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Riverine Warfare: The US Navy's Operations on Inland Waters

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Riverine Warfare: The U.S. Navy's Operations on Inland Waters

Select a valid country. Please enter 5 or 9 numbers for the ZIP Code. The Tango boats participated in a memorable chapter of the United States Navy's river warfare that was a hard fought effort for control of the "green" and "brown" waterways of the Republic of Vietnam.

In the early part of the war, Tango boats mainly transported troops of the 9th Infantry Division. When the decision came down to integrate, Vietnamese Army and Marine troops replaced the Americans on these Tango boats. The Viet Cong guerrillas operated on the river on a daily basis and this led to fierce gun battles at very close quarters.

The guerrillas used a multitude of boats called "junks" and "sampans" that were capable of navigating in only a few inches of water and could travel practically unseen and unheard near the banks of the rivers. However, also operating in these inland river areas was the joint Army and Navy Mobile Riverine Force. This force consisted of ATC's and heavily armed and armored monitors along with support boats that moved combat troops from the US Army's 9th Infantry Division into combat.

The ACT's were able to deploy troops on the flanks and to the rear of communist elements in an effort to defeat the enemy forces. After many years of war, the enemy had begun to find ways to counter the allied river patrol effort - the Viet Cong started using smaller rivers and canals to move their supplies. To secure the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, the American and Vietnamese river units fought well and hard against a tough Vietnamese communist enemy.

Vietnam : The American Brown Water Navy

However, the experience and brave work of the ATC crews, and that of her sister type ships, provided the military with valuable knowledge of riverine warfare for possible future application. The U. It is equipped with a floating pier for all smaller boats. On the top of the ship is a helipad to accommodate air traffic.

Barely 20 years after the end of World War II, the United States found itself embroiled in a very different kind of conflict.


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  • This admiral's brown water strategy blasted the Viet Cong out of the Mekong Delta waters.

In the jungles of Vietnam, American forces battled the North Vietnamese Army and their Allies, the Viet Cong, an unrelenting enemy with both regular army units and guerilla forces. The Viet Cong used the natural geography of the country to their advantage, including the Mekong River Delta in southwestern Vietnam. This exceptionally difficult terrain presented operational challenges to the Americans and their South Vietnamese Allies.

Numerous distributaries of the Mekong River cut through the delta, which was heavily populated and vital in its production of rice and other essentials. Poor road infrastructure made overland communications and movement difficult. By the American military, sensing an opportunity, had designed a unique organization known as the U.

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Mobile Riverine Force with the goal of seizing the initiative from the communist Viet Cong. Special techniques and operating procedures by ground forces had to be supported by Naval ships and crafts directly from rivers and canals. While Riverine forces had played an important role in the American Civil War over years prior, since then they had almost exclusively been used to facilitate river crossings in American combat.

American riverine forces faced an enemy seasoned in this kind of combat.