Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ARVN M48 Tanks???

I labored all evening at the lingering question of the South Vietnamese having M48 tanks during the Vietnam war.  This will be very important as I build my 20mm South Vietnamese Forces following the completion of my MACV Forces and my 25th Infantry Division "Tropic Lightning" team.

When I got to work I started an extensive Google search to come up with this gem (I read enough Armor articles when I was a kid and have actually read stories by the general officer who wrote this article).

The answer is YES the ARVNs did make use of the venerable M48 MBT.  In some cases, quite well.

I am going to start work on my ARVN and their advisors as soon as my US Platoon is finished.  I am using IMEX ROK Troops as the ARVN and will use IMEX North Koreans as some of my NVA Troops, ready to fight it out in the "Iron Triangle."  Enjoy and HUZZAH!

From Brigadier General Tran Quang Khoi, ARVN:
From 1972 to 1973, I went to the U.S. to complete my advanced military education. Shortly after my departure, General Minh dispersed the resources of the III Armor Brigade and completely disbanded the III Corps ATF. When the battle of An Loc-Binh Long broke out violently during the summer of 1972, the Armor units of III Corps were completely paralyzed (Map 2 on the right shows Major III Corps/ATF Areas of Operations).

When I returned to Vietnam in 1973, LTG Pham Quoc Thuan had replaced General Minh. He insisted that I rejoin III Armor Brigade. I resumed command of the brigade on 7 November 1973 and suggested to the new corps commander that III Corps ATF be reestablished according to General Tri's model. He gave me complete authority for this task. I reassembled dispersed armor units and, with the new M48 medium tanks of 22d Armor and M548 tracked cargo carriers to transport fuel and ammunition, I changed the composition of Armor units and improved the mobility of 105mm towed artillery units.

The 15th and 18th Armored Cavalry Squadrons had had their M41A3 light tank troops reassigned during my absence. They had five M113-equipped Armored Cavalry Assault Troops (ACATs) when I returned. I shifted men and equipment to squeeze a sixth ACAT out of available resources. The recently fielded M48 tank battalion (22d Armor) was identical to the U.S. tank battalion of that time: three 17-tank companies plus three command tanks for a total of 54. I reduced their platoons from five tanks to three (easier for a platoon leader to control) which, with two command tanks, made eleven per company. I was then able to activate a fourth tank company which, with three battalion-level command tanks, gave a total of 47, with seven of the original tanks left over as a supply reserve.



  1. Hi Steven, the ARVN did not get the M48's until quite late in the piece so perhaps you would be better using Pegasus USMC 1968 figures as they give a more accurate look to SVN troops at this time.

    They are a little smaller than true 1/72 scale poses, but given Asians general smaller stature this works in your favor.

    Just a suggestion. I like your plans.

    Regards Paul

  2. Thanks, Paul. I tinkered with the idea of using modern Vietnam figures for my ARVN troopers. I just love the pictures though of them using the WWII Weaponry (a la John Wayne's "The Green Berets") with their American advisors in tiger stripe.
    That being said though, by the time they fielded the M48 I imagine those ARVN boys probably all were using M16s, M60s, and M79s. It's something to consider although I will have to run purchases by the "congress" now. (the US government isn't the only organization cutting defense spending!) Maybe I'll make that tank a US tank instead. The markings are almost identical.... Thanks for posting a comment!