The History of the "boats" in the Vietnam War


Vietnam era Patrol Boats






Why These Boats?




The United States began to funnel aid into South Vietnam as early as 1955. Military assistance took the form of equipment and advice. When North Vietnam declared that the political struggle with the South was not a military struggle, it was inevitable that the Americans in Vietnam would be sucked into the ensuring war. At first the advisors remained just that, but with the inauguration of President Kennedy in 1961 a rapid US buildup commenced. In 1962 the MACV (Military Assistance Command Vietnam) was set up. [The History of the Vietnam War, Kamps.]   



  ASPB - Assault Support Patrol Boat (ASPB) (aka “Alpha” Boat) was used primarily for ferrying and supporting the movement of 9th Army troop. stoneraspb.jpg (74383 bytes)

  ATC - Armored Troop Carrier -ATC - (aka "Tango" Boat) The craft of the MRF evolved with the war on the rivers of Viet Nam. There were four River Assault Groups (RAGs): RivDiv 9, RivDiv 11, RivDiv 13, and RivDiv 15. stoneratc.jpg (70418 bytes)

  CCB - COMMAND AND CONTROL BOAT (CCB) The CCB was the tactical communications center for a River Assault Division. stonerccb.jpg (70269 bytes)

  Douche - TANGO (“Douche” Boat Conversion) The well deck of each boat was fully loaded with machinery for the water cannons.  The prime mover was a Grey Marine 12V71 with a Power-Take-off-Transmission connected to an 18" Fairbanks-Morse centrifugal pump.

  HSSC - Heavy SEAL Support Craft (HSSC) Heavy SEAL Support Craft (HSSC)  Heavy Armor and Heavy Firepower.  A purpose built craft (2 built) used to support SEAL operations along the rivers and tributaries of South Vietnam.

  LCM-6 - LCM-6 "Mike Boat" Converted by MST and early SEAL personnel into a heavily armed boat nicknamed "Mighty Mo."  Powered by 2- Detroit 6-71 Diesel engines; 348 hp (260 kW) sustained; twin shaft, or 2- Detroit 8V-71 Diesel engines;

  LCPL - Landing Craft Personnel (Large) (LCPL) Mk IV and Mk 12 The LCPL Mk IV is steel-hulled. The LCPL Mk 12 is fiberglass. Four Mk IV LCPL’s were converted for SEAL support in Viet Nam. Mk 12 LCPL’s assigned to Inshore Undersea Warfare Group ONE did security patrols, provided escort, and did other security tasks on the rivers and ports of Viet Nam.

  LCSR - Landing Craft, Swimmer Reconnaissance.  Used to deliver and pickup Underwater Demolition Team/SEAL swimmers using the Fulton Recovery System. Generally powered by two Solar Saturn 1,200 hp gas turbines or two Pratt & Whitney ST-6B68 for the "L" version.

  LSSC - Light SEAL Support Craft.  Was designed for squad-sized operations. It was an aluminum twenty-four foot long boat with a low silhouette and a nine-foot beam.  With twin high-performance engines powering jet pumps. stonerlssc.jpg (19380 bytes)

  MKV Picket - Mark V Picket boat. Displacement approx. 10 tons - Length:45 feet - Beam: 9 feet - Draft: 3 feet - Propulsion: 2 diesel engines - Speed: 25 kts - Crew: 1 officer + 5 enlisted - Weapons: 2 twin .50 Browning machineguns.

  Monitor - Vietnam Era Monitor. River monitors used by the US Navy's brown water flotilla during the Vietnam War, were converted WWII landing craft that were armored and mounted with a 40mm cannon in a turret near the bow. stonermonitor.jpg (39998 bytes)

  MSSC - Medium SEAL Support Craft. Was a catamaran-hulled design that was low to the water making it harder to see and target. The MSSC also had a shallow draft and a top speed of over 30 kts. stonermssc.jpg (14651 bytes)

  PBR - Patrol Boat, River.  Length: 31 feet Beam: 11 feet, 9 inches, Displacement: 9 tons Speed: 35 knots Armament: Three .50-cal machine guns (two twinned, one single), one M60A machine gun and one MK-79 grenade launcher. stonerpbr.jpg (16210 bytes)

  PCF - The PCF or Swift boat was A well-known series of inshore patrol craft. These are all-metal craft adopted from an oil rig crew boat used to support offshore drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Mission endurance is up to five days. stonerpcf.jpg (14303 bytes)

  PG - Patrol Gunboat.  Armed with a 3"-50 single rapid fire cannon in an enclosed mount forward as well as a single 40mm Bofors cannon aft and a pair of twin 50 caliber machine guns. stonerpg.jpg (22286 bytes)

  PGH - In 1968, the navy received two new hydrofoil gunboats, USS FLAGSTAFF (PGH-1) and USS TUCUMCARI (PGH-2). In late 1969 (probably October-November) both of them commenced operations in Viet Nam. Apparently, the specialized nature of the craft and their unique logistics structure led to a less than successful tour. stonertucumcari.jpg (50179 bytes)

  PTF - The most potent of SOG's Maritime resources were the PTFs, the so called "Nasty" Class motor gunboats. They could be configured in one of two ways. The original configuration was that of a Motor Torpedo Boat, with easy conversion to a Motor Gun Boat or minelayer with the addition of mine rails. stonerptf.jpg (54165 bytes)

  Skimmer - The Skimmer was generally a Boston Whaler based 13.3 foot boat with a crew of 3 to 7.

  STAB - Strike Assault Boat Powered with two Chevrolet 427 gasoline engines and 2 MerCruiser stern drives. Used only by STABRon 20.

  STAB - SEAL Team Attack Boat.  Brought to Viet Nam for evaluation by SEAL Team TWO. Modified Boston Whaler of fiberglass construction powered by two Outboard gasoline engines.

  WPB - The 82" Cutter was Designed and built at Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, MD, for law enforcement, search and rescue. Steel hulls, unmanned engine room controlled from the bridge, power steering and air conditioning were key features.

  Yabuta - The Yabuta junk was used by Vietnamese coastal patrol forces to check boats for smuggled arms and equipment. These craft were very numerous and ranged from 46 of the 50-foot in length. Yabuta.jpg (12930 bytes)

  Zippo - The Zippo boats were converted Tango boats (ATCs)  carrying an M132A1 flame-throwing armored personnel carrier. The APC was replaced by a purpose-built boat with two M10-8 flame throwers and the compressed air and napalm tanks in the well deck.