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The North Vietnamese Army is often forgotten by the histories of the Vietnam War (1955-1975). Commonly mistaken for the locally raised Viet Cong guerrillas, the NVA was in fact an entirely different force for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. After first supporting the VC in the Republic of Vietnam in 1958, the NVA entered into their own violent armed struggle as the war escalated. Entire divisions and vast numbers of NVA troops were sent south, conducting large-scale operations in a conventional war fought almost entirely by the NVA, and not the VC, as is often believed. Despite limited armor, artillery and air support, the NVA were an extremely politicized and professional force with strict control measures and leadership concepts - soldiers were expected to be totally committed to the cause, and to sacrifice all to ensure its success. Gordon Rottman follows the fascinating life of the highly motivated infantryman from conscription and induction through training to real combat experiences. Covering the evolution of the forces from 1958 onwards, this book takes an in-depth look at the civilian and military lives of the soldiers, while accompanying artwork details the uniforms, weapons and equipment used by the NVA in their clash against America and her allies.
By the spring of 1945 the Allies were sweeping all before them in the Pacific War against Japan, and a series of victories had reclaimed many of the islands and territories seized by the Imperial Japanese forces in the early months of the war. The dark days of humiliating defeat were far behind the unstoppable Allied juggernaut - victory was now assured. The question was where the last battle would be fought. That place was the island of Okinawa. This book details the struggle for the island as US Marines and Army units battled determined Japanese defenders in the last battle of World War II (1939-1945).
In December 1989 US Army forces, supported by the US Air Force and US Navy, participated in Operation 'Just Cause'--the invasion of Panama. A combination of airborne, helicopter and ground assaults quickly secured key objectives and eliminated organized resistance. Beginning with a brief history of US-Panama relations and the development of the Panamanian Defense Forces, this book focuses principally on the military aspects of Operation 'Just Cause', and ends with a summary of the conflict's aftermath. Numerous photographs, and detailed color plates depict the actions of the armed forces units that executed this difficult, and controversial, operation.
These lethal man-portable anti-tank weapons enabled Wehrmacht infantry to destroy T-34 and Sherman tanks. Written by an expert on anti-tank warfare, this book reveals the fascinating development history of the Panzerfaust and Panzerschreck and accessess the tactics that were employed by the soldiers using these two feared weapons.Two of World War II's most distinctive weapons, the Panzerfaust and Panzerschreck offered German and other infantrymen the ability to destroy enemy tanks singlehandedly at close range. While the Panzerschreck owed its origins largely to the US bazooka, the Panzerfaust was a revolutionary design that was unlike any previous weapon, and went on to influence anti-tank technology and tactics for decades after World War II.Germany had begun World War II with several inadequate antitank weapons for infantry use, supplemented by improvised and captured weapons and, from 1942, a hand-delivered 3kg antitank shaped charge. As the fortunes of war turned against Germany, what was desperately needed was an antitank weapon that allowed the individual soldier to destroy a tank. The first effort to field such a weapon began with the Faustpatrone 43, a handheld short tube with a propellant charge and an over-caliber, shaped-charge warhead; it was the first of the Panzerfaust ("armor fist") series of anti-tank weapons. The warhead was propelled by a launcher cartridge. The sights were extremely crude, but more sophisticated sights were unnecessary owing to the short ranges and the fact that tanks were large targets. Panzerfaust models were designated by two- or three-digit numbers indicating their approximate range in meters. The reloadable Panzerfaust 250 was under development a the war's end, as was an anti-personnel high-explosive-fragmentation projectile.The Panzerfaust was not manned by a dedicated crew but was issued to individuals. Training was extremely simple and given in the form of a lecture and demonstrations, often without even any live fire. German propaganda made much of the Panzerfaust capable of being use by Hitler Youth teenagers, old men of the Volkssturm and other civilians. Over eight million Panzerfauste of all types were produced, and they became as widely used as hand grenades. They proved to be comparatively effective against tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, as well as fortifications and buildings. Allied troops, notably Soviet forces, made widespread use of captured Panzerfauste, and they were also supplied to German allies such as Finland, Hungary, and Bulgaria. The Germans provided the Japanese with examples and plans for the Panzerfaust and they went on to develop their own reloadable and very different version called the 45mm Type 5 recoilless anti-tank weapon; it was to be used to defend the Home Islands.
Osprey's new Weapon series provides a highly-detailed yet affordable overview of the development, use, and impact of small arms throughout history - from the sword to the machine gun.Learn the surprising truths behind one of modern warfare's most popular and controversial firearms. Developed immediately after World War II, the RPG-series have proved to be simple, flexible, and powerful devices, which have had an impact far beyond original expectations. Track its development and deployment firsthand, from the Vietnam hills to the streets of modern Baghdad.Gordon Rottman provides a detailed analysis of perhaps one of the most important weapons to be developed in the 20th century. He has been at the receiving end of the RPG-2 and RPG-7 as well as firing them himself, providing personal testament to the effectiveness with which they accomplished their missions. This in-depth coverage is well-accompanied by Ramiro Bujeiro's battlescene artwork and Tony Bryan's cutaway illustrations.
The 1944 invasion of Saipan was the first two-division amphibious assault conducted by US forces in World War II (1939-1945). Saipan and Tinian had been under Japanese control since 1914 and, heavily colonized, they were considered virtually part of the Empire. The struggle for Saipan and Tinian was characterized by the same bitter fighting that typified the entire Central Pacific campaign. Fighting side-by-side, Army and Marine units witnessed the largest tank battle of the Pacific War, massed Japanese banzai charges, and the horror of hundreds of Japanese civilians committing suicide to avoid capture. In this book Gordon Rottman details the capture of these vital islands that led to the collapse of Prime Minister Tojo's government.
A follow-up to 2007's highly successful FUBAR: Soldier Slang of World War II, SNAFU covers the slang of sailors and airmen, as well as soldiers. Military life has always been ruled by its own language, specific sets of terms and phrases that separate the serving man or woman from their civilian counterpart. There is the official version of ranks and acronyms, and the more unofficial, colloquial language of the barrack room and battlefield - both are covered in this humourous look at soldier slang. World War II saw vast numbers of young men and women pass through the ranks of the various armies involved, and they inherited and developed a vocabulary in response to their unique situations - many of whose words and phrases have passed into the common vernacular and are still in use right up to the present day. SNAFU explores the language and slang of the major combatant powers, delving into their origins and explaining their uses, all illustrated with contemporary cartoons and other images showing the phrases in use. Detailed sections are included for each of the major combatants of World War II, and additional appendices detail the nicknames given to the major surface vessels and aircraft types of the war.
From June 1941, the Soviets were forced to undertake large-scale defensive operations in the face of the overwhelming German blitzkrieg assault, operations which ran counter to their preference for highly mobile, offensive warfare. Lessons were quickly learned across a wide variety of terrain and climates, including the open steppes, dense forests, wooded swamps, cities, and in snow and ice, where the availability of construction materials differed greatly. The first to cover this topic in the English language and containing detailed information about the trenches, bunkers, observation posts, and weapon positions, this book examines field fortifications built from local materials by infantrymen, as well as their use of mines, field camouflage techniques, and construction tools. It provides a first fascinating insight into Russian defensive attempts against the overwhelming might of the German Army.
In 1961 US Special Forces units began entering remote areas of Vietnam dominated by the Viet Cong. Their task was to organize local defense and strike forces aimed at stopping the enemy from gaining further control of such areas. The Green Berets set up fortified camps from which indigenous troops defended local villages and attacked and harassed the enemy. How these camps were constructed, developed, and defended is documented here for the first time. This book also covers the weapons, barriers, and obstacles used in these camps, providing specific examples of camp design, and details how they withstood the test of battle against a determined and resourceful enemy.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The eight-wheeled (8x8) Stryker combat light armored vehicle was adopted by the US Army in 2002 to provide a comparatively rapidly deployable contingency force with armor protection, tactical mobility, and heavy firepower, as well as advanced command, control communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities. Covering the first new US Army release since the M1 Abrams MBT, this book details the conception, ongoing development and deployment of one of the most highly anticipated new AFVs in recent years, including its service in Iraq and the ensuing controversy surrounding the Stryker's varying successes.
In 1965, soon after the first US combat troops had arrived in Vietnam, it was realized that in some areas the Viet Cong had developed vast tunnel complexes in which to hide from the enemy. It was long known that such complexes existed, but it was not realized just how extensive they were in some areas, how important they were to the Viet Cong, and how difficult it was to detect and neutralize them.Most complexes were not nearly as developed and extensive as the famous tunnels of Cu Chi, but nonetheless they caused difficulties for Free World Forces. Tunnels served as hiding places for soldiers, weapons, ammunition, food, and supplies and negated the purpose of search and destroy missions intended to root out the Viet Cong. Once the Free World Forces had "cleared" the area the Viet Cong emerged from their tunnels and continued their activities.It did little good to learn how to detect tunnel entrances and air holes and not ferret out the enemy. Someone had to go in and get them. Not only that but the extent of the tunnel complexes needed to be discovered, weapons, munitions, supplies, and documents had to be recovered or destroyed, and the tunnels themselves had to be destroyed or neutralized to prevent their continued use.At first infantrymen volunteered to enter the tunnels armed with only pistols and flashlights - the "tunnel runners" were born, known to the Australians as "tunnel ferrets."Starting as an ad hoc force of infantrymen, combat engineers and chemical troops, it was not long before units were "formalized" as "tunnel exploration personnel" and 4-6-man"tunnel exploitation and denial teams" were created. They came to be known simply as "tunnel rats" with the unofficial motto, Non Gratum Anus Rodentum--"Not Worth a Rat's Ass."This title will be based on the personal accounts of those who served in this unique role, and will describe the specialist training and equipment, not to mention the tactics and combat experiences, of those who fought an underground war against the Viet Cong in Vietnam.
The 10th was the only American mountain division to be raised in World War II, and still has a high profile, being involved in operations from Iraq to Somalia and from Haiti to Afghanistan. It did not arrive in Europe until winter 1944/45, but then fought hard in the harsh mountainous terrain of Northern Italy until VE-Day five months later, losing c. 1,000 men killed and c. 3,000 wounded. Fighting in a series of battles in the Po Valley that included an amphibious assault across Lake Garda, the division made a key contribution to Allied victory in Europe.The division was special in a number of ways. Its personnel were selected for physical fitness and experience in winter sports, mountaineering, and hunting, unlike the rest of the infantry. Since winter sports were at that time the preserve of the wealthy, the division's educational level was as unusually high as its fitness. It was highly trained in mountain and winter warfare, including the use of skis and snowshoes, while its organization, field clothing, and some personal equipment also differed from that of the usual infantry division. The division made extensive use of pack-mules, and its reconnaissance unit was horse-mounted, conducting the last horse-mounted charge in US history in April 1945.Featuring full-color artwork and rare photographs, this is the gripping story of the US Army's only mountain division in action during the closing months of World War II.From the Trade Paperback edition.
This book is the first of three to examine the genesis, organization and operational deployment of the US airborne divisions in World War II. It discusses early airborne units, detailing how and why they were formed. Task organization for combat, details of attached units, tactics, and weapons and equipment are examined, together with command relationships. The units discussed in this book include the 82d Airborne Division, 1st Special Service Force, 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team and 1st Airborne Task Force, and the operations in North Africa, Sicily, the Italian mainland, and in southern France are covered.
The US airborne units serving in the Pacific Theater during World War II are considered to be among the best-trained and effective forces in the war. Deployed in fewer numbers than was the case across Europe, parachute units such as the famed 11th Airborne Division and the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment operated in harsh terrain, over long distances against a determined enemy in the most extreme situations. These parachute regiments were involved in some of the most significant combat situations in the Pacific, recapturing Corregidor Island, invading the Aleutians and the first troops to arrive in Japan before its surrender. Using detailed maps, an array of photographs and color artwork and organizational tables, Gordon Rottman describes the internal organization, unique weaponry and equipment, training and combat operations of these elite units, highlighting unusual aspects of their service record and the difficulties of dropping onto tiny islands surrounded by freezing seas, completing the Battle Orders examination of the organization and operational deployment of all the US airborne units that fought in the war.
While the most conspicuous components of the US Army Air Forces in World War II (1939-1945) were the air units, there were also hundreds of ground units and organisations. Besides assigned military personnel the AAF also employed thousands of civilians. Many unique outfits were designed to meet the AAF's special needs. Uniformed civilians also possessed a variety of unique uniforms and insignia. These general issue and specific uniforms are the subject of this volume by one of Osprey's most experienced authors, Gordon L. Rottman, whose detailed text is backed by plenty of contemporary photographs and 12 full page colour plates by Francis Chin.
Osprey's examination of the US Army's airborne division in various conflicts, such as World War II (1939-1945) and the Vietnam War (1955-1975). The first 50 years of the US Army airborne arm is a story of continuing battles with the nation's enemies, of battles within the Army's hierarchy, of change, and of adaptation. If there is any single attribute the airborne soldier can claim as his most sterling, it is his uncanny ability to adapt - his flexibility. The very nature of a paratrooper demands this ability to adapt. The motivation and ésprit de corps it develops within these units is something not to be taken lightly. The first class pairing of Gordon L. Rottman and Ron Volstad bring to life the history of these remarkable troops.
Whether referred to as web gear, TE-21, TA50, LBE or LCE, the American soldier's individual combat equipment was seldom praised - except by its developers. Nevertheless, it has always been, and will continue to be an essential part of the fighting man's burden. With the aid of plenty of contemporary photographs, diagrams, and eight full page colour plates by Osprey veteran Ron Volstad, Gordon Rottman's text unearths a wealth of information on the changing nature of US combat equipments from 1910-1988.
This book provides detailed information about how US Army units were organised and operated in America's longest war. Vietnam Special Forces veteran Gordon L Rottman examines the different types of infantry battalions and the units that supported them, their training and organisation down to platoon level. Aspects of the US Army's conventional and unconventional warfare doctrine are also addressed, along with a discussion of how replacements were trained and integrated into units. Among other areas of the US Army's involvement covered are individual and crew-served weapons, artillery, armoured fighting vehicles, transport, logistics, the complex chain of command, and combat operations.
This book tells the compelling story of the average US infantryman in the Vietnam War (1955-1975). Beginning with conscription, enlistment, Basic Training, and Advanced Individual Training at the Armed Forces Induction Center at Fort Polk (the infamous "Tigerland"), it goes on to explore the day-to-day realities of service in Vietnam, from routine tasks at the firebase to search-and-destroy missions, rocket attacks, and firefights in the field. Weaponry, clothing, and equipment are all described and shown in detailed color plates. A vivid picture of the unique culture and experiences of these soldiers emerges - from their vernacular to the prospect of returning to an indifferent, if not hostile, homeland.
Osprey's survey of the Long-Range Patrol Scouts of the US Army during the Vietnam War (1955-1975). The Vietnamese knew the Long-Range Patrol Scouts as "the men with green faces," a reference to the camouflage paint that they used. Operating in patrols of four to six men these men were like ghosts, operating well behind enemy lines and fighting in the shadows. In the rough, inhospitable jungle war these Scouts became invaluable assets. They did not engage the enemy, rather they became the Free World's eyes on the ground, spying out enemy positions and movements before calling in strikes to eliminate them. This book examines the Long-Range Patrol Scout's superior stealth movement techniques, camouflage and concealment, tracking, counter-tracking, observation, and other fieldcraft skills. It also examines the occasions they participated in small scale direct actions including ambushes and small scale raids. Written by a Special Forces' Veteran who fought in Vietnam, and packed with rare photographs and full-color artwork this book not only provides an insight into the remarkable lives of these scouts when on campaign, but also details the training and conditioning that it took to become a shadow warrior.
The two major Army units that operated in the Pacific - the 11th Airborne Division and the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team (PRCT) launched small-scale operations on extremely difficult, if not, outright dangerous, terrain, while also conducting amphibious assaults, fighting on jungled hills, swamps and mud. The two units were very different, with the 503rd PRCT being reserved for special purpose missions and the 11th Airborne Division occupying a more traditional role. This title will deal with the background to these two units and their training, before detailing the specific equipment used in the theatre and, finally and most importantly, the combat experience at a personal level of the US Army Paratrooper in the Pacific.
Ranger - the very word conjures up visions of small, highly trained units executing lightning-fast raids on an unexpecting enemy. It is also synonymous with high esprit de corps and excellence at arms. The US Army Rangers provide units of well-disciplined soldiers who possess the knowledge and courage to operate on their own, deep behind enemy lines. Gordon L. Rottman explores the history of these unique troops, starting with the original 'Rogers' Rangers' company of 1756, whose daring operations and deep penetrations of enemy-held country laid down the pattern for all subsequent Ranger units to follow.
From its very inception the United States Army Special Forces has been enmeshed in controversy, its mission misunderstood to varying degrees, and its very existence opposed by some of the Army hierarchy. Nevertheless it continues to serve in a highly specialised role in all manner of differing conditions. There can be few better qualified to chronicle the history of this unique organisation than former Special Forces Group weapons specialist Gordon Rottman, whose expert knowledge is clearly evident in this authoritative text. This volume also contains 12 full page colour plates by one of the world's most respected military artists, Ron Volstad.
At its peak in World War II (1939-1945), the United States Army contained over 700 engineer battalions, along with numerous independent brigades and regiments. The specialized soldiers of the Engineers were tasked with a wide variety of crucially important tasks including river bridging, camouflage, airfield construction, and water and petroleum supply. However, despite their important support roles, the engineers were often employed on the front lines fighting beside the general infantry in the desperate battles of the European theatre. This book covers the role of these soldiers, from their recruitment and training, through their various support missions and combat experiences, forming an account of what it was truly like to be a combat engineer in World War II.
One of the most enduring and vivid images of Vietnam is the helicopter. There is little doubt that the helicopter revolutionized warfare and how the war in Vietnam (1955-1975) was fought. Helicopters lifted troops, supplies, material, equipment, and vehicles. They conducted visual reconnaissance, command and control, medical evacuation, artillery spotting, fire support, and countless administrative tasks. They were aerial weapons platforms and aerial trucks. The 40,000 pilots were the men behind this revolution. Many helicopter pilots were thrill seekers to some degree. They liked fast cars and a fast life. To "party hardy" was a common term used to describe their lifestyle. They loved to fly and the war gave them the opportunity to do that. They were little concerned with the politics of the war, the conflicts back at home, and could care less about the drug culture, sexual revolution, the environment, and other social issues that defined their generation. A common aviator's phrase was, "Who needs drugs, I'm already high." Helicopter pilots experienced a broad range of combat, from air-lift, med-evac and fire-support to landing in 'Hot LZs', in which choppers would find themselves caught in deadly high-volume crossfires. Crew protection, other than armored seats for the pilots, was minimal. There was little armor to protect vital engines, transmissions, and fuel tanks. Crashes were survivable, but aircrews suffered relatively high casualties. Enemy action was not the only cause for concern. Of the 4,642 US helicopters lost in Vietnam, over half were due to non-hostile causes-accidents, mechanical failure, weather, and other non-combat causes. Aviators had to deal with long flying hours in a less than pleasant climate, heat, humidity, dust, rapidly changing weather conditions, spare parts shortages, and spotty maintenance. All of these accumulated to make the lives of natural risk-takers more dangerous. This book will reveal their experiences from their first deployment to the deadly thrill of combat in a war zone. Accompanied by poignant photographs and written by a Vietnam veteran, this is a crucial addition to our coverage of the conflict that defined the post-war generation in America.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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