Vietcong Captured Weapons

Captured Vietcong weapons

     Continuing the trend of dynamism, Vietcong equipment was varied and differed throughout the war. During the pre-American intervention period, guerrilla forces were poorly armed, often lacking rifles.[1] Many of the weapons they did possess originated from the French Indochina war or World War 2. A photograph of captured Vietcong weaponry depicts a diverse range of firearms including: American M1919 Browning .30 caliber machine guns, German MG-34 machine guns, and Japanese Type 92 and Type 99 mortars.[2]The Vietcong’s initial operations against ARVN forces main goals were to acquire firearms and other weapons, especially machine guns and mortars.[3] After 1965, they began receiving shipments of weapons from the North. Mostly Chinese AK-47s and SKS rifles. Interestingly, the Vietcong had access to M-16’s, which they apparently purchased from ARVN forces, but preferred Chinese rifles instead.[4] During or after 1968, some basic equipment seems to have been standardized. It included: two pairs of black pajamas, rubber sandals, mosquito net, and a few square yards of nylon. In addition, they received cotton tubes called “elephant intestines” used to store rice. The Vietcong received a rice ration of twenty kilograms a month, as well as a chunk of salt, monosodium glutamate, and, if they were lucky, some dried meat or fish. To supplement this meager diet, guerrillas would go on hunting parties and harvest meat from dogs, monkeys, tigers, elephants, and perhaps the least appetizing, giant jungle moths. As a general rule, the Vietcong ate twice a day at 9 AM and 4 PM.[5]

[1] Douglas Pike Vietcong The Organization and Techniques of The National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, 234. (The M.I.T. Press, 1966).

[2] Captured Vietcong Weaponry. “Weapons and Equipment of the Vietcong”

[3] George K. Tanham Communist Revolutionary Warfare From the Vietminh to the Viet Cong. 139-140 (Frederick A. Praeger, 1967)

[4] Truong Nhu Tang, A Vietcong Memoir 109, 160 (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985)

[5] Ibid. 154-159