Vietnam Aircraft & Weaponry Essay

1641 words - 7 pages

During the Vietnam War there were countless weapons used by the United States, North and South Vietnamese army, and the Viet Cong. While of course the America was producing their own weapons of mass destruction, the N.V.A. and Viet Cong were supplied by the Soviet Union, China, and Warsaw Pact allies. But not all battles were fought on the ground, planes from the U.S. and N.V.A. were engaged in dogfights over the jungles of Vietnam, and famous helicopters from the U.S. spent endless flight hours doing medevac, combat and reconnaissance missions. Despite how the war turned out in North Vietnam’s favor, the Americans devastated everything labeled as a threat with their superior firepower.
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Outside of this, the U.S. had countless other planes in their power. World War II planes were used; huge bulky planes like the C-130 and AC-130s were used for long range firing missions or transporting heavy cargo, and many other various aircraft that were not given a lot of action in the field were present. But most of the time the smaller fixed-wing aircraft were usually tasked with bombing runs in an attempt to burn the enemy out of their cover and to limit friendly casualties.
Perhaps the most identifiable rotary wing aircraft of all time in the Vietnam War was the Bell UH-1 Iroquois, also known as a Huey. These helicopters saved countless lives and saw the most action in terms of rotary wing aircraft. They were tasked with medevac, transport, and combat objectives. As the war raged on, there were several variants made that provided upgrades. The Hueys were given nicknames based on how it was equipped, the transport-only Hueys that only had side door guns were coined with the term Slick, and the Hueys armed with dual machine guns and rocket pods were called Frogs and Hogs. But the Hueys that were used for combat missions early in the war weren’t exactly designed for the task, so a few years later the Bell AH-1 Cobras were put into action. These attack helicopters served as the main helicopter combat force and were nicknamed Guns. The Cobra helicopters provided support for ground forces, escorted Slicks, and formed hunter killer teams with scout helicopters. During the war, the Hueys had the statistics of approximately seven thousand served, and three thousand destroyed along with crew member total deaths being topped at around twenty-two hundred.
The Hughes OH-6 Cayuse scout helicopters used by the U.S. provided personnel transport, escort and attack missions, and observation objectives. These helicopters were designed to scout enemy territory to provide reconnaissance on enemy movement, cargo, pathways, and so on. But they usually teamed up with the Cobra attack helicopters to create a team nicknamed the Tadpole and the Snake in order to collect information and destroy the enemy at the same time.
On the ground, tanks and armored personnel carriers were used by the factions. The tanks performed an infantry-support role in most cases and very rarely saw tank versus tank situations, but when that occurred the American T-48 tanks came out victorious most of the time. American tanks were also used by the South Vietnamese, but they were not allowed to be refueled and resupplied with ammunition, so they were eventually abandoned on the field and left to the North Vietnamese. The biggest problems the vehicles had to face were land mines and the only tank that could manage to survive these were the American M48 tanks. Armored personnel carriers, or A.P.C. for short, were used to transfer infantry to their destinations and were equipped with small-arms weapons. At the time, A.P.C.s were the first attempt at the mechanized infantry idea.

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