Weapons of the ARVN, US, South Korean, Australian, and New Zealand

Chemical weapons

In 1961 and 62 the Kennedy administration authorized the use of chemicals to destroy vegetation and food crops in South Vietnam. Between 1961 and 1967 the US Air Force sprayed 12 million US gallons of concentrated herbicides, mainly Agent Orange (a dioxin) over 6 million acres (24,000 km²) of foliage, trees and food crops, affecting an estimated 13% of South Vietnam's land. In the year 1965, 42% of the herbicide used was allocated to food crops. The herbicide use was also intended to drive civilians into RVN-controlled areas. In 1997, an article published by the Wall Street Journal reported that up to half a million children were born with dioxin related deformities, and that the birth defects in South Vietnam were fourfold those in the North. The use of Agent Orange may have been contrary to international rules of war at the time. It is also of note that the most likely victims of such an assault would be small children. A 1967 study by the Agronomy Section of the Japanese Science Council concluded that 3.8 million acres (15,000 km²) of land had been destroyed, killing 1000 civilians and 13,000 livestock.

Small arms

1. * M6 bayonet

  • M7 bayonet
  • KCB70 bayonet (Limited use with Stoner 63 rifle only)

2. Pistols & Revolvers

  • FNH Browning H-P Mk III pistol - used by Australian and New Zealand forces
  • Smith & Wesson Mark 22 Mod.0 "Hush Puppy" - Suppressed pistol used by SEALs, among others
  • Colt M1911A1 pistol and its variants
  • Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless Carried by General Officers
  • Colt Commander
  • Smith & Wesson Model 15 (USAF M-15) carried by USAF SPs (Security Police Units)
  • Smith & Wesson Model 12
  • M1917 revolver
  • High Standard HDM
  • Walther PPK with suppressor
  • Ruger MK II with suppressor (Navy SEALs)

3. Shoulder arms

  • L1A1 Self Loading Rifle (SLR) - Used by Australian and New Zealand soldiers in Vietnam
  • Springfield M1903 limited use
  • M1 Garand limited use
  • M1 Carbine
  • M2 Carbine
  • M14 rifle
  • XM16E1 and M16A1 Early issue M-16 had problems replaced by M16A1. After 1968 were issued to special forces and then infantry a year or two later.
  • XM177E2
  • M1A1 Thompson
  • M3 Greasegun
  • Swedish K
  • Smith & Wesson M76
  • Madsen M/50
  • Beretta M12
  • MAC-10
  • MP40 (CIDG)
  • UZI (SOG recon teams)
  • Owen Gun (Australian submachine gun)
  • F1 submachine gun (Australian, replaced Owen Gun)
  • L2A1 a copy of the British sterling used by the SASR for prisoner extraction also used with Silencer
  • T223 which is a copy of the Heckler & Koch HK33 Assault Rifle under license by Harrington & Richardson used in small numbers by Navy SEAL teams
  • Winchester Model 1912 pump-action shotgun
  • Ithaca 37 pump-action shotgun
  • Remington 870 pump-action shotgun
  • Remington 11-48 semi-automatic shotgun
    • The shotguns were used as an individual weapon during jungle patrol; infantry units were authorized a shotgun by TO & E (Table of Organization & Equipment). Shotguns were not general issue to all infantrymen, but were select issue, such as one per squad, etc.

4. Sniper Rifles

  • Winchester Model 70 bolt-action sniper rifles - used by U.S. Marine Corps snipers
  • M-40 sniper rifle - used by U.S. Marine Corps snipers* M21 Sniper Weapon System (or XM21 in test phase) - an accurized version of M-14
  • Springfield M1903A4 sniper rifle
  • M1 Garand M1C and M1D sniper variants

5. Machine guns

  • L2A1AR Full auto machine gun version of the L1A1 SLR used by ANZAC forces
  • Stoner M63a Commando & Mark 23 Mod.0 - used by U.S. Navy SEALs and tested by Force Recon
  • M60 machine gun GPMG (General Purpose Machine Gun)
  • M1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle, known as BAR
  • M1917 Browning machine gun .30cal heavy machine gun
  • Browning M1919-A6 medium machine gun
  • Browning M2HB .50cal Heavy Machine Gun

6. Grenades and Mines

  • Mark 2 Fragmentation Hand/Rifle Grenade
  • Claymore M18A1 is an anti-personnel mine
  • M61 Fragmentation Hand Grenade
  • WP M34 grenade White Phosphorus Hand Grenade is a smoke grenade that uses white phosphorus, which, when in contact with air ignites and creates white smoke. The white phosphorus was also a useful way to dislodge the Viet Cong from tunnels or other enclosed spaces as the burning white phosphorus absorbs oxygen, causing the victims to suffocate or suffer serious burns.
  • M18 grenade Smoke Hand Grenade

7. Grenade Launcher

  • M79 grenade launcher
  • M203 grenade launcher used late in the war by special forces.
  • China Lake NATIC a pump-action grenade launcher - used by U.S. Navy SEALs
  • XM148 grenade launcher
  • Mk.19 Automatic Grenade Launcher

8. Flamethrower

  • M2 flamethrower

Infantry support weapons

  • M18 recoilless rifle 57-mm,
  • M20 recoilless rifle 75-mm
  • M67 recoilless rifle 90 mm
  • M40 recoilless rifle 106-mm
  • M19 Mortar 60 mm
  • M29 Mortar 81 mm
  • 4.2 inch mortar 107 mm commonly referred to as the "four deuce"
  • M20 Super Bazooka used mainly by U.S. Marine Corps before introduction of M72 LAW
  • M72 LAW Light Anti-Tank Weapon
  • FIM-43 Redeye MANPADS (Man-Portable Air-Defence System)


  • 75mm Pack Howitzer M1
  • 105 mm Howitzer M102
  • 105 mm Howitzer M2A1
  • L5 (Aust) Pack Howitzer 105-mm
  • M109 155 mm self-propelled howitzer
  • M107 Self-Propelled Gun 175 mm gun
  • M110 8-inch self-propelled howitzer

Artillery ammunition

  • Beehive rounds
  • White phosphorus (marking round) "Willy Peter"
  • HE, general purpose (High Explosive)
  • Canister

Combat aircraft

  • A-1 Skyraider ground attack aircraft
  • A-37 Dragonfly ground attack aircraft
  • F-5 Freedom Fighter fighter used in strike aircraft role
  • A-4 Skyhawk carrier borne multirole strike aircraft
  • A-6 Intruder carrier borne all weather multirole strike aircraft
  • A-7 Corsair II carrier borne multirole strike aircraft
  • AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter
  • AC-47 Spooky gunship (four) with the 1st Air Cavalry Division
  • AC-130 "Spectre" Gunship
  • AC-119G "Shadow" Gunship
  • AC-119K "Stinger" Gunship
  • B-52 Stratofortress heavy bomber
  • B-57 Canberra medium bombers - used by the U.S. Air Force
  • Canberra B.20 Royal Australian Air Force medium bomber
  • F-4 Phantom II carrier and land based fighter-bomber
  • F-8 Crusader carrier borne fighter-bomber
  • F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bomber
  • F-100 Super Sabre fighter-bomber
  • F-101 Voodoo (RF-101) fighter-bomber/reconnaissance plane
  • F-102 Delta Dagger fighter
  • F-104 Starfighter fighter
  • F-111 Aardvark medium bomber
  • OH-6 Cayuse Transport/ Observation helicopter
  • OH-58 Kiowa Transport/ Observation helicopter
  • OV-10 Bronco, light attack/observation aircraft
  • UH-1 "Huey" gunship role (various models)

Support aircraft

  • C-123 Provider tactical cargo aircraft
  • C-130 Hercules tactical cargo aircraft
  • C-141 Starlifter strategic cargo aircraft
  • UH-1 Iroquois helicopters in several configurations
  • CH-47 Chinook medium lift helicopter
  • C-5 Galaxy strategic lift cargo aircraft
  • C-7 Caribou tactical cargo aircraft - used by the U.S. Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force
  • CH-46 Sea Knight rescue helicopter
  • H-2 Seasprite helicopter
  • H-3 Sea King rescue and recovery helicopter
  • UH-34 Seahorse Transport/Cargo helicopter
  • CH-53 Sea Stallion medium lift helicopter
  • CH-54 Skycrane heavy lift helicopter
  • H-43 Huskie Transport/cargo helicopter
  • O-1 Bird Dog, observation aircraft
  • O-2 Skymaster, observation aircraft
  • OV-1 Mohawk battlefield surveillance and light strike aircraft

Aircraft Ordnance

  • GBUs
  • CBUs
  • BLU-82 Daisy cutter
  • Napalm
  • Bomb, 250 lb, 500 lb, 750 lb, 1000 lb, HE (high explosive), general purpose
  • Rocket, aerial, HE (High Explosive), 2.75 inch

Aircraft weapons

  • M61 Vulcan, 20 mm (aircraft mount)
  • Minigun, 7.62 mm (aircraft and helicopter mount)
  • M197 Gatling gun, 20 mm
  • M60 machine gun, 7.62mm (helicopter mount)


  • M38A1 1/4 ton jeep
  • Ford M151 MUTT 1/4 ton Military Utility Tactical Truck (jeep)
  • Dodge M37, 3/4 ton (pick-up truck)
  • Kaiser Jeep M715 1 1/4 (Pickup Truck)
  • Truck, cargo/troops, 2 1/2 ton (deuce and a half)
  • Truck, cargo/troops, 5 ton
  • M520 Goer Truck, Cargo, 8-ton, 4x4
  • Land Rover short and long wheelbase Australian and New Zealand forces.

Armoured fighting vehicles


  • M41 Walker Bulldog light tank Used by South Vietnamese Army [ARVN]
  • M48 Patton medium tank
  • M551 Sheridan airborne reconnaissance assault vehicle, currently referred to as a light tank
  • Centurion main battle tank - used by the Australian Army
  • Sherman m4a3-m4a6 variants medium tank used in small numbers refitted with 76mm - used by American Army/Marines

Army and USMC vehicles

  • M113 APC (Armored Personnel Carrier)
  • M113 ACAV Armoured Cavalry Assault Vehicle
  • M8 Greyhound,used only by (ARVN)
  • LVTP5 Landing Craft
  • M50 Ontos
  • Cadillac Gage V-100 Commando
  • Mark I PBRs (Patrol Boat River)
  • BARC
  • AMTRAC'S, amphibious tractors, US Marine Corps
  • M-114 Reconnaissance vehicle
  • M42 Duster (M-41 light tank hull, with a naval twin 40 mm mounted on an open turret)

Naval craft

  • Monitor, heavily gunned riverine craft
  • Swift Boat, (PCF) Patrol Craft Fast
  • ASPB, Assault Support Patrol Boat, (known as Alpha boats)
  • PBR, Patrol Boat River, (all fiberglass boats, propelled by twin water jets)

Gunship Vehicles (commonly cargo), armed with automatic weapons.

  • Gun trucks, 2 1/2 ton (deuce an a half), and 5 ton cargo trucks with quad .50 cal machine guns mounted in the back
  • M16 Halftracks with quad .50 cal machine guns in the back
  • Gun jeeps, 1/4 tons with mounted M-60 machineguns
  • Land Rover, short and long wheelbase, with single and twin M60 machineguns. Aust. and NZ forces

Weapons of the PAVN/NLF

NVA (North Vietnamese Army) and the Southern communist guerrillas NLF, or Viet Cong as they were commonly referred to during the war, largely used standard Warsaw Pact weapons. Weapons used by the North Vietnamese also included Chinese Communist variants, which were referred to as CHICOM's by the US military. This distinction was in recognition of Taiwan (Nationalist China), a US ally.


  • ZPU-4 quad 14.5 mm anti-aircraft machine gun
  • ZU-23 quad 23 mm anti-aircraft cannon
  • M1939 37 mm anti-aircraft gun
  • S-60 57 mm anti-aircraft gun
  • 82 mm, 107 mm, and 120 mm mortars
  • 122 mm Katyusha rockets
  • 122 mm guns


  • MiG-21 jet fighter
  • MiG-19 jet fighter, used in limited numbers
  • MiG-17 jet fighter
  • MiG-15 jet fighter, used in limited numbers
  • An-2 aircraft
  • Mi-4 helicopter
  • Mi-8 helicopter

Small arms

  • AK-47 and AKM assault rifles (from the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries)
  • Type 56 assault rifle (from the People's Republic of China)
  • SKS semi-automatic carbine, also known as Simonov
  • Vz. 58 assault rifle
  • SVD-63 semi-automatic marksman rifle, also known as the "Dragunov" sniper rifle
  • Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifles and carbines (from the Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact countries, and the People's Republic of China)
  • Mauser Kar98k bolt-action rifle (many of the Mausers used by the VPA and the NLF were from rifles captured from the French during the First Indochina War and rifles provided to them by the Soviets as military aid)
  • Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifle (captured by the Soviets during World War Two and provided to the VPA and the NLF as military aid)
  • Tokarev TT-33 handgun
  • Makarov PM handgun
  • Nagant M1895 revolver
  • Stechkin APS machine pistol
  • Mauser C96 handgun
  • CZ 52 handgun
  • Type 14 8 mm Nambu Pistol Pistol (Captured From The Japanese) Used By North Vietnamese officers
  • K-50M submachine gun
  • PPSh-41 submachine gun (both Soviet and Chinese versions)
  • MAT-49 submachine gun
  • Sa vz. 23 submachine gun
  • Skorpion vz. 61 submachine gun
  • RPD light machine gun
  • Degtyarev DP light machine gun
  • RPK light machine gun
  • MG-34 light machine gun (captured by the Soviets during World War Two and provided to the VPA and the NLF as military aid)
  • MG-42 light machine gun (captured by the Soviets during World War Two and provided to the VPA ans the NLF as military aid)
  • Uk vz. 59 general purpose machine gun
  • DShK heavy machine gun
  • MP40 submachine gun (captured by the Soviets during World War Two and provided to the VPA and the NLF as military aid)
  • PPS-43 submachine gun
  • Arisaka rifles (Captured from Japanese)
  • F1 grenade
  • RG-42 grenade
  • RGD-5 grenade

Infantry support weapons

  • RPG-2 (rocket-propelled grenades)
  • RPG-7
  • Type 69 RPG
  • 82-PM-41 mortar
  • B-10 recoilless rifle
  • B-11 recoilless rifle


  • LPO-50 Flamethrower (Limited Use)


  • PT-76 amphibious tank
  • BTR-50 APC
  • BMP-1 APC
  • ZSU-23-4 anti-aircraft self-propelled systems
  • T-34/85 medium tank, used in limited numbers
  • T-55 main battle tanks
  • ZSU-57-2 anti-aircraft self-propelled system, fielded in limited numbers.
  • BTR-60 APC
  • Bicycles

Substitute standard weapons used by irregular forces

[edit] Small arms

  • Arisaka bolt-action rifles
  • M1 Garand rifle, semi-automatic
  • M1 carbines, semi-automatic
  • Springfield M1903 bolt-action rifles
  • MAS-36 bolt-action rifles
  • MAS-49 semi-automatic rifles
  • MAT-49 submachine gun and local variants
  • MP40 submachine guns
  • PPS-43 submachine gun and local variants
  • Swedish K submachine guns
  • Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifles and carbines
  • Mauser Karabiner 98k bolt-action rifles
  • Type 99 light machine gun Used occasionally by the Viet Cong
  • Nambu semi-automatic pistol
  • Colt M1911A1 Semi-Automatic Pistol

Hand combat weapons

  • M6 bayonet U.S. Used on M-14
  • M1 Bayonet U.S. and ARVN Used on M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, and M-14
  • M7 Bayonet U.S. Use with the M-16
  • Other types of knives, bayonets, and blades.

A wide variety of anti-personnel landmines and booby traps were used in the Vietnam war, including punji stakes.