Originally Posted by MontanaKid
My friend here was on a blue-water ship in the SVN navy. They sailed for the Philippines when Saigon fell. RVN didn't have anything like the 7th Fleet, but it had seaworthy ships.
Information is not hard to find. Wikipedia has an entry for the RVNN: If you go there and scroll to the bottom, you will se the sources cited. Her's what Wiki has:
The Republic of Vietnam Navy
; Vietnamese: Hải quân Việt Nam Cộng hòa
) was the naval branch of the South Vietnamese military
, the official armed forces of the former Republic of Vietnam
(or South Vietnam) from 1955 to 1975. The early fleet consisted of boats from France. After 1955 and the transfer of the armed forces to Vietnamese control, the fleet was supplied from the United States. With assistance from the U.S., the VNN became the largest Southeast Asian navy, with 42,000 men and women and 672 amphibious ships and craft, 20 mine warfare vessels, 450 patrol craft, 56 service craft, and 242 junks.
The origins of the Viet Nam Navy (VNN) began in 1952 with the French Navy
. In 1954, in accordance with the Elysée Accords
, the French handed control of the armed forces to the Vietnamese, but at the request of the Vietnamese government, continued to be in charge of the Navy until 20 August 1955. By this time the Navy numbered about 2,000 personnel, with 22 vessels. The Vietnamese then received assistance in the development of the VNN from the United States Military Assistance Advisory Group
the North Vietnamese
began infiltrating men and arms into the Republic of Vietnam
's territory by sea. In response the VNN created the Coastal Junk Force (Vietnamese
: Luc Luong Hai Thuyen
) of junks
manned by Regional Irregular Forces
and local fishermen recruited for the occasion, to patrol the waters around the Demilitarized Zone
. The force later came to be known as Coastal Groups (Vietnamese
: Duyen doan
), and patrolled the entire 1,200-mile (1,900 km) coastline. This force was under the control of the regional military zone commands rather than the Navy,
and was not incorporated into the VNN until 1965, by which time it numbered over 100 vessels.
Expansion of the VNN
Growth of the VNN Year Personnel Vessels 1955 2,000 22 1961 5,000 220 1964 8,100 ? 1967 16,300 639 1973 42,000 1,400
In the late 1950s the Vietnam Navy was being modernized and developed, receiving ships and training from the United States Navy.
By 1961 the VNN had a force of 23 ships, the largest of which were LSMs
, 197 boats, and 5,000 men. This was insufficient to counter the growing threat of enemy infiltration and the years 1962-1964 were marked by a rapid expansion; training facilities, repair bases, and support facilities were established; communications equipment and networks improved; and organization and administrative procedures strengthened. The number of ships increased to 44 and number of personnel to 8,100.
This process continued and by the end of 1967 the personnel strength of the VNN had increased to 16,300, with 65 ships, along with 232 vessels of the River Assault Group (RAG), 290 junks, and 52 miscellaneous craft. Throughout 1968 the VNN gave priority to the improvement and expansion of their training programs in anticipation of gaining increased responsibility in the war effort as well as additional assets from the US. By the end of 1968 plans for the turnover of the majority of the United States Navy assets in Vietnam had been formulated.
In early 1969, President Richard M. Nixon
formally adopted the policy of "Vietnamization
". The naval part, called ACTOV ("Accelerated Turnover to the Vietnamese"), involved the phased transfer to Vietnam of the U.S. river and coastal fleet, as well as operational command over various operations. In mid-1969, the VNN took sole responsibility for river assault operations when the U.S. Mobile Riverine Force
stood down and transferred 64 riverine assault craft to the VNN. By the end of 1970, the U.S. Navy ceased all operations throughout South Vietnam, having transferred a total of 293 river patrol boats and 224 riverine assault craft to the VNN.
During 1970 and 1971 the United States also relinquished control of the coastal and high seas patrols to the VNN. The U.S. naval command also transferred four Coast Guard cutters, a destroyer escort radar picket ship, an LST, and various harbor control, mine craft, and support vessels. By August 1972, the VNN took responsibility for the entire coastal patrol effort when it took over the last 16 U.S. coastal radar installations.
In addition to ships and vessels, the U.S. transferred support bases. The first change of command occurred in November 1969 at Mỹ Tho
, and the last in April 1972 at Nhà Bè
, Bình Thủy
, Cam Ranh Bay
, and Đà Nẵng
. By 1973, the Vietnam Navy numbered 42,000 men and over 1,400 ships and vessels.
In 1973 and 1974, as a result of the Paris Peace Accords
, the United States drastically cut its financial support for the Vietnamese armed forces. The VNN was compelled to reduce its overall operations by half, and its river combat and patrol activities by 70%. To conserve supplies, over 600 river and harbor craft and 22 ships were laid up.
On 19 January 1974, four VNN ships fought a battle
with four ships of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy
over ownership of the Paracel Islands
, 200 nautical miles (370 km) due east of Đà Nẵng. The VNN ship Nhựt Tảo (HQ-10)
was sunk, Lý Thường Kiệt (HQ-16)
was heavily damaged, and both Trần Khánh Dư (HQ-4)
and Trần Bình Trọng (HQ-5)
suffered light damage. The Chinese captured and occupied the islands.
In the spring of 1975, North Vietnamese forces occupied all of northern and central South Vietnam, and finally Saigon fell
on 30 April 1975. However Captain Kiem Do
had secretly planned and then carried out the evacuation of a flotilla of thirty-five Vietnam Navy and other vessels, with 30,000 sailors, their families, and other civilians on board, and joined the U.S. Seventh Fleet
when it sailed for Subic Bay
Most of the Vietnamese ships were later taken into the Philippine Navy