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Republic of Vietnam Navy

RVN Navy

The Vietnamese Navy grew from 18,000 men in the fall of 1968 to 32,000 men at the end of 1970. By 1973 the Navy had 42,000 men and 1500 ships, boats and other craft.

The RVN Navy River Force began with naval assault divisions ("dinassaut"), on the French model, which were restyled River Assault Groups (RAG). The 21st to 26th were each organized with one command boat, one monitor, five armored LCMs, six armored LCVPs, and six patrol boats (19 vessels). The 27th had one command boat, one monitor, six armored LCMs, and 10 river patrol craft. Each had about 150 personnel.

  • The command boat, was a modified LCM [Landing Craft, Medium], armed with two 20mm cannon, two .30 and two .50 caliber machine-guns, and one 81mm mortar.

  • A monitor was also a modified LCM, with one 40mm and two 20mm cannons, a .50 caliber machine-gun, and an 81mm mortar. The 40mm cannon was in a semi-enclosed turret in the front.

  • The basic armored LCM (LCM6) had three 20mm cannons and two .50 caliber machine-guns, along with a crew of seven. It could carry 120 troops or 32 tons of cargo.

  • The armored LCVP [Landing Craft, Vehicle and Personnel] had one 20mm cannon and three .30 caliber machine-guns. It could carry 36 troops or 3.5 tons of cargo.

  • The STCAN/FOM patrol boat (a French design) had a crew of eight, one .50 caliber and three .30 caliber machine-guns.

  • The river patrol craft (RPC) used in the 27th RAG had two twin .50 caliber and one .30 caliber machine-gun, and could move at 14 knots as opposed to the 10 knots of the STCAN/FOM patrol boat.

The River Force also included a River Transport Escort Group (RTEG) and a River Transport Group (RTG). The RTEG had four monitors, six STCAN/FOM patrol boats, and 20 armored LCVPs. The RTG had seven LCUs [Landing Craft, Utility; a LCU had two 20mm cannon].

Additional craft were provided, so that by early 1968, six new RAGs (28th Ė 33rd) were formed, although with 11 rather than 19 craft. The 27th RAG, however, was increased to 22 craft. The dispositions at that point were:

Unit Location

River Patrol Group 51 was formed in Jun 1968, containing the first eight PBRs [Patrol Boat, River] turned over by the U.S. Navy; it was assigned duty on the Long Tau and Dong Nai rivers.

From 1968 to 1970, the RAGs were grouped into riverine assault interdiction divisions (RAIDs) and river patrol groups (RPGs). These forces continued to receive additional equipment, especially that used by departing U.S. Navy elements.

The South Vietnamese Navy also had a Sea Force (renamed 1 Jan 1966 as the Fleet Command). There were four naval zones, with a varying mix of patrol craft (PC), patrol motor gunboats, and coastal minesweepers (totals of seven, 48, and 12, respectively?), along with 12 motor launch minesweepers. The Sea Force also had five LSSLs [Landing Ship Support, Large] and six LSILs [Landing Ship Infantry, Large], of which two and five, respectively, were kept in Mekong waterways. Supply was handled by three LSTs [Landing Ship, Tank] and seven LSMs.

With the redesignation to Fleet Command, the force was reorganized along functional lines:

From 1965 to 1968 Fleet Command added three more LSSLs, eight PGMs, and 6 LCM(M)s.

There was also a Coastal Force, with a variety of motorized and un-motorized junks. This declined in use and strength over time.

Vietnamese Navy Operational Commands, Jul 1970

The departing U.S. Navy turned over many of its craft to the RVN Navy. River and patrol craft in the RVN Navy included:

Other vessels included: