Cover: Tactical and Materiel Innovations

Lieutenant General John H. Hay, Jr.

WASHINGTON, D. C., 1989   

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 72-600390
First Printed 1974-CMH Pub 90-21
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D.C. 20402


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 e1llerging 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 antiguerilla operations, and conducting conventional campaigns against well-trained and determined regular units.   It is as always necessary for the U .S. Army to continue to prepare for other challenges that lie ahead. While cognizant that history never repeats itself exactly and that no army every 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 bur den of day today 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 pastas if they were taking place in the present.

All monographs in the series are based primarily on official records, with additional material from published and unpublished secondary works, from debriefing reports and interviews with key participants, and from the personal experience of the author. To facilitate security clearance, annotation and detailed bibliography have been omitted from the published version; a fully documented account with bibliography is filed with the Office of the Chief of Military History.

The qualifications of Lieutenant General John H. Hay, Jr. , to write Tactical and Materiel Innovations are considerable. After graduating from the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University, General Hay served as the Army Member, Military Studies and Liaison Division, Weapons Systems Evaluation Group, Office of the Secretary of Defense, from December 1962 to June 1964. General Hay was then assigned as the Commanding General, Berlin Brigade , in West Berlin, Germany, from July 1964 until August 1966, at which time he became the Commanding General, 11th Infantry Brigade, U.S. Army, Pacific, September 1966-January 1967. In February 1967 he became the Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam and held this position until March 1968, when he was reassigned as Deputy Commanding General, II Field Force, Vietnam, responsible for the defense of Saigon. He left Vietnam in August 1968. On 5 September 1968 he assumed the dual position of Commandant of the U .S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Combat Development Command Institute of Combined Arm$ and Support. This latter position together with his combat experience in Vietnam and earlier assignment with the Weapons System Evaluation Group make General Hay uniquely qualified to be the author of this study. General Hay is currently the Commanding General of the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  

Washington D.C.,
1 May 1973   
 Major General, USA
The Adjutant General


I was the commandant of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College when General William C. Westmoreland asked me to prepare this monograph. The official archives there, as well as the availability of the college staff, permitted a greater depth of research and analysis than would otherwise have been possible.

We limited our study to innovations which influence the command of an infantry division. My guidance to my assistants was to write for a professional audience, but to make the monograph readable and interesting for the general public. Battle stories are used to illustrate both tactical and materiel innovations.   

The study covers only a few of the thousands of innovations which have occurred in Vietnam. However, I think that it serves to define the constant challenge to our soldiers at every level of the Army: to stay ahead of the many changes which are evolving in our profession at this time in our history .

Washington, D.C.  1 May 1973    JOHN H. HAY, JR.
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army

Chapter Page
 II. IA DRANG  10 
 VI. CORONADO X     66
 VII. DAK TO  78
 IX. TAM KY  107
 X. PHONG CAO  117
 XI. SUOI CAT  127
 XIII. CU CHI  148


1. Three Phases of Vietnam Strategy 172
2. Vietnamese and Allied Forces in South Vietnam 175
3. Population Status in South Vietnam 181


1. Battles Illustrated 4
2. Types of Terrain in South Vietnam 7


1. Rifle Company Cloverleafs, Advancing Toward Contact 44
2. Fire Support Surveillance Base FLOYD Layout, 29 August 1970 102
3. Schematic Deployment of Two Rifle Companies and Reconnaissance Platoon in Checkerboard Search Pattern 118
4. Location of Firefight 121


Huey Cobra Firing Rockets at Enemy Target 14
CH-47 Chinook 15
Firefly Illumination System 21
YO-3A Quiet Aircraft 23
CH-54."Flying Crane" 28
Members of an Engineer Tunnel Rat Team 35
Riot Hand Grenade 37
Dust - off Helicopter Hoists Wounded Man 40
Scout Dog Leads Patrol 46
CIDG Compound and Loc Ninh Airstrip 47
Sergeant and Rifleman Engage Enemy With M16 Rifles 50
Claymore Mine 52
General William C. Westmoreland and Major General John H. Hay, Jr. 55
UH-1HelicopterMakesDelivery 61 
500-Gallon Collapsible Drums Filled With Fuel 62
Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge 65
USS Benewah 67
Eagle Float of Mobile Riverine Force 71
Barge-mounted 105-mm.Howitier 73
Mock-up of XM-2 Airborne Personnel Detector 81
AN/ASC-15 Communication Central 83
Bulldozers With Rome Plows Clear Jungle Growth 88
Result of Defoliation Operations 93
Fire Support Base CROOK  98
Aerial Delivered Seismic Intrusion Detector 105
Starlight Scope 106
Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicles With RPG Screens 109
Armored Personnel Carriers Clear the Way 110
"General Sheridan" 113
Combat Engineer Vehicle 114
Soldiers Training on Troop Ladders 125
M48 Tanks Halted in Herringbone Formation 129
Engineer Mine Clearing Team 133
ENSURE 202 Roller on M48 Tank 135
1st Infantry Division Band Performing at Tan Phuoc Khanh 138
Woman Wins Yorkshire Pig 139
Villagers Receive Treatment During MEDCAP 140
Loudspeaker Team Broadcasts Propaganda Message 144
Personalized Propaganda Leaflet 145
Scenes   Around Cu Chi Base Camp 152
Special Services Activities at Cu Chi Base Camp 153
Interior of  Univac 1005 Computer Van 158
Recovery of Downed Helicopter by CH-47 160
ARVN Soldiers and U.S. Adviser 165
Prisoners of War Are Taken to Collection Point 166
Infantry Troops Searching Enemy Base Area 174
All illustrations are from Department of Defense files

page created 15 December 2001

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