Did any British Forces Serve In Vietnam?

foxs_marine

War Hero

Mike Barton

War Hero
I think it mattered to the Laotians and Cambodians. It also mattered to the Thais, hence Thai involvement in Laos.
I don't doubt for a moment that it mattered to the Laotians or Cambodians but US military policy is not, or at least should not be, determined by the fate of little-known, inconsequential nations thousands of miles away.

Laos and Cambodia fell to Communism, and horrific though it was for them, especially the Cambodians, from a geo-strategic point of view their fall was irrelevant because Communism had already been contained (Thailand didn't fall after the fall of Saigon, did it?). The Reds got three utterly unimportant little countries in Indo-China, the West got Indonesia. The West won, and they won the Cold War in SE Asia in 1965 in Indonesia without having to put a boot on the ground.

They won, sadly for the 50,000 young Americans who died in a pointless war in Vietnam they didn't realise it.
 
Apologies if already discussed but this made interesting reading for me as my late father (ex 42cdo) was involved as OPFOR against USMC and Army Rangers some time around 67 - 68.

MALAYAN JUNGLE SCHOOLS FIGHTERS; U.S. and Vietnamese Get Anti‐Guerrilla Training

He said the Rangers were excellent pupils and very similar in ethos to the RM of the time, whereas the USMC chaps had a very, very steep learning curve.
I remember reading a book where the US SF bloke said he had been trained at the Royal Jungle Warfare School in Singapore. I don’t think it had the “Royal” prefix and he probably meant Malaya but that’s just detail.

Some background here: Jungle Warfare School
 
I don't doubt for a moment that it mattered to the Laotians or Cambodians but US military policy is not, or at least should not be, determined by the fate of little-known, inconsequential nations thousands of miles away.

Laos and Cambodia fell to Communism, and horrific though it was for them, especially the Cambodians, from a geo-strategic point of view their fall was irrelevant because Communism had already been contained (Thailand didn't fall after the fall of Saigon, did it?). The Reds got three utterly unimportant little countries in Indo-China, the West got Indonesia. The West won, and they won the Cold War in SE Asia in 1965 in Indonesia without having to put a boot on the ground.

They won, sadly for the 50,000 young Americans who died in a pointless war in Vietnam they didn't realise it.
I suppose if you take a global, strategic view, devoid of any morals, then you are quite correct. I think that Laos was quite happy to become a 'People's Democratic Republic' when the war ended because at least the US bombing stopped. The US bombing of Laos, in an undeclared war (in fact denied to Congress) has been calculated as the equivalent of one bomb every eight minutes for ten years. It achieved the square root of fcuk all, apart from thinning out the Laos population.

Finally, some of the US casualties were perhaps older than 'young' although I accept that 'young' makes it sound better.
 
I recall a story from my time in HK.US marine to Airtrooper. How come you guys never helped in Vietnam. The answer, the Vietcong were doing OK without our help.
 
An interesting talk on McNamara's Morons, or Project 100,000, a scheme to allow in men of low intelligence (Cat IV) to fill the ranks of the military which were not being filled by willing volunteers during the Vietnam War . My brother and I both saw the fruits of this initiative during our service; we both saw Cat IV men struggling to get through the induction physical and aptitude tests at AFEES/ MEPS in 1970. One sergeant even parked a clueless individual behind my brother and told Forest Gump to make the same marks on his test that my brother made on his so that he could complete the aptitude test and get shipped out to boot camp at FT Leonard Wood. It was criminal and immoral what the government did to these people in order to fill the ranks to fight the war in Vietnam. Johnson and MacNamara should be roasting in hell for this, in my view.

 

Mike Barton

War Hero
I suppose if you take a global, strategic view, devoid of any morals, then you are quite correct. I think that Laos was quite happy to become a 'People's Democratic Republic' when the war ended because at least the US bombing stopped. The US bombing of Laos, in an undeclared war (in fact denied to Congress) has been calculated as the equivalent of one bomb every eight minutes for ten years. It achieved the square root of fcuk all, apart from thinning out the Laos population.

Finally, some of the US casualties were perhaps older than 'young' although I accept that 'young' makes it sound better.
Yes you are right of course, I was making a strategic point rather than a moral one. Although as you also correctly point out, was it more moral to bomb Laos into the Stone Age than allow the Reds to have it? A decision well above my pay-grade thankfully.
 
I suppose if you take a global, strategic view, devoid of any morals, then you are quite correct. I think that Laos was quite happy to become a 'People's Democratic Republic' when the war ended because at least the US bombing stopped. The US bombing of Laos, in an undeclared war (in fact denied to Congress) has been calculated as the equivalent of one bomb every eight minutes for ten years. It achieved the square root of fcuk all, apart from thinning out the Laos population.

Finally, some of the US casualties were perhaps older than 'young' although I accept that 'young' makes it sound better.
Something like 2 million tons of bombs - 1/2 ton per person.
 
Slight reversal of topic here.
Many years ago I was chatting, as you would to a fellow serviceman on a station platform, to a US Airman in uniform (not so unusual in East Anglia at the time)
He'd obviously served a good few years and going by his chevrons, was probably a Master Sgt or thereabouts.
He had at least three rows of medal ribbons, possibly more.
Among them was the well-nigh unmistakable ribbon of the 1918 GSM.
So I said to him, "Isn't that one of ours"
"Yes", he said, "working with the British in Malaya"
Now I'm pretty sure he wasn't a walt and he didn't appear to be anything other than say, a ground crew chief.
He likely would have been too junior to be on an exchange posting.
I wish I had been more curious at the time.
So I'm guessing that either he was servicing US made aircraft newly acquired in UK or AUS service or in air transport-
The questions that spring to mind are;
Would foreign servicemen qualify for award of GSM? (it's outside the remit on the promulgation of the award).
And if awarded would a US Serviceman be granted permission by US authorities to wear it?
 
Would foreign servicemen qualify for award of GSM? (it's outside the remit on the promulgation of the award).
And if awarded would a US Serviceman be granted permission by US authorities to wear it?
Not sure about the first question, but I suspect the answer to the second one is very much so.

Many US servicemen in Vietnam were awarded medals by the South Vietnamese government
 
I think the more interesting footnote to foreign involvement in Viet Nam - aside from America and official allies - are the Soviets.
There is a movement in Russia at the moment to have them recognised. Thread drift i know, but interesting nonetheless (also considering we have established there were no BF in Viet Nam)
 
I think the more interesting footnote to foreign involvement in Viet Nam - aside from America and official allies - are the Soviets.
There is a movement in Russia at the moment to have them recognised. Thread drift i know, but interesting nonetheless (also considering we have established there were no BF in Viet Nam)
I don't think it is a thread drift, but a natural progression. There was all sorts of international involvement (other than ANZAC & USA)....

On the Viet Cong/NVA side there were North Korean fighter pilots, Cuban military advisors, various Soviet technical advisors and military aid aplenty from other Eastern Bloc nations.

On the South Vietnamese side there were Thai, South Korean & Taiwanese ground troops as well as other help from the Philippines and even some South American countries.

Very interesting stuff.
 
I don't think it is a thread drift, but a natural progression. There was all sorts of international involvement (other than ANZAC & USA)....

On the Viet Cong/NVA side there were North Korean fighter pilots, Cuban military advisors, various Soviet technical advisors and military aid aplenty from other Eastern Bloc nations.

On the South Vietnamese side there were Thai, South Korean & Taiwanese ground troops as well as other help from the Philippines and even some South American countries.

Very interesting stuff.
Also, I didn't realise that the North Vietnamese had the leading aces of the war. I always had the impression the US dominated the air and there was little in the way of dogfights.
List of Vietnam War flying aces - Wikipedia
 
Also, I didn't realise that the North Vietnamese had the leading aces of the war. I always had the impression the US dominated the air and there was little in the way of dogfights.
List of Vietnam War flying aces - Wikipedia
Could it be for the same reason that the Luftwaffe had the highest scoring aces of WWII - more targets? Also I presume that the Americans rotated their air crew, whereas the North Vietnamese didn't, so they either got to be either very good or very dead.
 
Slight reversal of topic here.
Many years ago I was chatting, as you would to a fellow serviceman on a station platform, to a US Airman in uniform (not so unusual in East Anglia at the time)
He'd obviously served a good few years and going by his chevrons, was probably a Master Sgt or thereabouts.
He had at least three rows of medal ribbons, possibly more.
Among them was the well-nigh unmistakable ribbon of the 1918 GSM.
So I said to him, "Isn't that one of ours"
"Yes", he said, "working with the British in Malaya"
Now I'm pretty sure he wasn't a walt and he didn't appear to be anything other than say, a ground crew chief.
He likely would have been too junior to be on an exchange posting.
I wish I had been more curious at the time.
So I'm guessing that either he was servicing US made aircraft newly acquired in UK or AUS service or in air transport-
The questions that spring to mind are;
Would foreign servicemen qualify for award of GSM? (it's outside the remit on the promulgation of the award).
And if awarded would a US Serviceman be granted permission by US authorities to wear it?
What was his AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code) and did he serve in the USAF all of the time? Don't expect you to know BTW but it's perfectly possible for him to have been a Pararescue Jumper and on exchange. Or equally, he could have been in another service altogether and then transferred to the air force. The US service used to do a bit more hopping between branches.

Having said that, can't imagine a spam getting a GSM for Malaya. Awaits someone posting a link.....
 
I think that Laos was quite happy to become a 'People's Democratic Republic' when the war ended because at least the US bombing stopped. The US bombing of Laos, in an undeclared war (in fact denied to Congress) has been calculated as the equivalent of one bomb every eight minutes for ten years. It achieved the square root of fcuk all, apart from thinning out the Laos population.
And why you ask was Laos being Bombed?


because the North Vietnamese were violating the neutrality treaties to move supplies south using Laos as a staging and transit area like Cambodia

Of course the genocide of the Hmong continued

But those evil yanks eh?
 
And if awarded would a US Serviceman be granted permission by US authorities to wear it?
In US service a foreign award may be worn AFTER the order of precedence of any US Awards.

I had a Neighbor growing up who was allowed the ribbon of the EK2 earned while a Flak gunner and finally LW Feld division. He was a US citizen by birth, sent to Germany in early 38 by his father. He later served from 1946-56 in both the USAAF and USAF (Korea tours as well with 27th fighter bomber group as a crew chief on the F-84). As You might imagine it caused him some explaining during his service.
 

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top