Monday, 18 May 2015

Book review : Vietnam Ironclads by John M. Carrico

Vietnam Ironclads: A Pictorial History Of U.S. Navy River Assault Craft, 1966-1970 is a real labour of love by John M. Carrico covering all of the boats used by the Mobile Riverine Force (TF 117) in 136 pages. Look no further if you have any interest in the ATCs, ATC(H)s, ATC(R)s, MONs, MON(F)s, CCBs, MSR, and ASPBs or want to know what were the differences between Program 4 and Program 5 boats (or even if you simply wand to know what these acronyms stood for).

While most books will give you general information about the converted LCM-6s used on South Vietnam's rivers, this book has great coverage about each type of boat, whether troop carriers, monitors, support boats or their variants. Each of these is covered in minute details, describing the conversion process, armament, armour and operational use and markings.

The only thing missing is a set of scale plans but that is more than made up for by the large number of clearly captioned photographs (127 colour and 96 black and white photos photos, most of them hitherto unpublished), including a whole lot in full colour and by top- and side-view drawings detailing the typical colours and markings worn by the amphibious craft. Note that scale plans for the ATCs and ASPBs are available in Norman Friedman's U.S. Small Combatants, Including PT Boats, Subchasers, and the Brown-Water Navy: An Illustrated Design History (US Naval Institute, 1987) if you are lucky enough to own a copy of this long out-of-print book.

The differences between Program 4 boats produced in 1967 and the Program 5 boats produced in 1968 is very clearly set out, along with the Program 5 features which were retrofitted to the ealier boats. The book also indicates which type of boat was assigned to each of the River Assault Squadrons. It should be noted that PBRs and RPCs are not covered in this book as they were used by the River Patrol Force (TF 116) but are also covered by Friedman's book.

Vietnam Ironclads is published by Brown Water Enterprises and is available as either softcover ($39.95 from the publisher) or hardcover ($49.95 from The rest of the Brown Water Enterprises website is also worth investigating with a wealth of details included in the Models section, along with some interesting veterans stories and accounts.

Other books by the same author include Guns Afloat, U.S. Army Riverine Artillery in Vietnam, Waterborne Warriors , U.S. Army Riverine Craft in Vietnam, The Swift Boat Photo Book, The U.S. Navy Patrol Craft Fast in Detail.

Below are a few sample pages from the author's website:

1 comment:

  1. Excellent excellent book. The author is also very helpful with queries etc.