....................

Of course there comes a time when you either run out of soldiers trying to recover the dead and wounded, or you just run for it!  And this also happened on both sides, when one was driven away leaving dead and wounded behind or , everyone was killed or wounded right off so there was no one available to drag away the corpses.

They buried their dead in mass graves, often very shallow ones, so that animals got at them, and/or the tropical heat caused them to stink worse than the jungle and your buddies, so it was easy to find them. They also booby trapped graves so that the stupid and the careless blew themselves to hell while DIGGING UP THE BODIES, SO THEY COULD BE COUNTED!  Unfortunately, the stupid and the careless also took their nearest buds with them when setting off booby traps.

Our call sign was *******, so we went on every operation equipped with stencils and black MARKS-A-LOTS,  as well as  bunches of ACE OF SPADE CARDS and  big nails to attach them to the corpses with (along with booby traps to blow away the  guys buds when they came to get the corpse.) Bodies were used as bait for ambush patrols too.

THEY KEPT IN CONTACT WITH EACH OTHER THE OLD FASHION WAY. MESSENGERS, HAND SIGNALS, SMOKE SIGNALS (GRENADES), AND WHISTLES AMONG OTHER THINGS. THEY DID NOT SPREAD OUT ALL OVER THE PROVINCE DURING A FIRE -FIGHT!!! THEY ALSO DID HAVE RADIOS - AMERICAN, CHICOM, RUSSIAN, KOREAN. BUT NOT MANY.

One time, I actually heard the NVA slapping the  stocks of their rifles for a reference point as they formed and maintained a skirmish line to sweep through the jungle in pursuit of a scattered US ambush patrol. I was between 2 of them - they were about 8 -12 feet apart - and it was so black, no one could see a hand at arms length let alone me!!!

If things went badly, the NVA/VC  had a hard time disengaging, but would use pre sighted or hasty ambushes to cover the retreat of their units just like we did.  If they had mortar support, they used it to try and cover the withdrawal too.


 BACK TO "DELTA, MIKE 2" INDEX

1st Infantry Division TAOR (1969)

All material presented in the pages of this index is Copyright (1999) of 'Delta Mike 2' and and may not be copied, stored or distributed without the express permission of the author. Please respect the ownership of these memories. Thanks.


 

Whats New | Site Search | The War | Wargaming | Reviews | Bibliography | Miscellaneous
Delta Mike 2
| Links | News | Glossary | Contents | Email | Rate This Site | Feedback


Retrieved by Memoweb from http://www.soft.net.uk/entrinet/mike2_vcnva3.htm at 25/08/01