North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong
Order of Battle (1965 - 1975)
Since much of this is based on MACV intelligence, the way that they classified units is worth quoting.
North Vietnamese Army (NVA) Units: A unit formed, trained and designated b North Vietnam as an NVA unit and composed completely or primarily of North Vietnamese.
Viet Cong (VC) Units: A unit formed and trained in South Vietnam.whose original personnel composition consisted primarily of people residing in South Vietnam.
Main Force (MF) Units: Those VC or NVA military units which are directly subordinate to Central Office South Vietnam (COSVN), a Viet Cong military region, military sub-region, or front.
Local Foce (LF) Units: Those VC or NVA military units which are directly subordinate to province and district party committees and normally operate within the territorial jurisdiction of their respective control headquarters.
Guerillas were noted as being separate from all of the units listed in the enemy order of battle, usually organized into platoons and squads and directly subordinate to the party apparatus at village and hamlet levels.
In Jan 1968, month of the Tet offensive, the number of confirmed battalions was shown by MACV as:
- I CTZ: 16 VC and 53 NVA maneuver battalions
- II CTZ: 15 VC and 35 NVA maneuver battalions
- III CT: 39 VC and 20 NVA maneuver battalions
- IV CTZ: 29 VC maneuver battalions
Somewhat earlier, in Mar 1967, sapper units had included Brigade 305, Regiment 426, and nine battalions under control of the Sapper Branch (Known as Sapper Command in the MACV listing), and there may have been other sapper units under B-2 Front.
By Jan 1969 68B and 368B Rocket Regiments were in I CTZ.
A South Vietnamese source shows the following units available in Jan 1973, grouped by ARVN CTZ.
- I CTZ: 7 infantry and 1 AA divisions; 6 infantry, 3 sapper, 6 artillery, 2 armor, and 12 AA separate regiments
- II CTZ: 3 infantry divisions; 5 infantry, 1 sapper, 2 artillery and 1 armor separate regiments
- III CTZ: 2 infantry, 1 sapper and 1 artillery divisions; 8 infantry, 2 sapper, 2 artillery and 1 armor regiments
- IV CTZ: 2 infantry divisions and 11 separate infantry regiments
Units identified included M26 Armor Brigade, 75th Artillery Division, 377th AA Division, 5th Engineer Division and 27th Sapper Division.
Artillery was estimated at 430 122mm and 130mm guns. Armored vehicles of all types were estimated at 655 (including APC's and artillery tractors; this total also includes items such as the 152mm D20 gun-howitzer and 10mm T12 anti-tank gun).
The source indicates that the NVA introduced "20 more" AA regiments following the cease-fire.
Sapper units under direct control of B-2 Front (Southern Regional Headquarters) prior to the 1975 spring offensive included 12 regiments or equivalents and 36 battalions. These were apparently in addition to any units under control of the Sapper Branch.
Tank Brigade 202 first saw action 1971 in Laos (Battalion 397). It participated in the Easter Offensive 1972 and the spring 1975 final offensive.
Tank Brigade 203 also saw action in Laos early 1971 (Battalions 198 and 297) and served in the 1975 spring offensive.
There is surprisingly little available on North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong TOEs. A company in the 1965-66 era has been shown as having a headquarters (25), heavy weapons platoon (40), and three platoons (35 each), for a strength of 170. Heavy weapons were 3 60mm mortars and 3 MMG's in the weapons platoon and 3 57mm recoilless rifles in headquarters. The estimated average strength of Viet Cong battalions in summer 1965 was 425 personnel. One battalion in the Ia Drang battle in 1965 had 600 personnel, including porters. An NVA battalion in 1965 had a full strength of 555 personnel. A regiment included 18 12.7mm AAMG and at least 11 mortars. Divisions included an AA battalion (composition unknown) and a 120mm mortar battalion.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|