THE DEVELOPMENT AND
TRAINING OF THE SOUTH
Brigadier General James Lawton Collins, Jr.
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
Washington, D. C., 1991
First Printed 1975-CMH Pub 90-10
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
The United States Army has met an unusually complex challenge in Southeast Asia. In conjunction with the other services, the Army has fought in support of a national policy of assisting an emerging nation to develop governmental processes of its own choosing, free of outside coercion. In addition to the usual problems of waging armed conflict, the assignment in Southeast Asia has required superimposing the immensely sophisticated tasks of a modern army upon an underdeveloped environment and adapting them to demands covering a wide spectrum. These involved helping to fulfill the basic needs of an agrarian population, dealing with the frustrations of antiguerrilla operations, and conducting conventional campaigns against well-trained and determined regular units.
It is still necessary for the Army to continue to prepare for other challenges that may lie ahead. While cognizant that history never repeats itself exactly and that no army ever profited from trying to meet a new challenge in terms of the old one, the Army nevertheless stands to benefit immensely from a study of its experience, its shortcomings no less than its achievements.
Aware that some years must elapse before the official histories will provide a detailed and objective analysis of the experience in Southeast Asia, we have sought a forum whereby some of the more salient aspects of that experience can be made available now. At the request of the Chief of Staff, a representative group of senior officers who served in important posts in Vietnam and who still carry a heavy burden of day-to-day responsibilities has prepared a series of monographs. These studies should be of great value in helping the Army develop future operational concepts while at the same time contributing to the historical record and providing the American public with an interim report on the performance of men and officers who have responded, as others have through our history, to exacting and trying demands.
The reader should be reminded that most of the writing was accomplished while the war in Vietnam was at its peak, and the monographs frequently refer to events of the past as if they were taking place in the present.
All monographs in the series are based primarily on official
Brigadier General James Lawton Collins, Jr., presently the Chief of Military History, US Army, has the wealth of experience required to tell the story of allied participation in the Vietnam War. After having served in Korea as the Assistant Commander, I Corps (Group) Artillery, General Collins had two tours of duty in Vietnam that involved close liaison with all nations participating in the allied effort. In 1964 he was assigned as the senior US adviser to the Vietnamese Regional Forces and Popular Forces, and in May 1965 was named Special Assistant to the Commander, US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. In the latter capacity General Collins was the personal representative of General Westmoreland to the Vietnamese Joint General Staff on all matters pertaining to the co-ordination of US, Vietnamese, and allied forces operations. For his outstanding service in Vietnam, the Republic of Vietnam awarded him the National Order and the Army Distinguished Service Medal, two of its most coveted awards.
VERNE L. BOWERS
Major General, USA
The Adjutant General
15 April 1974
In 1954 the Army of South Vietnam was a collection of former French colonial troops with little command experience and no support forces worthy of mention. Gradually and despite a considerable degree of political and social instability, the Army, with strong American assistance, was molded into an effective fighting force by the efforts of Vietnamese leaders. After 1960 the South Vietnamese Army also acquired a counterinsurgency capability, but by 1965 increased political turmoil had undermined its effectiveness and necessitated the intervention of strong US combat forces.
From 1965 to 1968, while US forces bore the brunt of the fighting, the South Vietnamese slowly regrouped and, with increasing American advisory assistance and matériel support, once again became an effective fighting force. During this period the military provided security for the civilian population and administration and, in schools and training centers, laid the basis for a larger and more responsive military force.
The battles of the Tet offensive of 1968 were followed by the general mobilization of South Vietnam and, one year later, by the decision of the United States to begin troop redeployments. These moves set the stage for the third phase in the Army's development, Vietnamization. The years from 1968 to 1972 saw a great expansion of South Vietnam's territorial security forces and militia, and the continual improvement and modernization of the regular Army as it once again assumed complete responsibility for the war effort.
This monograph, covering the three stages in the growth and development of the South Vietnamese Army, highlights the role of the US Army, especially the MACV advisory system. Most of the material presented is based on official historical summaries prepared on a regular basis by the major US military commands in South Vietnam. Special attention is given to the expansion of South Vietnam's training base and her increasingly sophisticated military school system. While such a study can do no more than survey these activities, it does reflect the deep and continuous commitment by thousands of American soldiers to make the South Vietnamese Army a self-sufficient force capable of defending itself with minimum outside assistance.
JAMES LAWTON COLLINS, JR.
Brigadier General, US Army
15 April 1974
|I. THE FORMATIVE YEARS, 1950-1959||1|
|Military Assistance Advisory Group, Vietnam||2|
|Organization and Force Structure||8|
|II. THE CRUCIAL YEARS, 1960-1964||17|
|The Problem, 1959-1960||17|
|The Immediate Response, 1960-1961||18|
|Counterinsurgency Plan, 1961||20|
|US Buildup, 1961-1962||25|
|Establishment of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam||27|
|Years of Progress, 1962-1963||29|
|Years of Crisis, 1963-1964||30|
|Training of the South Vietnamese Army, 1960-1964||33|
|Role of the US Army Special Forces||38|
|The Civilian Irregular Defense Groin Program||40|
|Territorial Forces: Civil Guard and Self-Defense Corps||41|
|III. THE BUILDUP YEARS, 1965-1967||47|
|Military Assistance Command Advisory Expansion||48|
|US Army Special Forces Advisory Programs||53|
|The Desertion Problem||60|
|Economic and Social Improvement||63|
|Force Structure Expansion||65|
|Limits of Expansion||67|
|The Civilian Irregular Defense Group||74|
|Training and Leadership||75|
|South Vietnam Schools||80|
|IV. VIETNAMIZATION, 1968-1972||85|
|Pay and Allowances||93|
|School and Training Center Improvements||105|
|Combined Arms Training||109|
|Middle Management Training||110|
|Advanced Technical Training||111|
|Pilot Training for the South Vietnam Air Force||112|
|Mobile Advisory Teams||119|
|Summary and Conclusions||127|
|A. Major RVNAF Schools and Training Centers Existing at the End of 1958||131|
|B. RVNAF Academies, Colleges, and Schools||132|
|C. RVNAF Training School Enrollments for 1970||150|
|D. Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces||151|
|1. Location of RVNAF Academies, Colleges, and Schools, 1969||81|
|2. Location of RVNAF Training Centers, December 1971||107|
|US Military Advisory Group Headquarters, Saigon||3|
|Civil Guard Basic Training Class||11|
|Officer Candidates Train at Thuc Duc||15|
|US Army Adviser Trains at Battalion Level||25|
|US Army Aviation Supports South Vietnamese Units||26|
|Lonely Outpost of Self-Defense Corps||31|
|CIDG Unit Training||41|
|New Territorial Recruits||57|
|Training at Phu Cat||77|
|Range Practice With New M16 Rifle||78|
|Cadets at Dalat||82|
|Rangers Defend Saigon||87|
|Instruction at Da Nang Vocational School||96|
|Maintenance Classes for New Equipment||103|
|Bridge Construction Training, Engineer School||112|
|Students at Vung Tau Signal School||113|
|Vietnamese Student Pilots, Ft. Stewart, Ga||114|
|Signal Training for Vietnamese||115|
|MAT Adviser Examines Homemade PF Mortar||121|
|South Vietnamese Armor in Cambodia||129|
|South Vietnamese Field Operation||130|
All illustrations are from Department of Defense files.
page created 8 August 2002
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