Vietnam War

The Vietnam War started in 1959 and lasted until April 30, 1975. The war was fought between North Vietnam (Democratic Republic of North Vietnam) and the United States which supported South Vietnam (Republic of Vietnam). Other names for this conflict include the Second Indochina War, the Vietnam Conflict and the Vietnamese called it the American War. It is the longest running military conflict in the history of the U.S. Over 1.6 million military people were killed in the war with 58,000 being U.S. armed forces.

Vietnam War History

Battle of Ap Bac

The battle of Ap Bac was considered the first major battle of the Vietnam War, although of small scale. It took on January 2, 1963. It was a small scale battle with 1,400 soldiers for the United States, and only 350 for the communist forces. It started because of an anti-communist campaign started by Ngo Dinh Diem, the South Vietnamese President. The battle started at 7:00. Helicopters airlifted United States forces into the area. The Americans were stopped advancing at Ap Bac time after time, trying to capture the communist forces. The communist forces had superior weaponry and had more courage. The Americans had more soldiers, but showed confusion, and eventually during the night, the communist forces escaped. The American forces suffered over 80 dead and 100 wounded. The communists had just 18 deaths and 39 wounded.

The Battle of Khe Shan:

It was Indochina's geography that made Khe Sanh important. The Ho Chi Minh Trail had been used as a communications link between north and south since the fighting began between the French and Viet Minh in the First Indochina War.1 This series of trails and roads began in North Vietnam and entered Laos through various mountain passes. Several branches of the Trail penetrated South Vietnam while other branches continued into Cambodia. Khe Sanh was located where North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and Laos came together. For the Communists the region around Khe Sanh was a major avenue for their entry into Northern South Vietnam. For the Americans a physical presence at Khe Sanh would allow them to observe traffic on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

It was in July, 1962, that the Americans began to arrive at Khe Sanh, when a U.S. Army Special Forces detachment moved into an old French fort near the village of Khe Sanh. Also at this time, a Vietnamese engineer unit constructed the first airstrip at Khe Sanh. In 1962 and 1963, U.S. Marine Corps helicopter units were deployed around Khe Sanh to support operations by U.S. Special Forces and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). In April 1964, the Marines sent a communications intelligence unit to the area to monitor Viet Cong and PAVN radio communications. General Westmoreland visited Khe Sanh for the first time during the period of these early intelligence‑ gathering operations.

Westmoreland felt the "critical importance" of Khe Sanh was readily apparent. It would serve as a patrol base for the interdiction of enemy personnel and supplies coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail from Laos into Northern South Vietnam; a base for covert operations to harass the Communists along the Trail; an airstrip for aerial reconnaissance of the Trail; the western terminus for the defensive line along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Vietnam; and a jump‑off point for invading Laos by land in order to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail. According to the General, abandoning the U.S. military presence at Khe Sanh would allow the PAVN the ability to carry the fight into the populated coastal regions of Northern South Vietnam.

Weapons of the Vietnam War

USMC Weapons
The M-16 was the most common weapon that the US soldiers would use during the war. It is now respected as one of t
An american holding an M-16
he best assault rifle, however many veterans have said that it was the worst weapon that they have ever fired ever. There was also problem with it right when they made it. It can shoot 300 meters at 60 rpm’s. It fired a 5.56 mm caliber bullet.

The 7.62 M-60 general purpose machine gun was special for its bipod or tripod. With a bipod it can shoot 500 meters and with a tripod it can shoot 1,100 meters. It shoots at 200 rpm’s. In Vietnam it was used as the main firepower of the infantry.

The M-72, 66mm Light Anti-tank Weapon weighed 5.2 lbs and was used, as you can tell in the name, to take out tanks if they had to. But in Vietnam they used it to blow up bunkers and make the people in there come out. It was held over the shoulder and used a simple aiming sights. The rocket it shot was 1-kg and shot 300 meters.

The M1 Garand was the first semi-automatic rifle to be made. It has an effective range of 500 yards and shoots like a .30-06 Springfield. It shoots at 16-24 rounds per minute. It was the main weapons in WWII but in the Vietnam War it wasn't used nearly as much as in World War 2

Vietcong Weapons
The Simonov 7.62mm Self-Loading Rifle (SKS) has an effective range of 400 meters. It has a 10 round internal magazine and can shoot 30-35 rounds per minute. It sort of resembles a bolt-action rifle but have a bayonet folded under the muzzle of the gun.

The RPG-7 Rocket Launcher is an anti-tank rocket launcher. It shot a rocket-propelled grenade so it could go quite a ways before it either hit something or blew up when it reached its range of 920 metes. It had telescopic range finding sighting, and heat sensor on it so it would hit anything warm if they chose to have it do it. It had an effective range of 300 meters against moving targets and 500 meter against stationary targets. It shot a 40mm.

The Makarov was the pistol the Vietnam used as a replacement of the Tokarev sometime during the 1950s. It was chambered with a 9mm cartridge and used Soviet 9 x 18-ammunition. It was self-loading and it loaded out of a 8 round box magazine. It weighed 1.8lbs when loaded.

AK-47 is a gas operated assault riffle. The AK is simple, inexpensive to manufacture and easy to clean and maintain. It is the most most wide-spread weapon in the world.

Time line

May 7, 1954

The Vietnam forces occupied the French command post at Dien Bien Phu. The French commander orders his troops to stop all fire. This one battle lasted 55 days. About 3,000 French men where killed and 8,000 wounded. But the Vietnam troops suffered much worse. They had 8,000 who where killed and 12,000 wounded.

Native People

The Vietnam natives greeted the Marines when they got off the plane by giving them flowers. The natives were excided to see them because they would be protected from the Communists. Sometimes during the war the U.S. troops would find a little vilage and the people would hide them until it was safe.