The Vietnamese Rangers, properly known in Vietnamese as the Biệt Động Quân and commonly known as the ARVN Rangers, were the light infantry of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. Trained and assisted by American Special Forces and Ranger advisers, the Vietnamese Rangers infiltrated beyond enemy lines in daring search and destroy missions. Initially trained as a counter-insurgency light infantry force by removing the fourth company each of the existing infantry battalions, they later expanded into a swing force capable of conventional as well as counter-insurgency operations, and were relied on to retake captured regions. Later during Vietnamization the Civilian Irregular Defense Group program was transferred from MACV and integrated as Border Battalions responsible for manning remote outposts in the Central Highlands.
Rangers were often regarded as among the most effective units in the war, the most well-led ARVN unit and formed part of the highly-mobile response units operating in key areas. Part of this was due to the specialized role of these units, given that they had their origins in French-raised Commando Units, the GCMA which were drawn from Viet Minh defectors and Tai-Kadai groups, operating in interdiction and counter-intelligence roles, and were trained specifically for counter-insurgency and rough-terrain warfare in the region. Ranger Units often had a US Military Adviser attached to these units although operated independently. The foremost counterinsurgency expert Sir Robert Thompson remarked in 1974 that the ARVN as a whole were the third-best trained army in the free-world and second only to the Israelis in counter-insurgency, with the Rangers, ARVN Airborne and Marine Division forming the vanguard. With improvements in the ARVN from 1969 onward and the growing prestige of the Airborne and Marine Division, depredation had caused the Central Highlands-based Rangers to become manned by deserters, released convicts and Montagnards nevertheless the unit continued to perform critical roles in the Easter Offensive and frontier skirmishes in 1973 and 1974.
A total of 11 U.S Presidential Unit Citation (United States) were issued to the 22 original Ranger Battalions, including one unit whom earned three total citations from two different presidents. See List of Non-US Presidential Unit Citations in Vietnam.
Shoulder sleeve insignia
|Branch||Army of the Republic of Vietnam|
|Role||Search and destroy|
|Size||54 battalions (1975)
|Nickname(s)||Cọp Rằn (Striped Tigers)|
|Motto(s)||Vì dân quyết chiến (For The People Chose To Fight)|
The French established a commando school in Nha Trang in 1951. After the American Military Assistance Advisory Group took over the military advisory role, the school was converted to a Ranger school in 1956. In 1960, when the Vietnam War began in earnest, the Vietnamese Rangers were formed. Rangers (Biet Dong Quan [BDQ]) initially organized into separate companies with U.S. Army Rangers were assigned as advisers, initially as members of the Mobile Training Teams (MTTs), at Ranger Training Centers (RTC), and later at the unit level as members of the Military Advisory Command Vietnam (MACV). A small number of Vietnamese Ranger officers were selected to attend the U.S. Army Ranger School at Ft. Benning.
In 1962, BDQ companies were initially formed into counter-insurgency Special Battalions but by 1963 Ranger units were organized into battalions and their mission evolved from counter-insurgency to light infantry operations.
In May 1965 in the Battle of Sông Bé the 34th and 36th Rangers drove out a VC force occupying the town.
During 1966, the battalions were formed into task forces, and five Ranger Group headquarters were created at corps level to provide command and control for tactical operations. The Ranger Group structure was maintained until 1970 as U.S. force reduction commenced. The Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) situated along the Laotian and Cambodian borders, formerly under control of 5th U.S. Special Forces Group, was integrated into the Ranger command. Thus, the Rangers assumed an expanded role of border defense. The conversion of CIDG camps to 37 combat battalions with 14,534 men, more than doubled the Ranger force size.
Within the early 1970s before the fall of Saigon, the rangers lost its appeal. Although many wanted to join the ranks of the Rangers, the popularity of the Airborne and Marine divisions grew at a faster rate. Many Rangers Battalions were decimated during Operation Lam Son 719 although rebuilt afterwards. Part of the reason for this was orders by Nguyễn Văn Thiệu to halt advances into Laos, just as these units inserted by helicopter had captured the objective, allowing for the newly-armoured 308th Division to move in and surround the outposts. Several Ranger Groups would face well-camouflaged armoured and artillery attacks during the Battle of Kontum and Battle of An Lộc as well as other engagements in the Easter Offensive.
Ordered to defend every inch by Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, the Ranger Group and regular units were deployed widely across the 1300 km border. This had left the region vulnerable to well-coordinated piercing attacks from Trần Văn Trà and the B2 Front. A series of contradictory orders from Thieu, a strategy known as "Light at the Top, Heavy at the Bottom" in which President Thieu neither consulted with his staff nor advisers had sealed the end of the Rangers. The Central Highlands were to be abandoned, then held, then orders to recapture major cities, followed by another order to retreat had created disarray which the armored, heavy artillery and mobile infantry of the PAVN seized upon. In the closing days of the war in 1975 most Ranger units were totally destroyed. Many fought back independently, refusing to surrender. In Saigon, Rangers fought until the morning of 30 April when they were ordered to lay down their arms, as their nation-The Republic of Vietnam capitulated to the communist force. Most of the Ranger officers were considered too dangerous by the communist government and sentenced to long periods of incarceration in the "re-education" camps.
There were Ranger liaison platoons of 45 to 52 men assigned to each ARVN Corps/CTZ headquarters. They were supposed to insure the "proper use" of the Rangers.
At their height in 1975 there were 54 Ranger battalions in 20 Groups. However, only 22 of these battalions, formed in 10 Groups, were actual Rangers while the rest were Border Rangers who were converted over during the Vietnamization from previous CIDG and MIKE Forces.
The following Ranger (Biêt Dông Quân) formations existed:
Additionally, during the Vietnamization of the CIDG and MIKE Forces, former CIDG units were namely given Ranger status and organized into groups mostly of 3 battalions each, but they were largely local forces without any special forces capabilities.
The 3rd, 5th, and 6th Ranger Groups, all operational in the III Corps area, were grouped together into the Third Ranger Command through which the ARVN attempted to form another division, but the lack of enough heavy weapons prevented this from happening.
A further 33 Ranger Border Defense Battalions also existed in 1973. These were the former CIDG units formed by the Americans and totaled 14,365 men. Border Ranger Battalions were smaller than their Ranger counterparts with 465 men versus the 575 to 650 of regular Rangers.
In existence by March 1975 were also the following new formations in the Central Highlands, made up of mainly the former Ranger Border Defense Battalions being now consolidated into Ranger Groups of three battalion each:
The 81st Ranger Group was a unique unit originally formed as part of the Project DELTA reaction force. Formed on 1 November 1964 as the 91st Airborne Ranger Battalion and consisted of three companies of Montagnards. A fourth company was added in 1965. It was reorganized in 1966 as the 81st Ranger Battalion by the "purging of non-Vietnamese" to make it more "effective". The 81st consisted of six all-Vietnamese companies. It was officially under Army of the Republic of Vietnam Special Forces (LLDB) command and not that of Ranger Command. It was actually under the direct control of Project DELTA although two companies were made available to the LLDB.
Ranger courses were established at three training sites in May 1960: Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Song Mao. The original Nha Trang Training course relocated to Dục Mỹ in 1961 and would become the central Ranger-Biêt Dông Quân-Company and Battalion sized unit training was later established at Trung Lap; to ensure a consistently high level of combat readiness, BDQ units regularly rotated through both RTC's. Graduates of the school earned the Ranger badge with its distinctive crossed swords.
Ranger Training Centers conducted tough realistic training that enabled graduates to accomplish the challenging missions assigned to Ranger units. Known as the "steel refinery" of the ARVN, the centers conducted training in both jungle and mountain warfare.
The Rangers wore all the uniforms that the ARVN wore, however they were known for their tightly tailored OG-107's and duck hunter camouflage uniforms. They wore a snarling black panther superimposed over a large yellow star painted in front of their helmets. Many wore a painted black and yellow striping pattern on their helmets. Many rangers also wore a red bandana.
The Rangers wore brown/maroon berets worn pulled to the left in the French-style with a badge containing a winged arrow in a wreath was worn over the right ear. This beret was also worn by American and Australian Army advisers with the unit.
The 81st Ranger Group was a unique special unit of the Vietnamese Rangers of the Southern Army of the Republic of Vietnam.
It was originally formed as part of the Project DELTA reaction force. Formed on 1 November 1964 as the 91st Airborne Ranger Battalion and consisted of three companies of Montagnards. A fourth company was added in 1965. It was reorganized in 1966 as the 81st Ranger Battalion by the "purging of non-Vietnamese" to make it more "effective". The 81st consisted of six all-Vietnamese companies. It was officially under LLDB command and not that of Ranger Command. It was actually under the direct control of Project DELTA although two companies were made available to the LLDB. Its primary mission was to provide airmobile reaction forces to aid in the extraction of recon teams and execute immediate exploitation raids on targets discovered by the teams. It was also used to reinforce SF camps under siege. During and after Tet it also fought in Saigon and handled urban fighting conditions quite well.
The 81st Ranger Battalion was later expanded to seven companies and renamed the 81st Ranger Group which was facilitated by the merger of Delta Teams with the existing three Ranger Companies. The entire unit was parachute trained and was under the direct control of the ARVN G-2.
In 1975 it was headquartered at Trang Lon, Tay Linh, and consisted of a Headquarters, seven Ranger and one Pathfinder company. Group strength varied from 920 to 1200 men.
The 91st/81st battalion continued to wear the old LLDB Green Beret instead of the Ranger Brown/Maroon Beret.Air Education and Training Command Studies and Analysis Squadron
The Air Education and Training Command Studies and Analysis Squadron is a unit of the United States Air Force stationed at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, where it reports directly to the headquarters of Air Education and Training Command, evaluating training programs and systems.
The squadron's first two predecessor units served in combat during World War II. The 21st Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) flew Consolidated B-24 Liberators in the Aleutian Campaign, where it participated in one of the earliest direct attacks against Japan. The 21st Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy flew Boeing B-29 Superfortresses in the strategic bombing campaign against Japan, earning a Distinguished Unit Citation for attacks on the Japanese petroleum industry.
The squadron's other predecessor, the 21st Tactical Air Support Squadron served in combat in the Vietnam War from spring 1965 until the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 1973, earning several combat decorations. One squadron member, Captain Hilliard A. Wilbanks, was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions that helped rescue Vietnamese Rangers that had been ambushed by Viet Cong forces. The squadron served in the tactical air support role in the United States from 1973 through 1991. During this service, the three squadrons were consolidated as a single unit in September 1985.
The squadron assumed its current role in 1992, when, as the 21st Test and Evaluation Squadron, it replaced the 3307th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Randolph.Army of the Republic of Vietnam Special Forces
The Army of the Republic of Vietnam Special Forces (Vietnamese: Lực Lượng Đặc Biệt Quân Lực Việt Nam Cộng Hòa or LLDB) were the elite military units of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (commonly known as South Vietnam). Following the establishment of the Republic of Vietnam in October 1955, the Special Forces were formed at Nha Trang in February 1956. During the rule of Ngô Đình Diệm, the Special Forces were run by his brother, Nhu, until both were assassinated in November 1963 in a coup. The Special Forces were disbanded in 1975 when South Vietnam ceased to exist after the Fall of Saigon.BDQ
BDQ may refer to:
Quebec comics, or Bande dessinée québécoise
Vietnamese Rangers or Biệt Động Quân
Civil Airport Harni (Vadodara Airport), International Air Transport Association airport code BDQ
Bradford Forster Square railway station, station code BDQ
Bonde do Querosene, the biggest and best "Bonde" from BrazilBattle of Tong Le Chon
The Battle of Tong Le Chon took place from 25 March 1973 to 12 April 1974 when North Vietnamese forces lay siege to and finally captured the Vietnamese Rangers' Tong Le Chon camp.Battle of Đồng Xoài
The Battle of Đồng Xoài (Vietnamese: Trận Đồng Xoài) was a major battle fought during the National Liberation Front Summer Offensive of 1965 as part of the Vietnam War. The battle took place in Phước Long Province, South Vietnam, between June 9 and 13, 1965.
In 1964, General Nguyễn Khánh gained control of the South Vietnamese government after General Dương Văn Minh was overthrown in a military coup. Although General Khánh was able to gain control of the military junta, he failed to garner support from the civilian population when he implemented various laws which limited the freedoms of the South Vietnamese people. He then had a falling-out with the Catholic faction within his own government, when he became increasingly reliant on the Buddhist movement to hold on to power. Consequently, on February 20, 1965, General Khánh was ousted from power and was forced to leave South Vietnam forever. The political instability in Saigon gave North Vietnamese leaders in Hanoi an opportunity to step up their military campaign in the south. They believed the South Vietnamese government was able to survive because it still had a strong military to combat the growing influence of the Viet Cong. With the summer campaign of 1965, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces aimed to inflict significant losses on the South Vietnamese military. In Phước Long Province, the Communist summer offensive culminated in the Đồng Xoài campaign.
The fight for Đồng Xoài began on the evening of June 9, 1965, when the Viet Cong 272nd Regiment attacked and captured the Civilian Irregular Defense Group and U.S. Special Forces camp there. In response to the sudden Viet Cong assault, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) Joint General Staff ordered the ARVN 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, to retake Đồng Xoài district. They arrived on the battlefield on June 10, but were quickly overwhelmed by the Viet Cong 271st Regiment near Thuận Lợi. Later that day, Đồng Xoài was recaptured by the ARVN 52nd Ranger Battalion, which had survived an ambush while marching towards the district. On June 11, further South Vietnamese reinforcements arrived in the form of the ARVN 7th Airborne Battalion. The South Vietnamese paratroopers, while searching for survivors of the 1st Battalion in the Thuận Lợi rubber plantation, were defeated in a deadly ambush by the Viet Cong. On June 13 U.S. Army General William Westmoreland decided to insert elements of the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade into a major battle for the first time, because he feared the Viet Cong could secure a major base area in Phước Long Province. By that time, however, the Viet Cong had already withdrawn from the battlefield, so the U.S. paratroopers were ordered to return to base without a fight.Duc Lap Camp
Duc Lap Camp (also known as Duc Lap Special Forces Camp or Hill 722) is a former U.S. Army and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) base southwest of Buôn Ma Thuột in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.Dục Mỹ Camp
Dục Mỹ Camp is a former Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) base northwest of Nha Trang in Khánh Hòa Province, south central Vietnam.Firebase Delta
Firebase Delta is a former Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) base northwest of Kontum in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.Jungle War Stories
Jungle War Stories was a Dell Comics American comic book first published in 1962. It was the first American war comic to cover the Vietnam War. Though the cover of the first issue read "The Jungles of Africa and Asia Have Become Flaming Battlegrounds" only Vietnam was covered.List of flags of the Republic of Vietnam Military Forces
Flags of the Republic of Vietnam Military Forces (Vietnamese : Quân lực Việt Nam Cộng hòa). Most of the flags used by the South Vietnam military since 1955 to 1975.MIKE Force
The Mobile Strike Force Command, or MIKE Force, was a key component of United States Army Special Forces in the Vietnam War. They served with indigenous soldiers selected and trained through the largely minority Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) and were led by American SF and Australian Army Training Team Personnel AATTV. MIKE Force was a force multiplier, operating what is today called a Foreign Internal Defense mission.
MIKE Force was composed of the Bahnar, Hmong, Nung, Jarai, and Khmer Krom minorities, and other members of the Degar peoples, also known as Montagnards. MIKE Force was active under MACV, Army Special Forces, from 1964 to 1970 and under ARVN until 1974. MIKE Force waged special warfare against the Viet Minh, Viet Cong and People's Army of Vietnam (North Vietnamese Army) liberation forces in various detachments, volunteering in support of MIKE Force missions.
MIKE Force's mission was to act as a country-wide quick reaction force for securing, reinforcing, and recapturing CIDG A Camps, as well as to conduct special reconnaissance patrols. Search and rescue and search and destroy missions were also assigned. The conventional unit alternative to Special Forces detachments like MIKE was Tiger Force, which was primarily tasked with counter-guerrilla warfare against enemies from behind their lines that emphasized body-count rather than force multiplication.
Mike Force Nungs manned Hurricane Aircat airboats in the Mekong Delta under American Special Forces command starting in late 1966 with the whole Mekong Delta in rare flood. One base was at the A-414 SF camp in Moc Hoa just south of the Cambodian border. There was an accidental incursion into Cambodia on November 20, 1966 involving these airboats, helicopter insertion of South Vietnamese troops and PACVs (hovercraft) that resulted in the deaths of 56 communist soldiers caught by surprise in the open. General Abrams arrived the following day for a debriefing. The King of Cambodia objected a week later.
MIKE Force had a critical role in the search and rescue of downed American pilots because they were mobile and often in close proximity to the DMZ. MIKE Force also designated drop zones, landing zones, called in air strikes on high-value targets, and collected intelligence during recons, much like the LRRPs.
In 1971 MIKE Force was disbanded after Vietnamization.Republic of Vietnam Airborne Division
The Vietnamese Airborne Division was one of the earliest components of the Republic of Vietnam Military Forces (Vietnamese: Quân lực Việt Nam Cộng hòa – QLVNCH). The Vietnamese Airborne Division began as companies organised in 1948, prior to any agreement over armed forces in Vietnam. After the partition of Vietnam, it became a part of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. This division had its distinct origins in French-trained paratrooper battalions, with predecessor battalions participating in major battles including Dien Bien Phu and retained distinct uniforms and regalia . With the formation of an independent republic, the colonial paratroopers were dissolved, however regalia and aesthetics alongside the nickname "Bawouans" would be retained.
The Airborne Division, alongside the Vietnamese Rangers and the Marine Division were often regarded as among the most effective units, with former airborne advisor General Barry McCaffrey noting that "those of us privileged to serve with them were awe-struck by their courage and tactical aggressiveness. The senior officers and non-commissioned officers were extremely competent and battle hardened." Eight of nine battalions and three headquarters had earned US Presidential Unit Citation (United States) of which eight of these were earned by the Airborne between 1967-1968 which included the Tet Offensive period. Airborne commanders were often highly rated, with Airborne Commander Ngô Quang Trưởng once described by former Airborne-adviser and Gulf War commanding General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. "as the most brilliant tactical commander I have ever known".Republic of Vietnam Marine Division
The Republic of Vietnam Marine Division (RVNMD, Vietnamese: Sư Đoàn Thủy Quân Lục Chiến [TQLC]) was part of the armed forces of South Vietnam. It was established by Ngo Dinh Diem in 1954 when he was Prime Minister of the State of Vietnam, which became the Republic of Vietnam in 1955. The longest-serving commander was Lieutenant General Le Nguyen Khang. In 1969, the VNMC had a strength of 9,300, 15,000 by 1973., and 20,000 by 1975.The Marine Division trace their origins to French-trained Commandos Marine divisions recruited and placed under the command of the French Navy but officially incorporated in 1960. From 1970 onwards, the South Vietnamese marines and Airborne Division grew significantly, supplanting the independent, Central Highlands based Vietnamese Rangers as the most popular elite units for volunteers. Along with the Airborne the Marine Division formed the General Reserve with the strategic transformation under Vietnamization, with elite and highly-mobile units meant to be deployed in People's Army of Vietnam attacking points and incursions. By then, the level of training had improved considerably and U.S. General Creighton Abrams who oversaw Vietnamization stated that South Vietnam's Airborne and Marines had no comparable units to match it in the PAVN.This division had earned a total of 9 U.S. presidential citations, with the 2nd Battalion "Crazy Buffaloes" earning two.Robert Tonsetic
Robert Louis Tonsetic (born Braddock, Pennsylvania December, 1942; died Easton, Maryland April, 2016) was an American military historian.Tonsetic graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1964. He then served in the US Army for twenty-seven years. He received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, and the Bronze Star for his actions in the Vietnam War.His notable books include:
Days of Valor: An Inside Account of the Bloodiest Six Months of the Vietnam War
1781: The Decisive Year of the Revolutionary War
Warriors: An Infantryman's Memoir of Vietnam
Special Operations in the American Revolution
Forsaken Warriors: The Story of an American Advisor with the South Vietnamese Rangers and Airborne, 1970-71Siege of Plei Me
The Siege of Plei Me (Vietnamese: Bao vây Plei Me) (19–25 October 1965) was the beginning phase of the first major confrontation between soldiers of the communist North Vietnamese Army (PAVN) and the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. The lifting of the siege by South Vietnamese forces and American air power was followed by the pursuit of the retreating North Vietnamese from 28 October until 12 November, setting the stage for the Battle of Ia Drang.
Plei Me was an isolated U.S. Army Special Forces and Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) camp in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam defended mostly by Montagnard tribesmen.Tigerstripe
Tigerstripe is the name of a group of camouflage patterns developed for close-range use in dense jungle during jungle warfare by the South Vietnamese Armed Forces and adopted in 1964 by US Special Forces during the Vietnam War. During and following the Vietnam war the pattern was adopted by several other Asian countries. It derives its name from its resemblance to a tiger's stripes and were simply called "tigers." It features narrow stripes that look like brush-strokes of green and brown, and broader brush-strokes of black printed over a lighter shade of olive or khaki. The brush-strokes interlock rather than overlap, as in French Lizard pattern (TAP47) from which it apparently derives.
There are many variations; R.D. Johnson counted at least 19 different versions in early drafts of Tiger Patterns, his definitive work on the subject, although it is unclear if these are all different print patterns, or if they include color variations of a few different print patterns.Tiên Phước Camp
Tiên Phước Camp (also known as Tiên Phước Special Forces Camp) is a former U.S. Army and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) base southwest of Tam Kỳ in central Vietnam.
|Ranks and insignia|