Armored Cavalry Platoon Organization


Mi Lance corporal
MI.Net Member
Jun 9, 2004
An Armored Cavalry Platoon had 6 ACAV'S. An ACAV was a M-113 with extra armor on the bottom , two M-60 machine guns mounted on either side of the cargo hatch with shields and a M-2 , 50 cal. machine gun with shield by the Track Commanders hatch. Also had a 4.2 inch Mortor Track and three Sheridan recon Tanks with a 152mm main gun. We carried lots of ammo in the tracks.I believe we had more firepower than any other platoon in the army. We used the tracks for mobility and would ride out in the morning for several miles and then conduct dismounted patrolls. If contact was made the tracks would move up and provide extra firepower . If it was a large force we found we would start " pileing on " other platoons would be sent to help us until we overwelmed them. As a platoon leader , using the radio , I could "call in the world " which ment I could contact and fire artillery , choppers , jets and ships. You did not want us to find you if you were light infantry.

You forgot to mention all the beer and C's you could carry in those Muthas :mrgreen: .
I remember flying up and down Highway 1 and seeing burned out apc's all over the place. One time we landed at a cav laager and I intended to ask the troops how they felt about riding around in an aluminum coffin. Before I could say a word, one of the cav troopers came up to me and asked me how I could ride around all day in a big green target! I told him the advantage we had was that we could retreat at 120 miles an hour.

Perspective is a funny thing.

I used to watch a lot of Vietnam films and I thought what I was seeing was true to life. Having read all your posts I now see that things were much deifferent. Thank you for telling it how it was. :roll:

Brave chaps sal;

When we were at Dong Ha there was plenty of beer , if you call Black Label beer , and smoke. My platoon had a juicer hooch and a heads hooch. Being the platoon leader I had to visit both , often. But when we went out the gate there was no beer and no smoke on any of the tracks. Tracks were loaded with ammo stacked three cans high on the floor , C's and almost every track had a playboy calander hanging somewhere to remind us what we were fighting for. :cool:
Amen, EllTee. And it's still that way.ACAV ain't changed. Just the vehicles.

Who were you with and when were you there? I was with 1/77 Armor and worked the DMZ. Our initial operations were were successful especially when we operated with a mech infantry company. The NVA were not use to armored units moving through thier areas. The Marines used thier tanks primarly for infantry support while we used ours in task force operations.

DMZ-LT doesn't check in here much anymore [I'll talk to him about that], although I see that he was here just yesterday, but you can catch-up with him on the Patriot Files where he is also known as DMZ-LT. You can also catch him on the THC VN board where he goes by DONGHA02.

Enjoying your posts over here, Bro.
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DongHa2 from THC I'nt know it was him...thanks

Was the platoon leader of 2nd Plt. CTroop 3rd Squadron 5th Cavalry. Based out of Dong HA 70/71. was on Lam Son 719
Thanks DMZ-LT.sal;

Wasnt Lam Son 719 an operation of the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam?.

I believe the US provided all the aircraft for this operation.

I remember reading something about this some time ago but my memory is failing me :eek:

Yes . US ground forces drove out QL9 to the border of Laos then ARVN went through our lines into Laos. Goal was to disrupt NVA supplies. US airpower went into Laos to support Arvn but no ground troops Arty fired into Laos. They ran into several NVA divisions and got their asses kicked. Arvn poured back into Viet Nam. And then we fought the NVA in a rear guard type action. Of the orginal platoon I led out of Dong Ha at the start of LamSon , about 26 guys. There were only three of us left when we got back to Dong Ha , the rest were replacements. It was a long operation for us. We left around Feb 1st and I got back on April 7 and almost daily contacts with the NVA. Don't mean nothing.
The 5th Inf Div and my old Battalion (1/77 Armor) were part of that operation. Were you OPCON to them?

3/5 came over with the 9th Inf. Div , we were the Divisional Cavalry Squadron of the 9th, in 68 they were sent north to Dong Ha. We call ourselfs The Bastard Cav. I was in the same platoon for about 8 months and can wear 3 combat patches. Wore the 9th till April 71 , then the red Diamond, for a month or two , and ended up with the 101st till we stood down. I came over with an LT who was sent to 1/77 , I don't remember his name but I heard he was KIA during Lam Son , killed by a stray 2.5 in rocket that hit the back deck of his track. He had blond hair.
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Just saw this Pops. I was a platoon leader of 2nd Platoon C Troop 3rd Squadron 5th Cavalry.
My only connection with Armored Cav was through F Troop 17th CAV. They were attatched to or part of the 196th LIB. I was photographed on the initial firing of a 106MM Recoilless Rifle mounted on an M113. We thought a 106 MM could be mounted on top of a M113 and be used for perimeter support. We could use Beehives to prevent being over run. While the USMC had the Ontos with 6 106MM, it had an open top. Some people thought the bast from the 106 MM might crack the armor or resonate inside. I had an idea for mounting the 106MM in a way that it could be reloaded from below. The rounds could be stored inside.
The 4/31st (my Unit) had a surplus 106 and F Troop had a surplus gas powered M113. It had been used as a "dope track" by the guys in F Troop.
They could get inside, button up and smoke dope right in the middle of a base camp. It wasn't used for combat because it was gas powered instead of deisel.
We had a machinist with the 1st Air Cav drill holes through the armor on the top right rear corner. I removed the tripod and mounted the traverse mechanism swivel directly onto the armor. I reversed the breech lever so it could be opened from underneath. My loader would step out onto the ramp and lift the rounds up into the breech. He was a small tough guy andf he could load fast. I did the test fire at Camp Evans with an Army photographer (SGT Hawkins) looking on. Every one else was ordered off the track in case it blew up. I fired successfully and got three days out of the field for my efforts. I appointed Joe Corona of Pennsylvania the first gunner. The track went on to serve F Troop with valor. Joe and his loader John Hassey were brave guys.
Photo of me test firing (not in combat) at Camp Evans was published in Soldier of Fortune p26 Jan 1982.
106 rr

I was on that trac.I am john Hassey and served with my comrad Joe Corona.After he rotated I became gunner and taught others before I left country.We were to hell and back.
DMZ-LT we have some pictures of Lam Son 719 on my company's web site. You might see some things that look familiar.

I can't give you the link, but go to 174ahc and find the pictures by Fred Thompson.


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