Vietnam Ironclads by John M. Carrico

Book Review: Vietnam Ironclads

06 October 2007

The use of helicopters as troop transports and gunships in the Vietnam War is well known, however a similar role was also played by riverine craft in the Mekong Delta. Between 1967 and 1969, the amored gunboats and transports of the Navy’s River Assault Flotilla 1 supported the 2d Brigade of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division in battle against the Viet Cong.

In Vietnam Ironclads, John Carrico examines the history of these fascinating craft, the lineage of which can be traced all the way back to the Mobile Riverine Force of the American Civil War. In fact, the tactics developed during the campaign in the Mississippi Delta were studied by commanders in Vietnam and form the basis of modern riverine warfare.

Originally intended as a reference guide for scale modellers, the book contains technical drawings and is packed with photographs, many of which have been provided by veterans. Each combat craft in the MRF’s brown-water fleet is examined in detail, allowing the reader to see the interior of the Armored Troop Carrier, Monitor, and Assault Support Patrol Boat.

In addition to the period photographs, the book also features a chapter on the only surviving Vietnam era Ironclad. CCB-18, a Command and Communications Boat, was stationed at Mare Island Naval Base in California and was used as a training vessel. It is currently on display alongside a PBR and a Swift Boat at the Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument in the Naval Amphibious Base at Coronado in San Diego Bay.

Thoroughly researched and well structured, Vietnam Ironclads is sure to be popular with veterans, modellers and military historians. It can be purchased from and is available in hardback, paperback and as a downloadable PDF.

Jack is already working on a follow-up book, which will feature the personal accounts and stories of the sailors who lived and fought on the riverine boats as they cruised the waterways of the Mekong Delta. Check out Brown Water Enterprises for further information.
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