Air Mobility (Vietnam War)

September 26, 2019

Air mobility the Vietnam War Air mobility was a tactical doctrine developed by the US Army during the 1960s during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953 helicopters had been used for reconnaissance limited transportation of troops supply drops and medical evacuation the US Army were impressed by this so much that they wanted to expand the role of helicopters for use in direct combat Air mobility would become a new tactic that for the first time engaged helicopters in battle operations It assumed the movement of infantry troops by air and their direct deployment to the zone of operation The idea was developed by General Hamilton house a visionary who in the early 1960s was the chairman of the tactical mobility requirements board House was inspired by the experience of the French in Algeria and his own experiences in Korea where helicopters were used to move troops from one point to another he was especially Influenced by the success of operation chopper in January 1962 when American helicopters were used to drop ARVN paratroopers against Vietcong guerrillas near Saigon the Attacks from the air were a success as the Vietcong were completely caught by surprise Houses overall idea was that the helicopters could be used on a much broader scale than they did until then He believed that Helicopters could be used to replace the trucks and armored vehicles that were being used to transport troops and provide them fire support in combat since the roads in Vietnam are also pretty poor air mobility seemed the logical and effective means of transport as the tactical mobility requirements board and defense secretary approved the idea the US Army commenced their first tests in 1963 at Fort Benning, Georgia For this purpose the experimental 11th air assault division was formed Since the idea was completely new officers had to design it from scratch they had to define the actual use of helicopters in battle to learn new techniques such as Formation flying and the use of airborne artillery and commanding from the air Tests were complete by the end of 1965 And the conclusion was that the tactic had many drawbacks in fighting full-scale armies But was very efficient from Lowell conflicts and fighting against insurgents. It was the exact thing the US forces needed in Vietnam Even before the tests were over the US Army decided to actualize the tactic by creating a proper division the famous first Cavalry Division Became an air assault formation on July 1965 As personnel were recruited from the experimental 11th division the 1st Cavalry Division was immediately deployed to Vietnam air assault tactics consisted of several transportation helicopters Huey slicks whose task was to concentrate large amounts of soldiers at critical points that were determined by reconnaissance helicopters Slicks were followed by five to seven armed Huey’s and later also a h1 cobras flying on both flanks in formation the armament of these gunships consisted of 7.62 millimeter machine guns 2.75 inch rocket launchers mini guns or 40 millimeter grenade launchers This firepower was more than sufficient to provide cover while slicks were disembarking troops on the ground Normally the formation had at least one medevac uee to pick up possible casualties Once at the landing zone slicks had to slow down and land they had to remain stationary as long as troops were disembarking Since they were very vulnerable in such a position Gunships had to fly over the LZ and sharp angles blasting away possible enemies down on the field Once disembark slicks would leave the LZ as quickly as possible The tactic proved to be very successful on many occasions the most notable moments were the Battle of yad reg and the Tet Offensive at Yad rank Huey’s were delivering a constant flow of soldiers in short periods of time to stop the offensive of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops During the Tet Offensive air mobility tactics were responsible for a swift response to multiple simultaneous Attacks both slicks and gunships were up to the task delivering troops where needed and assisting in battle from the air Subscribe for more Vietnam War history videos get simple history the Vietnam War and simple history the Cold War today

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