A Pictorial History of U.S. Navy River Assault Craft, 1966-1970

Vietnam Ironclads presents a fascinating look at the specially designed armored gunboats used during the Vietnam War. This volume combines years of meticulous research with many never-before-seen photographs taken by navy combat veterans, and from official government archives. Each type of riverine combatant is explained in its own chapter. The book begins with a historical overview providing insight into the unique challenges of America’s twentieth century riverine assault force. Discover the interior details of an Armored Troop Carrier, Monitor, and Assault Support Patrol Boat. Also explore the only surviving river assault craft of the Vietnam War, a program 5 Command and Communications Boat. This book will appeal to any naval history enthusiast, scale modeler, or veteran.


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Veteran Reviews!

"I received my copy of the Vietnam Ironclads today. Wow!...What a great job you did. It captured my attention from page one to "About the Author"...I don't know what other publications are available on the Ironclads, but yours is comprehensive and in my opinion would make the ideal primer for anyone studying this aspect of the Vietnam War."

EN3 Sandy Rhodes, Monitor-2, 1969-70

"I am not only a veteran of the Vietnam Ironclads, but I consider myself a Lay Historian when it comes to our unique Mobile Riverine Force history. This is by far the BEST book that I have ever seen on the design and makeup of our unique combat craft."

"The author has created a very good balance. I truly enjoy the photos of the boats being built as our crews were on the receiving end of the final product. We fought them with vigor and they held up to the task."

RM2 Michael Harris, ATC 152-1, 1968-69

"Received my book, its an outstanding piece of work. I appreciate all your time and effort...You did good, damn good!"

CS1 Albert Moore, APB-35, 1966-68, President, Mobile Riverine Force Association

Amazon Reviews!

David C. Nilsen
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the MRF book you're looking for!
June 10, 2014
If you've been frustrated by the lack of information on the craft of the Mobile Riverine Force (MRF)/TF 117 craft, this is the book you've been looking for. Almost all Vietnam Riverine/Brown Water books mash together the separate but related topics of coastal interdiction, the River Patrol Force/TF 116, and the MRF proper, and then spend 90% of the time talking about PCFs and PBRs, and only barely get around to the MRF in a half-hearted way which leaves you aware that there were ATCs, ATC(H)s, MONs, CCBs, and ASPBs, maybe or maybe not each in two different "generations" or "Marks," but nothing to work with.

This book is the end to your woes. Focusing only on TF 117/MRF and its LCM-based "ironclads" and purpose-built ASPBs, it finally lifts the confusion and half-hearted blanket coverage that has been too common. Carrico covers in extensive detail the LCM-based ATCs, ATC(H)s, MONs, CCBs and their variants, and the ASPBs. Carrico clarifies that all of these craft were built in "Program 4 (FY 1967)" and "Program 5 (FY 1968)," and these are the "two generations" vaguely hand-waved by other Riverine books. The differences are significant: Program 4 ATC(H)s were modified in-theater, while almost all Program 5 ATC(H)s were built with improved helo decks, Program 4 MONs carried a MK 52 40mm turret on the bow, while the Program 5 MONs carried a 105mm turreted howitzer like that used on the USMC LVTH-6. Program 5 vessels also generally replaced the coffee-can shaped MK 50 and 51 turrets with the more effective MK 48 turrets used on the ASPBs. Of all these MRF vessels, only the ASPB did not display significant exterior changes between Programs 4 and 5. In all photos, Carrico's captions clearly identify whether a craft is Program 4 and Program 5, which aids the reader in sorting out all of the configuration differences that are ignored or passed over in most Riverine books.

The book also covers variants of the above: ATC(F) expedient and modified flamethrowers, the two ATC(W) water cannon boats, ATC(R) refuelers, ATC(H) "Pinkeye" modified with a xenon searchlight, the four Program 4 MON(F) and six Program 5 MON(F) "Zippo" boats (the Program 4 boats retained their 40mm turret, the Program 5 boats mounted the two flame guns in place of the limited-supply howitzer turrets), the ASPB-derived MSR minesweeper and MSD minesweeping drones, and the ten LCM-derived MSM minesweepers and four CSB salvage boats.

Beyond the impressive detail and clarity above, this book includes color on almost every page, photographs that have not been published before, cutaway, top, side, and internal line drawings of the original LCM(6) craft and the resulting ATCs, tables showing production of all Program 4 and 5 craft by type as well as combat damage and losses, representative MRF organization tables from different periods, tables and clear captions identifying all turrets and weapons and the vessels that carried them (MK 50, 51, 52, 63, MK 48 Mod 0, Mod 1, Mod 2), color plates showing marking standards for Program 4 ASPBs, ATCs, MONs, and CCBs. The book ends with nine pages of color photos of the sole surviving Vietnam ironclad, CCB-18 in Coronado. This book is as complete as it could possibly get. The only boat that it does NOT include (it mentions it briefly on page 28) is the "ASPB MK II" with the howitzer turret atop the deckhouse, but these were only prototypes and never made it to Vietnam. In case you're wondering, yes, Carrico's footnoted research does draw on Friedman's U.S. Small Combatants, so its hard, detailed information is absolutely congruent with that great authority. But if you don't want to drop $150.00 on that out-of-print tome, or are only interested in the Vietnam MRF, this book is all you need. Even if you've already got Friedman's book, Carrico's is filled with hundreds of detailed photos, colored shots, and graphics you won't find in Friedman, so you'll want this one as well.

This is the way these books ought to be written, even if we did have to wait until 2007 for it. This is the book you've been waiting for, you know you want it.

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