Brown Water Navy 1969 -70

Seafloat on the Song Cau Lon


go to:  Monitor   Tango  Zippo  PCF  Repair Ship  Misc


Monitor - Mike 2

m2 bow 1a thmb.jpg (3694 bytes) This is Mike 2, a Monitor. Its armarment consists of a 105 mm Howitzer in a tank turret on the bow. On top are two 20 mm gun turrets, one above the wheel house and one lower and aft. The crew consisted of eight US Navy personnel and one Vietnamese trainee.
m2 bow 2a thmb.jpg (4354 bytes) Mike 2 is tied along side Sea Float, but its normal berth is an anchor about an eighth mile to the North. The Howitzer made too much noise to be fired at night while tied to Sea Float. In order to prevent the tide from dragging the Monitor and anchor, one engine had to be kept running against it.
bore of death 1a thmb.jpg (4315 bytes) This is the Bore of Death. It could effectively strike a target as far as seven miles. The bars around the turret, known as "bar armor," is designed to detonate incoming rockets before they strike the turret. This causes the charges to expend their energy in the air, not in the armor plate. The entire boat is likewise protected.
twin 50s 1a thmb.jpg (3305 bytes) The 1st Class Gunners Mate, also second in command onboard, is loading the twin fifty caliber machine guns prior to starting a morning patrol. These sit in front of and just to the left of the hatch on the Howitzer turret.
105 turret hatch 1a thmb.jpg (4542 bytes) The turret can be entered either through this outer hatch or from inside the boat. Around the hatch are bullet resistant glass periscope view ports.
me 2a thmb.jpg (3625 bytes) The 105 mm rounds used on board were of a variety of types. These are HE or high explosives which could be impact or air burst detonated. WP or white phosphorous were specifically used as anti-personnel. Concussion rounds made of gun powder were for destroying bunkers. And flechette rounds with a thousand small steel darts were designed for close range combat. They to were designed for air burst detonation.
me 1a thmb.jpg (3717 bytes) Me in the top 20 mm gun mount. These became ovens in the hot sun. If the ventilator fan worked it only pulled in more hot air from below the gun mount. The glass ports around the top are bullet resistant glass, but long turned opaque by the sun. The M-60 was the back-up weapon for the 20 mm. If the M-60 failed, there was an M-16 inside the turret.
peterson1a thmb.jpg (4655 bytes) Bill Patterson in the aft 20 mm gun mount. The 20 mm turrets were also protected by bar armor. Empty ammo cans, filled with water are set inside the bar armor to give additional protection by absorbing the heat of detonated rockets. The object in the top of the image is the bottom of the radar dome. Voice powered head sets were used for onboard communications between stations.

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Tango Boats

tango - pcfs 1a thmb.jpg (5830 bytes) Many classes of boats tied up at Sea Float. There were wooden Vietnamese Navy Junks, Tangos, PCF's, Zippos, Monitors, Seal Boats, and supply ships. The lighter boats like PCF's and Junks could tie up as many as eight or ten abreast. The heavier boats, which took more draft could only tie up in singles or pairs.
tango coming 1a thmb.jpg (5823 bytes) Tango #? coming up on M-2's stearn while cruising the Cua Lon river.   For those not familiar with this boat. It was made from an LCM. The wheel house was moved forward, shortening the well deck or cargo area. Behind the wheel house are three 20 mm gun tubs.
tango coming 2a thmb.jpg (4994 bytes) Over the well deck is a flat deck designed to land a helicopter on. Its use is primarily for emergencies, like medical evacuations.
tango coming 3a thmb.jpg (7017 bytes) The front of the Tango Boat is a bow ramp. When up it is water tight but does not have a good drag coefficient. Tangos could move along at about 6 knots, depending on its condition and load. Beside the wheel house on this one is a super bright spotlight for night work.
tango ramp down 1a thmb.jpg (8104 bytes) Here is the Tango with its bow ramp down. This allows troops to exit and enter easily. As in this case UDT's are laying waste to a VC village discovered way up a small canal. The ramp is raised by a clutch and winch driven off the front of one of the engines. The engines are two 6-71 Detroit diesels.

two tangos beached 1a thmb.jpg (2870 bytes)

Two Tango boats, in a Montgnard support ops, beaching their bows for the night. Earlier that day we had been fired on with rockets hidden in the canal bank.

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Zippo Boat

zippo2 2a thmb.jpg (2807 bytes)

Zippo Boat was another name for a flame thrower boat. It had two low profile bow turrets equipped with flame throwers. They could easily shoot napalm 50 yards perhaps more. Behind the turrets under the main deck are large tanks containing the napalm, a mixture of gasoline and a gelatin like powder. Napalm floats on water. The crews quarters are in the same space. This boat is built on the same design as the Monitors. It has two 20 mm cannon turrets on top of the superstructure.

zippo2 2a thmb.jpg (2807 bytes)

Based on the LCM like the Tangos and Monitors, it has the same engine rooms and fittings. Here the Zippo is getting ready to tie up to the bank for the night. We were on an insertion and support patrol, working with Montgnard mercenaries.


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PCF - Patrol Craft Fast

pcf full bore 1a thmb.jpg (3021 bytes) A PCF is a fast aluminum gunboat. Its shallow draft and powerful twin V-12 GM diesel engines made it ideal for river and canal work. During my time in country there were two types, the MkI and MkII. Basically they were the same in that they utilizes the same power plants coupled to an all hydraulic system. The MarkII's had more refined superstructures and better electronics. Otherwise, they typically had three ordinance positions, one forward in the bow, one midship atop the cabin, and one aft.

pcf38-mcclanhan1a thmb.jpg (3762 bytes)

Here is a MkII in the foreground with a MkI beside it. You can see the distinct wheel house difference. Although the MkII had much more head room, it was also a bigger target. The MkII had smaller portholes in the living space behind the wheel house. The MkI had larger rectangular windows. PCF-38 apparently didn't have a forward mounted automatic weapon, usually a MK19 40mm auto grenade launcher. The top gun mount appears to be twin 50 cal. machine guns on a wide mount.

pcf35-04 a thmb.jpg (2984 bytes)

The PCF in the foreground is a MkI, as revealed by the rectangular windows on the cabin. Tango 35 in the lead, is passing around a fishing net stake just off its starboard side. Often this situation made boats vulnerable to mines placed where they passed in avoiding the nets. Destroying nets was a serious offense, because it soured relations with the locals because it impacted on their meager livelihood. This canal was considered secure, so any nets in the open like this one were left alone. M-2 only had one firefight on this canal during my tour.

pcf 9 1a thmb.jpg (3593 bytes)

PCF-9, although a MkI craft, has the side windows removed. Perhaps it took a rocket to the cabin and was rebuilt. PCF's often accompanied the heavies and vice versa. If a heavy got taken out, a PCF could quickly come in, take on the crew and get out. If a PCF got into trouble, the heavies (especially the Monitor) were able to back them up with fire support.

pcf closeup 1a thmb.jpg (3550 bytes)

Here is a good view of the Mk-19 grenade launcher setup in the forward position. Viet Congs would often try to take out this weapon due to its immense firepower. At up to 400 rounds of 40mm grenades per minute, it could wreak death and destruction on a wide area in a short time. Although the grenades used would detonate on impact, with the ground or brush, they could methodically work their way deep into a jungle setting. During my tour at Sea Float, numerous PCF's returned with a missing, dead or injured  front gunner.

pcf - ammo barge 1a thmb.jpg (3302 bytes)

A PCF tied up to the ammo barge, replacing previously spent munitions. Generally the supply onboard consisted of 40mm belted grenades, 50 cal.  and 7.62 belted rounds, 81mm mortar rounds, M-16 ammo and 40mm single rounds for M-79 grenade launchers. In the background is the construction work for "Solid Anchor," the future land base for Sea Float. In the foreground is a corner of the barge used as a helicopter pad.

pcf viet joint patrol a thmb.jpg (3066 bytes)

Numerous American crewed PCF's working with Vietnamese crewed PG-231 coastal patrol gunboat. Although initially introduced into Southeast Asia as early as 1967, they were quickly turned over to all Vietnamese crews by 1969.

 

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Copyright 2006 Tazbat Publishing

Most recent update 03.20.2006