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dragoon500ly 02-06-2013 08:54 AM

The Regular US Army in 1968
 
The Regular U.S. Army in April 1968

1st Armored Division Fort Hood, Texas
2nd Armored Division Fort Hood, Texas
3rd Armored Division Frankfurt, West Germany
4th Armored Division Goppingen, West Germany
1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) Camp Evans, South Vietnam
1st Infantry Division Lai Khe, South Vietnam
2nd Infantry Division Tonggu Ri, South Korea
3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) Wurzburg, West Germany
4th Infantry Division Pleiku, South Vietnam
5th Infantry Division (Mechanized)
Fort Carson, Colorado (one brigade in South Vietnam)
6th Infantry Division
Fort Campbell, Kentucky (one brigade in Hawaii)
7th Infantry Division Dopsu-dong, South Korea
8th Infantry Division Bad-Kreuznach, West Germany
9th Infantry Division Bear Cat, South Veitnam
23rd Infantry Division Chu Lai, South Vietnam
24th Infantry Division
Fort Riley, Kansas, (one brigade in West Germany)
25th Infantry Division Cu Chi, South Vietnam
82nd Airborne Division
Fort Bragg, North Carolina, (one brigade in South Vietnam)
101st Airborne Division Hue-Phu Bai, South Vietnam
2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment Nurnberg, West Germany
3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment Baumholder, West Germany
6th Armored Cavalry Regiment Fort Meade, Maryland
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Xuan Loc, South Vietnam
14th Armored Cavalry Regiment Fulda, West Germany
171st Infantry Brigade Fort Wainwright, Alaska
172nd Infantry Brigade Fort Richardson, Alaska
173rd Airborne Brigade Bong Son, South Vietnam
193rd Infantry Brigade Panama Canal Zone
194th Armored Brigade Fort Knox, Kentucky
197th Infantry Brigade Fort Benning, Georgia
199th Infantry Brigade Long Binh, South Vietnam
Berlin Brigade Berlin, West Germany

This Order of Battle is of interest as it shows just how stretched the U.S. Army was at the height of the Vietnam War.

Of its four armored divisions, two were stationed in West Germany with two more under REFORGER.

Of its thirteen infantry divisions, seven were in South Vietnam, two in South Korea, two in West Germany and two in CONUS (one slatted for REFORGER and one as reinforcement for South Vietnam).

Of the two airborne divisions, one was in South Vietnam and one in CONUS (with one brigade in South Vietnam).

Of the five armored cavalry regiments, one was in South Vietnam, three in West Germany and one in CONUS/REFORGER.

One armored brigade was in CONUS, slatted for REFORGER.

One airborne brigade was in South Vietnam

Of the six infantry brigades, one was in West Germany; one in the Panama Canal Zone, two in South Vietnam and two in CONUS.

I have not included the National Guard and Army Reserve units as during this period of time, both were low on manpower and equipment and were not considered to be combat ready without at least 90 days of workup.

sources are the Army Green Book, 1968 and Vietnam Order of Battle by Shelby Stanton

mikeo80 02-06-2013 09:00 AM

Very interesting part of American military history. One very minor nit that needs to be picked. Fort Bragg is in North Carolina, not Georgia.

My $0.02

Mike

dragoon500ly 02-06-2013 09:01 AM

The Armor Battalion in Vietnam
 
The MTOE 17-35E for the Armor Battalion (as modified for Vietnam) comprised

Headquarters and Headquarters Company with 16 officers, 1 warrant officer and 139 enlisted men. There would be a section of 3 M-48 MBTs, 4 M-106A1 4.2-inch mortar carriers, 9 M-113 APCs as well as 5 2.5-ton trucks and 12 jeeps
Companies A, B & C would each consist of 5 officers and 87 enlisted men. With 17 M-48 MBTs, 1 M-113 APC, 1 M-88 ARV, 1 2.5-ton truck, 1 ¾-ton truck and 3 jeeps.
Company D (Service) had 6 officers, 2 warrant officers, and 152 enlisted men. With 2 M-113 APCs, 2 M-48 AVLBs, 2 M-88 ARVs, 2 5-ton wreckers, 20 5-ton trucks, 10 2.5-ton trucks, 5 ¾-ton trucks and 12 jeeps.

source is Stanton's Vietnam Order of Battle

Adm.Lee 02-06-2013 09:47 AM

I remember, as a young teenager (13? 14?) finding my father's Army Officer's Guide (hardback book, ca 1963). One of its chapters was a listing of posts, stateside and overseas, which had some divisional assignments. I took notes of that part, of course, since I'd only dealt with OBs in WW2 before that. In that pre-Internet era, that was big.

Obviously, nothing dealt with Vietnam at that date, and there was a lot on post etiquette and things. A peek into a different world.

Re: Vietnam-- Stanton's "Death of an American Army" was a very good read, too.

dragoon500ly 02-06-2013 11:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mikeo80 (Post 53370)
Very interesting part of American military history. One very minor nit that needs to be picked. Fort Bragg is in North Carolina, not Georgia.

My $0.02

Mike

What can I say....I only had three cups of semi-coffee....this de-caff is for the birds!

dragoon500ly 02-06-2013 11:19 AM

Considering how much of the available manpower, equipment and aircraft were deployed to SE Asia, it would have been a great time for the Russians to "liberate" Western Europe.

The Rifleman 02-06-2013 12:08 PM

This is a very interesting post. You're right, it DOES show that there was a heavy deployment in Vietnam and appears to be light in there rest of the world. However the deployment of forces is not as signifgant as it appears.

First as a backdrop, the US army standard was, following world war 2, a supposed two war standard, having the capability to fight 2 full wars at the same time, such as Japan and Germany. Its important to note that in 1960s, this standard didn't mean that they could fight both wars immediately at the same time, but within a reasonble short amount of time. This was later changed to a one and a half war standard in the 90s, meaning a full war in europe and something smaller elsewhere.

In "ringed in steel" the executive officer (and careerist) in the US Army's 11th ACR complained that spare parts and new vehicles were going to Europe, left overs where going to Vietnam. I know that I've seen other sources as well, but can't quite remember well. Also, something to keep in mind is that the leftover WW2 stocks of equipment were still in hand, especially ships. The mothball fleets of the 60s were a lot bigger then they are today. This is important because when talking about REFORGER, the hardest thing to do is manage the logistics of moving the army from CONUS to europe.

It is an interesting paradox, because even though the bulk of the new hardware was going to Europe, the bulk of the draftees were going to Vietnam. Also, the bulk of the career NCO corps was there as well. However, its important to note that although there were quite a few 2 and 3 term veterans, they weren't left there until they were KIA. They rotated them out and back to other duty stations, along with the officers too. Its also important to remember that this wasn't today's volunteer army. It was a draftee army with a very large NCO corps as a base. The divisions other then those deployed to Vietnam could be brought up to 100% strength in a matter of months. In the war on terror, all of the old WW2 training centers that have been shut down for years, like Atterbury and Shelby, were re-opened for buisiness. The army reserve drill sergeant units would be receiving and training them as replacements rather quickly.

As far as the comments about the national guard, thats a very large hole in this assumption that should be addressed. Until even recently, there are many Vietnam veterans that were still in service. I've had the oppertunity to speak to them for uncounted hours and uniformly they told me that the national guard was always at 125% strength. This is because service in the guard meant no deployment to Vietnam. They even told me that when soldiers didn't come to drill, they were transferred to active duty or discharge, thus available for deployment and someone new was brought in.

Also, I remember that in 1993 there was a huge downsizing of the guard. There were a massive number of National Guard Divisions available, even with older equipment. Another important thing to remember is that in the same 1993-1994 downsizing, the Army Reserve lost its combat elements. Back down, those too were quite extensive. Just a small example of what was in New England when I was a private:

New Hampshire: A reserve infantry brigade from the 94th ARCOM, I believe it was the 187th.

Vermont: The 86th Armored Brigade

New York: The 27th Infantry Brigade, the 42nd Infantry Divsion (with 3 full NY NG brigades)

Massachussets: The 26th Infantry Division (2 brigades) The 94th ARCOM (1 tank brigade)

Conneticut: 43rd Infantry Brigade

New Jersey: 50th Armored Division (2 brigades)

Pennslvania: 28th Infantry Division (3 brigades)

14 combat brigades = 70,000 combat troops in just new england

Under the cold war ARFGEN cycle, it took 6 months to get a NG Brigade sized or bigger unit mobilized and overseas. In the greater scheme of a full scale war, thats not long.

Overall, I think that its interesting to see what kind of drain the war put on the army, but at the same time, I don't think that it wouldn't be able to fight and win if another battle occured elsewhere at the same time. Thanks for posting. I didn't realize that a couple of those independant brigades and the 14th ACR existed into the 60s.

mikeo80 02-06-2013 02:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dragoon500ly (Post 53374)
What can I say....I only had three cups of semi-coffee....this de-caff is for the birds!

What??? An American drinking de caff???? That stuff is for sissies.

I sentence you to a pot of day old, cold coffee as punishment for your crime.

:smileysho

My $0.02

Mike

dragoon500ly 02-06-2013 08:12 PM

The impact of the Vietnam War on Europe is always misunderstood. Many of the divisions in West Germany were significantly undermanned and had critical shortages in NCOs and officers. According to the Congressional Records, on average, these units ran as much as 25-30% understrength in the key leadership positions.

Critical communications equipment and spares were stripped to support the Vietnam War, when the AN/PRC-77 radio entered service, it was deployed to SE Asia, US Army Europe maintained PRC-25s for almost three years after their replacement.

Artillery ammunition was removed in such large amounts that there were critical shortages in heavy artillery ammunition. Shortly after the Tet Offensive, stocks of 155mm+ was reduced to less than seven days stocks as part of a rush to restock the heavy usage in Vietnam.

While the National Guard/Army Reserve did enjoy an increase in personnel, many of whom did enlist in order to not see service in Vietnam, their equipment levels, in 1968, was poor. Many NG units were still equipped with WWII/Korean War-era M-1 Garands and M-191A4 machine guns, and this was as late as 1972! The Guard was still operating M-46/47 tanks and was just starting to be equipped with M-48s as the new M-60 tanks were coming into service.

Would the US have been able to maintain a major conflict in SE Asia and stop a Soviet attack into Europe? It's an intresting what if.

dragoon500ly 02-06-2013 08:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mikeo80 (Post 53379)
What??? An American drinking de caff???? That stuff is for sissies.

I sentence you to a pot of day old, cold coffee as punishment for your crime.

:smileysho

My $0.02

Mike

And I yearn for the good old days when the coffee was strong if the spoon stood upright...but alas! The march of time is catching up with the old man. Next up is puffed oatmeal flavored air for breakfast, that funny orange-tasting stuff to keep one regular and the sheer joy (NOT) of that ole prostate exam.

This 'ell getting old!!!!

All well, I content myself in the knowledge that I may not be the fastest, anymore, but I have the wisdom and treachery to keep the young'ins in line!!!!

:D

mikeo80 02-06-2013 08:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dragoon500ly (Post 53393)
And I yearn for the good old days when the coffee was strong if the spoon stood upright...but alas! The march of time is catching up with the old man. Next up is puffed oatmeal flavored air for breakfast, that funny orange-tasting stuff to keep one regular and the sheer joy (NOT) of that ole prostate exam.

This 'ell getting old!!!!

All well, I content myself in the knowledge that I may not be the fastest, anymore, but I have the wisdom and treachery to keep the young'ins in line!!!!

:D

No offense, Dragoon, but I think I am older than you. ( Born 1953)

So yes, wisdom and treachery are great tools....just don't piss off the young guy who will out draw you...:D

So, shoot first....

My $0.02

Mike

dragoon500ly 02-06-2013 08:29 PM

The Infantry Battalion in Vietnam
 
The modified TO&E for an Infantry Battalion in SE Asia is of intrest:

Headquarters and Headquarters Company with 15 officers, 2 warrant officers and 147 enlisted men. With 9 2.5-ton truck; 4 3/4-ton trucks; 9 jeeps. Small arms included 2 M-60 GPMGs, 8 M-79 GLs, 15 pistols and 149 M-16s.

Company A, B, C & D, each with 6 officers and 158 enlisted men. With 5 jeeps. Small arms included 6 M-60 GPMGs, 24 M-79 GLs, 9 pistols, 149 M-16s, 3 81mm mortars and 3 90mm recoilless rifles.

Company E (Combat Support Company) with 4 officers and 96 enlisted men. With 4 3/4-ton trucks, 4 jeeps. Small arms included 6 M-79 GLs, 4 pistols, 96 M-16s, 4 4.2-inch mortars and 12 flamethrowers.

The Rifle Company headquarters consisted of two officers and two enlisted men, with three rifle platoons (one officer and 41 enlisted men) and one mortar platoon (one officer and 25 enlisted men).

Each rifle platoon had a platoon headquarters (one officer and 2 enlisted men), three rifle squads (10 men each) and one weapons squad (9 men). The weapons squad would leave their recoilless rifles back in the base camp and function was a fourth maneuver squad.

The mortar platoon had a headquarters (one officer and 7 men) and three mortar squads (6 men). The 81mm mortars were often left back in the base camp and the platoon used was a fourth maneuver platoon.

Adm.Lee 02-07-2013 08:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dragoon500ly (Post 53392)
The impact of the Vietnam War on Europe is always misunderstood. Many of the divisions in West Germany were significantly undermanned and had critical shortages in NCOs and officers. According to the Congressional Records, on average, these units ran as much as 25-30% understrength in the key leadership positions.

A fascinating book that touched on this was Michael Lee Lanning's "The battles of peace." He'd commanded a rifle platoon and company in Vietnam (as a lieutenant), then once a captain, a mech company in 1970s Germany. His descriptions of the contrasts were interesting.

Quote:

Artillery ammunition was removed in such large amounts that there were critical shortages in heavy artillery ammunition. Shortly after the Tet Offensive, stocks of 155mm+ was reduced to less than seven days stocks as part of a rush to restock the heavy usage in Vietnam.
I've also read that the AF and Navy dropped so many bombs that planes were sent north with 1/2 loads (or less!), and that we had to buy back bombs we'd sold to West Germany.

Quote:

Many NG units were still equipped with WWII/Korean War-era M-1 Garands and M-1919A4 machine guns, and this was as late as 1972!
Famously, you can see that in the many pictures of the Ohio NG at Kent State were carrying M-1s.

Quote:

Would the US have been able to maintain a major conflict in SE Asia and stop a Soviet attack into Europe? It's an interesting what if.
Well, the Soviets were as screwed up as we now know they were, so it would have been a mess. 1968 would have been particularly bad, as the North Koreans were definitely heating things up that year, too. Some have called 1968-69 the Second Korean War. The Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia that year, France was having student riots. NATO would have had its hands full, and the US would be a maximum stretch. Sounds like a recipe for nuclear escalation.

And, if you believe some authors, someone in the KGB sent the K-129 to launch a nuke at Hawaii, pretending to be the lone Chinese SSBN. That would have gone off 5 days before my birthday-- that was chilling to realize, let me tell you.

dragoon500ly 02-08-2013 06:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mikeo80 (Post 53394)
No offense, Dragoon, but I think I am older than you. ( Born 1953)

So yes, wisdom and treachery are great tools....just don't piss off the young guy who will out draw you...:D

So, shoot first....

My $0.02

Mike

1959 here! And I never worry about the young'ins beating me to the draw; a knife in the back is so much more reliable!!!

:D

dragoon500ly 02-08-2013 06:35 AM

Perhaps the major impact on the Army in Vietnam was the one year (13 months for the Marines!). As soon as that 11-B begins to become an effective jungle-fighter, BAM! He's back in the states. There are numerous stories of as much as HALF (and there are accounts of at least 2 companies losing 2/3 of their men?!?!) of a rifle company rotating home at the same time.

So while the NVA/VC stayed in the field for years, the GIs were often kids straight out of Basic.

And to add insult to injury, MACV/DOD adopted the policy of assigning a officer to 6 months in a combat position and then 6 months in a staff position. The official reason was to allow as many officers as possible to get combat experience...

There are numerous words that can discribe the impact of these two policies...most of them are four letter and insult the intelligence of the high ranking officers and civilian leadership!

dragoon500ly 02-08-2013 07:14 AM

But it wasn't just a U.S. War....
 
I’ve listed the US order of battle for the Vietnam War…but this was not just a US war.

Australia

Starting in 1965, Australia dispatched advisors and a battalion task force to Vietnam. In 1966, this was raised to a short brigade of two infantry battalions, a cavalry squadron, 2/3 of a artillery battery, as well as support, naval and air assets. The 1st Australian Task Force was stationed at Nui Dai (some 35 miles southeast of Saigon), they remained in South Vietnam until 1971.

New Zealand

From July 1965 until June 1972, New Zealand provided two rifle companies and a artillery battery that served with the 1st Australian Task Force.

Philippines

From September 1966 until December 1969, the Philippines provided a Civic Action Group that operated in Tay Ninh Province. At its height, this consisted of a infantry battalion, a artillery battalion, a engineer battalion and support services.

Thailand

Thailand’s commitment involved three different units: The Royal Thai Army Volunteer Force, consisting of a reinforced regiment based on the “Queen’s Cobras” served at Bear Cat from September 1967 to August 1968. They operated with the U.S. 9th Infantry Division.

The Royal Thai Army Expeditionary Division (Black Panthers) served at Bear Cat from February 1969 until August 1971. During this period, three infantry brigades rotated through Bear Cat.

The Royal Thai Army Volunteer Force came back into service in September 1971 and served until March 1972. It consisted of a infantry brigade, three artillery battalions and service troops.

Republic of Korea

The Republic of Korea Forces Vietnam Field Command served from August 1966 until March 1973. It was based at Nha Trang. At first, it was comprised of two battalions but was rapidly expanded to a corps-sized formation. It consisted of the Capital Division, the 9th Infantry Division and the 2nd Marine Corps Brigade.

Republic of Vietnam

The order of battle for South Vietnam varied widely, but as the U.S withdrawal in December of 1972, it consisted of:

Eleven infantry divisions, a Parachutist Division, and a Marine Division.

All told, 18 armored cavalry squadrons, 124 infantry battalions, 9 marine battalions, 55 ranger battalions, 44 artillery battalions (105mm), 15 artillery battalions (155mm), 5 artillery battalions (175mm), 4 air defense battalions (40mm/Quad .50), 40 engineer battalions, 16 signal battalions and 12 military police battalions. In addition to this, there were also 176 howitzer platoons (2 105mm) stationed across the country.

This force was comprised of 108,675 Regulars; 376,946 Regional/Popular Forces and 14,365 Border Rangers.

North Vietnamese/Viet Cong

As of December 1972, the NVA/VC were operating some 2 VC divisions, 12 NVA divisions in South Vietnam, a grand total of 309 battalions (infantry, sapper, security and reconnaissance).

This force was comprised of 89,834 NVA regular, 20,000 NVA “advisors” in VC units and some 30,332 VC.

The Rifleman 02-14-2013 06:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dragoon500ly (Post 53392)
The impact of the Vietnam War on Europe is always misunderstood. Many of the divisions in West Germany were significantly undermanned and had critical shortages in NCOs and officers. According to the Congressional Records, on average, these units ran as much as 25-30% understrength in the key leadership positions.

Critical communications equipment and spares were stripped to support the Vietnam War, when the AN/PRC-77 radio entered service, it was deployed to SE Asia, US Army Europe maintained PRC-25s for almost three years after their replacement.

Artillery ammunition was removed in such large amounts that there were critical shortages in heavy artillery ammunition. Shortly after the Tet Offensive, stocks of 155mm+ was reduced to less than seven days stocks as part of a rush to restock the heavy usage in Vietnam.

While the National Guard/Army Reserve did enjoy an increase in personnel, many of whom did enlist in order to not see service in Vietnam, their equipment levels, in 1968, was poor. Many NG units were still equipped with WWII/Korean War-era M-1 Garands and M-191A4 machine guns, and this was as late as 1972! The Guard was still operating M-46/47 tanks and was just starting to be equipped with M-48s as the new M-60 tanks were coming into service.

Would the US have been able to maintain a major conflict in SE Asia and stop a Soviet attack into Europe? It's an intresting what if.

Its ALWAYS been like that with national guard equipment during "peacetime" even today. When the Active army had M16A2s, we had their M16A1s. When they had M1 tanks, we had M60A3s. When they started converting to the M1A1, we got their old M1s.

BUT when it comes time for war, this changes. The government has more stuff in storage then any of us could ever imagine. When my national guard unit was deployed in 2004, suddenly all new small arms, machine guns and so on appeared. I agree with many of the comments mentioned above, but I still think you undervalue the role of the national guard in a total war, especially prior to 1993, when the guard was HUGE in manpower, and before the army reserve was decimated.

dragoon500ly 02-14-2013 07:00 AM

Believe me, the government has stockpiles that NOONE can ever believe!!!

But perhaps the worst part of Vietnam was that it was not a total war. LBJ, among others, made the decision not to approach Congress for a decleration of war and refused to call up the National Guard/Reserves.

This kept the Gaurds and Reserves out of the war (expect for those personnel who did volunteer) and led to the ruthless stripping of equipment and munitions from around the world.

schnickelfritz 02-17-2013 06:53 PM

I am reading "The Generals" by Thomas E. Ricks now and just worked my way through Vietnam and into the 1980's.

It's really worth a read, particularly on Vietnam and the aftermath. It made me want to throw the book at the wall...I though I knew how much of a dumba$$ LBJ and Westie were....I had no idea.

-Dave

Etsitty 06-21-2017 12:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schnickelfritz (Post 53530)
I am reading "The Generals" by Thomas E. Ricks now and just worked my way through Vietnam and into the 1980's.

It's really worth a read, particularly on Vietnam and the aftermath. It made me want to throw the KW Finder at the wall...I though I knew how much of a dumba$$ LBJ and Westie were....I had no idea.

-Dave

Oh yeah, I'm reading it now. Such a good read.

.45cultist 06-21-2017 03:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dragoon500ly (Post 53494)
Believe me, the government has stockpiles that NOONE can ever believe!!!

But perhaps the worst part of Vietnam was that it was not a total war. LBJ, among others, made the decision not to approach Congress for a decleration of war and refused to call up the National Guard/Reserves.

This kept the Gaurds and Reserves out of the war (expect for those personnel who did volunteer) and led to the ruthless stripping of equipment and munitions from around the world.

I think a Pennsylvania NG unit volunteered through out the Vietnam conflict.

pmulcahy11b 06-21-2017 12:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mikeo80 (Post 53394)
No offense, Dragoon, but I think I am older than you. ( Born 1953)

Mike

Jesus Christ, and I thought I was old (born 1962)...you're older than my big sister (born 1959).:p

NelsonFoster 07-06-2018 12:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schnickelfritz (Post 53530)
I am reading "The Generals" by Thomas E. Ricks now and just worked my way through Vietnam and into the 1980's.

It's really worth a read, phenq is particularly on Vietnam and the aftermath. It made me want to throw the book at the wall...I though I knew how much of a dumba$$ LBJ and Westie were....I had no idea.

-Dave

As a veteran, I would like to chime in and confirm that Vietnam was a very bad decision, failure, and disaster.

shrike6 07-15-2018 12:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dragoon500ly (Post 53369)
The Regular U.S. Army in April 1968

1st Armored Division Fort Hood, Texas
2nd Armored Division Fort Hood, Texas
3rd Armored Division Frankfurt, West Germany
4th Armored Division Goppingen, West Germany
1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) Camp Evans, South Vietnam
1st Infantry Division Lai Khe, South Vietnam
2nd Infantry Division Tonggu Ri, South Korea
3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) Wurzburg, West Germany
4th Infantry Division Pleiku, South Vietnam
5th Infantry Division (Mechanized)
Fort Carson, Colorado (one brigade in South Vietnam)
6th Infantry Division
Fort Campbell, Kentucky (one brigade in Hawaii)
7th Infantry Division Dopsu-dong, South Korea
8th Infantry Division Bad-Kreuznach, West Germany
9th Infantry Division Bear Cat, South Veitnam
23rd Infantry Division Chu Lai, South Vietnam
24th Infantry Division
Fort Riley, Kansas, (one brigade in West Germany)
25th Infantry Division Cu Chi, South Vietnam
82nd Airborne Division
Fort Bragg, North Carolina, (one brigade in South Vietnam)
101st Airborne Division Hue-Phu Bai, South Vietnam
2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment Nurnberg, West Germany
3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment Baumholder, West Germany
6th Armored Cavalry Regiment Fort Meade, Maryland
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Xuan Loc, South Vietnam
14th Armored Cavalry Regiment Fulda, West Germany
171st Infantry Brigade Fort Wainwright, Alaska
172nd Infantry Brigade Fort Richardson, Alaska
173rd Airborne Brigade Bong Son, South Vietnam
193rd Infantry Brigade Panama Canal Zone
194th Armored Brigade Fort Knox, Kentucky
197th Infantry Brigade Fort Benning, Georgia
199th Infantry Brigade Long Binh, South Vietnam
Berlin Brigade Berlin, West Germany

This Order of Battle is of interest as it shows just how stretched the U.S. Army was at the height of the Vietnam War.

Of its four armored divisions, two were stationed in West Germany with two more under REFORGER.

Of its thirteen infantry divisions, seven were in South Vietnam, two in South Korea, two in West Germany and two in CONUS (one slatted for REFORGER and one as reinforcement for South Vietnam).

Of the two airborne divisions, one was in South Vietnam and one in CONUS (with one brigade in South Vietnam).

Of the five armored cavalry regiments, one was in South Vietnam, three in West Germany and one in CONUS/REFORGER.

One armored brigade was in CONUS, slatted for REFORGER.

One airborne brigade was in South Vietnam

Of the six infantry brigades, one was in West Germany; one in the Panama Canal Zone, two in South Vietnam and two in CONUS.

I have not included the National Guard and Army Reserve units as during this period of time, both were low on manpower and equipment and were not considered to be combat ready without at least 90 days of workup.

sources are the Army Green Book, 1968 and Vietnam Order of Battle by Shelby Stanton

Just a note, both the 29th (HI NG) and 69th (KS NG) IBs would be activated the next month (May) to help fill gaps. The 29th IB would go to Schofield Barracks to replace the soon to be deactivated 4th Bde 6th ID and the 69th IB would arrive as a replacement for the 1st Bde, 5th ID at Fort Carson.

CharlieAnderson 01-13-2019 07:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NelsonFoster (Post 78395)
As a veteran, I would like to read this first chime in and confirm that Vietnam was a very bad decision, failure, and disaster.

I'm a veteran too and yes, Vietnam was a bad decision. Do you think Vietnam could have been avoided?

dragoon500ly 01-13-2019 11:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CharlieAnderson (Post 80562)
I'm a veteran too and yes, Vietnam was a bad decision. Do you think Vietnam could have been avoided?

This is an extremely tough question to answer.

First a broad overview of the start of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

It begins with end of World War Two and OSS operations in Vietnam that ended up supporting Ho Chi Minh with money and military supplies. With the close of the war, there was unofficial U.S. support for HCM's independence movement, NOT sanctioned by the U.S. Government. When France made the decision to deploy troops back to Indochina to resume control of its 'lost' colonies, HCM made the decision to fight.

France, at the time, was a critical member of NATO and was receiving extensive military and economic aid from the U.S., however, due to French laws, they were unable to deploy draftees to Vietnam, forcing them to rely upon Marine (Colonial) troops, volunteers and indigenous troops. To say that France fought the First Indochina War on an overstretched, worn out rubber band of resources overstates just how limited their resources were.

Imagine fighting a guerilla war with deuce and a half trucks and worn out C47s as your major transportation? One were your units had to march in and out carrying everything on their backs through some of the nasty terrain in the world. Worn out, out numbered troops fighting a battle of a thousand cuts.

Following earlier disasters, the French came to rely on U.S. support to keep their military running. Everything from CIA mercenaries flying C119 transports, to Air Force technicians, maintaining French military aircraft while wearing civilian clothes.

Then came the disaster of Dien Bien Phu. Here the French begged for U.S. air power to break the deathlock the Viet Minh had on the besieged French garrison. And it almost happened. There are stories of B29s on U.S. bases, wearing French roundals as part of a disguise to convince anybody watching that France had strategic bombers...With American air crews. There was even discussion about using atomic bombs on Viet Minh supply routes,but this was thankfully stopped.

When France withdrew from Indochina, it was thought that with the creation of North and South Vietnam the war had ended for good. It was not until the Kennedy Administration that U.S. forces in the form of advisors to the South Vietnam Army that the first 'official' U.S. involvement took place.

Kennedy was always against any major units being involved, it's not until the Johnson Administration that you see major deployments of military units. There are unconfirmed reports that Johnson had torn up a Kennedy executive order to withdraw the advisors.

So that's your answer, Vietnam was a war we should never have been involved in, in a country that we had no need to be involved with. We were tugged into this war in a vain attempt to prop up a colonia! power trying to relive its glory days, in a wasted effort to stop communist expansion. But perhaps the worst part of the Vietnam War, is that we didn't get to win it, Johnson's efforts led to piecemeal deployments of combat power, with bureaucrats trying to prove that they could fight a war better then the soldiers.

dragoon500ly 01-13-2019 03:50 PM

Just realized part of my last post, didn't post...

IMO the only way Vietnam could have been avoided, was to have not supported France's efforts to reclaim its former colonies. How this would have impacted U.S.-French relations, probably badly, but looking at how sour relations became after the return of de Gaulle to power...

If Kennedy had indeed written his executive order to withdraw advisors, would Johnson have ordered troops into the country? What if the Pentagon had advised Johnson to hurt out of military planning and operations?

In my college days, there was a peace activist attending a round table discussion and he was asked what was the greatest mistake of the peace movement, almost without hesitation, he replied "When we started burning the U.S. flag." When was he was asked to elaborate, "The act of burning the national flag is a call to overthrow the government by any means necessary, That single act drove away all the support that the movement had on both sides, to get our troops out of Vietnam. Did it prolong the war? Yes it did, and the blood on both sides are on our hands."

I grew up a military brat during Vietnam and I remember the staff cars driving into base housing and seeing the chaplain and a officer walking up to a set of quarters. I still have nightmares of the expressions on the faces of kids i knew.

Landon 05-06-2019 11:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schnickelfritz (Post 53530)
I am reading "The Generals" by Thomas E. Ricks now and just worked my way through Vietnam and into the 1980's.

It's really worth a read, particularly on Vietnam and the aftermath. It made me want to throw the book at the wall...I though I knew how much of a dumba$$ LBJ and Westie were....I had no idea.

-Dave

The Generals i have read it and its mind blowing

Sith 05-10-2019 01:22 PM

I did some work on the origins of the Vietnam war when I was in grad school. Could it have been avoided? Probably not for political inertia reasons. The first advisers actually deployed to South Vietnam shortly after its creation in the mid-fifties, it wasn't until Kennedy that the deployment became "official" though.

At the time the Soviet politicians were emphasizing the spread of communism through insurgency. This factored heavily into Kennedy's decision making around strategy. He wanted to show the Soviets that the United States could stop at the counter-insurgency level, hence, the creation of the Special Forces. Sort of a "whatever you got, we got better" kind of an approach. The US Army, however, had a different vision though. At the time they did not see counter-insurgency as we see it today, they simply viewed it as a "smaller conventional war" and that is how they approached it. So when Truman became President their recommendations were along conventional lines. Truman also suffered from a sort of "little man" syndrome as well. He never really took well to being surrounded by Kennedy's "Best and Brightest" Cabinet Secretaries and advisers. Some say that this played a part in him escalating the war, he needed to show that he was tough.

As far as Kennedy's thinking about ending the war and any action Truman may have taken is still a mystery. There are interesting arguments on both sides around that, not sure if we will ever find out what truly happened.

On National Guard equipment, I can remember going to the NY State Fair in the early eighties. The Guard troops were there with a M48 tank that had a M60 machine gun mounted on top. I thought the whole display was real cool, especially since they had a zip-line set up to replicate parachutes. The kids were all over that thing. What stands out the most was that they were regularly firing blanks through the M60 to entertain the crowd... that would not go over well these days. Different times.

mpipes 05-10-2019 02:32 PM

Sith, you say Truman. Don't you mean Johnson?


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