Weapons Facts

Weapons Facts
The types of weaponry used in the Vietnam War were the result of a number of internal and external factors. The economic boom experienced in the United States during the 1950s allowed the Military Industrial Complex to develop new and better weapons, especially small arms and airpower, which were used throughout the war. Although helicopters were used by the U.S. and its allies in the Korean War, they were used much more extensively in Vietnam, especially the Bell UH-1 Iroquois to transport troops. American Marine and Army ground forces continued to use the M1 rifle at the beginning of the war as they did in Korea and World War II, but by the late 1960s it was replaced by the M16 and its variants. The North Vietnamese Army was largely supplied by the Soviet Union and communist China so its soldiers used the AK-47 as their primary rifle. As a guerilla army, the communist Viet Cong (VC) often used whatever they could find, but were usually armed with the cheap but durable Chinese made SKS rifle. The VC were also notorious for making improvised explosives, such as Molotov cocktails, and anti-personnel mines and traps.
Interesting Weapons Facts:
The VC sometimes used guns and other weapons left over from the Japanese occupation of Indochina during World War II. Some VC booby traps would employ World War II era Japanese fragmentation grenades.
By the late 1960s the VC were better armed with standard weapons.
Although the NVA did have some Type 59 Soviet tanks, they were usually no match for the American tanks. Because of the difficulties of the terrain and the inability to mass produce tanks and planes, the NVA focused its resources and training on small arms.
The B-52 bomber and the F-4 Phantom II fighter-bomber were the two most successful jets the Americans employed.
The North Vietnamese relied on anti-aircraft flak and SAM batteries to protect them from the Americans' air superiority. However, they did use some Chinese and Soviet made MiG fighters to go after American bombers.
By 1970, VC booby traps accounted for 11% of all American fatalities. Besides landmines and grenades placed strategically throughout the jungle, many VC traps were simple yet industrious. For example, the VC would dig pits and then line the bottoms with punji sticks coated in human excrement. They would then places leaves over the pits in the hope that unsuspecting American and South Vietnamese soldiers would stumble on them.
Crossbows were used by the indigenous Degar people of the central Vietnam highlands. They were allied with the U.S.
Although the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) was fairly well-armed, they often used older American weapons. For example, ARVN soldiers continued to use M1 and M14 rifles after the Americans began using M16s.
Shotguns were used by the Americans. One shotgun would usually be issued for squad during jungle patrols.


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