Vietnam Essay:Weapons Used In The War Essay, Research Paper
Weapons Used in the War
Many weapons have been used in many different wars. The Vietnam War is no different. At one point we had over 500,000 soldiers, field medics, officers, and medical staff. Many people died in this war, that was fought over to keep communism in check. Vietnam spurred many different weapons on both sides, varying in capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. As General William Wetmoreland once said, ?Aggressiveness, quick reaction, good use of firepower, and old fashioned American courage have produced outstanding results?” (Vietnam 60). Many weapons have been used for ground, air, and water assaults and Vietnam is no exception.
The American infantry used a variety of weapons. The standard issue gun was the M-16 which could be switched from semi-automatic firing to automatic firing. This was very useful in battle when you were low on ammo. Another weapon with the same features was the M-14 which could also be switched from semi-automatic to automatic. The M-60 was a very powerful machine gun. It was large and cumbersome, but was very useful in the fact that it was able to take out more men on the other side then the average M-16. Because of the fact that it was so large the biggest man in the unit was issued this, and only one was issued per unit. The M-60 was so heave one book stated, “Only capable of being handled by the largest man in the unit, it was nicknamed the ?The Pig? by it?s handlers in Vietnam, the M-60 was (and still is) a robust and reliable weapon” (Vietnam 114). Another powerful weapon issued was the M-79, a grenade launcher. This weapon was capable of launching a grenade farther than a man, so it was more versatile. The one problem was the weight of the weapon and it?s ammo limited who could carry and fire this weapon. The Vietnamese used only one weapon mainly, and that was the AK-47. This weapon was made by the Soviets and was copied by the Chinese, who called it the Type 56. They also had homemade rifles that some of the civilians that wanted to fight used. These guns were inefficient and usually unreliable, leading to their owner?s to their deaths.
In the skies the American?s dominated the Vietnamese. Not only did America have more types of aircrafts then the Vietnamese, America had sheer quantity in the amounts of aircraft over the enemy. Americans had fighters, bombers, transportation, and gunship. The A-1 Skyraider was a very capable craft. It could carry the heaviest of bombs for much needed ground support, and it could also fly around for hours without refuelling if needed. Another Ship was the F-4 Phantom 2. This plane was very versatile, it was able not only to bring in bomber support but it was a decent fighter jet. Although fighter bombers usually come to a compromise of size and speed. This is because bombers are slower because they carry so many bombs, and fighters are fast for quick attacks on enemy aircrafts, the Phantom carried a heavy payload and was as fast as a fighter. This made it one of the most used fighter bombers in the war. Airships weren?t only used for striking the enemy, but they were also used for transportation. This is were the jets came to an end, and helicopters came into their role. The Boeing Vertol CH-47 A Chinook was the most widely used transport helicopter in Vietnam. It was quick for it?s size and capable of carrying an entire unit to their destination faster then if they were hiking there. This isn?t the only thing helicopters do though, they were also very well designed to be gunship. They were capable of carrying rockets and machine guns. The best part of helicopters is that they could hover in one place, allowing for more accurate attacks. On of the more widely used attack helicopters was the Bell AH-IG Huey Cobra. They used these for a variety of missions, reconisence to assaults. The Vietnamese also had a form of the Skyraider also, named the Skyraider. It had the same specifications and capabilities. They also had the Dragonfly A-37, another bomber that was used for the Vietnamese. Air Warfare was big in Vietnam, and it helped both sides a lot.
The rivers had many effects on the war. Artillery was floating on river boats allowing for artillery support for troops battling in the area. The LCT was mainly used for this. It was quick for it?s size, and had relatively strong armor for a river boat. Some ships served two purposes, support fire and landing crafts. These carried men from one place to another and supplied them with support fire while they were setting up. This proved very helpful because it gave them a time cushion to set up, albite a short time, but a cushion none-the-less. Another service boat?s served on rivers were patrol. PBRs 105, PBRs 107, and Harbor Vessels would patrol up and down the river looking for Vietnamese. These helped with the military intelligence for the area. River boats didn?t play the biggest role in the war, but they did help keep men alive.
Napalm. What more can be said about this monstrosity other than that it is nothing less than evil. Napalm started out as a fuel for flamethrowers. This was very effective in that napalm burned fast and hot. It would kill the enemy fast, and if they didn?t die, they were horrible injured and maimed. “Napalm is one of the mostdestructive bombs of all time and should only be used under extreme circumstances with extreme care” (Weapons 276). After a few years in the service, napalm was seen for what made it famous, being a fuel for a bomb. They filled a bomb shell with napalm and an chemical, white phosphorous, igniter, so that when dropped and exploded the fuel burned everything in the blast zone. There were procedures for having the bombings take place. The unit commander had to call it in, and give there exact location. Then when the bombers arrived, they flew down close to the canopy of the trees and let the pay load go. This was called dive bombing. It was done to achieve greater accuracy and efficiency. This helped make napalm as deadly as it was. When napalm was used on the enemy, they died slowly and painfully. This is because burning to death has to burn off your skin, then it kills you, and since it takes a long time to burn your skin, you die slowly. Also, when you didn?t die from it, your painfully disfigured for life. “The famous photograph of a young Vietnamese girl, badly burned in a napalm strike, running naked and creaming toward the camera, continues to shock even today” (Vietnam 125). Napalm burned you to the point of 1st degree burns, the deadly type when they?re all over the body. Napalm was so hot it burned right through the clothes on your back when you?re caught in a napalm strike. Napalm is pure evil.
Many weapons have been used in many different wars. In the Civil war, the single shot musket was the weapon of choice. In WWI the Springfield Automatic Rifle was the issued gun. The Vietnam War is no different. Vietnam had standard issue weapons such as the M-16, and routinely used weapons such as napalm. Vietnam caused the needless death?s of hundreds of thousands of young Americans. Even more were amputated or painfully wounded. The kicker is that it was in a country and over a subject we shouldn?t have had anything to do with. We should take a long hard look at our past, so we don?t repeat this in the future.