Useful Notes / Vietnamese with Kalashnikovs

American Colonel Harry G. Summers Jr.: You know, you never defeated us on the battlefield.
NVA Colonel Tu: That is true. But it is also irrelevant.

The army that had the distinct honour of having fought against the Katanas of the Rising Sun, Gauls With Grenades, Yanks with Tanks, South Vietnamese with Skyraiders, The Other Chinese Army, South Koreans with Marines, the Khmer Rouge and Chinese with Chopper Support and won within the last century. Now among Asia's largest armies with a standing force of nearly half a million and in the process of continuous modernization.

The modern People's Army of Vietnam is the direct descendant of The Vietnam War NVA [actually, it was officially called the People's Army of Vietnam from 1950, the word NVA was the US name for the North Vietnamese Army], which was formed in 1944 with (in name only) American help to be La Résistance against the crumbling Japanese grip. Earned its stripes during the First Indochina War against the French colonial forces, culminating in the Crowning Moment of Awesome of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, which marked the beginning of the end of the French colonial empire. With USSR and (the enemy of my enemy ) Chinese help, it waged the Second Indochina War against the South Vietnamese-US coalition (sidenotes: South Vietnamese's leader, Ngo Ding Diem, was chosen as the leader of the "Republic of Vietnam" by American rather than voted into office by Vietnamese. The coalition also included sizeable South Korean, Australian, New Zealand and Thai detachments.). A few years after PAVN overran South Vietnam in 1975, a Cambodian (under Pol Pot-yet another dictator) invasion toward Viet Nam prompted the Third Indochina War in which PAVN allied with KUFNS, blitzed through Cambodia and pushed the Khmer Rouge to the borders with Thailand, and then successfully defended against a huge Chinese invasion (as revenge, since the Khmer Rouge regime was propped up by Cultural Revolution-era China) in Northern Vietnam, all within 1979. The PAVN then found itself in its own (ironically) Vietnam War quagmire in Cambodia during the next 10 years.(well, they do win but still.)

Has five branches : Ground Forces, Border Defense Forces, People's Navy, Coast Guard and People's Air Defense/Air Force. Has three levels of organization : main forces (standing army), local forces (similar to US National Guard) and people's defense forces (civilian militia).

The Vietcong [National Liberation Front], although a South Vietnamese communist guerrilla army, was considered by Hanoi to be a branch of PAVN. However, many Vietnam War activists consider the Vietcong as a purely South Vietnamese organization that was merely allied with Hanoi. After re-unification, it was disbanded by the government and some of its guerrillas were inducted to the PAVN.

Most of PAVN's equipment was supplied by Reds with Rockets and Chinese with Chopper Support during the Vietnam War. Was bolstered with captured American equipment after the war (now mostly decommissioned or only for training due to lack of spare parts and ammunition). Now PAVN is in the process of acquiring modernized equipment from all over the world, most notably from Poland (upgraded T-72 tanks), Israel (RAM-2000 armored cars), Russia (Su-27 fighters, frigates, corvettes and Kilo submarines), France (helicopters) and somewhat ironically the United States (P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft).

Has a 2-year conscription regimen for males between 18-25, which can be deferred/exempted for college students. However, all high school and college students (both male and female) are still required to attend compulsory military training courses.

Appearances in popular media:

  • Any Vietnam War media. Usually depicted as villains except those made in, well, Vietnam.
  • Dragon Strike (1997), a novel about a fictional war where China tries to dominate the entire Asia-Pacific region.
  • They Vietnam People's Army appears in the end of No Escape. This can be considered the first time the Vietnamese were portrayed as the "Good guys" in American film for in the end, they gun down the rebels pursuing the protagonist and his family and subsequently rescue them.

Alternative Title(s): Charlies With Cannons