Britain and the Wars in Vietnam

The Supply of Troops, Arms and Intelligence, 1945–1975


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About the Book

Britain’s peacekeeping role in Southeast Asia after World War II was clear enough but the purpose of the Commonwealth in the region later became shadowy. British involvement in the wars fought in Vietnam between 1946 and 1975 has been the subject of a number of books—most of which focus on the sometimes clandestine activities of politicians—and unsubstantiated claims about British support for the United States’ war effort have gained acceptance.
Drawing on previously undiscovered information from Britain’s National Archives, this book discusses the conduct of the wars in Vietnam and the political ramifications of UK involvement, and describes Britain’s actual role in these conflicts: supplying troops, weapons and intelligence to the French and U.S. governments while the latter were in combat with Ho Chi Minh’s North Vietnamese.

About the Author(s)

Gerald Prenderghast is a military historian, living in Kent, United Kingdom. His publications include books about historic firearms, maritime history and Britain’s involvement in the Wars in Vietnam.

Bibliographic Details

Gerald Prenderghast
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 328
Bibliographic Info: 110 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9924-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2091-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments iv

Preface 1

Introduction 3

1. Britain’s War (1945–1946) 7

2. Britain’s War (1945–1946): Consolidation 21

3. France’s War (1945–1954) 35

4. America’s War (1954–1963) 46

5. BRIAM: The British Advisory Mission to Vietnam 53

6. America’s War (1963–1968) 59

7. America’s War (1968–1973) 78

8. The British Government’s Political Involvement with Vietnam, or: What the Politicians Were Saying, and What They Were Really Doing 95

9. Military Support, or: Did British Troops Fight in the Vietnam Wars? 111

10. The British Army 116

11. The Royal Navy 126

12. The Royal Air Force 135

13. Civilians, Conscripts, Mercenaries and R&R 148

14. Sales of Military Hardware, or: How Many Guns, Tanks or Bullets Did Britain Sell for Use in Vietnam? 161

15. Military Hardware: Sales, Contracts and Tenders 179

16. Intelligence Support, or: What Was Britain Telling the Americans That They Didn’t Know Already? 214

17. Medals and Myths 220

18. What Was British Involvement in Vietnam Between 1946 and 1973? 225


I. Chronology of the Vietnam Wars  229

II. Peolple and Organizations Associated with Vietnam: 1945–1975  254

III. Allied Contributions to the Vietnam War: 1963–1973  278

IV. British Forces in South Vietnam (September 1945–May 1946  280

V. Equipment Lists for Forces Operating in Vietnam: 1945–1975  282

Chapter Notes 309

Bibliography 317

Index 319