Co's Boat, El Cid; my boat, (Call Sign: Head Frog)
When we think of the Vietnam War we Often think of soldiers jumping in and out of helicopters as this was the major strategy for combat.
In late 1964, another form of transportation and combat made its debut in the Mekong Delta, the Hurricane Aircat (Airboats).Capable of operating in just four inches of water, it was powered by a rear mounted aeroplane propeller and could reach almost 35mph...perfect for the Marshland and rice fields.
This speed of 35mph made the craft perfect for the flank security of Riverine assault boats or for fast reconnaissance.
CIDG and Mike Force units also used them in the rainy season to pursue and intercept the Viet Cong throughout the flooded areas of the Mekong Delta. The Aircat was armed with a Browning 30cal. machine gun mounted on the bow and could carry a maximum of 6 soldiers. Some were mounted with a 50cal. mounted on the bow but that would push the boats back and they would have to keep pulling forward as they lit up the tree lines firing on the Viet Cong.
Bruce McIlhaney ©Stars and Stripes
South Vietnam, April 17, 1968: A 9th Infantry Division airboat glides through the water near Nha Be, an area said to be used by the Viet Cong in organizing attacks on Saigon. The airboats, which could travel at speeds up to 40 knots, were used in shallow waters similar to those where the boats are most commonly found, in Florida's Everglades.