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Riverine: A Pictorial History of the Brown Water War in Vietnam (Armor Specials 6041)
By Jim Mesko
Publisher: Squadron/Signal publications 1985 64 Pages
PDF 17 MB
The war in Vietnam was often a sludy in contrasts. No better illustration of this can be found than in the role played by the United States Navy. In the Tonkin Gulf naval aviators, flying supersonic jets off the decks of huge super carriers, participated in the aerial campaign against North Vietnam, while cruisers and the Battleship New Jersey bombarded enemy coastal areas. Further south, a vast array of small craft, few of which were ocean going, carried out a variety of tasks along the coast and up the various rivers and canals which dissected this war torn land. And w hile much has been written about the aerial and bombardment campaign, little has been written about these small craft in the war. Yet in terms of men, ships, action, and heroism this little known aspect of the Navy's war in Vietnam deserves equal treatment with the more glamorous big-ship operations that caught the public's attention through newspaper reports and television. The sailors who manned these small fragile boats and often fought pitched battles with the Viet Con% (VC) and North Vietnamese Army (NVA) at small arms range and on occasion even had to repel boarders! The kind of warfare that was waged on the inland and coastal waters of Vietnam was last practiced by the United States Navy during the Civil War, almost exactly one-hundred years earlier. As a result much of the tactics were based on the earlier experiences of the French Union Forces, or were developed through trial and error. Mistakes were made, as was to be expected, but in the end the resourceful individual sailors of these varied forces learned their lessons well and were forged into formidable fighting forces which deprived the enemy (he use of these waterways.
In RIVERINE, I have tried to present a broad outline of the operations by the Brown Water Navy, as these forces came to be known, from their inception to the withdrawal of US Forces from Vietnam. The scope of this book covers the three major components of the Navy's riverine force and their subsidiary units. Each had its own distinct function but also worked in conjunction with the other two components when the situation dictated. Task force 115 (Market Time), had the responsibility for coastal patrol, surveillance, and interception of enemy gun runners on the high seas. Using equipment that ranged from Patrol aircraft such as the Neptune and Orion to small Swift Boats, which even included US Coast Guard cutters. Market Time carried out the usually monotonous duty of interdicting communist supplies along the coast of Vietnam. Task Force 116 (Game Warden), carried the war as far up the rivers and canals of Vietnam as their shallow draft boats would go. Using various modified landing craft, armored power boats, helicopters and even fixed wiog Broncos, they eventually swept the Viet Cong from the Mekong Delta.