Vietnam Naval Warfare

US Navy Flag 1965-1975

The longest war of the 20th century

USS Intrepid, south China sea 1965

The war in south-east Asia was indeed the longest war of the Century. It started in 1945 as a war of independence for the Vietnamese people against French colonial rule, embedded in the context of resistance to the Japanese, and as the spectre of communism became a priority for a US-backed UN, after Korea, Indochina became the hot point in the region, with other independence wars erupted around, what was called the post-colonial era. With US-backed South Vietnam, a new war started, which will take traction and spread in neighbours as the war progressed until the fall of Saigon in 1975, and the Cambodian war ending that year and the Sino-Vietnamese war of 1879 closing for this region almost thirty-four years of continuous regional conflicts. Scars are not completely faded yet. A traumatic experience for US Troops, it also concerned the US Navy a great deal, due to the nature of operations, which commitment was more than ten years long, with a large part of US Navy ships doing their "tour of duty" there, plus many converted for specific uses and many others built for riverine warfare.

Prologue: The French Indochina naval operations (1945-55)

The elimination of what left of the Indochina squadron (distinguished at the battle of Ko Chang in 1941) was acted in March 1945, as Japan launched the Second French Indochina Campaign ousting the Vichy Regime governor and install formally Emperor Bảo Đại as head of a new "independent" Empire of Vietnam. Most French officials and officers remaining were rounded up and jailed, while all garrisons were assaulted. This also liquidated what was left of the French Indochina squadron there.

As soon as France was back in control with new elections programmed and a provisional government, calls to intervene in the far east multiplied. Actually, several Free French ships were already there, with the British east asia fleet, notably the mighty Richelieu, participating in the campaign of Burma and Malaya. At first FDR and US authorities resisted a return of the French in the region, and it was even suggested that Chiang Kai-shek could place Indochina under Chinese rule. This was never acted. Instead, the French Provisional Government wanted to restore its colonial rule in French Indochina, seen as the final step in the Liberation of France rapidly sent troops in coordination with the British, a position difficult to understand for Joseph Stilwell.

Peace was signed onboard Missouri by General Leclerc on behalf of France, and French troops landed on 13 September (part of a Franco-British task force also landed in Java) in Saigon to restore French authority and deal with Japanese troops remaining across Indochina, unaware of the peace, disarmed and registered to be repatriated in Japan. Meanwhile, Hồ Chí Minh openly courted US officials to be granted a leading position in post-war Indochina, still not communist and rather grounding his rhetoric on Wilson's nations rights (a position he held since 1919) even taking entire parts of the constitution he wrote. OSS agents already in contact with Indochinese resistance during the war, were pressing US authorities to make a move. Sadly, nothing was done until October 9, 1945, when General Leclerc arrived in Saigon accompanied by Colonel Massu's March Group in order to secure Saigon and the surroundings and militarize the Tonkin. He also had to negociate with the Viet-Minh and to return to French control the Chinese-occupied Hanoi.

French "Marsouins" (Marine commandos) wade ashore off the Annam coast in July 1950

However early in 1946 negociations over the use of the port of Haiphong escalated with a confrontation between the Vietminh in control and the newly arrived military force at Haiphong. As these negociations dragged on, they eventually broke up on November 23, 1946, as the newly appointed admiral Thierry d'Argenlieu ordered the cruiser suffren to open fire on the port city, making at least 6000 dead, but securing the departure of Vietminh forces. D'Argenlieu arrived previously on 31 October 1945, as High Commissioner of the French Far East Expeditionary Corps, and in 1946 was promoted vice-amiral d'escadre and later admiral.

Outside the Haiphong bombardment he also installed a puppet Autonomous Republic of Cochinchina in violation of the March agreement with Viet Minh delegates in France. Considered a grave provocation, it ended negotiations and provoked in effect the First Indochina War. His actions has been so controversial that he was relieved of command by Paris in March 1947, replaced by Émile Bollaert. Soon, General Võ Nguyên Giáp brought up 30,000 men to retake Haiphong, while France prepared troopships to be sent with to Indochina. In 1947, as the guerilla was stepped-up, the French landed troops along the coast and the fleet grew to large proportions in 1949-50, mobilizing cruisers, destroyers, and the newly acquired aircraft carriers such as the arromanches, which will provide precious support during many operations to come. In 1949 also, the US started to give military aid to France, but soon the Pentagon and the world's attention was focused by the Korean war. The French presence was now accepted as a way to prevent the spread of communism, the first allies contacted by Ho Chhi Minh for support after the US diplomatic indifference.

The Arromanches in 1953 The Arromanches in 1953

French Naval Operations

The French Navy had operated in Indochina a large variety of ships: The carrier Arromanches, Dixmude (ex-Biter), Bois Belleau (ex-Belleau Woods) the battleship Richelieu (which for example bombarded Nha Trang but was recalled in the Mediterranean during the Suez crisis), all three surviving La Galissonnière class cruisers Gloire, G. Leygues and Montcalm, Duquesne made two campaigns there, and Tourville, which served with the Far East (FMEO) with her sister-ship and Suffren, later called the Naval Division of the Far East (DNEO).

However missions at sea only were useful to bring support in coastal operations and cover troopships and landings, but a large part of operations inland also called for a French riverine fleet. This started with very limited assets: A handful of converted civilian barges, manned by personnel released from Japanese POW camps, in bad shape. There were also limited logistics and support, but this allowed some control of the lower Mekong Delta, and later during the war, as far north as Phnom Penh. In 1946-49, these assets grew rapidly as more landings ships were transferred from the Mediterranean, which can be used with their shallow draft. In particular, former British landing craft were used since 1945, already available. They allowed to also patrol the Mekong's tributaries and the Mekong delta. Some advanced bases along the river were also constructed, still there in the 1960s and sometimes reused by the USMC.

Jaubert's riverine successes

Nevertheless, economic devastation and political instability at home prevented massive support: The navy had a low budget priority, ans US support was yet absent. Nevertheless, early tactical successes were due to the innovative tactics introduced by France’s first naval chief in Indochina, Commander François Jaubert. With the Far East Naval Brigade, he created a tool in 1945 combining naval-land river units first used to "clean up" Viet Minh positions around Saigon, before going northwards along the Mekong river and other major cities. His first mission called MOUSSAC happened in October 1945, and secured the river Bassac, also recapturing the provincial capitals My Tho and Can Tho.

He did this with 14 LCAs and 6 LCVPs (All British-built) brought by the aircraft carrier Bearn from Singapore and two marine companies, plus those of Richelieu and Bearn and additional French forces previous joint to the British after the withdrew from Indochina. Operation BENTRE took place around hanoi, with this composite force and troops, clashing with nationalist Chinese. In 1947, Jaubert established the first permanent riverine units called "Dinassauts", two units (north and south), consisting of a variable number of armored and unarmored landing craft, river monitors, gunboats, and one battalion of naval or light infantry, around 1,200 men total for each. more units were created to fight on until the end of the war.

mekong basin

However not long after the incident at Haiphong, the Navy recalled most of the fleet at the worst moment. French amphibious operations went on and allow the recapture of Nam Dinh and cleaning up of the Red and Clear rivers. However in Paris, no reinforcements were sent as there was political change. The bombardment of Haiphong indeed was resented and only underlined the conflict's growing unpopularity. Only a single cruiser and a handful of destroyers and sloops remained there, while there was no more support for the riverine force that tried to control an immense territory quickly retaken. The Viet Minh soon contested the rivers and the fleet was forced to limit itself to shore operation and patrol by using seaplanes. The gradual rebuilt of the French fleet air arm (Arromanches 1948, Lafayette 1951 ex-Langley, Bois Belleau 1953 gradually allowed some strength and flexibility in operations, however these forces were mainly engaged in operations inland.

the dinassault badge French Riverine warfare rested on three types of ships, better suited for quick moves than previous British landing crafts and old gunboats:
-Vedette de patrouille: Unarmored motor launch, 85 ft long, 2x 20-mm oerlikon, 2x 0.5 M2HB, 1x .3 cal., light mortar. -Unarmored landing craft carrying troops
-Support armored landing craft (20 mm Oerlikon, 2 M2HB).
-Converted crafts, using former Chaffee tank turrets, 40-mm Bofors, 20-mm Oerlikon guns
From 1951 and growing US aid these dinassault units were given additional US-built landing craft and patrol boats.
Due to these efforts, and with the carrier-borne air support, the French gradually secured the Red and Clear rivers and their tributaries, cutting off the most effective Viet Minh logistical network, forcing it to withdrew into the mountains and and use land lines from China, notably the famous "Ho Chi Minh trail".
A task split started from March 1952 as northern forces were charged of river convoy escort while the southern ones were limited to coastal patrols and control.

The Mekong river near Luang-Prabang

The end of the Indochinese war

But in a general way, the lack of a coordinated French strategy after 1950 and of support from the homeland doomed all effort to consolidate what was acquired, leading to ultimate defeat. From 1952, the lack of resources condemned the riverine units, supported by a personal of 12,000, and transporting and supporting 200,000 men in the field, to collapse and the Vietminh gradually reclaimed the black river, and then the red river and the clear rivers, opening again these quick and efficient supply roads for their own troops.

The stalemate from July 1951 to July 1953, saw a growing use of paratroops were used extensively and General de Lattre was replaced by R. Salan and later Henri Navarre, a hard-liner and unimaginative leader which thought hedgehogs were the best tactics, setting-up Dien Bien Phu as an advanced base to force Giap into a battle of attrition. The siege did not ended well, and this precipitated negotiations held in Paris since 1949. Peace was signed at Geneva, conventions establishing a partition of the country of Vietnam while Laos and Cambodia's independence was confirmed.

NARA USS Benewah and smaller craft on My Tho River circa 1967
NARA USS Benewah and smaller craft on My Tho River circa 1967

Second phase: North Vietnamese attacks and ARVN support

Gradual involvement

The USA at first fully backed the South Vietnamese state, through financial and military support. The Việt Cộng, also called NLF (National Liberation Front), became an union of all South Vietnamese pro-communist guerilla movements, under the direction of North Vietnam, which also invaded Laos in support of insurgents already in the 1950s. The Ho Chi Minh Trail was created inland to supply the Việt Cộng, changing itineraries along the events, and ending completely in Laos. American involvement in the conflict was still limited at the start of the John F. Kennedy presidence, although the MAAG program ramped-up military advisors presence from a mere 300 to a thousand in 1959, and up to 16,000 in 1963 and 24,000 in 1964. The incident of the gulf of Tonkin put an end to a fiction of "advisors" which in reality were full combat units, and the Congress authorized and unprecedented escalation, troops sent there passing the symbolic threshold of 100,000 men.

By that time, the North Vietnamese (NVA) which wanted to bolster the south Vietnamese activity, had 40,000 regular NVA soldiers embedded in Viet-Cong units throughout South Vietnam. Thousands were also used as advisers. Also the NVA was backed by the USSR and the PRC, at least until the split. China in fact sent hundreds volunteers to man air-defense systems and be used in support roles in North Vietnam. No chances were taken as to send them to active units in the south and be captured.

RVNN logo

The South Vietnamese Navy

Although this subject will be treated more in detail on a dedicated post over reunified Vietnam (1975 to this day), the creation of the Republic of south Vietnam was solidified by a military backbone (ARVN), equipped and trained by US advisors. The Navy (Republic of Vietnam Navy, RVNN) was established on 1st January 1955 with a hotchpotch of units, most of them ex French vessels (including ex-British or ex-US ones), a few ex-Japanese ones, and converted civilian ships and boats, notably traditional junks and sampans.

Information is scarce about the details. Their initial task was to control the Mekong delta, as there was no proper blue water navy to efficiently patrol the coastal waters.
The force counted 15,350 men in 1955, including a Marine Corps (RVNM) versus 2200 for the NV Navy (VPN). By 1961, the RVN was twice larger, augmented by many MNDAP transferred ships, 39 surface combatants plus 215 landing crafts, 12 minelayers, 30 auxiliaries. It grew again until 1972, dealing a heavy blow to the NVA in coordination with the USN.
Truth is, there was no major warhip in service and the South Vietnam navy, dwarfed by the USN:
-Trang Quan Khai class frigates. These were Barnegat class seaplane tenders, seven transferred in 1946-48 to the coast guard. -Tan Hung cass class frigates (Two ex-Edsall/FRM class DDE, transferred in 1964). One served as a training vessel as far as 1994. -6 LSTs (tr.1962), 7 LSM (1955), 7 LSSL (1955), 5 LSIL (1955), 18 LCU (1954, 1971). The 1954-55 were ex-French, ex-US landing crafts/ships.
-To this green water and coastal fleet, the RVNN received 3 PCE (1961), 5 Admirable class minesweepers (1962), 6 PCE 173ft (1955), 2 SC types sub-chasers (1955), 19 PGM patrol crafts (1963), 26 82ft "Point" patrol crafts (1969), 3 Bluebird class (1959), 3 YMS Type coastal minesweepers (1954).
-For its brown water navy, force of nearly 700 ships also served the RVN: The first were former French vessels ceded in 1955, and the US transferred in the late 1960s and until 1972 many of their own riverine patrol crafts. The only known list given by the USN during the withdrawals states the following:
107 Swift PCs, 293 PBR, 28 RPC, 84 ASPB, 42 river monitors, 22 LCM-6, 100 ATC (armoured troop carriers), 9 CCB command crafts, 4 CSB (salvage ships), 24 minesweeping launches. Added to this there was the large "junk fleet" backed by the US but relatively inefficient (see later).

The North Vietnamese Navy

VPN emblemIn 1955 the French Navy transferred most of its remaining local naval assets to the new Republic of Vietnam, few were available in the North. The Vietnam People's Navy (VPN) started with whatever assets can be mustered, in May 1955 when it was created. But General Võ Nguyên Giáp started started to build a flotilla in 1946 while a department for naval R&D was created in 1949. The 1955 General Directorate of Coastal Defence concentrated on coastal defence and riverine warfare. As shown by statistics and data from Conways, the composition of the navy was unknown before 1961, when the USSR started documenting its transfers to the VPN:
-50 "Swatow" type patrol crafts, ex Chinese, based on the P6 (transferred 1958, 30, and 1964, 20). 26 were either lost in action or discarded until 1982.
-12 P4 FAC in 1961-64, 6 P6 FAC in 1967. So there are conflicting informations about the Gulf of Tonkin incident, involving for some Swatow-class patrol boats (based on the P6) rather than P4 boats in the second alleged attack on 4 August. The Swatow class PBs were inded by far the most numerous vessels in the VPN.
-15 SO-1 sub-chasers (1960-66), 8 Shanghai II (ex-PLAN) LPBs (1966-68)
-2 Poluchat class PBs (1960)
From 1972, and into the 1980s, many new, more capable Soviet vessels were transferred, but this is beyond our scope. The 'Viet Cong Navy' never had a status but existed through hundreds of traditional junks and Sampans, and captured ex-French or ex-US crafts over time.

The official start: The Gulf of Tonkin incident

USS Maddox
USS Maddox

In the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August, U.S. destroyer USS Maddox was alleged to have clashed with North Vietnamese fast attack craft. This presented as a nice casus belli which pushed the U.S. Congress to pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. This gave President Lyndon B. Johnson his eagerly awaited full authority to scale up American military presence in this theater. Deployment of large units was now approved, and troops sent there rose to 184,000.

uss Maddox Tonkin

The incident: What really happened this day ?
A P4 FAC, such as those unleashed against USS Maddox
A P4 FAC, such as those unleashed against USS Maddox

Naval clashes often led to war. It was the case in US case in particular, 1960 with Fort Sumter, a naval fort, in 1898 with the loss of the Maine in La Havana, also in 1915 with the sinking of the Lusitania, nearly the case during the Atlantic war in 1941, and of course, Pearl Harbor. In French Indochina also the shelling of Haiphong was clearly a cause of escalation. The gulf of Tonkin Incident however is still the subject of controversy. For modern historians it appeared as a "convenient" event, and was not an imaginary attack, but a real one between ships of both nations for the first time.

On 4 October 1964, USS Maddox was posted in the gulf of Tonkin for secret electronic warfare support measures mission (codenamed "DESOTO") very close to Northern Vietnamese territorial waters. This intelligence mission was ongoing since July 31, under command of captain George Stephen Morrison from USS Bonhomme Richard. USS Maddox was under strict orders not to close more than 8 miles (13 km) from coast, or the island of Hon Nieu where a SOG (South Vietnamese) commando was to land for a covert operation.

Situation in the area almost reached boiling point as their missions multiplied, as well as a more aggressive NVA response. The NVAN (North Vietnamese Army Navy) was quite small at the time, but comprised 12 P4 class fast attack crafts armed with torpedoes, not "torpedo boats" as stated by the press of the time, although technically right. Needless to say, these modern 21 inches torpedoes were deadly for any ship, more so for a destroyer.

It seems the culprit for the attack started with the SOG commando raid during the night of July 30 of a North Vietnamese radar station on Hòn Mê island. Whether communications failed, or none was sent, but the USS Maddox was unaware of this, yet was close to the event, leading NVA HQ that she was probably involved as a support ship. The 31, the destroyer was indeed closing to Hòn Mê island according to its intelligence planning. The next day, on 1st August, North Vietnamese patrol boats started to track the destroyer and communications were intercepted about the preparation of an attack. This urged the destroyer to retreat, at 25 knots.

However P4 boats were still dangerously trailing and closing in to the point on 2 August, warning shots were fired at them by USS Maddox. Then three TBs attacked, signalled by the destroyer by then 10 nautical miles (19 km; 12 mi) in international waters. The destroyer also claimed to have evaded a torpedo, and took no hit. She repelled the attack, but two TBs later came back cose to 5 nautical miles (9.3 km; 5.8 mi) of the destroyer and launched their torpedoes, but they missed by 100 yards (91 m), thanks to quick manoeuvres. Soon after four USN F-8 Crusader jets scrambled from USS Ticonderoga were on site, scaring away the TBs, that have been pummelled by the Destroyer 5-in guns. One was claimed sunk and another badly damaged. She had been close enough at some point to receive 14.5 mm KPV fire.

Sonar Console C Mark I
Sonar Console C Mark I, mod 0 similar to the one carried by USS Maddox, of the modernized Gearing class. US national museum of electronics

The next day, 3 August, she had been joined by USS Turner Joy as a reinforcement, while NVA propaganda claimed one torpedo hit and a USN fighter down. It seemed the motive for the attack was that the destroyer closed inside the 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi) limit marking NVA territorial waters around Hòn Mê Island, which was seen as a provocation, added to the supposed attacks of fishing boats. This limit was not recognised by the US and Johnson ordered Maddox and Turner Joy to return and test the NVA resolve in daylight runs. Another DESOTO patrol off the North Vietnamese coast started in effect on the 4 of August, to "show the flag" as close as 11 miles (18 km) from the coast, in heavy weather and poor visibility.

Both destroyers received sonar and radar signals and at some point, they opened fire on four radar spots, claiming two ships sank, never confirmed. Johnson then ordered an air retaliatory attack (Operation Pierce Arrow), despite the fact at the white house, the reality of an attack was left unconfirmed, leaving to local commanders the impression of a real attack on the 2, and a "suspected, but unconfirmed one" on the 4, the day generally associated with the incident. It is known that freak weather could cause shadow blips, and some confusion also for the sonarman, which "heard" a torpedo coming, never spotted. So the incident which radically stepped-up the war, voted by the Congress, was likely the result of bad weather.

1964 to the great turn of 1968

Since the escalation started in 1964, the People's Army of Vietnam (NVA in military parlance) started an era or more conventional warfare with large scale battles and using armor more extensively. The build-up progress until Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara started expressing doubts of victory already in the end of 1966. Air superiority and firepower were professed by General Westmoreland in charge since 1964 while ground troops would be involved in constant, deep search and destroy operations, involving combined arms when finding the enemy. Strategic bombing also commenced against North Vietnam and Laos, arguably more successful.

The Tet Offensive of 1968 showed lack of progress in Westmoreland doctrines, and a growing sense of stalemate without clear objective in view, as exemplified in the "hamburger hill" movie. The doctrine was now of attrition, the famous "body count", hoping more firepower would ultimately win the day.

In 1968 however, reassuring messages about progresses to the press were shattered: VC and PAVN mounting large-scale urban offensives that year during religious festivities. It caught both the Army and white house completely off guard. The press changed tone, and U.S domestic support began rapidly fading. The ARVN was somewhat neglected after Tet, and remodelled after U.S doctrine. Despite of this, VC heavy losses during Offensive and better combined U.S.-ARVN operations started to invert the curve and the whole operation was a tactical defeat for the NVA.

The paradox was, at the end of 1968 VC insurgents had been all but wiped out from South Vietnam, still clinging on tenuous holdouts, while recruitment dropped and desertions augmented. Guerrilla operations became more rare, so much so the PAVN ramped-up its involvement. The next year in 1969, North Vietnam declared a Provisional Revolutionary Government in South Vietnam, hoping to attract some international recognition for the VC but southern guerrillas were now directed in coordination with PAVN forces. In 1970, 70% of operations were led by them, and now crossed national borders as Laos was invaded by North Vietnam and Cambodia was used as a supply route since 1967 and started to be bombed by U.S. aviation creating some resentment in Cambodia. Norodom Sihanouk was deposed by the Cambodian National Assembly, followed by a PAVN invasion at the request of the Khmer Rouge, which ended in a bloody Civil War and U.S.-ARVN counter-invasion.

uss galveston
USS Galveston firing over Vietnam

In 1969, U.S President Richard Nixon was elected, and professed a "Vietnamization" of the conflict with an expanded ARVN, and stepping-up the scale of operation, amidst demoralization of soldiers returning home, widespread domestic opposition and recruitment fall. The withdrawing in effect started by early 1972, leaving a strong air, artillery, naval support, and also advisers. The plan was to boost the ARVN enough to resist another offensive, despite a growing local opposition, desertions, and the generalized corruption of the regime. It stopped nevertheless the largest mechanized PAVN Easter Offensive in 1972, the most impressive push since the invasion. It proved attritional on both sides but the PAVN and ARVN failed to reach their respective objectives, although the latter lost territory. Paris Peace Accords started in January 1973. As signed, all U.S forces were to be withdrawn. It was confirmed by the Case–Church Amendment passed by the U.S Congress (15 August 1973).

It ended, at least officially, any military involvement. However the Peace Accords did not stand the test of reality in Vietnam as fighting raged on until 1975. The 1975 Spring Offensive was the final blow for the south, no longer buttressed by US forces: Saigon fell on 30 April. Unification of the country followed the next year. It is estimated the PAVN lost about one million soldiers, the VC perhaps two millions, and the civilian cost was ranging from 966,000 to 3.8 million for Vietnam alone, not counting Cambodians, Laotians, versus 58,220 U.S. troops, 1,626 missing. The ARVN lost up to 1968 some 850,000 soldiers, but 1,500,000 in the 1974–1975 period alone. It was one of the bloodiest conflict in history, certainly of the cold war.

US Navy involvement

A 1968 official movie by the USN. See also

The U.S. Navy had to undertake a wide array of diverse missions during the War with the USAF as close partner, especially during the Rolling Thunder and Linebacker air campaigns and operations in Laos and Cambodia. The many duty however for the Navy, and a very old one indeed, was to developed a highly effective blockade to prevent resupply by sea, something the French never had the naval assets to do. Also the fleet was naturally engaged in naval gunfire support missions all along the coast, against enemy targets, littoral and marshy areas of Vietnam, while providing amphibious transport for Marines for the Ist Corps.

The riverine warfare was also a very important aspect of these operations. On the Mekong and its tributaries, the Navy implemented a control by building up several task forces to protect commercial traffic, but also assist allied ground forces by pacifying these eras and interdict enemy penetrations as well. These inland waterways indeed were vital for the Vietminh, deprived of good roads and air support. The riverine force aso was developed to carry out logistics operations, building and managing countless shore facilities throughout South Vietnam. They also provided extensive medical support and supply depots.

A few U.S. Navy advisors arrived in South Vietnam in the fall of 1959, but by 1969, they were 564 assisting the Republic of Vietnam in developing the Vietnam Navy (VNN), starting from 5,000 sailors and 122 vessels but reached at some point 42,000 men and 1,500 vessels. By 1972, this made this fleet, the fifth largest in the world. Naval advisors were present during all these years, experiencing all hardships and danger aboard these ships and craft.

Meanwhile, of the massive USN involvement really started as a response to the North Vietnamese attack on USS Maddox (DD 731) in the Gulf of Tonkin, August 1964 signalled the start of air and surface bombardment against North Vietnam. The most prominent force deployed there was of course the Seventh Fleet aircraft carriers. They supported allied air campaigns, cutting VN supply lines by hammering fuel and supply facilities but also power plants, bridges and the railroads network, not only in North Vietnam but also Laos and from 1970 in Cambodia as well.

They complemented the rather heavy handed and inefficient bombardments of B-52 which harassed the Viet Cong, coming from Guam or the Philippines. The USN roamed the North and South Vietnam coasts with impunity as there was no missile deployed against them. They shelled many targets (about 12 were cruisers, a cruiser and a battleship, all conventional or semi-converted). Naval Attacks during Rolling Thunder never proved decisive.

UH-34D Seahorse of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron HMM-362
A U.S. Marine Corps Sikorsky UH-34D Seahorse of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron HMM-362 in the Vietnam War in 1967. Due to the pre-1962 designation "HUS-1", the UH-34 was often named "Huss".

The 1965–68 interdiction campaign was followed by the Linebacker attacks in 1972, more effective, and during its early phase, the Navy flew about 4,000 sorties a month, 60% of the total air effort. Shelling amounted to over 111,000 rounds and mining major ports (Operation Pocket Money) was a resounding success. By December 1972, Nixon decided to resume the air offensive, called Linebacker II and focusing on Hanoi and Haiphong. Navy aircraft provided air defense and reconnaissance, while the ships often coordinated defence against MiGs intrusions.

From 1965 was also established a U.S. Navy Coast Guard patrol force, complementing the existing VNN anti-infiltration forces, along 1,200 mile of coastline in South Vietnam. Called Operation Market Time it was performed by Task Force 115, trying to prevent any seaborne infiltrations. It became arguably the most successful interdiction campaign of the war. Indeed, until then the North Vietnamese sent steel-hulled freighters and rather innocuous trawlers, and smaller ships, down to simple traditional sampans. By December 1965, Operation Game Warden started. Its objective was to patrol major rivers and canals in the Mekong Delta and also what was called then "Rung Sat Special Zone".

For this, the fleet operated a fleet of 31 ft patrol boats supported by attack helicopters and SEAL units.

LVTP-5's of the USMC's carrying 3rd Marine Division troops along the beach in 1966. Notice the escorting M50 Ontos behind.
LVTP-5's of the USMC's carrying 3rd Marine Division troops along the beach in 1966. Notice the escorting M50 Ontos behind.

The LVTP-5 was the true "best of burden" of the USMC during the Vietnam war; From to to Bottom, regular Marines LVTP-5, LVTP5A1 Howiter used in fire support in navy blue, and LVTE-1 "potato digger" used in coastal operations to clean up the beaches from mines and obstacles. First designed in 1956 to replaced the LVT family of WW2, the LVTP-5 was entirely closed. It was also slow and cumbersome, had a large capacity (up to 35 marines). Over 1,120 were built by the Ingersoll Products Division 01 of Borg-Warner Corporation. They were replaced by the smaller LVTP-7

This was called the naval inshore force, Task Force 116. It imposed a veritable curfew in the whole region, interdicting troop and supply to ever arrive. They in effect greatly curbed Communist taxation of peasants, and prevented large operations from the Viet-cong to take place. This force was also responsible of keeping safe the vital waterways to Saigon and Hue, and safeguarded South Vietnam’s ports, ensuring thy stayed free and opened for allied use. Trade was facilitated, securing also government control over the “breadbasket” of South Vietnam, inhabited by six million.

The Mobile Riverine Force was a three arms combined unit which also included river assault of small groups, SEALS and delta force in search and destroy missions of Viet Cong units in the Mekong Delta. By 1967, elements of the 9th Infantry Division used a flotilla of armored riverine monitors and special crafts, called Task Force 117. They launched a series of daring amphibious assaults, even achieving the highest kill ratio of the entire war, about 15 to 1.

When the Tet Offensive commences, the Mobile Riverine Force was assisted by Task Force 116, and fought on to save the Mekong, preventing any riverine reinforcements to the South Vietnamese troops; By starving the Viet Cong, they ensure their attacks on provincial capitals and major towns would loose traction quickly. The whole Mekong delta was therefore secured. Of course smaller riverine units part of the I Corps of the USMC, called Task Force Clearwater were also instrumental in keeping the Perfume and Cua Viet rivers open during the Offensive as well.

Zippo Monitor
A 'Zippo Monitor' making a "napalm BBQ" in USMC parlance.

A multi-arms command unit called the Southeast Asia Lake, Ocean, River, and Delta Strategy abbreviated to SEALORDS was mounted, combining and managing elements of Task Forces 115, 116, and 117 with the VNN, in order to halt infiltrations from Cambodia, starting in late 1968. New patrol barriers were mounted near the Cambodia. Also military presence was ensured deep inside the Mekong Delta, reducing Viet Cong activity and preventing major offensive, especially during the 1972 Easter Offensive.

Meanwhile, the freighter fleet of the Military Sea Transportation Service carried 95% of the hardware and supplies to allied forces. Navy Seabee construction units helped this by creating a major support base at Danang and another in Saigon. They supplied Navy and Marine Corps but also took charge of the Air Force and Army. They managed a fleet of riverine supply craft and barges operating in and from the Mekong Delta and beyond, a more secure way (and faster) than difficult trails prone to ambushes (see the saga of the gun trucks in vietnam).
The Navy also established and managed two hospitals, also at Danang and Saigon fo triage and possible repatriation, as well as the support of two hospital ships, USHS Sanctuary (AH 17) and USHS Repose (AH 16) with competent personal, excellent equipment and a Nurse Corps.

F-4J of VFMA 232 air refuelled during Rolling Thunder

Amphibious operations of the Marine Corps was backed by amphibious assault ships for all scales of coastal assaults on South Vietnam. In Operation Starlight, August 1965, both the USMC and ARVN units managed to trap and destroy the 1st Viet Cong Regiment, which dissuaded Viet Cong units from the on, not only of combat against amphibious forces, but also to contiture strong points on the coastline, entirely reclaimed by allied forces. The naval command also used these amphibious assets to bring quickly massive reinforcements, with heavy equipments that helicopters could carry, as a sort of floating reserve for quick reinforcements. This proved instrumental during the battles along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in 1967–68. In total, 1.842 million Sailors would see these waters during their active life, while the combined operations for this duration of conflict gave a solid experience of combined arms tactics and management of air and ground force projection to the naval staff. This was paid by the loss of 1,631 killed naval personal and 4,178 wounded far less however than the Marine Corps. The Navy suffered its most tragic accident on the carrier USS Forrestal (photo).

Riverine warfare in Vietnam

Vietnam USN riverine fleet Mekong

A LST-base and support ship in the Mekong river, supporting a fleet of various mobile riverine force crafts, seen here, mostly monitors.

Constitution of USN "Brown Navy"

uss hunterdown country in cambodia From December 18, 1965, the United States Navy formalized a brand new brown-water navy, tailored for operations in Vietnam. This brown-water navy initially patrolled inland waterways of Mekong River (Mekong Delta), ideal for the Viet-Cong to hide in. South Vietnamese river craft called RAG—River Assault Groups were the first boats to be deployed there, inherited from the French Navy, and used by the ARVN. They had been previously received from the U.S. as military aid against the Viet Minh, which also helped standardize maintenance.

However in the 1960s, a new material saw growing use, fiberglass, which helped builsing a fleet of fast air-transportable Patrol Boat using water jet propulsion. In time, they became the main interdiction vessel for patrolling the riverine areas and retake control of inland waterways, way north.

For coastal duty howver, the South Vietnamese Navy had a variety of seaworthy craft of various origins,, ex-US/Ex-French most of them transferred in 1954-55. They were replaced by the new Swift Boats of "PCF—Patrol Craft Fast, aluminum, 50 footers in ordnance. Also United States Coast Guard Point-class cutters, well suited for the task and built and sent there. The Swift Boat completed the work of the PBRs inland, maintaining a constant surveillance between the transition green/brown waters along the coast line. The USN Coast Guard part in this conflict is often overlook, but their experience and pethods were really useful. This coastal/riverine was mostly passed on to the ARVN after the war.

A fleet of Swift Boats
A fleet of Swift Boats

The brown-water Mobile Riverine Force operated in effect as a joint venture between the Navy and Army, often carrying troops, and using radio for aviaton coordination. The first units were modeled after the earlier French Dinassauts groups for the First Indochina War. They even reused previous bases along the Mekongs and tributaries, vastly expanded and modernized as well as new ones over the sixties. The earliest units only counted on surplus World War II landing craft, namely LCMs, LCVPs, LCIs, etc. which not very fast or tailored for patrols, handicapped notably by their short range.

-The French designed STCN (all-steel "V" hulled boat, 40 feet was in turn influenced by the US LCVP boats used by French influenced the design of the first original riverine boat tailored for the taslk:
-The Assault Support Patrol Boat (ASPB). Also called "Alpha boat", it was a 50-foot, all-steel hull, aluminium superstructure vessel built by the Gunderson Company in Oregon, USA. They had a reinforced construction, in order to survive mine blasts. For this, they were often used as ad hoc riverine minesweeper.
Alongside these were deployed PCFs, ASPBs, and monitors, which were essentially modified LCMs (see at the end of the article). They together formed the Mobile Riverine Force, which used supporting facilities called either "Yard Repair Berthing" and "Messings" or "advance bases", as well as mobile bases installed in LSTs, as well as helicopter and seawolf units.

This brown-water navy was instrumental during Operation Market Time and Operation Game Warden. In general they were largely successful, stopping North Vietnam riverine supply roads to the Viet Cong. That constant flow of weapons and ammunition stopped completely during the ongoing Operation Market Time which lasted from from 1965 to 1970.

The Brown-water river assault units were initiated in January 1967, working with the 2nd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division under command of Major General William Fulton. With USN Task Force 117 they formed the Mobile Riverine Force. This fleet was turned over to the South Vietnamese and Cambodian governments under the Vietnamization policy, still working with advisors.

Actual footage of the riverine warfare in Vietnam. See also

The Seawolf, HA(L)-3

HAL-3 Seawolves

Bell UH-1E Huey helicopter of U.S. Navy light helicopter attack squadron HAL-3 Seawolves landing on the converted tank landing ship USS Harnett County (LST-821) between combat operations in the Mekong Delta, Co Chien river, South Vietnam, in October 1967. A U.S. Army UH-1B is parked in the background.

The HA(L)-3, (Helicopter Attack Squadron (Light) 3), nicknamed the "Seawolves", was an all-volunteer squadron in the US Navy formed in support of Naval Special Warfare operations and Mobile Riverine Forces during the Vietnam War. They operated in close coordination with the USN, with Navy Huey helicopters, the workhorse of the conflict, supported sometimes with Huey Cobra. They started operating in 1967, after detachments of helicopter gunships were transferred to the Navy, for operations in the Mekong Delta, two detachments of Army UH-1B gunships at first from shore bases and later from USN patrol craft tenders.

They provided close air support (CAS) for the Brown-water Navy. Later HC-1 was divided into four separate units, notably Helicopter Attack Squadron (Light) 3 (HAL-(3)), "the Seawolves" under command of LCDR Joseph B. Howard. They operated until 1972, making 120,000 combat sorties and loosing 44, plus 200 wounded in action.

The "Junk Force"

The Junk Force was called in Vietnamese Lực Lượng Hãi Thuyền, a naval security Coastal Force of the Republic of Vietnam. It was composed of civilians, trained by the Navy and coordinated with the Republic of Vietnam National Police. Created ormed in 1960 with the help of USN advisors, it was fully integrated into the Republic of Vietnam Navy (RVNN) in 1965.

It was originally an idea of Admiral Harry D. Felt, C-inC U.S. Pacific Command (CINCPAC), a proposal accepted by President Ngo Dinh Diem. Soon it was colloquially nicknamed the "junk force" directly under South Vietnam’s Department of State for National Defense. This was a paramilitary riverine and coastal unit in line with the self-defence principle pushed by the Kennedy administration at that point. Therefore, funds were unlocked to help the construction of no less than 501 junks in traditional South Vietnamese boatyards.

The plan for 420 sailing junks and 63 motorized junks manned by 2,200 civilian irregulars, naturally skilled at sea. Their task was to patrol inshore coastal waters, up to 5 miles (8.0 km) from the coast, staying in view of it at all times. It was hiped this inocuous-looking fleet would blend in with usual fishing junks, allowing them to close on suspect junk for a search and boarding mission. In total 21 junk divisions were created, for 23 junks each, patrolling in its own area of 30 miles (48 km) along the coastline. They were coordinated by radio from their own coastal command surveillance center, reporting in turn, to one of the four VNN coastal districts headquartered in Danang, Nha Trang, Vung Tau and An Thoi.

By October 1963, advisors convinced the ARVN command to create four naval zone commands, based on their respective geographical areas with an overall commander equivalent to an army corps commander. That year, the "Junk Force" comprised 632 junks manned by 3,700 civilian crewmembers. Problems shown recruitment of experience sailors ore difficult than expected, most proffering living from the sea rather than joining this force, in order to sustain their family.

By desperation, the RVNN starting recruiting urban peasants and refugees but these northerners were ill-suited to the task and often deserted. Attrition outpaced recruitments, especially in 1964. This was also due to the deplorable conditions under which they served, not under USN responsibility. Without pay for months or training, and non-existent morale, led to an enquiry from the advisors team in 1964. Their assessment was confirmed by Naval Advisory Group Saigon The problem was above, as often commanders almost never received funds for to care for the sailors. It was compounded by a 1963 medical survey, noting 50% of the crews having diseases. The lack of water treatment tablets (iodine) for example, or Choloroquine, led to widespread illness. Also these recruits were not either trained to care for their wooden junks, which required more maintenance than planned. In 1964 174 junks were in too bade shape to sail and needed urgent repairs, 64 being beyond that stage. This ate most of the effective force of each Coastal District, having sometimes less than 20% junks serviceable. The Vietnamese government privileged the force expansion at the expense of maintenance, and short-sightedness from the naval units staff.

In addition, as this force was known by the Vietcong, they started to heavily militarize their own junks, often more powerful and far better armed, with trained and motivated personal. They also used in riverine and shallow waters areas smaller sampans, that Junks could not follow. Coordination with the Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF) also failed due to the lack of serviceable radios, absence of communication protocols, and aircraft simply being used elsewhere. Despite of this, the "junk Force" controlled 127,000 junks in 1963 alone, leading to 3,000 VC arrests all combined. In 1964-65 however, the VC started to use fast motorized, metal junks and steel trawlers for supplies and the situation degraded fast in 1965. During Operation Market Time, a naval blockade, they proved the weakest link in the chain with less than 40% of the available force in paper, on patrol at one time. Situation was such that the VN reclaimed the coastline North of Vung Tau over 142 miles (229 km) in the north and 300 miles (480 km) south. So much so that these Coastal Force were found totally isolated in enemy territory.

A Yabuta command Junk (src unknown)

The Naval Advisory Group eventually recommended to discard all remaining junks, until 1966, to be replaced by 90 brand new "Yabuta" junks built in Saigon in 1965. The name come from a Japanese engineer which designed a fiberglass 57 feet (17 m) junk armed with a .30-caliber machine gun and powered by a 110 hp diesel, for 10 knots. Meanwhile, the remaining wooden junks were refurbished anew. with funds from the U.S. Military Assistance Program. Crucially also, wages were paid to the shipyard workers but despite of this production stalled from 3 to 7 junks a week in 1965 to just one every five weeks in 1967. Workers just found three times better salaries elsewhere in private companies than Government wages.

Nevertheless, the new Junks proved way more capable and by 1965, Task Force 71 alone reported 14,962 junks, inspecting 2.5 and 7% depending on their position along the coast, and could not keep up. Only half of the assigned Sea Force ships participated in the operation. As coined by Vice Admiral Paul P. Blackburn, 7th Fleet commander, it was "effectively non-existent". In 1967 reached its lowest point and loosely participated in the ensuing operations, being reduced to a token force.

The end (1973-75): ARVN naval forces and aftermath

The ARVN Navy

Both Navies of North and south Vietnam were quite small. The subject will be treated in a future page about the vietnamese naval forces (1975), also detailing respective forces of the NVA and ARVN during the war, and operations.

Last chapter in a tragic history: The Sino-Vietnamese war of 1979

As amazing as it seemed, after a long fight for its independence which started with Ho Chi Minh struggle in 1919 to obtain it during peace negotiations, a fight to the finish against France until 1954, and a quasi civil war which ended in 1975 with the fall of Saigon, barely four years later, the most bombed country of earth was attacked yet by a third great power: China.

Now under Deng Xiaoping, making much-needed economic reforms and opening trade with the West, China became increasingly defiant of the Soviet Union after the complete split in 1969. On November 3, 1978, Vietnam and USSR signed a 25-year mutual defense treaty which arranged both countries to contain China.

After ongoing border incidents since 1969, the Soviet Union had now normalized relations with China. However in January 1979, Deng Xiaoping during a visit to the United States made no mystery of his intentions to Jimmy Carter ("The little child is getting naughty, it's time he got spanked.") and on February 15, the Chinese premier declared his plan for a limited attack on Vietnam, officially to support China's ally, the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia. The other reason given were the alleged mistreatment of ethnic Chinese minority and occupation of the Spratly Islands.

Moscow was warned the next day that China was prepared for war and indeed massed divisions along the Sino-Soviet border on maximal alert. A dedicated command was mounted in Xinjiang, and about 300,000 civilians were evacuated from the border. In total, about one-and-a-half million troops were stationed in reserve. This secured the northern border, and freed southern forced to attack Vietnam for a limited time. Deng wanted a "show of force", not a full scale invasion and occupation which would have made no sense given a multitude of factors, and historical precedence.


Southern divisions mobilized to attack vietnam, were from the Kunming, Chengdu, Wuhan and Guangzhou Military Regions, with command HQs in Kunming and Guangzhou, as forces were to attack simultaneously from the west and east on the mountainous border. In total, 600,000 troops were mobilized, but only 200,000 entered the country. Facing this onslaught, official Vietnamese figures were 70,000 troops using a large variety of armaments, including those captured from the US and ARVN.

They were all brought northwards, but 200,000 were kept in reserve around Hanoi. The Chinese attack was mostly performed by infantry, supported with a few few tanks comparatively, about 200 Type 59, Type 62, and Type 63 tanks. This was explained by the bulk of the armoured forces being massed to the soviet border, and the mountainous terrain, not favourable for armoured warfare. The Vietnamese HQ was however able to mobilize forces in Cambodia, southern Vietnam and central Vietnam and send them to the north, including air support from an entire division and three air regiments. They were favoured by a difficult terrain they knew well, and their recent military experience, but losses were about the same, if not superior, as local militias were deployed.

It should be noted that the USSR provided intelligence and equipment support for Vietnam via a massive airlift operation. In addition to infantry armament and artillery, no less than 400 tanks and armored personnel carriers (APCs) came from USSR and naval vessels were deployed also to prevent possible Chinese landings on the coast or blockade attempt. After the Battle of Lạng Sơn, Dong Dang, Lao Cai, and Cao Bang, in March, the Chinese retired, as Peking estimated the "punitive expedition" had reached its goal. Casualties figures on both sides are still disputed today, the Vietnamese estimated to have inflicted 62,000 casualties to the PRC and destroyed/captured 420 tanks and APCs. Modern estimates give about 26,000 Chinese killed, versus 20,000–30,000 killed on the Vietnam side in 3 weeks and 6 days. Despite all these hardships, Vietnam (which first kingdom dated back from the 7th century BC) has now a booming economy and a military fed by 8% GDP, with regular militia drills, and it is estimated as much as 5,000,000 would be mobilized in case of war, comprising a professional core of 450,000.

Read More/ Src,_River
Commemoration 50th anniversary (pdf)

Ships of the USN in Viet-nâm

During this conflict (1965-74), which remained a gaping wound in the collective memory of a whole generation of Americans currently in command of the country, the veterans remember having boarded small plastic vessels that were massively used on the Mekong and its many tributaries (see next chapter, about the brown navy ships). However the USN provided up to 60% of the air cover over Vietnam. Practically all cruisers, and aircraft carriers in service in 1965-75 served in Vietnam.

USN disengagement started in 1972, and from there, support to the ARVN became very limited, culminating with the fall of Saigon which put an end to this conflict from the American perspective. However, in Cambodge, the Khmer Rouge took power and dragged the country into a long ideologic nightmare while in 1979, China attacked Vietnam for three weeks before retiring (see later). This was the last chapter of this very long and painful history of the most bombed country on earth, and a tribute to an immensely brave and resilient population, attacked successively by three great powers and winning each time.

Aircraft Carriers in Vietnam:

Essex class carriers:

Some ships in the class would serve until well after the end of the Vietnam War:
-USS Yorktown: A 1964-1965 deployment with special operations in the South China Sea and ASW patrols, and air strikes inland. She concluded her tour of duty on 7 May 1965.
-USS Intrepid: April 1966-February 1969, three Vietnam deployments with Air Wing 10. -USS Hornet covered the evacuation of Vietnamese from South Vietnam, during her late deployment with the 7th Fleet for operations on the South Vietnam coast.
-USS Ticonderoga was one of the most active in Vietnam. She made four peacetime deployments to the western Pacific from 1958, and launched more than 7,000 sorties in 1965-67.
-USS Hancock started her tour of duty in 1965, and she was deployed each year until 1975, gaining an impressive service record there.
-USS Bennington final seven years of active service included four assignments with the 7th Fleet in Vietnam from 1964 to 1868.
-USS Boxer (CV-21) was used as a transport during the war.
-USS Bonhomme Richard was for the anecdote a flagship, under command of Admiral George Stephen Morrison, father Jim Morrison, in the Gulf of Tonkin during the incident of August 1964 although the event rather involved the Ticonderoga. She made five Southeast Asia combat tours in six years, battling North Vietnamese MiGs on many occasions with CVW-21 and CVW-5 until her 1970 deployment, and she was decommissioned in July 1971.
-USS Kearsage: She started her first tour in July 1964 and returned in June 1966 until the end of the year. -USS Oriskany: In April 1965 she joined for WestPac at Subic Bay, covering USMC landings to help the ARVN in north Vietnam. She deployed Air Wing 16, gaining a Unit Commendation for exceptionally meritorious service with 12,000 combat sorties. She returned in May 1966, and "Dixie Station" off South Vietnam, "Yankee Station" in the Gulf of Tonkin and 7,794 combat sorties, until a grave fire on 26 October 1966.
-USS Princeton: Started on October 1964, and transported there Marine Aircraft Group 36 in 1966. She served there with interruptions until 1968.
-USS Shangri-La: She was deployed with the second Fleet and Sixth Fleet assignments in 1965, but on 30 June 1969, she was redesignated an antisubmarine warfare carrier (CVS-38) and spent seven months launched combat sorties at Yankee Station in 1970. -USS Valley Forge: On 2 August 1964, the Gulf of Tonkin started and Valley Forge was mobilized, carrying marines and aircraft in the South China Sea in late 1965. She participated in many operations until 1969 and was decommissioned shortly after. -USS Philippine Sea was the only carrier never deployed in Vietnam.

A4F launched from USS Hancock in 1969 A4F launched from USS Hancock in 1969

Escort carriers: USS Thetis Bay

-Previous Independence and Saipan class light carriers and Casablanca, Commencement Bay classes escorts were discarded 1947-59, scrapped in 1959–61 but a single carrier of the Casablanca class, USS Thetis Bay was heavily modified into an amphibious assault ship called LPH-6 in 1955-56, and although she evacuated civilians of Taiwan after the disaster, using her HMR(L)-261's (USMC) 21 large troop-carrying helicopters, she was never sent in Vietnam and was scrapped in 1964.

Midway class carriers:

All three of the Midway class started deployments in Vietnam, USS Coral Sea was deployed in Tonkin six times, USS Midway three, and Franklin D. Roosevelt one combat deployment.

Forrestal class carriers:

-USS Forrestal started her campaign in the Gulf of Tonkin from 29 July, but on 29 July 1967, a Zuni rocket misfired and impacted a parked, armed A-4 Skyhawk, the fuel tank caught fire, causing a massive fire, killing 134, injuring 161, and destroying 21 aircraft. This put an end to her short Vietnam tour.
-USS Saratoga made her tour of duty in 1970, deployed from Subic Bay and she served from 1972 as a "Multi-purpose Aircraft Carrier" until 7 January 1973.
-USS Ranger started her tour of duty just after the gulf of Tonkin incident, from 6 August 1964, and she ended her campaign on 18 December 1972, with Linebacker II.
-USS Independence also started on 10 May 1965, for a first campaign of seven months, and 100 days in the South China Sea, and others until 1967.

Kitty Hawk class carriers:

-USS Kitty Hawk was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for "exceptionally meritorious and heroic service" from 23 December 1967 to 1 June 1968 and from 15 January 1969 to 27 August 1969 in Southeast and Northeast Asia. She served there in 1965-69. -USS Constellation was deployed from 5 May 1964, relieved Kitty Hawk in the Gulf of Tonkin on 8 June, and operated there with CVW 14, flying armed photo reconnaissance missions over Laos and made other deployments until May 1970, her fighters shooting down several NVA Migs.
-USS America made three deployments starting in 1968, until the start of 1973 the end of the conflict.

An A-6A landing on USS Kitty Hawk in 1968

USS Enterprise:

040614-N-0119G-020.Atlantic Ocean (June 14, 2004) -- The nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) surges through the water of the Atlantic Ocean. Enterprise is one of seven aircraft carriers involved in Summer Pulse 2004. Summer Pulse 2004 is the simultaneous deployment of seven aircraft carrier strike groups (CSGs), demonstrating the ability of the Navy to provide credible combat power across the globe, in five theaters with other U.S., allied, and coalition military forces. Summer Pulse is the Navy's first deployment under its new Fleet Readiness Plan (FRP). The strike group will conduct a scheduled training exercise followed by overseas Pulse operations. Official US Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Rob Gaston. .Image released by LT K.R. Stephens, PAO CVN 65.

In November 1965, USS Enterprise joined Seventh Fleet at NAS Alameda (California) before commencing operations in Vietnam on 2 December, the first nuclear-powered ship to do so. The first target of her air group was Biên Hòa City. She was part of Division Three, with Air Wing 9 aboard, escorted by Bainbridge, Barry, Samuel B. Roberts. She launched 125 sorties the first day, and with 165 strike later made a world record.

She went on with TF77 in the Gulf of Tonkin as flagship (Rear Admiral Henry L. Miller), throughout 1966 and when departing on 20 June 1967, 13,400 battle missions has been performed by her air group in 132 combat days. She was overhauled back home, visited Sasebo in 1968 at her return, standing back after the NK attack and captured of USS Pueblo and returned in 1969 to Vietnam for a deployment which was also tragic: On 14 January 1969, with Benjamin Stoddert and Rogers as escorts, another of these infamous MK-32 Zuni rockets under a F-4 Phantom overheated and exploded, setting off fires and additional explosions across the flight deck, brought under control quickly but 27 sailors died, 314 sailors injured more or less severely. 15 aircraft were destroyed, and this event forced the carrier to return to Pearl Harbor for primarily repairs, after which she returned to the Tonkin Gulf. After a great overhaul back home, she returned to Vietnam and performed 2,001 strike sorties by 30 July 1971. She would return again in 1972 for Linebacker II, and returned home after a cseasfire was declared in January 1973.

The great fire on USS Enteprise in 1969. These Zuni rockets became very controversial after having provoked three massive fires on board USN carriers, Forrestal being the worst. The use of WW2 bombs did nothing to improve safety, such was the level of the "consumption" of ordnance in Vietnam.

Conventional warships in Vietnam

uss new jersey

-USS New Jersey: In 1968, New Jersey made a tour of duty in Vietnam.
Operation Rolling Thunder starting in 1965 showed amounting air losses and in May 1967 Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara authorized a study to get USS New Jersey reactivated, her long range guns providing an alternative to ever more riskier bombings. In August, decision was made to recommission her "for employment in the Pacific Fleet, augment the naval gunfire support force in Southeast Asia". USS New Jersey was indeed of all four in better condition. She would receive an extensive overhaul and modernization. The old AA was removed, improved electronic warfare installed and a new radar. She was recomm. on 6 April 1968 at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, with Captain J. Edward Snyder as her first new captain in many years; With her machinery completely cleaned and prepared, her 6-hours long sea trials saw her topping 35.2 knots.

USS New Jersey was in 1968 the world's only active battleship, and after a stop in California to receive 16 inch shells and powder tanks by helicopter at sea she set off for off Oahu in September, gun-trained on the 17th parallel and fired her first 29 shells on PAVN targets near the DMZ. Operations went on in 1969, dealing with bunkers and fortifications in and out of the DMZ, depots and other objectives like the Vinh caves, Hon Matt Island or in close support of various units. When she departed for Japan for maintenance, she had fired 5,688 rounds and even 14,891 5-inch shells, proving that a battleship still can bring unprecedented firepower without much risk. A comprehensive report was written after she retired again for reserve, on 17 December 1969. It was not forgotten under the presidency of Ronald Reagan and his 600-strong ships fleet program and the threat of new Soviet cruisers like the Kirov. All four battleships would be reactivated again, after a total reconstruction, soldiering last in the 1991 gulf war.


-USS Saint Paul (CA-73): The only Baltimore class cruiser which provided gunfire support, commissioned continuously for 26 years. She was deploye din the far east in late 1963, through summer 1964, in her wartime all-gun configuration. Apart a movie with Jothn Wayne "In Harm's Way" she served with Westpac, 7th Fleet to operate off North and South Vietnam for gunfire support. She returned home in 1969. It was her last mission as she was deactivated in 1970.

Missile cruisers and destroyers in Vietnam

RIM Terrier in 1966
RIM Terrier in 1966

Converted missile cruisers

-USS Galveston (CL-93) served in 1965 in the Gulf of Thailand to the Gulf of Tonkin.
-USS Topeka (CL-67) was deployed in Vietnam in 1965 and her six-month deployment ended on 28 May 1966.
-USS Boston (CA-69) was deployed in 1967-68, part of Naval Gunfire Support Task Unit 77.8.9 and Sea Dragon operations
-USS Canberra (CA-70) was deployed to Vietnam five times from 1965 to 1969
-USS Newport News (CA-148) in 1967 participated in a six-month deployment as flagship of ComCruDesFlot 3. and Operation Sea Dragon. She returned in 1969 and 1972.
-USS Oklahoma City (CL-91). Started in 1964, and was deployed regularly until 1975.
-USS Galveston (CL-93) was deployed in 1965 and 1968-69.
-USS Providence (CL-82). In 1968, she provided gunfire and support for Operation Formation Star.
-USS Oklahoma City (CL-91) served in 1965, 1968 and 1969 at Yankee Station and in 1972, where she was the first USN warship to send a Talos RIM-8H anti-radiation missile to destroy a North Vietnamese mobile air control radar van.

Missile cruisers

uss long beach -USS Long Beach (CGN-9): The only nuclear-powered cruiser deployed there, Long Beach departed on 7 November 1966 from Long Beach, wehere she served as a Positive Identification Radar Advisory Zone (PIRAZ) and "sanitize" returning US strike aircraft to catch with "bandits" hiding amongst these. Shoot down multiplied in 1967 and she returned in action on 26 April 1972.
-USS Dale (DLG-19), a Leahy class cruiser, comm. in 23 November 1963, she made five deployments to the Western Pacific over the next seven years. Between 1965 and 1970, Dale's Seventh Fleet tours included participation in Vietnam War operations, during which she rescued several American aviators in the Gulf of Tonkin.
-USS Gridley (DLG-21), another Leahy-class cruisers. She escorted the USS Constellation off Vietnam after the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and remained on station for coordination and communications.
-USS Reeves (DLG-24): A Leahy-class cruiser operated in support of Allied operations in Vietnam, as an anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) picket, with TG 77.3 and USS Oriskany, and later USS Midway in 1965-68.
-USS Sterett (CG-31), Belknap class which started on 31 July 1968, and used as PIRAZ. She served until 1972.
-USS Richmond K. Turner (DLG-20/CG-20), Leahy class, also made a tour for duty, starting as a Search and Rescue Destroyer in the Tonkin Gulf in September 1965. She also served in 1968 and 1970.
-USS Fox (CG-33), a Belknap class cruiser commissioned on 8 May 1966, was sent in Vietnam assisting in aircraft operations, shore operations and stations off the coast of North Vietnam and she monitored the activity of 200 Navy and Air Force missions, directing F-4 fighters to interceptions over Hanoi for the first time during the Vietnam War. For the first time by a shipboard controller. She had kills herself in 1972.
-USS Bainbridge: Second nuclear-powered cruiser in action in Vietnam, she was commissioned in 1962 called a "nuclear Frigate", and "fleet escort" according to the task-force based terminology of the USN at that time. She was deployed in Vietnam in 1966–67, 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1972–73.
-USS Truxtun was the third nuclear-propelled cruiser active during the Vietnam war (comm. 1967), and this was her first tour of duty in 1968, she operated in "Yankee Station" in the Gulf of Tonkin, for SAR missions and as PIRAZ. She returned in 1969 and a third deployment in 1971.

USS Camberra CAG-2, south vietnam 1966


uss Mac Cain
USS John Mc Cain (Mitscher class) in the 1960s

Fletcher class: As the Korean War broke up, many were returned to active duty and 39 refitted and modernized, main armament reduced as well as a torpedo tube bank removed, to accommodate a new ahead-throwing weapon (Weapon Alpha), trainable Hedgehogs and others, plus new electronics. 12 were redesignated escort destroyers (DDE) converted for anti-submarine warfare and later reverted to destroyer (DD) designation in 1962. So about 20 served in Vietnam.

Gearing class: Most underwent FRAM I upgrades 1960-65 and FRAM II, for 16 ships 1961-64. They provided significant gunfire support in the Vietnam War, escorts for Carrier Battle Groups and Amphibious Ready Group. DASH was withdrawn in 1969 and those lacking ASROC were disposed of in 1969-74. The others were decommissioned and transferred to foreign navies 1973-80.

Sumner class: Converted to FRAM II standard, and provided significant gunfire support in the Vietnam War, escorts for Carrier Battle Groups and Amphibious Ready Groups, other being transferred to the Naval Reserve Force, training Naval reservists. Forrest Sherman class: Comp. 1955-59 these 18 destroyers were for some rearmed with Terrier and rebuilt/modernized in the 1960s. USS Turner joy, Barry, Decatur, Manley, Du pont, Bigelow, Mullinix, Hull, Edson, Somes, Morton, Parsons, and Richard S. Edwards served in Vietnam.

Charles F. Adams class These 23 state of the art missile destroyers were completed in 1960-64 and also served, for some, in Vietnam, as well as the destroyers of the Royal Australian Navy. They shot down MiGs during her deployment. Mitscher class: These four modern fleet escorts (Destroyers) denominated DL 2-5 were completed in 1953-54 to carry the Weapon Alfa ASW, but their designed went back to 1944. In Vietnam they were deployed also with DASH drones. Only John S. McCain made in 1961 two deployments with Seventh Fleet, spending six months off Laos and Vietnam.

Farragut class: The first ten missile destroyers of the USN, armed with Terrier and ASROC. Completed in 1960-61, USS Coontz spent the early part of her career in the Pacific Ocean, participating in four tours of duty during the Vietnam War. USS King also in 1965, Mahan in 1962-65, Pratt in 1967, Preble in 1961-68 (actually the most active there).

Amphibious & assault ships in Vietnam

Iwo Jima class Helicopter Carriers (1960)

uss iwo jima 1966

The culmination of a long USMC reflexion about amphibious support, these vessels were in effect Helicopter Assault ships, tailored around this new way to carry troops in the field. They arrived at the best moment for the Vietnam war, participating actively indeed until 1973. There were seven ships (LPH-2,3,7,9,10,11,12). They were the product of a reflexion about a possible nuclear tactical strike on approaching landing crafts on a beach, as an airborne, faster alternative. The ships could not operate landing crafts themselves but had a hangar to operate up to 20 helicopters (1800 marines) including the heavy Sea Stallion and Chinooks. They were completed in 1960-69, and all participated in various deployments and operations in Vietnam (details to come with the article).

Thomaston class Dock Landing Ships (1954)

Eight LSDs were built with an helicopter pad at the rear and extensively used in Vietnam (Details to come).

Raleigh class Dock Landing Ships (1962)

Three LSDs were built with a large helicopter deck aft, also deployed in Vietnam (Details to come).

Anchorage class Dock Landing Ships (1969)

five LSDs very close to the Raleigh, also deployed in Vietnam (Details to come).

USS Anchorage (LSD-36) underway at sea off Pascagoula, Mississippi, while running trials on 27 January 1969. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command. She was deployed in 1970, operating from Vung Tau, Camranh Bay, Qui Nhon, Danang, and An Thoi.

Terrebone Parish class Tank Landing Ships (1952)

Fifteen LSTs were built with a large forward upper deck, possibly used to launch a light reconnaissance aircraft, also deployed in Vietnam (Details to come).

Newport class Tank Landing Ships (1968)

Twenty LSTsof a brand new generation, with a central island and two landing areas fore and aft, also deployed in Vietnam (Details to come).

Assault Ships

This includes the Tulare, Paul Revere and Francis Marion (1953), Charleston cargo assault ships (5 ships, 1967-69) (Details to come).

Landings Crafts in Vietnam

The main variant was the improved LCM(6) - see later. More details to come.

Misc. vessels in Vietnam

Command ships in Vietnam

uss blue ridge

During this era, the USN had three specfifically built command ships, in addition to the converted missile cruisers which had these capabilities already. These were:
-USS Northampton (1951), former Baltimore class cruisers completed with a very large Command and Control Center ad the massive SPS-2 radar. Not deployed in Vietnam.
-USS Blue Ridge (1969): Tailored, modernized version with helipads and modern electronics. She was present in march 1972 in Okinawa for exercise Golden Dragon, when North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam across the DMZ (Easter Offensive) and stayed on site to procure distant intelligence and C-in-C in the gulf of Tonkin.
-USS Mount Whitney (1970), same class as above, not deployed in Vietnam. Two more ships were former carries converted, USS Wright and Arlington, not deployed either.

The RAN in Vietnam

HMAS Sydney and Melbourne in the 1960s

HMAS Sydney (R17): After a career of Fast Troop Transport between 1958 and in 1964-1965 to Vietnam and Southeast Asia, before participating more directly in support of Australian troops* in Vietnam in 1965–1972. She made twenty-five voyages in support of the 1st Australian Task Force. *carried by HMAS Boonaroo and HMAS Jeparit.

Australian F-4 Skyhawk landing on HMAS Melbourne.

Perth class destroyers:
These modern Sumner class missile destroyers served in Vietnam: HMAS Brisbane (D 41), HMAS Hobart (D 39), HMAS Perth (D 38). Also HMAS Vendetta (D08) of the Daring class also served in Vietnam.

hmas perth

Other escorts

To cover the carrier task groups against any ASW threat, many escort ships were also deployed there. A few modernized DDEs from WW2, but mostly:
-Dealey class ocean escorts (1959)
-Bronstein/Garcia/Brook class, completed 1963-65 also served for some.
-Knox class Frigates: Completed 1969-73, some made apparitions at the end of the conflict, covering observation forces as the USN disengaged from 1972.

USN Submarines in Vietnam

Although it would be too long to swelve in detail about the deployment of each unit, USN subs were indeed deployed in Vietnam, from the unexpensive old "fleet snorkel" of WW2 to the more modern 1950-60s SSGs (conventional attack subs) and early SSNs. They patrolled mostly to acquire intelligence, and track down merchant traffic from the USSR or China, enforce the blockade of North Vietnam. It was not without risks, as the NVN deployed sub-chasers and patrol boats all armed with depht charges. No USN sub was lost in Vietnam. The class concerned were:

Balao, Barbel, Gato-class subs (GUPPY Fleet Snorkel conversions) such as USS Perch, Pickerel, Pomfret, Pomodon, and USS Rasher, or USS Carbonero, Menhaden, Sea Fox, Tiru, Tunny. Also with more modern Grayback-class submarines using the Regulus class missile, and some Migraine class radar pickets conversions.

Modern Conventional subs: USS Sailfish (Radar Picket), Skate (USS Seadragon, Swordfish), Tang (USS Wahoo), Tench class (USS Tang) SSNs: Permit (USS Barb, Blueback, Bluegill, Bonefish), Skipjack (USS Scamp), and a Sturgeon class boat, USS Aspro.

Special Purpose ships

USS Belmont (AGTR-4/AG-167) A 1944 ship, Belmont-class technical research ships, basically spy ships in disguise, used in 1963 for conducting "research in the reception of electromagnetic propagations".
USS Oxford (AGTR-1/AG-159) was about the same as was USS Jamestown (AGTR-3).

USS Flagstaff (PGH-1) was a single patrol gunboat hydrofoil with low cost and very high speed, loaned to the US Coast Guard. She made her tour of duty in Vietnam until 1970, with Tucumcari in Coastal Squadron 3, from Cam Ranh Bay.

PCF Boats

PCF 38 on patrol Cai Ngay river 1972
PCF 38 on patrol Cai Ngay river 1972

The "Patrol Craft, Fast" were an idea of the Naval Advisory Group branch of the Military Assistance Command (NAVADGRP MACV) staff. In their study "Naval Craft Requirements in a Counter Insurgency Environment" (February 1965) required a tailored COIN craft be designed as no readily available USN or civilian asset could be used to fill requirements.
And so, the PCF (“Swift”), steel boat was bor. It derived from a civilian model used to supply oil facilities in the Gulf of Mexico and production started right away in 1965-66, in Louisiana, by Sewart Seacraft of Berwick. In all, with the Mark I to Mark III iterations, 183 built until 1972. With a pair of General Motors 12V71"N" Detroit marine diesel engines they could cruise at 15 knots over 750 nautical miles (1,390 km) and speed up to 21 or even 24 knots and were well armed, with a turreted pair of .50 caliber M2 Browning machine guns, .3 Browning, mortar and small arms.

2 GM 12V71-N Detroit marine diesel 480 hp (360 kW)
Dimensions50 x 13 x 5 ft (15 x 4.0 x 1.5 m)
Displacement9 tons
Speed20-25 knots (37-46 km/h)
Range750 nm (1,390 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h)
Armament3x .5 ca. M2HB, 81 mm mortar


The Patrol Boat, River (nicknamed "plastic bugs" and others) were indeed not entirely plastic-built, but mostly fiberglass-plastic. This made them light, and they were better armed, but slower than the PCF. Built en mass from 1966 to 1972 they best represented and summarized USN riverine warfare in Vietnam. Many were also exported. In all, 487 were used in Vietnam, most of these still used by the ARVN naval riverine force in 1972-75 and afterwards. They were propelled by two 180 hp (115 kW) Detroit Diesel 6V53N engines, each driving a Jacuzzi Brothers 14YJ water pump-jet with thrust buckets for reverse thrust. They were light (7-9 tons) and could be brought to work by planes or helicopters. PBR Mark II was an all-out improvement, longer, larger, with improved drives to reduce fouling and aluminum gunwales to resist wear. After 1972, they ended with Southeast Asian countries and had a 1990s inheritance in the aliminium-built Stinger class deposed by a transport in a C130 Hercules.

Dimensions31/32 x 10.5/11.5 x 2 ft (9.8 x 3.5 x 0.61 m)
Displacement8.9 ton
Propulsion2 × 180 hp Diesel/JB-14YJ water pump-jet.
Speed28.5 knots (53 km/h 32 mph).
ArmorCeramic armor shields, ballistic blankets
Armamenttwin M2HB .50, single M2HB two M60 7.62 mm, 40 mm Mk 18 GL


RPCs were derived from LCVPs, but criticized as beingr slow, prone to mines blast with their welded-steel hulls and poorly armed. According to various sources 27 or 34 (Conways) were built in 1964, and resold in 1972-73 to Thailand and South Vietnam. 27 boats were presumably built by Peterson Builders, Sturgeon Bay, and Birchfield SB, Tacoma. These displaced 16 tons, for around 11 meters long with two diesels, and armed with one or two M2HB Browning Heavy Machie Guns and M60 Machine guns behind shields.

Dimensions???? (10.9x 3.4x 1.10 m)
Displacement16 tons
Propulsion2 shafts GM marine diesels 300 hp?
Speed16 knots?/td>
Armament1 or 2 0.5 cal Browning M2HB, 2 M60 LMG


PB Mark 1
PBs were generally enlarged “Swifts”. A total of 200 were built in 1965-73, some for civilian use and others for export. Only 36 ended with the US Navy in 1973. Built at Swiftships, Morgan City, 27 were deployed in Vietnam that year by the SVN, as '65ft Swift type' boats. The Mark had a twin 20 mm or quad 12.7mm mount. The Mk III designed by Peterson Builders, Sturgeon Bay (Wisconsin) was procured later in 1982. The serie went on in the 1970s-80s under various Marks.


These are "Assault Support Patrol Boats" (ASPB), widely used in Viet Nam. Based like the others on landing craft of the LCM type (6), they were heavily armored (against RPGs) and equipped with turrets for twin heavy machine guns, mortars, guns and even sometimes howitzer and flamethrower. Painted in army khaki green with visible white stars, these ships escorted armored personnel carriers landing crafts and ATC armored personnel carriers (6). Their number remains a mystery, but we know that 84 were transferred to South Vietnamese in 1973 (Code Alpha);

Dimensions50 ft (15 m) long
Displacement20 tons
Propulsion2 × 430hp GP 12V71 diesels 14.8 knots
Range130 nautical miles (240 km; 150 mi)
Armament2x Mk 48 turrets 20 mm/.50 cal HMG, 2x M60/Mk 21 MG, .50 cal HMG, 81mm mortar
ASPB during Operation Coronado IX, November 1967

Vietnam Monitors

During the Vietnam War, the Brown Water Navy needed, and obtained, heavily protected and armed combatants for the "hottest" sectors. Monitors made a come back after the civil war, 100 years after. They were part first of River Assault Flotilla One, made of four River Assault Divisions (RAD). RAD 91 had three monitors, RAD 92 two, RAD 111 three, RAD 112 two. Program 4 was about a 40 mm gun monitor variant, program 5 concerned eight "Monitor(H)" (for Howitzer) plus six Monitor(F) (or Flamethrower). They were all converted from classic WW2 56-foot (17 m) Landing Craft Mechanized (LCMs) Mark 6, reaching 60 feet (18 m) after convesion for 17 feet (5.2 m) wide and with a 3-1⁄2 feet draft (1.1 m). Their two propellers were driven by two Gray Marine 64NH9 diesels, enough for 8.5 knots (15.7 km/h; 9.8 mph). The crew was about 10-12, and they were heavily armored, up to 10 tons total, to deal with heavy machine guns round and RPGs.

They had an impressive arsenal to deal with any threat, with cannons, machine guns or all calibers and grenade launchers plus a mortar. The basic version (1st gen. Monitor) had a single 81 mm mortar, a 40 mm Bofors auto-cannon, a 20 mm Oerlikon cannon, two Mk 18 grenade launchers, three M79 grenade launchers, two .50 cal. M2HMB heavy machine gun and four 7.62 mm M1919A4 or M60 machine gun. In all about 50 were built, as 49 were listed in service by 1973 with the South Vietnamese navy.

Armoured Troop Carrier (ATC) based on the LCM(6)

LCM (6)

Standard landing craft. Code “mike”. Basic LCM(6) were lenghtened LCM(3) converted in Vietnam as armoured troop carriers (ATCs or "Tangos"), Monitor(F) or "Zippos", Monitors(H) artillery support version and the Monitor(C) "Charlie" command variants. The basic LCM(6) had the following specs:

56.2 feet (17.1 m) x 14 feet (4.3 m)
Specifications: LCM(6)
Displacement64 tons
Propulsion2 Detroit 6-71 diesel engines 348 hp (260 kW) or 8V-71 diesels 460 hp
Speed9 knots (10.3 mph, 16.6 km/h)
Range130 miles (240 km) at 9 knots (17 km/h)
Armament2x .3 cal LMG
Capacity34 tons (34.6 metric tons) or 80 troops


The C stands for "combat". It was an armored and better armed version of LCM(6), or LCA. At least 44 were converted. The French started this process in Indochina, armoring the LCMs they received from US aid, later used by the South Vietnamese.

40 mm Monitor circa 1968
40 mm Monitor circa 1968

40 mm monitor footage (critical past)

Specifications: "Monitor" 1st Gen.
Dimensions18.6 m (61 ft 0 in) x 5.3 m (17 ft 6 in) x 1.1 m (3 ft 6 in)
Displacement74 tons
Propulsion2 Gray Marine 64HN9 diesels 160 kW (220 hp)/2100 rpm, 8.5 kts
RangeCirca 100 nautical miles
Armament40, 20 mm cannons, 81 mm mortar, 5 Mk 18 & M79 GLs, 2x .5 cal. 4x .3 cal. MGs


Specifications: Monitor(F) 2 Gen. "Zippo"
DimensionsSame but 18.4 m (60 ft 6 in)
Armament2x 20 mm cannons, 2x 200m range flamethrowers, 3x M79 GLs, 2x .5 cal. M2HB

Monitor(H) in 1969. Notice the BAR armor against RPG hits

Specifications: Monitor(H) 3 Gen.
DimensionsSame but 18.4 m (60 ft 6 in)
Armament105 mm howitzer, 2x 20 mm, 3x M79 GLs, 2x .5 cal., 7.62 mm LMG

HP photo Monitor
HD photo of the Monitor(H) showing its bar armor all around, including alongside the hull. The 105 mm gun turret seems to come from the LVTP(A)-7.

ATC (Armored Troop Carrier)

ATC in Vietnam circa 1968
ATC in Vietnam circa 1968 - Notice the bar armor. Well protected and armed, it was also used by South Vietnam from 1972, and the Khmer Republic.

Based on LCM (6), these were heavily armored river vessels with roof and turret at the stern. The Codename was "Tango". In late 1966 as the 2nd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division was created at Vung Tau, the navy contributed by sending RIVFLOT 1 (two river assault squadrons, RAS 9 and RAS 11) and two river assault divisions, to carry and support troops in battle. This was the first assignation of the newly built ATC, a modified LCM-6. Its large well deck and drop-down ramp were covered and the whole vessel was armored with High-hardness XAR-30-type steel (proven against 14.5 mm rounds) and in addition was later given bar armor to protect them against 57 mm RPG. It also had Below-waterline hull blister for added hull protection. The RVNN used WW2 LCM(3) variants for its own river assault groups, already, so the concept was already well tested. The U.S. Army added another task, minesweeping. So it was not only armoured, but doubled as a support assault craft and troop carrier.

The LCA was 56 feet (17 m), 17.5 inches (4,4 m) wide, and 3.3 in (0.84 m) in draught, for 66 tons and capable of 8 knots in practice, fully loaded it was more 4-7 knots. Its range was 110 nautical miles (200 km; 130 mi). However a few were lost to B40 rockets. Standard armament comprised one or two 20 mm cannons, two .50-caliber M2HB HMGs, four .3-cal. LMG, two Mk 18 grenade launchers plus the infantry's own armament, a full a platoon of 40 soldiers. In alternative, the LCA could also carry an M113 armored personnel carrier, or a 105mm howitzer and its prime mover. So by removing the cover, the latter can also be used for artillery support if needed.

56 feet (17 m) x 17.5 feet (4.4 m) x 3.3 in (0.84 m)
Specifications: LCT
Displacement66 tons
Propulsion2 Detroit 8V-71 diesels 460 hp
Speed6-8 knots
Range110 miles (200 km)
Armament2x 20mm, 2x .5 cal., 3x .3 cal., 2 Mk.18 GLs
Capacity30 tons, 40 troops, see notes

By the end of 1967 a typical river assault squadron comprised:
-26 ATCs
-16 Assault Support Patrol Boats (ASPBs)
-Five Monitors (presumably, 3 standard, 1 H, 1F)
-1 Command and control boats (CCBs) "Charlie"
-1 Refueller (modified LCM)
Special versions also comprised:
-A river bank bunker demolition craft. It used a powerful jet with high-pressure water. Nicknamed the “shower” boat.
-LCA “Zippo” using a single M130 A1 flamethrower.

Conway's gives the following conversion total:
-29 monitors (10+14+5 according to the programs)
-13 CCB (Command) "charlie"
-124 ATC (52+64+8 along the programs 4,5 and 6.)
-8 Armoured Refuellers crafts (ARC)

Hurricane Aircat

This airboat typical of Florida swamps and Louisiana bayou, was deployed in Vietnam as a riverine patrol boat by the US Army and ARVN. It was used for counterinsurgency (COIN), patrol, especially where boats could not go, in marshy areas. more than 84 were built. Very light, cheap, it was easy to carry by helicopter anywhere.
Weight: 1,150 pounds (520 kg)
Dimensions: 17 feet (5.2 m), beam 7.25 feet (2.21 m) draft 4 inches (0.10 m)
Propelled by a Lycoming O-360 aircraft engine 180 hp (130 kW), top speed 42–65 knots (48–75 mph; 78–120 km/h)
Range: 100 miles (160 km)
Crew: 5–6, armed with a single .30 cal. or .5 M2HB and infantry weapons.

PACV Patrol Hovercrafts

PACV Vietnam

The Patrol Air Cushion Vehicle (PACV) or Air Cushion Vehicle (ACV) used by the US Army and Coast Guard service as a patrol boat for marshy and riverine areas. Six were built in 1965 to serve in Vietnam War between 1966 and 1970. There went to the Army and three by the Navy for evaluation. On paper, they were thought to be ideal for shallow and reed-choked waters in the Mekong Delta. The PACV was also very fast at 60 knots (110 km/h; 69 mph), but as it was found, had many major drawbacks: A high production cost ($1 million, same as 13 PBRs), and an unreliable gas-guzzler. In addition three were destroyed by the Viet Cong. It failed the evaluations and was withdrawn in 1970, never produced.

ASPB Mk.II Sikorsky Gunboat (1969)

ASPB Mk.II Sikorsky Gunboat

In this "mosquito and bludgeon war", the riverine force patrolling the delta needed gunboats, and if the enemy was spotted landed troops on the spot to continue fighting inland while the gunboat would provided support fire like mortar. Artillery fire however was lacking as regular gunboats only had a 40 mm Bofors or 80 mm mortar. Therefore, specs were emitted for a dedicated fire support gunboat, and Sikorsky won the USN tender. Sikorsky's ASPB was a floating tank 50 feet long, 20 feet wide moved by three Pratt & Whitney PT-6 turbine engines (helicopter turbines mind you), passing their thrust to three water-jet pumps. 50 mph became possible on calm water and the draught autorized manoeuvers in 4 feet deep water.

The ASPB was very agile and comprised a central turret, housing a 105 mm howitzer and two 20 mm Oerlikon cannons. The howitzer was standard US Army model, ideal for supply and maintenance. The 20 mm provided an excellent defence up to 300 meter away, in addition to rocket propelled grenades. A pintle-mount M60 was also installed in the bow for quick reaction. Also, the central compartment was protected against RPGs, thanks to "bar armor", mounted 3-4 feet around the hull and superstructure. Thanks to this, the hull armor was made lighter. The sole prototype delivered was tested by the US Navy in the fall of 1969, but non was ordered, and it served later for Special Forces training until 1980.


Ships landing without ramp. Close to the “Ducks” of the Second World War.


Control and Command Boats, a few ships, real floating HQs, well equipped in communication and well armed.


These were small flat-bottomed boats and outboard motors. They offered no protection to men aboard because of their low freeboard. 68 built.

STAB (Strike assault boats)

Very fast, but also flat-bottomed and heavily armored, they are ships intended to operate in operations “punch”. 22 built, two more, lighter, for SEAL.
All these will be reviewed more in detail in an update.

Landing Craft Personnel Large (LCPL) 52 operating in Vietnamese waters during the deployment of a contingent of RAN Clearance Diving Team 3 (CDT3). (AWM 78, Clearance Diving Team Three, Report of Proceedings, March 1970.) - Credits: AWM

SEAL vessels

SEALs Mekong

The SEALs, basically Marine Commandos (USM Sea, Air, and Land) for special operations were created in 1963 officially but ad hoc units of marine commandos in the USN already operated in 1944 the ever of landings for covert reconnaissance of landing beaches. They operated sometimes with the related Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDUs), Rangers, and OSS agents or OSS Maritime agents. In Vietnam, Kennedy soon recoignised of the need for special operatives for and unconventional approach as a measure against guerrilla warfare. The unit was voted by the Congress after Kennedy's rousing speach about the respect he had for Green Beret and in general special operatives.

The first team started training on January 1962 in California, at San Diego and later another unit in Virginia, at Little Creek Base. Basically they were formed after the best UDTs members. They started to arrive in Vietnam in March 1962 as advisors, and really started counter guerilla warfare and clandestine operations from 1963, initially operating in and around Da Nang, and the Mekong delta in general and in the late 1960s and early 1970s made forays into North Vietnam and Laos, and also covertly operated into Cambodia. Nixon's change of warfare method put an end to these, the last SEAL platoon left Vietnam on 7 December 1971 and the last SEAL advisor in 1973.


To operate, the SEALs use dat first rather classic rubber boats, painted in matt black and propelled by electric motors for stealth, moving at night.

-The Sea Fox (1965) was the first model. Made in fiberglass, it displaced 9.6 tons light, 11.8 tons fully loaded, for 36 feet long, 10 feet wide and a draft of 2.75 feet.

It was propelled by two silent diesels for 900 bhp, on 2 shafts, and were capable of 32 knots. They normally carried a crew of 3, plus a SEAL team. They had four weapon stations which could vary depending of the mission.

-PTF boats "Nasty" class: PTF3-22, Norwegian design for spec ops. 80 tons, 24.5 x 7.50 x1 .20m, 2 Napier-Deltic diesels 6200 hp, 38 knots 600 nm 25 kts, one 40mm/60 Mk3 Bofors, two 20mm/70 Mk 10, one 81mm/12 M29 mortar or one .5 cal; M2HB. Radar, crew 17. There were also four 'Ospreys' (PTF23-26) built by Sewart Seacraft of Berwick in Louisiana. Commercial aluminium hulled design, improved 'Nasty' of 100 tons and capable of 40 knots with Napier-Deltic diesels for 6200 hp, configured for spec-ops as torpedo-boats, minelayers, or sub-chasers.

-LCSR: Diving recognition vessels. LSCCs used by SEALs are much lighter.
-MCSS: Medium fire support vessels of the SEALs. 10 built in 1964
-HSSC: Two ships built in 1967 for Seal fire support, based on LCM barges (6).
-PB Mark V Sea Specter: The MkVs were a stealthy version to replace the Seafox, to infiltrate SEAL commandos, carried by a C5 cargo plane and dropped at low altitude. They were the basis for morespecial ships.
After Vietnam, SEALs adopted the PB MkV Sea Specter as well as the CRRC and RHIB: Two types of “zodiac” (inflatable boats) of different size were developed and in the 1980s-90s even more specialized vessels such as the Sea Stalker, and Cyclone (PCC).

Naval History

❢ Abbrev. & acronyms
AAW// warfare
AASAmphibious Assault Ship
AEWAirbone early warning
AGAir Group
AFVArmored Fighting Vehicle
AMGBarmoured motor gunboat
APArmor Piercing
APCArmored Personal Carrier
ASMAir-to-surface Missile
ASMDAnti Ship Missile Defence
ASW// Warfare
ASWRL/// rocket launcher
ATWahead thrown weapon
avgasAviation Gasoline
awAbove Waterline
AWACSAirborne warning & control system
bhpbrake horsepower
BLBreach-loader (gun)
BLRBreach-loading, Rifled (gun)
BUBroken Up
CAArmoured/Heavy cruiser
CalCaliber or ".php"
CGMissile Cruiser
CICCombat Information Center
C-in-CCommander in Chief
CIWSClose-in weapon system
CECompound Expansion (engine)
ChChantiers ("Yard", FR)
CLCruiser, Light
CMBCoastal Motor Boat
CMSCoastal Minesweeper
CNOChief of Naval Operations
CpCompound (armor)
COBCompound Overhad Beam
CODAGCombined Diesel & Gas
CODOGCombined Diesel/Gas
COGAGCombined Gas and Gas
COGOGCombined Gas/Gas
COSAGCombined Steam & Gas
CRCompound Reciprocating
CRCRSame, connecting rod
CruDivCruiser Division
CPControlled Pitch
CTConning Tower
CTLconstructive total loss
CTOLConv. Take off & landing
CTpCompound Trunk
CVAircraft Carrier
CVA// Attack
CVE// Escort
CVL// Light
CVS// ASW support
DADirect Action
DASHDrone ASW Helicopter
DCDepht Charge
DCT// Track
DCR// Rack
DCT// Thrower
DEDouble Expansion
DEDestroyer Escort
DDE// Converted
DesRonDestroyer Squadron
DFDouble Flux
DPDual Purpose
DUKWAmphibious truck
EOCElswick Ordnance Co.
ECMElectronic Warfare
ESMElectronic support measure
FCSFire Control System
fpsFeet Per Second
FYFiscal Year
GMMetacentric Height
GPMGGeneral Purpose Machine-gun
GRTGross Tonnage
GUPPYGreater Underwater Prop.Pow.
HAHigh Angle
HCHorizontal Compound
HCR// Reciprocating
HCDA// Direct Acting
HCDCR// connecting rod
HDA// direct acting
HDAC// acting compound
HDAG// acting geared
HDAR// acting reciprocating
HDMLHarbor def. Motor Launch
H/FHigh Frequency
HF/DF// Directional Finding
HMSHer Majesty Ship
HNHarvey Nickel
HNCHorizontal non-condensing hp
HPHigh Pressure
HRHorizontal reciprocating
HRCR// connecting rod
HSHarbor Service
HS(E)Horizontal single (expansion)
HSET// trunk
HTHorizontal trunk
HTE// expansion
ICInverted Compound
IDAInverted direct acting
IFFIdentification Friend or Foe
ihpindicated horsepower
IMFInshore Minesweeper
KCKrupp, cemented
KNC// non cemented
LALow Angle
LCLanding Craft
LCA// Assault
LCAC// Air Cushion
LFC// Flak (AA)
LCG// Gunboat
LCG(L)/// Large
LCG(M)/// Medium
LCG(S)/// Small
LCI// Infantry
LCM// Mechanized
LCP// Personel
LCP(R)/// Rocket
LCS// Support
LCT// Tanks
LCV// Vehicles
LCVP/// Personal
LCU// Utility
locolocomotive (boiler)
LSCLanding ship, support
LSD// Dock
LSF// Fighter (direction)
LSM// Medium
LSS// Stern chute
LST// Tank
LSV// Vehicle
LPlow pressure
lwllenght waterline
MA/SBmotor AS boat
MGMachine Gun
MGBMotor Gunboat
MLMotor Launch
MMSMotor Minesweper
MTMilitary Transport
MTBMotor Torpedo Boat
HMGHeavy Machine Gun
MCM(V)Mine countermeasure Vessel
MLMuzzle loading
MLR// rifled
MSOOcean Minesweeper
NCnon condensing
nhpnominal horsepower
nmNautical miles
NBC/ABCNuc. Bact. Nuclear
NSNickel steel
NTDSNav.Tactical Def.System
NyDNaval Yard
OPVOffshore Patrol Vessel
PCPatrol Craft
PDMSPoint Defence Missile System
psipounds per square inch
PVDSPropelled variable-depth sonar
QFQuick Fire
QFC// converted
RAdmRear Admiral
RCRreturn connecting rod
RFRapid Fire
RPCRemote Control
rpgRound per gun
SAMSurface to air Missile
SARSearch Air Rescue
SBShip Builder
SCSub-chaser (hunter)
SSBNBallistic Missile sub.Nuclear
SESimple Expansion
SET// trunk
shpShaft horsepower
SHsimple horizontal
SOSUSSound Surv. System
SPRsimple pressure horiz.
SSSubmarine (Conv.)
SSMSurface-surface Missile
sfsteam frigate
SLBMSub.Launched Ballistic Missile
spfsteam paddle frigate
STOVLShort Take off/landing
SUBROCSub.Fired ASW Rocket
tton, long (short in bracket)
TACANTactical Air Nav.
TBTorpedo Boat
TBD// destroyer
TCTorpedo carriage
TETriple expansion
TER// reciprocating
TFTask Force
TGBTorpedo gunboat
TGTask Group
TLTorpedo launcher
TLC// carriage
TSTraining Ship
TTTorpedo Tube
UDTUnderwater Demolition Team
UHFUltra High Frequency
VadmVice Admiral
VCVertical compound
VCE// expansion
VDE/ double expansion
VDSVariable Depth Sonar
VIC/ inverted compound
VLFVery Low Frequency
VQL/ quadruple expansion
VSTOLVertical/short take off/landing
VTE/ triple expansion
VTOLVertical take off/landing
VSE/ Simple Expansion
WTWireless Telegraphy
xnumber of
BuShipsBureau of Ships
DBMGerman Navy League
GBGreat Britain
DNCDirectorate of Naval Construction
EEZExclusive Economic Zone
FAAFleet Air Arm
FNFLFree French Navy
MDAPMutual Def.Assistance Prog.
MSAMaritime Safety Agency
RAFRoyal Air Force
RANRoyal Australian Navy
RCNRoyal Canadian Navy
R&DResearch & Development
RNRoyal Navy
RNZNRoyal New Zealand Navy
USSRUnion of Socialist Republics
UE/EECEuropean Union/Comunity
UNUnited Nations Org.
USNUnited States Navy
WaPacWarsaw Pact

⚑ 1870 Fleets
Spanish Navy 1870 Armada Espanola
Numancia (1863)
Tetuan (1863)
Vitoria (1865)
Arapiles (1864)
Zaragosa (1867)
Sagunto (1869)
Mendez Nunez (1869)

Spanish wooden s. frigates (1861-65)
Frigate Tornado (1865)
Frigate Maria de Molina (1868)
Spanish sail gunboats (1861-65)

Austro-Hungarian Navy 1870 K.u.K. Kriegsmarine
Ironclad Kaiser (1850-70)
Drache class BD. Ironclads (1861)
Kaiser Max class BD. Ironclads (1862)
Erzherzog F. Max class BD. Ironclads (1865)
SMS Lissa Ct. Bat. Ships (1869)

SMS Novara Frigate (1850)
SMS Schwarzenberg Frigate (1853)
Radetzky class frigates (1854)
SMS Helgoland Sloop (1867)

Danish Navy 1870 Dansk Marine
Lindormen (1868)

Hellenic Navy 1870 Nautiko Hellenon
Basileos Giorgios (1867)
Basilisa Olga (1869)
Sloop Hellas (1861)

Koninklije Marine 1870 Koninklije Marine
Dutch Screw Frigates & corvettes
De Ruyter Bd Ironclad (1863)
Prins H. der Neth. Turret ship (1866)
Buffel class turret rams (1868)
Skorpioen class turret rams (1868)
Heiligerlee class Monitors (1868)
Bloedhond class Monitors (1869)
Adder class Monitors (1870)
A.H.Van Nassau Frigate (1861)
A.Paulowna Frigate (1867)
Djambi class corvettes (1860)
Amstel class Gunboats (1860)

Marine Française 1870 Marine Nationale
Screw 3-deckers (1850-58)
Screw 2-deckers (1852-59)
Screw Frigates (1849-59)
Screw Corvettes (1846-59)
Screw Fl. Batteries (1855)
Paddle Frigates
Paddle Corvettes
screw sloops
screw gunboats
Sailing ships of the line
Sailing frigates
Sailing corvettes
Sailing bricks

Gloire class Bd. Ironclads (1859)
Couronne Bd. Ironclad (1861)
Magenta class Bd. Ironclads (1861)
Palestro class Flt. Batteries (1862)
Arrogante class Flt. Batteries (1864)
Provence class Bd. Ironclads (1864) Embuscade class Flt. Batteries (1865)
Taureau arm. ram (1865)
Belliqueuse Bd. Ironclad (1865)
Alma Cent. Bat. Ironclads (1867)
Ocean class CT Battery ship (1868)

French converted sailing frigates (1860)
Cosmao class cruisers (1861)
Talisman cruisers (1862)
Resolue cruisers (1863)
Venus class cruisers (1864)
Decres cruiser (1866)
Desaix cruiser (1866)
Limier class cruisers (1867)
Linois cruiser (1867)
Chateaurenault cruiser (1868)
Infernet class Cruisers (1869)
Bourayne class Cruisers (1869)
Cruiser Hirondelle (1869)

Curieux class sloops (1860)
Adonis class sloops (1863)
Guichen class sloops (1865)
Sloop Renard (1866)
Bruix class sloops (1867)
Pique class gunboats (1862)
Hache class gunboats (1862)
Arbalete class gunboats (1866)
Etendard class gunboats (1868)
Revolver class gunboats (1869)

Marinha do Brasil 1870 Marinha do Brasil
Barrozo class (1864)
Brasil (1864)
Tamandare (1865)
Lima Barros (1865)
Rio de Janeiro (1865)
Silvado (1866)
Mariz E Barros class (1866)
Carbal class (1866)

Turkish Ottoman navy 1870 Osmanlı Donanması
Osmanieh class Bd.Ironclads (1864) Assari Tewfik (1868) Assari Shevket class Ct. Ironclads (1868)
Lufti Djelil class CDS (1868)
Avni Illah class cas.ironclads (1869)
Fethi Bulend class cas.ironclads (1870)
Barbette ironclad Idjalleh (1870)
Messudieh class Ct.Bat.ships (1874)
Hamidieh Ct.Bat.Ironclads (1885)
Abdul Kadir Batleships (project)

Ertrogul Frigate (1863)
Selimieh (1865)
Rehberi Tewkik (1875)
Mehmet Selim (1876)
Sloops & despatch vessels

Marina do Peru Marina Do Peru
Monitor Atahualpa (1865)
CT. Bat Independencia (1865)
Turret ship Huascar (1865)
Frigate Apurimac (1855)
Corvette America (1865)
Corvette Union (1865)

Regia Marina 1870 Regia Marina 1870
Formidabile class (1861)
Pr. de Carignano class (1863)
Re d'Italia class (1864)
Regina maria Pia class (1863)
Roma class (1865)
Affondatore turret ram (1865)
Palestro class (1865)
Guerriera class (1866)
Cappelini class (1868)
Sesia DV (1862)
Esploratore class DV (1863)
Vedetta DV (1866)
Imperial Japanese navy 1870 Nihhon Kaigun
Ironclad Ruyjo (1864)
Ironclad Kotetsu (1868)
Frigate Fujiyama (1864)
Frigate Kasuga (1863)
Corvette Asama (1869)
Gunboat Raiden (1856)
Gunboat Chiyodogata (1863)
Teibo class GB (1866)
Gunboat Mushun (1865)
Gunboat Hosho (1868)
Prussian Navy 1870 Preußische Marine
Prinz Adalbert (1864)
Arminius (1864)
Friedrich Carl (1867)
Kronprinz (1867)
K.Whilhelm (1868)
Arcona class Frigates (1858)
Nymphe class Frigates (1863)
Augusta class Frigates (1864)
Jäger class gunboats (1860)
Chamaleon class gunboats (1860)
Russian mperial Navy 1870 Russkiy Flot
Ironclad Sevastopol (1864)
Ironclad Petropavlovsk (1864)
Ironclad Smerch (1864)
Pervenetz class (1863)
Charodeika class (1867)
Admiral Lazarev class (1867)
Ironclad Kniaz Pojarski (1867)
Bronenosetz class monitors (1867)
Admiral Chichagov class (1868)
S3D Imperator Nicolai I (1860)
S3D Sinop (1860)
S3D Tsessarevich (1860)
Russian screw two-deckers (1856-59)
Russian screw frigates (1854-61)
Russian screw corvettes (1856-60)
Russian screw sloops (1856-60)
Varyag class Corvettes (1862)
Almaz class Sloops (1861)
Opyt TGBT (1861)
Sobol class TGBT (1863)
Pishtchal class TGBT (1866)
Swedish Navy 1870 Svenska marinen
Ericsson class monitors (1865)
Frigate Karl XIV (1854)
Frigate Stockholm (1856)
Corvette Gefle (1848)
Corvette Orädd (1853)
Norwegian Navy 1870 Søværnet
Skorpionen class (1866)
Frigate Stolaf (1856)
Frigate Kong Sverre (1860)
Frigate Nordstjerna (1862)
Frigate Vanadis (1862)
Glommen class gunboats (1863)
⚑ 1890 Fleets
Argentinian Navy 1898 Armada de Argentina
Parana class (1873)
La Plata class (1875)
Pilcomayo class (1875)
Ferre class (1880)

Austro-Hungarian Navy 1898 K.u.K. Kriegsmarine

Custoza (1872)
Erzherzog Albrecht (1872)
Kaiser (1871)
Kaiser Max class (1875)
Tegetthoff (1878)

Radetzky(ii) class (1872)
SMS Donau(ii) (1874)
SMS Donau(iii) (1893)

Erzherzog Friedrich class (1878)
Saida (1878)
Fasana (1870)
Aurora class (1873)

Chinese Imperial Navy 1898 Imperial Chinese Navy

Hai An class frigates (1872)
Danish Navy 1898 Dansk Marine

Tordenskjold (1880)
Iver Hvitfeldt (1886)
Skjold (1896)
Cruiser Fyen (1882)
Cruiser Valkyrien (1888)

Hellenic Navy 1898 Nautiko Hellenon
Haitian Navy 1914Marine Haitienne

Gunboat St Michael (1970)
Gunboat "1804" (1875)
Gunboat Dessalines (1883)
Gunboat Toussaint Louverture (1886)
Koninklije Marine 1898 Koninklije Marine
Konigin der Netherland (1874)
Draak, monitor (1877)
Matador, monitor (1878)
R. Claeszen, monitor (1891)
Evertsen class CDS (1894)
Atjeh class cruisers (1876)
Cruiser Sumatra (1890)
Cruiser K.W. Der. Neth (1892)
Banda class Gunboats (1872)
Pontania class Gunboats (1873)
Gunboat Aruba (1873)
Hydra Gunboat class (1873)
Batavia class Gunboats (1877)
Wodan Gunboat class (1877)
Ceram class Gunboats (1887)
Combok class Gunboats (1891)
Borneo Gunboat (1892)
Nias class Gunboats (1895)
Koetei class Gunboats (1898)
Dutch sloops (1864-85)

Marine Française 1898 Marine Nationale
Friedland CT Battery ship (1873)
Richelieu CT Battery ship (1873)
Colbert class CT Battery ships (1875)
Redoutable CT Battery ship (1876)
Courbet class CT Battery ships (1879)
Amiral Duperre barbette ship (1879)
Terrible class barbette ships (1883)
Amiral Baudin class barbette ships (1883)
Barbette ship Hoche (1886)
Marceau class barbette ships (1888)
Cerbere class Arm.Ram (1870)
Tonnerre class Br.Monitors (1875)
Tempete class Br.Monitors (1876)
Tonnant ironclad (1880)
Furieux ironclad (1883)
Fusee class Arm.Gunboats (1885)
Acheron class Arm.Gunboats (1885)
Jemmapes class (1892)
Bouvines class (1892)

La Galissonière Cent. Bat. Ironclads (1872)
Bayard class barbette ships (1879)
Vauban class barbette ships (1882)
Prot. Cruiser Sfax (1884)
Prot. Cruiser Tage (1886)
Prot. Cruiser Amiral Cécille (1888)
Prot. Cruiser Davout (1889)
Forbin class Cruisers (1888)
Troude class Cruisers (1888)
Alger class Cruisers (1891)
Friant class Cruisers (1893)
Prot. Cruiser Suchet (1893)
Descartes class Cruisers (1893)
Linois class Cruisers (1896)
D'Assas class Cruisers (1896)
Catinat class Cruisers (1896)

R. de Genouilly class Cruisers (1876)
Cruiser Duquesne (1876)
Cruiser Tourville (1876)
Cruiser Duguay-Trouin (1877)
Laperouse class Cruisers (1877)
Villars class Cruisers (1879)
Cruiser Iphigenie (1881)
Cruiser Naiade (1881)
Cruiser Arethuse (1882)
Cruiser Dubourdieu (1884)
Cruiser Milan (1884)

Parseval class sloops (1876)
Bisson class sloops (1874)
Epee class gunboats (1873)
Crocodile class gunboats (1874)
Tromblon class gunboats (1875)
Condor class Torpedo Cruisers (1885)
G. Charmes class gunboats (1886)
Inconstant class sloops (1887)
Bombe class Torpedo Cruisers (1887)
Wattignies class Torpedo Cruisers (1891)
Levrier class Torpedo Cruisers (1891)

Marinha do Brasil 1898 Marinha do Brasil
Siete de Setembro class (1874)
Riachuleo class (1883)
Aquidaban class (1885)

Marina de Mexico 1898 Mexico
GB Indipendencia (1874)
GB Democrata (1875)

Turkish Ottoman navy 1898 Osmanlı Donanması
Cruiser Heibtnuma (1890)
Cruiser Lufti Humayun (1892)
Cruiser Hadevendighar (1892)
Shadieh class cruisers (1893)
Turkish TBs (1885-94)

Regia Marina 1898 Regia Marina Pr. Amadeo class (1871)
Caio Duilio class (1879)
Italia class (1885)
Ruggero di Lauria class (1884)
Carracciolo (1869)
Vettor Pisani (1869)
Cristoforo Colombo (1875)
Flavio Goia (1881)
Amerigo Vespucci (1882)
C. Colombo (ii) (1892)
Pietro Micca (1876)
Tripoli (1886)
Goito class (1887)
Folgore class (1887)
Partenope class (1889)
Giovanni Bausan (1883)
Etna class (1885)
Dogali (1885)
Piemonte (1888)
Staffeta (1876)
Rapido (1876)
Barbarigo class (1879)
Messagero (1885)
Archimede class (1887)
Guardiano class GB (1874)
Scilla class GB (1874)
Provana class GB (1884)
Curtatone class GB (1887)
Castore class GB (1888)

Imperial Japanese navy 1898 Nihhon Kaigun
Ironclad Fuso (1877)
Kongo class Ironclads (1877)

Cruiser Tsukushi (1880)
Cruiser Takao (1888)
Cruiser Yaeyama (1889)
Cruiser Chishima (1890)
Cruiser Tatsuta (1894)
Cruiser Miyako (1898)

Frigate Nisshin (1869)
Frigate Tsukuba (acq.1870)
Kaimon class CVT (1882)
Katsuragi class SCVT (1885)
Sloop Seiki (1875)
Sloop Amagi (1877)
Corvette Jingei (1876)
Gunboat Banjo (1878)
Maya class GB (1886)
Gunboat Oshima (1891)
German Navy 1898 Kaiserliche Marine

Ironclad Hansa (1872)
G.Kurfürst class (1873)
Kaiser class (1874)
Sachsen class (1877)
Ironclad Oldenburg (1884)

Ariadne class CVT (1871)
Leipzig class CVT (1875)
Bismarck class CVT (1877)
Carola class CVT (1880)
Corvette Nixe (1885)
Corvette Charlotte (1885)
Schwalbe class Cruisers (1887)
Bussard class (1890)

Aviso Zieten (1876)
Blitz class Avisos (1882)
Aviso Greif (1886)
Wacht class Avisos (1887)
Meteor class Avisos (1890)
Albatross class GBT (1871)
Cyclop GBT (1874)
Otter GBT (1877)
Wolf class GBT (1878)
Habitch class GBT (1879)
Hay GBT (1881)
Eber GBT (1881)
Rhein class Monitors (1872)
Wespe class Monitors (1876)
Brummer class Arm.Steamers (1884)
Russian Imperial Navy 1898 Russkiy Flot

Petr Velikiy (1872)
Ekaterina class ICL (1886)
Imperator Alexander class ICL (1887)
Ironclad Gangut (1890)
Admiral Ushakov class (1893)
Navarin (1893)
Petropavlovsk class (1894)
Sissoi Veliky (1896)

Minin (1866)
G.Admiral class (1875)
Pamiat Merkuria (1879)
V.Monomakh (1882)
D.Donskoi (1883)
Adm.Nakhimov (1883)
Vitiaz class (1884)
Pamiat Azova (1886)
Adm.Kornilov (1887)
Rurik (1895)
Svetlana (1896)

Gunboat Ersh (1874)
Kreiser class sloops (1875)
Gunboat Nerpa (1877)
Burun class Gunboats (1879)
Sivuch class Gunboats (1884)
Korietz class Gunboats (1886)
Kubanetz class Gunboats (1887)
TGBT Lt.Ilin (1886)
TGBT Kp.Saken (1889)
Kazarski class TGBT (1889)
Grozyaschi class AGBT (1890)
Gunboat Khrabri (1895)
T.Gunboat Abrek (1896)
Amur class minelayers (1898)
Marina do Peru Marina Do Peru

Lima class Cruisers (1880)
Chilean TBs (1879)

Swedish Navy 1898 Svenska Marinen
Monitor Loke (1871)
Svea class CDS (1886)
Berserk class (1873)
Sloop Balder (1870)
Blenda class GB (1874)
Urd class GB (1877)
Gunboat Edda (1885)
Norwegian Navy 1898 Søværnet
Lindormen (1868)
Gorm (1870)
Odin (1872)
Helgoland (1878)
Tordenskjold (1880)
Iver Hvitfeldt (1886)

Royal Navy 1898 Royal Navy
HMS Hotspur (1870)
HMS Glatton (1871)
Devastation classs (1871)
Cyclops class (1871)
HMS Rupert (1874)
Neptune class (1874)
HMS Dreadnought (1875)
HMS Inflexible (1876)
Agamemnon class (1879)
Conqueror class (1881)
Colossus class (1882)
Admiral class (1882)
Trafalgar class (1887)
Victoria class (1890)
Royal Sovereign class (1891)
Centurion class (1892)
HMS Renown (1895)

HMS Shannon (1875)
Nelson class (1876)
Iris class (1877)
Leander class (1882)
Imperieuse class (1883)
Mersey class (1885)
Surprise class (1885)
Scout class (1885)
Archer class (1885)
Orlando class (1886)
Medea class (1888)
Barracouta class (1889)
Barham class (1889)
Pearl class (1889)

Spanish Navy 1898 Armada 1898
Ironclad Pelayo (1887)

Infanta Maria Teresa class (1890)
Emperador Carlos V (1895)
Cristobal Colon (1897)
Princesa de Asturias (1896)
Aragon class (1879)
Velasco class (1881)
Isla de Luzon (1886)
Alfonso XII class (1887)
Reina Regentes class (1887)

Destructor class (1886)
Temerario class (1891)
TGunboat Filipinas (1892)
De Molina class (1896)
Furor class (1896)
Audaz class (1897)
Spanish TBs (1878-87)
Fernando class gunboats (1875)
Concha class gunboats (1883)

US Navy 1898 1898 US Navy
USS Maine (1889)
USS Texas (1892)
Indiana class (1893)
USS Iowa (1896)

Amphitrite class (1876)
USS Puritan (1882)
USS Monterey (1891)

Atlanta class (1884)
USS Chicago (1885)
USS Charleston (1888)
USS Baltimore (1888)
USS Philadelphia (1889)
USS San Francisco (1889)
USS Newark (1890)
USS New York (1891)
USS Olympia (1892)
Cincinatti class (1892)
Montgomery class (1893)
Columbia class (1893)
USS Brooklyn (1895)

USS Vesuvius (1888)
USS Katahdin (1893)
USN Torpedo Boats (1886-1901)
GB USS Dolphin (1884)
Yorktown class GB (1888)
GB USS Petrel (1888)
GB USS Bancroft (1892)
Machias class GB (1891)
GB USS Nashville (1895)
Wilmington class GB (1895)
Annapolis class GB (1896)
Wheeling class GB (1897)
Small gunboats (1886-95)
St Louis class AMC (1894)
Harvard class AMC (1888)
USN Armoured Merchant Cruisers
USN Armed Yachts


☉ Entente Fleets

British ww1 Royal Navy
WW1 British Battleships
Centurion class (1892)
Majestic class (1894)
Canopus class (1897)
Formidable class (1898)
London class (1899)
Duncan class (1901)
King Edward VII class (1903)
Swiftsure class (1903)
Lord Nelson class (1906)
HMS Dreadnought (1906)
Bellorophon class (1907)
St Vincent class (1908)
HMS Neptune (1909)
Colossus class (1910)
Orion class (1911)
King George V class (1911)
Iron Duke class (1912)
Queen Elizabeth class (1913)
HMS Canada (1913)
HMS Agincourt (1913)
HMS Erin (1915)
Revenge class (1915)
N3 class (1920)

WW1 British Battlecruisers
Invincible class (1907)
Indefatigable class (1909)
Lion class (1910)
HMS Tiger (1913)
Renown class (1916)
Courageous class (1916)
G3 class (1918)

ww1 British cruisers
Blake class (1889)
Edgar class (1890)
Powerful class (1895)
Diadem class (1896)
Cressy class (1900)
Drake class (1901)
Monmouth class (1901)
Devonshire class (1903)
Duke of Edinburgh class (1904)
Warrior class (1905)
Minotaur class (1906)
Hawkins class (1917)

Apollo class (1890)
Astraea class (1893)
Eclipse class (1894)
Arrogant class (1896)
Pelorus class (1896)
Highflyer class (1898)
Gem class (1903)
Adventure class (1904)
Forward class (1904)
Pathfinder class (1904)
Sentinel class (1904)
Boadicea class (1908)
Blonde class (1910)
Active class (1911)
'Town' class (1909-1913)
Arethusa class (1913)
'C' class series (1914-1922)
'D' class (1918)
'E' class (1918)

WW1 British Seaplane Carriers
HMS Ark Royal (1914)
HMS Campania (1893)
HMS Argus (1917)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Vindictive (1918)
HMS Hermes (1919)

WW1 British Destroyers
River class (1903)
Cricket class (1906)
Tribal class (1907)
HMS Swift (1907)
Beagle class (1909)
Acorn class (1910)
Acheron class (1911)
Acasta class (1912)
Laforey class (1913)
M/repeat M class (1914)
Faulknor class FL (1914)
T class (1915)
Parker class FL (1916)
R/mod R class (1916)
V class (1917)
V class FL (1917)
Shakespeare class FL (1917)
Scott class FL (1917)
W/mod W class (1917)
S class (1918)

WW1 British Torpedo Boats
125ft series (1885)
140ft series (1892)
160ft series (1901)
27-knotters (1894)
30-knotters (1896)
33-knotters (1896)

WW1 British Submarines
Nordenfelt Submarines (1885)
WW1 British Monitors
Flower class sloops
British Gunboats of WWI
British P-Boats (1915)
Kil class (1917)
British ww1 Minesweepers
Z-Whaler class patrol crafts
British ww1 CMB
British ww1 Auxiliaries

✠ Central Empires

⚑ Neutral Countries

Bulgarian Navy Bulgaria
Cruiser Nadezhda (1898)
Drski class TBs (1906)

Danish Navy 1914 Denmark
Skjold class (1896)
Herluf Trolle class (1899)
Herluf Trolle (1908)
Niels Iuel (1918)
Hekla class cruisers (1890)
Valkyrien class cruisers (1888)
Fyen class crusiers (1882)
Danish TBs (1879-1918)
Danish Submarines (1909-1920)
Danish Minelayer/sweepers

Greek Royal Navy Greece
Kilkis class
Giorgios Averof class

Dutch Empire Navy 1914 Netherlands
Eversten class (1894)
Konigin Regentes class (1900)
De Zeven Provincien (1909)
Dutch dreadnought (project)
Holland class cruisers (1896)
Fret class destroyers
Dutch Torpedo boats
Dutch gunboats
Dutch submarines
Dutch minelayers

Norwegian Navy 1914 Norway
Norge class (1900)
Haarfarge class (1897)
Norwegian Monitors
Cr. Frithjof (1895)
Cr. Viking (1891)
DD Draug (1908)
Norwegian ww1 TBs
Norwegian ww1 Gunboats
Sub. Kobben (1909)
Ml. Fröya (1916)
Ml. Glommen (1917)

Portuguese navy 1914 Portugal
Coastal Battleship Vasco da Gama (1875)
Cruiser Adamastor (1896)
Sao Gabriel class (1898)
Cruiser Dom Carlos I (1898)
Cruiser Rainha Dona Amelia (1899)
Portuguese ww1 Destroyers
Portuguese ww1 Submersibles
Portuguese ww1 Gunboats

Romanian Navy 1914 Romania
Elisabeta (1885)
Spanish Armada Spain
España class Battleships (1912)
Velasco class (1885)
Ironclad Pelayo (1887)
Alfonso XII class (1887)
Cataluna class (1896)
Plata class (1898)
Estramadura class (1900)
Reina Regentes class (1906)
Spanish Destroyers
Spanish Torpedo Boats
Spanish Sloops/Gunboats
Spanish Submarines
Spanish Armada 1898
Swedish Navy 1914 Sweden
Svea classs (1886)
Oden class (1896)
Dristigheten (1900)
Äran class (1901)
Oscar II (1905)
Sverige class (1915)
J. Ericsson class (1865)
Gerda class (1871)
Berserk (1873)
HMS Fylgia (1905)
Clas Fleming class (1912)
Swedish Torpedo cruisers
Swedish destroyers
Swedish Torpedo Boats
Swedish gunboats
Swedish submarines


✪ Allied ww2 Fleets

US ww2 US Navy
WW2 US Battleships
Wyoming class (1911)
New York class (1912)
Nevada class (1914)
Pennsylvania class (1915)
New Mexico class (1917)
Tennessee Class (1919)
Colorado class (1921)
North Carolina class (1940)
South Dakota class (1941)
Iowa class (1942)
Montana class (cancelled)

WW2 American Cruisers
Omaha class cruisers (1920)
Pensacola class heavy Cruisers (1928)
Northampton class heavy cruisers (1929)
Portland class heavy cruisers (1931)
New Orleans class cruisers (1933)
Brooklyn class cruisers (1936)
USS Wichita (1937)
Atlanta class light cruisers (1941)
Cleveland class light Cruisers (1942)
Baltimore class heavy cruisers (1942)
Alaska class heavy cruisers (1944)

WW2 USN Aircraft Carriers
USS Langley (1920)
Lexington class CVs (1927)
USS Ranger (CV-4)
USS Wasp (CV-7)
Yorktown class aircraft carriers (1936)
Long Island class (1940)
Independence class CVs (1942)
Essex class CVs (1942)
Bogue class CVEs (1942)
Sangamon class CVEs (1942)
Casablanca class CVEs (1942)
Commencement Bay class CVEs (1944)
Midway class CVs (1945)
Saipan class CVs (1945)

WW2 USN destroyers
Wickes class (1918)
Clemson class (1920)
Farragut class (1934)
Porter class (1935)
Mahan class (1935)
Gridley class (1936)
Bagley class (1936)
Somers class (1937)
Benham class (1938)
Sims class (1938)
Benson class (1939)
Fletcher class (1942)
Sumner class (1943)
Gearing class (1945)

GMT Evarts class (1942)
TE Buckley class (1943)
TEV/WGT Rudderow classs (1943)
DET/FMR Cannon class
Asheville/Tacoma class

WW2 US Submarines
Barracuda class
USS Argonaut
Narwhal class
USS Dolphin
Cachalot class
Porpoise class
Shark class
Perch class
Salmon class
Sargo class
Tambor class
Mackerel class
Gato Class

USS Terror (1941)
Raven class Mnsp (1940)
Admirable class Mnsp (1942)
Eagle class sub chasers (1918)
PC class sub chasers
SC class sub chasers
PCS class sub chasers
YMS class Mot. Mnsp
ww2 US gunboats
ww2 US seaplane tenders
USS Curtiss ST (1940)
Currituck class ST
Tangier class ST
Barnegat class ST

US Coat Guardships
Lake class
Northland class
Treasury class
Owasco class
Wind class
Algonquin class
Thetis class
Active class

US Amphibious ships & crafts
US Amphibious Operations
Doyen class AT
Harris class AT
Dickman class AT
Bayfield class AT
Windsor class AT
Ormsby class AT
Funston class AT
Sumter class AT
Haskell class AT
Andromeda class AT
Gilliam class AT
APD-1 class LT
APD-37 class LT
LSV class LS
LSD class LS
Landing Ship Tank
LSM class LS
LSM(R) class SS
LCV class LC
LCVP class LC
LCM(3) class LC
LCP(L) class LC
LCP(R) class SC
LCL(L)(3) class FSC
LCS(S) class FSC
British ww2 Royal Navy

WW2 British Battleships
Queen Elisabeth class (1913)
Revenge class (1915)
Nelson class (1925)
King Georges V class (1939)
Lion class (Started)
HMS Vanguard (1944)
Renown class (1916)
HMS Hood (1920)

WW2 British Cruisers
British C class cruisers (1914-1922)
Hawkins class cruisers (1917)
British D class cruisers (1918)
Enterprise class cruisers (1919)
HMS Adventure (1924)
County class cruisers (1926)
York class cruisers (1929)
Surrey class cruisers (project)
Leander class cruisers (1931)
Arethusa class cruisers (1934)
Perth class cruisers (1934)
Town class cruisers (1936)
Dido class cruisers (1939)
Abdiel class cruisers (1939)
Fiji class cruisers (1941)
Bellona class cruisers (1942)
Swiftsure class cruisers (1943)
Tiger class cruisers (1944)

WW2 British Aircraft Carriers
HMS Argus (1917)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Eagle (1918)
HMS Hermes (1919)
Courageous class aircraft carriers (1928)
HMS Ark Royal (1937)
Illustrious class (1939)
HMS Indomitable (1940)
Implacable class (1942)
Malta class (project)
HMS Unicorn (1941)
Colossus class (1944)
Majestic class (1945)
Centaur class (started 1945)

HMS Archer (1939)
HMS Argus (1917)
Avenger class (1940)
Attacker class (1941)
HMS Audacity (1941)
HMS Activity (1941)
HMS Pretoria Castle (1941)
Ameer class (1942)
Merchant Aircraft Carriers (1942)
Vindex class (1943)
WW2 British Destroyers
Shakespeare class (1917)
Scott class (1818)
V class (1917)
S class (1918)
W class (1918)
A/B class (1926)
C/D class (1931)
G/H/I class (1935)
Tribal class (1937)
J/K/N class (1938)
Hunt class DE (1939)
L/M class (1940)
O/P class (1942)
Q/R class (1942)
S/T/U//V/W class (1942)
Z/ca class (1943)
Ch/Co/Cr class (1944)
Battle class (1945)
Weapon class (1945)
WW2 British submarines
L9 class (1918)
HMS X1 (1923)
Oberon class (1926)
Parthian class (1929)
Rainbow class (1930)
Thames class (1932)
Swordfish class (1932)
HMS Porpoise (1932)
Grampus class (1935)
Shark class (1934)
Triton class (1937)
Undine class (1937)
U class (1940)
S class (1941)
T class (1941)
X-Craft midget (1942)
A class (1944)
WW2 British Amphibious Ships and Landing Crafts
LSI(L) class
LSI(M/S) class
LSI(H) class
LSS class
LSG class
LSC class
Boxer class LST
LST(2) class
LST(3) class
LSH(L) class
LSF classes (all)
LCI(S) class
LCS(L2) class
LCT(I) class
LCT(2) class
LCT(R) class
LCT(3) class
LCT(4) class
LCT(8) class
LCT(4) class
LCG(L)(4) class
LCG(M)(1) class
British ww2 Landing Crafts
WW2 British MTB/gunboats.
WW2 British MTBs
MTB-1 class (1936)
MTB-24 class (1939)
MTB-41 class (1940)
MTB-424 class (1944)
MTB-601 class (1942)
MA/SB class (1938)
MTB-412 class (1942)
MGB 6 class (1939)
MGB-47 class (1940)
MGB 321 (1941)
MGB 501 class (1942)
MGB 511 class (1944)
MGB 601 class (1942)
MGB 2001 class (1943)
WW2 British Gunboats

Denny class (1941)
Fairmile A (1940)
Fairmile B (1940)
HDML class (1940)
WW2 British Sloops
Bridgewater class (2090)
Hastings class (1930)
Shoreham class (1930)
Grimsby class (1934)
Bittern class (1937)
Egret class (1938)
Black Swan class (1939)
WW2 British Frigates
River class (1943)
Loch class (1944)
Bay class (1944)
WW2 British Corvettes
Kingfisher class (1935)
Shearwater class (1939)
Flower class (1940)
Mod. Flower class (1942)
Castle class (1943)
WW2 British Misc.
Roberts class monitors (1941)
Halcyon class minesweepers (1933)
Bangor class minesweepers (1940)
Bathurst class minesweepers (1940)
Algerine class minesweepers (1941)
Motor Minesweepers (1937)
ww2 British ASW trawlers
Basset class trawlers (1935)
Tree class trawlers (1939)
HMS Albatross seaplane carrier
WW2 British river gunboats

HMS Guardian netlayer
HMS Protector netlayer
HMS Plover coastal mines.
Medway class sub depot ships
HMS Resource fleet repair
HMS Woolwhich DD depot ship
HMS Tyne DD depot ship
Maidstone class sub depot ships
HmS Adamant sub depot ship

Athene class aircraft transport
British ww2 AMCs
British ww2 OBVs
British ww2 ABVs
British ww2 Convoy Escorts
British ww2 APVs
British ww2 SSVs
British ww2 SGAVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Mines.
British ww2 CAAAVs
British ww2 Paddle Mines.
British ww2 MDVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Minelayers
British ww2 armed yachts

✙ Axis ww2 Fleets

Japan ww2 Imperial Japanese Navy
WW2 Japanese Battleships
Kongō class Fast Battleships (1912)
Fuso class battleships (1915)
Ise class battleships (1917)
Nagato class Battleships (1919)
Yamato class Battleships (1941)
B41 class Battleships (project)

WW2 Japanese cruisers
Tenryū class cruisers (1918)
Kuma class cruisers (1919)
Nagara class (1921)
Sendai class Cruisers (1923)
IJN Yūbari (1923)
Furutaka class Cruisers (1925)
Aoba class heavy cruisers (1926)
Nachi class Cruisers (1927)
Takao class cruisers (1930)
Mogami class cruisers (1934)
Tone class cruisers (1937)
Katori class cruisers (1939)
Agano class cruisers (1941)
Oyodo (1943)

Seaplane & Aircraft Carriers
IJN Hōshō (1921)
IJN Akagi (1925)
IJN Kaga (1927)
IJN Ryujo (1931)
IJN Soryu (1935)
IJN Hiryu (1937)
Shokaku class (1940)
Zuiho class (1937)
Ruyho (1933)
Hiyo class (1941)
Chitose class (1943)
IJN Taiho (1944)
IJN Shinano (1944)
Unryu class (1944)
IJN Ibuki (1942)

Taiyo class (1940)
IJN Kaiyo (1938)
IJN Shinyo (1934)

Notoro (1920)
Kamoi (1922)
Chitose class (1936)
Mizuho (1938)
Nisshin (1939)

IJN Aux. Seaplane tenders
Akistushima (1941)
Shimane Maru class (1944)
Yamashiro Maru class (1944)

Imperial Japanese Navy Aviation

WW2 Japanese Destroyers
Mutsuki class (1925)
Fubuki class (1927)
Akatsuki class (1932)
Hatsuharu class (1932)
Shiratsuyu class (1935)
Asashio class (1936)
Kagero class (1938)
Yugumo class (1941)
Akitsuki class (1941)
IJN Shimakaze (1942)

WW2 Japanese Submarines
KD1 class (1921)
Koryu class
Kaiten class
Kairyu class
IJN Midget subs

WW2 Japanese Amphibious ships/Crafts
Shinshu Maru class (1935)
Akistu Maru class (1941)
Kumano Maru class (1944)
SS class LS (1942)
T1 class LS (1944)
T101 class LS (1944)
T103 class LS (1944)
Shohatsu class LC (1941)
Chuhatsu class LC (1942)
Moku Daihatsu class (1942)
Toku Daihatsu class (1944)

WW2 Japanese minelayers
IJN Armed Merchant Cruisers
WW2 Japanese Escorts
Tomozuru class (1933)
Otori class (1935)
Matsu class (1944)
Tachibana class (1944)
Ioshima class (1944)
WW2 Japanese Sub-chasers
WW2 Japanese MLs
Shinyo class SB

⚑ Neutral Navies

✈ Naval Aviation

Latest entries WW1 CW
naval aviation USN aviation
Aeromarine 40 (1919)
Douglas DT (1921)
Naval Aircraft Factory PT (1922)
Loening OL (1923)
Huff-Daland TW-5 (1923)
Martin MO (1924)
Consolidated NY (1926)
Vought FU (1927)
Vought O2U/O3U Corsair (1928)
Berliner-Joyce OJ (1931)
Curtiss SOC seagull (1934)
Grumman FF (1931)
Grumman F2F (1933)
Grumman F3F (1935)
Northrop BT-1 (1935)
Vultee V-11 (1935)
Grumman J2F Duck (1936)
Curtiss SBC Helldiver (1936)
Vought SB2U Vindicator (1936)
Brewster F2A Buffalo (1937)
Douglas TBD Devastator (1937)
Vought Kingfisher (1938)
Curtiss SO3C Seamew (1939)
Cessna AT-17 Bobcat (1939)
Douglas SBD Dauntless (1939)
Grumman F4F Wildcat (1940)
Northrop N-3PB Nomad (1941)
Brewster SB2A Buccaneer (1941)
Grumman TBF/TBM Avenger (1941)
Consolidated TBY Sea Wolf (1941)
Grumman F6F Hellcat (1942)
Vought F4U Corsair (1942)
Curtiss SB2C Helldiver (1942)
Curtiss SC Seahawk (1944)
Douglas BTD Destroyer (1944)
Grumman F7F Tigercat (1943)
Grumman F8F Bearcat (1944)
Ryan FR-1 Fireball (1944)
Douglas XTB2D-1 Skypirate (1945)
Douglas AD-1 Skyraider (1945)

Naval Aircraft Factory PN (1925)
Douglas T2D (1927)
Consolidated P2Y (1929)
Hall PH (1929)
Douglas PD (1929)
Douglas Dolphin (1931)
General Aviation PJ (1933)
Consolidated PBY Catalina (1935)
Fleetwings Sea Bird (1936)
Sikorsky VS-44 (1937)
Grumman G-21 Goose (1937)
Consolidated PB2Y Coronado (1937)
Beechcraft M18 (1937)
Sikorsky JRS (1938)
Boeing 314 Clipper (1938)
Martin PBM Mariner (1939)
Grumman G-44 Wigeon (1940)
Martin Mars (1943)
Goodyear GA-2 Duck (1944)
Edo Ose (1945)
Hugues Hercules (1947)

⚔ WW2 Naval Battles

The Cold War

Royal Navy Royal Navy
Cold War Aircraft Carriers
Centaur class (1947)
HMS Victorious (1950)
HMS Eagle (1946)
HMS Ark Royal (1950)
HMS Hermes (1953)
CVA-01 class (1966 project)
Invincible class (1977)

Cold War Cruisers
Tiger class (1945)

Daring class (1949)
1953 design (project)
Cavendish class (1944)
Weapon class (1945)
Battle class (1945)
FADEP program (1946)
County class GMD (1959)
Bristol class GMD (1969)
Sheffield class GMD (1971)
Manchester class GMD (1980)
Type 43 GMD (1974)

British cold-war Frigates
Rapid class (1942)
Tenacious class (1941)
Whitby class (1954)
Blackwood class (1953)
Leopard class (1954)
Salisbury class (1953)
Tribal class (1959)
Rothesay class (1957)
Leander class (1961)
BB Leander class (1967)
HMS Mermaid (1966)
Amazon class (1971)
Broadsword class (1976)
Boxer class (1981)
Cornwall class (1985)
Duke class (1987)

British cold war Submarines
T (conv.) class (1944)
T (Stream) class (1945)
A (Mod.) class (1944)
Explorer class (1954)
Strickleback class (1954)
Porpoise class (1956)
Oberon class (1959)
HMS Dreanought SSN (1960)
Valiant class SSN (1963)
Resolution class SSBN (1966)
Swiftsure class SSN (1971)
Trafalgar class SSN (1981)
Upholder class (1986)
Vanguard class SSBN (started)

Assault ships
Fearless class (1963)
HMS Ocean (started)
Sir Lancelot LLS (1963)
Sir Galahad (1986)
Ardennes/Avon class (1976)
Brit. LCVPs (1963)
Brit. LCM(9) (1980)

Ton class (1952)
Ham class (1947)
Ley class (1952)
HMS Abdiel (1967)
HMS Wilton (1972)
Hunt class (1978)
Venturer class (1979)
River class (1983)
Sandown class (1988)

Misc. ships
HMS Argus ATS (1988)
Ford class SDF (1951)
Cormorant class (1985)
Kingfisger class (1974)
HMS Jura OPV (1975)
Island class OPVs (1976)
HMS Speedy PHDF (1979)
Castle class OPVs (1980)
Peacock class OPVs (1982)
MBT 538 class (1948)
Gay class FACs (1952)
Dark class FACs (1954)
Bold class FACs (1955)
Brave class FACs (1957)
Tenacity class PCs (1967)
Brave class FPCs (1969)
Sovietskaya Flota Sovietskiy flot
Cold War Soviet Cruisers (1947-90)
Chapayev class (1945)
Kynda class (1961)
Kresta I class (1964)
Kresta II class (1968)
Kara class (1969)
Kirov class (1977)
Slava class (1979)

Moksva class (1965)
Kiev class (1975)
Kusnetsov class aircraft carriers (1988)

Cold War Soviet Destroyers
Skoryi class destroyers (1948)
Neustrashimyy (1951)
Kotlin class (1953)
Krupny class (1959)
Kashin class (1963)
Sovremenny class (1978)
Udaloy class (1980)
Project Anchar DDN (1988)

Soviet Frigates
Kola class (1951)
Riga class (1954)
Petya class (1960)
Mirka class (1964)
Grisha class (1968)
Krivak class (1970)
Koni class (1976)
Neustrashimyy class (1988)

Soviet Missile Corvettes
Poti class (1962)
Nanuchka class (1968)
Pauk class (1978)
Tarantul class (1981)
Dergach class (1987)
Svetlyak class (1989)

Cold War Soviet Submarines
Whiskey SSK (1948)
Zulu SSK (1950)
Quebec SSK (1950)
Romeo SSK (1957)
Foxtrot SSK (1963)
Tango class (1972)
November SSN (1957)
Golf SSB (1958)
Hotel SSBN (1959)
Echo I SSGN (1959)
Echo II SSGN (1961)
Juliett SSG (1962)
Yankee SSBN (1966)
Victor SSN I (1965)
Alfa SSN (1967)
Charlie SSGN (1968)
Papa SSGN (1968)
Delta I SSBN (1972)
Delta II SSBN (1975)
Delta III SSBN (1976)
Delta IV SSBN (1980)
Typhoon SSBN (1980)
Victor II SSN (1971)
Victor III SSN (1977)
Oscar SSGN (1980)
Sierra SSN (1982)
Mike SSN (1983)
Akula SSN (1984)
Kilo SSK (1986)

Soviet Naval Air Force
Kamov Ka-10 Hat
Kamov Ka-15 Hen
Kamov Ka-18 Hog
Kamov Ka-25 Hormone
Kamov Ka-27 Helix
Mil Mi-8 Hip
Mil Mi-14 H?
Mil Mi-4 Hound

Yakovlev Yak-38
Sukhoi Su-17
Sukhoi Su-24

Ilyushin Il-28 Beagle
Myasishchev M-4 Bison
Tupolev Tu-14 Bosun
Tupolev Tu-142
Ilyushin Il-38
Tupolev Tu-16
Antonov An-12
Tupolev Tu-22
Tupolev Tu-95
Tupolev Tu-22M
Tupolev Tu-16
Tupolev Tu-22

Beriev Be-6 Madge
Beriev Be-10 Mallow
Beriev Be-12
Lun class Ekranoplanes
A90 Orlan Ekranoplanes

Soviet MTBs/PBs/FACs
P2 class FACs
P4 class FACs
P6 class FACs
P8 class FACs
P10 class FACs
Komar class FACs (1960)
Project 184 FACs
OSA class FACs
Shershen class FACs
Mol class FACs
Turya class HFL
Matka class HFL
Pchela class FACs
Sarancha class HFL
Babochka class HFL
Mukha class HFL
Muravey class HFL

MO-V sub-chasers
MO-VI sub-chasers
Stenka class sub-chasers
kronstadt class PBs
SO-I class PBs
Poluchat class PBs
Zhuk clas PBs
MO-105 sub-chasers

Project 191 River Gunboats
Shmel class river GB
Yaz class river GB
Piyavka class river GB
Vosh class river GB
Saygak class river GB

Soviet Minesweepers
T43 class
T58 class
Yurka class
Gorya class
T301 class
Project 255 class
Sasha class
Vanya class
Zhenya class
Almaz class
Sonya class
TR40 class
K8 class
Yevgenya class
Olya class
Lida class
Andryusha class
Ilyusha class
Alesha class
Rybak class
Baltika class
SChS-150 class
Project 696 class

Soviet Amphibious ships
MP 2 class
MP 4 class
MP 6 class
MP 8 class
MP 10 class
Polocny class
Ropucha class
Alligator class
Ivan Rogov class
Aist class HVC
Pomornik class HVC
Gus class HVC
T-4 class LC
Ondatra class LC
Lebed class HVC
Tsaplya class HVC
Utenov class
US Navy USN (1990)
Aircraft carriers
United States class (1950)
Essex SBC-27 (1950s)
Midway class (mod)
Forrestal class (1954)
Kitty Hawk class (1960)
USS Enterprise (1960)
Nimitz Class (1972)

Salem Class (1947)
Worcester Class (1948)
USS Norfolk (1953)
Boston Class (1955)
Galveston Class (1958)
Albany Class (1962)
USS Long Beach (1960)
Leahy Class (1961)
USS Bainbridge (1961)
Belknap Class (1963)
USS Truxtun (1964)
California Class (1971)
Virginia Class (1974)
CSGN Class (1976)
Ticonderoga Class (1981)

Mitscher class (1952)
Fletcher DDE class (1950s)
Gearing DDE class (1950s)
F. Sherman class (1956)
Farragut class (1958)
Charles s. Adams class (1958)
Gearing FRAM I class (1960s)
Sumner FRAM II class (1970s)
Spruance class (1975)

Dealey class (1953)
Claud Jones class (1958)
Bronstein class (1962)
Garcia class (1963)
Brooke class (1963)
Knox class (1966)
OH Perry class (1976)

Guppy class Submarines (1946-59)
Barracuda class SSK (1951)
Tang class SSK (1951)
USS Darter SSK (1956)
Mackerel class SSK (1953)
USS Albacore SSK (1953)
USS X1 Midget subs (1955)
Barbel class SSK (1958)

USS Nautilus SSN (1954)
USS Seawolf SSN (1955)
Skate class SSN (1957)
Skipjack class SSN (1958)
USS Tullibee SSN (1960)
Tresher/Permit class SSN (1960)
Sturgeon class SSN (1963)
Los Angeles class SSN (1974)
Seawolf class SSN (1989)

USS Grayback SSBN (1954)
USS Growler SSBN (1957)
USS Halibut SSBN (1959)
Gato SSG (1960s)
E. Allen class SSBN (1960)
G. Washington class SSBN (1969)
Lafayette class SSBN (1962)
Ohio class SSBN (1979)

Migraine class RP (1950s)
Sailfish class RP (1955)
USS Triton class RP (1958)

Amphibious/assault ships
Iwo Jima class HC (1960)
Tarawa class LHD (1973)
Wasp class LHD (1987)
Thomaston class LSD (1954)
Raleigh class LSD (1962)
Austin class LSD (1964)
Anchorage class LSD (1968)
Whibdey Island class LSD (1983)
Parish class LST (1952)
County class LST (1957)
Newport class LST (1968)
Tulare class APA (1953)
Charleston class APA (1967)
USS Carronade support ship (1953)

Mine warfare ships
Agile class (1952)
Ability (1956)
Avenger (1987)
USS Cardinal (1983)
Adjutant class (1953)
USS Cove (1958)
USS Bittern (1957)
Minesweeping boats/launches

Misc. ships
USS Northampton CS (1951)
Blue Ridge class CS (1969)
Wright class CS (1969)
PT812 class (1950)
Nasty class FAC (1962)
Osprey class FAC (1967)
Asheville class FACs (1966)
USN Hydrofoils (1962-81)
Vietnam Patrol Boats (1965-73)

Hamilton class (1965)
Reliance class (1963)
Bear class (1979)
cold war CG PBs
Cold War Naval Aviation
Carrier planes
(to come)
  • Grumman Mallard 1946
  • Edo OSE-1 1946
  • Short Solent 1946
  • Chetverikov TA-1 1947
  • de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver 1947
  • Grumman Albatross 1947
  • Hughes H-4 Hercules (completed & first flight, prototype)
  • Saunders-Roe SR.A/1 1947 (jet fighter seaplane prototype)
  • Short Sealand 1947
  • Beriev Be-8 1947
  • Martin P5M Marlin 1948
  • Supermarine Seagull ASR-1 1948 (prototype successor to the Walrus)
  • Nord 1400 Noroit 1949
  • Norsk Flyindustri Finnmark 5A (interesting Norwegian prototype)
  • SNCASE SE-1210 French prototype flying boat 1949
  • Beriev Be-6 1949
  • Convair R3Y Tradewind USN patrol flying boat 1950
  • Goodyear Drake (proto seaboat) 1950
  • de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter 1951 (RCAN)
  • Saunders-Roe Princess 1952 (RN requisition possible)
  • Beriev R-1 turbojet prototype seaplane 1952
  • Convair F2Y Sea Dart Prototype delta jet fighter seaplane 1953
  • Martin P6M SeaMaster strategic bomber flying boat 1955
  • Beriev Be-10 1956
  • Ikarus Kurir H 1957
  • Beriev Be-12 Chaika 1960
  • Shin Meiwa UF-XS prototype 1962
  • Shin Meiwa PS-1 patrol flying boat 1967
  • Canadair CL-215 1967 water bomber, some operated by the RCAN
  • GAF Nomad patrol australian land/floatplane 1971
  • Harbin SH-5 Main PLAN patrol flying boat 1976
  • Cessna 208 Caravan transport flotplane (some navies) 1982
  • Dornier Seastar prototype 1984
  • Beriev Be-40/A-40 Albatross prototypes 1986

Patrol Planes
(to come)
Navy Helicopters
    Chinese PLAN:
  • Harbin Z-5 (1958)
  • Harbin Z-9 Haitun (1981)
  • Changhe Z-8 (1985)
  • Harbin Z-20 (in development)
  • Italy:
  • Agusta Bell AB-205 (1961)
  • Agusta Bell AB-212 (1971)
  • Agusta AS-61 (1968)
  • India:
  • Hal Dhruv (Indian Navy)
  • France:
  • Alouette II (1955)
  • Alouette III (1959)
  • Super Frelon (1965)

  • Cougar ()
  • Panther ()
  • Super Cougar H225M ()
  • Fennec ()
  • MH-65 Dolphin ()
  • UH-72 Lakota ()
  • Germany:
  • MBB Bo 105 (1967)
  • NHIndustries NH90
  • Japan:
  • Mitsubishi H-60 (1987)
  • Poland:
  • PZL W-3 Sokół (1979)
  • Romania:
  • IAR 330M (1975)
  • United Kingdom:
  • Westland Lynx (1971)
  • Westland Scout (1960) RAN
  • Westland Sea King (1969)
  • Westland Wasp (1962)
  • Westland Wessex (1958)
  • Westland Whirlwind (1953)
  • Westland WS-51 Dragonfly (1948)
  • USA:
  • Gyrodyne QH-50 DASH
  • Hiller ROE Rotorcycle (1956)
  • Piasecki HRP Rescuer (1945)
  • Bell UH-1N Twin Huey (1969)
  • SH-2 Seasprite (1959)
  • SH-2G Super Seasprite (1982)
  • CH-53 Sea Stallion (1966)
  • SH-60 Seahawk (1979)
  • Sikorsky S-61R (1959)
  • MH-53E Sea Dragon (1974)
  • USSR:
  • Kamov Ka 20 (1958)
  • Ka-25 "Hormone" (1960)
  • Ka-27 "Helix" (1973)
  • Ka-31 (1987)
  • Ka-35 (2015)
  • Ka-40 (1990)
  • Mil-Mi 2 (1949)
  • Mil Mi-4 (1952)

Twitter Feed

Youtube naval encyclopedia Channel

Go to the Playlist
Tank Encyclopedia, the first online tank museum
Plane Encyclopedia - the first online warbirds museum
posters Shop
Poster of the century
Historical Poster - Centennial of the Royal Navy "The Real Thing" - Support Naval Encyclopedia, get your poster or wallpaper now !

Battleship Yamato in VR

❒ Virtual Reality Section