Re: antitank weapons
Posted by Jack Heslin - The Scribe on 20:54:12 09/09/15
When the NVA brought in the Russian T-55 and Chicom T-59 tanks they created the psychological shock often talked about in tank warfare. Neither the Americans nor the ARVN were prepared to stop these tanks. As the battle progressed, the M-72 LAWs appeared in the hands of the ARVN more and more. Gen Ba and others had the soldiers of the 23 ARVN DIV practice with these weapons before the main assault on Kontum City. The Airborne TOW weapon system was very effective in killing NVA tanks and anything else the missiles were fired at. The psychological shock of the tanks was overcome for ARVN soldiers and they became very innovative in using the M- 72 LAW. I landed my OH-58 helicopter just West of the city in late June after the heavy fighting had passed and saw four M-72 LAW tubes attached to a piece of 2 X 4 and rigged so they could all be fired at once. The missiles had already been fired. As in any combat situation, psychological shock can unbalance one side or the other. In the case of the Battle of Kontum, the presence of heavy tanks was a shock to the ARVN and US advisers. However, for the NVA, the unbelievable devastation of multiple B-52 ARC LIGHT strikes was devastating and turned the tide of battle in favor of the ARVN.