The People's Liberation Armed Forces of South Vietnam (PLAF), or Viet Cong's army was the official army of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam. The PLAF forces were independent of the People's Army of Vietnam. The PLAF was unofficially established after 1954 and was recognized as main battle forces in South Vietnam by North Vietnam in 1961. The PLAF forces were outside of the control of the People's Army of Vietnam, but politically tied to the PAVN, because more than half of the PLAF forces were members of the Communist Party.
According to 1954 Geneva agreements, the Viet Cong were not compulsorily removed to the North because it was a political entity, not a military force. North Vietnamese support for the Viet Cong to establish the NLF forces was allowed on the basis that it remained a militia in the South. The PLAF was recognized as the official force on February 15, 1961 by North Vietnam. The PLAF originally carried out operations ostensibly to protect South Vietnamese citizens from offensives by the Republic of Vietnam and the United States. Most early soldiers in the PLAF were South Vietnamese. However, casualties of war forced North Vietnam to provide volunteers for the PLAF. As a result, many people mistakenly believed that the PLAF was a part of the People's Army of Vietnam. North Vietnam and other communist nations recognised the PLAF as the main militarily force in South Vietnam and considered the People's Army of Vietnam as supporter. After the reunification of Vietnam, the PLAF was merged into the People's Army of Vietnam.
In January 1961, the militia in South Vietnam became the official force there. On February 15, 1961, North Vietnam recognized it as the main battle force in South Vietnam. At the end of 1961, there were 24,500 soldiers and 100,000 militants in the PLAF. The PLAF had 11 battalions, with commanding generals Trần Văn Trà, Hoàng Văn Thái, Lê Trọng Tấn, Lê Đức Anh, Nguyễn Thị Định, and others.
The PLAF initially confined its operations to rural areas due to Ngô Đình Diệm's tough crackdown on Communist sympathizers. However, the number of soldiers still went up to 64,000 in 1963. As the result, regiments were established. Since 1964, North Vietnam started providing soldiers for the PLAF by voluntary mans. The number of the PLAF soldiers reached over 200,000 in December 1974, including 90,000 from the North.
It should be noted that the South Vietnamese and United States forces outnumbered the PAVN by at least 7 to 1 until 1965; even after 1965 the coalition forces still outnumbered the PAVN by 3 to 1.
The PLAF also included urban fighting forces, especially in Saigon. These forces had mission of carrying out cover attacks against South Vietnam and American forces and its allies in urban areas, especially in Saigon. The urban special force in Saigon is famous in the 1968 Tet offensive.
The PLAF merged into the People's Army of Vietnam after the reunification of Vietnam by the 1976 general election.
The Viet Cong established the NLF in order to help create a Communist state in South Vietnam. PAVN forces that went to the South were sent with the express mission to aid the NLF. The NLF army had different uniforms, flags and badges to those of the PAVN.ZPU-4 quad 14.5 mm anti-aircraft machine gun
ZU-23 twin 23 mm anti-aircraft cannon
M1939 37 mm anti-aircraft gun
S-60 57 mm anti-aircraft gun
85 mm air defense gun M1939 (52-K)
100 mm air defense gun KS-19
82 mm, 107 mm, 120 mm, and 160mm mortars
122 mm Katyusha rockets
Type 63 multiple rocket launcher
BM-25 (MRL) limited numbers
122 mm gun M1931/37 (A-19)
122 mm howitzer M1938 (M-30)
D-74 122 mm Field Gun
130 mm towed field gun M1954 (M-46)
152 mm howitzer M1943 (D-1)
152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20)
Tokarev TT-33 – Soviet-designed single-action 7.62×25mm semi-automatic pistol. More commonly used were the Chinese variants of the T33, known as the Type-51 and Type-54. Carried by NVA and Viet-Cong officers, it accepted an 8-round single stack box magazine.
Makarov PM – Soviet-designed double/single-action 9×18mm Makarov (9.5×18mm) semi-automatic pistol. Reproduced in China as the Type-59, this small and reliable pistol became the standard sidearm of communist forces in Europe and Asia. Utilizing a simple blow-back action, this self-loading pistol fed from an 8-round single stack box magazine.
P-64 CZAK handgun
Nagant M1895 revolver
Type 14 8 mm Nambu Pistol Pistol (Captured from the Japanese) Used By North Vietnamese officers
Stechkin automatic pistol is a Russian selective fire machine pistol.
Walther P38 German pistol captured during World War II by the Soviet Army; supplied to the Viet Cong in very limited amounts
AK-47 and AKM assault rifles (from the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries)
Type 56 assault rifle (from the People's Republic of China)
Vz. 58 assault rifle (from the Czechoslovakia)
Type 63 assault rifle
Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifle (captured by the Soviets during World War II and provided to the VPA and the PLAF as military aid)
SVD-63 semi-automatic marksman rifle, also known as the "Dragunov" sniper rifle
MAS-49 rifle Captured French rifle from first Indochina War, used by NVA throughout the 1950s and up to the mid 1960s
SVT-40 Soviet rifle used in limited numbers, used in early stages of the war.
SKS semi-automatic carbine, also known as Simonov
MAS-36 rifle Captured French rifle from first Indochina War, used by NVA in earlier stages of the Vietnam War
Mosin–Nagant bolt-action rifles and carbines (from the Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact countries, and the People's Republic of China)
Mauser Kar98k bolt-action rifle (many of the Mausers used by the VPA and the PLAF were from rifles captured from the French during the First Indochina War and rifles provided to them by the Soviets as military aid)
Type 99 Rifle captured from the Japanese during World War II
K-50M submachine gun (Vietnamese edition, based on Chinese version of Russian PPSh-41, under licence)
Škorpion vz. 61 sumbmachine gun from Czechoslovakia
PPSh-41 submachine gun (both Soviet and Chinese versions)
MP-40 German sub machine captured during World War II by the Soviet Army, supplied to the Viet Cong in limited amounts
MAT-49 submachine gun – So many were captured from the French by the North Vietnamese that many were converted to 7.62×25mm.
PM-63 Polish submachine gun
MP-38 submachine gun (captured by the Soviets during World War II and provided to the VPA and the NLF as military aid)
PPS-43 Russian submachine gun
Type 99 LMG
RPD light machine gun
Degtyarev DP light machine gun
SG-43/SGM medium machine guns (including Communist Chinese copies of these guns)
RPK light machine gun
PK machine gun
MG-34 light machine gun (captured by the Soviets during World War II and provided to the VPA and the NLF as military aid)
MG-42 medium machine gun (captured by the Soviets during World War II and provided to the VPA and the NLF as military aid)
Uk vz. 59 general-purpose machine gun
DShK heavy machine gun
PM M1910 heavy machine gun
Type 67 ChiCom Stick Grenade
9K32 Strela-2 anti-aircraft weapon
RPG-2 anti-tank weapon (both Soviet and locally produced B-40 and B-50 variants used)
RPG-7 anti-tank weapon
Type 69 RPG anti-tank weapon
LPO-50 Flamethrower (limited use)
PT-76 amphibious tank
Type 62 light tank
Type 63 amphibious tank
Type 63 APC
Type 63 anti-aircraft self-propelled systems
ZSU-57-2 anti-aircraft self-propelled systems
ZSU-23-4 anti-aircraft self-propelled systems
T-34-85 medium tank, used in limited numbers
T-54/55 main battle tanks
Type 59 main battle tanks
IS-2/3/10 Heavy tank supplied by the USSR and was used in limited numbers by the NVA. Used up to the early 1960s.
SU-100 self-propelled guns in limited numbers.
The Viet Cong established the NLF army in order to create the status of independence with North Vietnam and People's Army of Vietnam. PAVN forces that were sent south had the express mission of supporting NLF operations in the south. The NLF forces had different uniforms, flags and badges to those of the PAVN. The People's Liberation Armed Forces of South Vietnam was recognized as the main battle force of the communist coalition in the Vietnam war by North Vietnam and other communist nations.
In Vietnam war, members of the NLF army had different uniforms. Their uniforms were up to circumstances. There are not many traits to distinguish between People's Liberation Armed Forces of South Vietnam (PLAF) and People's Army of Vietnam forces. More than a half of People's Liberation Armed Forces of South Vietnam (PLAF) and People's Army of Vietnam soldiers were members of the Labor Party of Vietnam, the old name of the Communist Party of Vietnam. However, People's Liberation Armed Forces of South Vietnam (PLAF) and People's Army of Vietnam forces held different flags. The PAVN soldiers carried flags of the Northern government. The People's Liberation Armed Forces of South Vietnam (PLAF) troops held flags of Viet Cong. The PAVN was under the leadership of the North while National Liberation Front of South Vietnam army was under the leadership of the Viet Cong. After the collapse of South Vietnam, the People's Liberation Armed Forces of South Vietnam (PLAF) merged into the People's Army of Vietnam The event marked the end of the Vietnam War and the start of a transition period to the formal reunification of Vietnam under the Socialist Republic by the elections controlled by the government in 1976.
Flag of the People's Liberation Armed Forces of South Vietnam (PLAF)
Flag of the People's Army of Vietnam
For propaganda purposes of dividing forces of enemies, the ARVN and the US army always said that the NLF army was comprehensively independent to the People's Army of Vietnam.
In South Vietnam, members of the Communist Party of Vietnam held membership of the People's Revolutionary Party. [[Tập tin:FLMM - The North Vietnamese Regular.jpg|nhỏ|trái|250px|Quân trang của một người lính thuộc Quân đội Nhân dân Việt Nam tại bảo tàng ở Hoa Kỳ (thật ra kiểu mũ đan lưới trong hình chỉ dùng trong chiến tranh chống Pháp và đã được thay thế từ năm 1958 bởi mũ cối và mũ tai bèo)]]
According to American documents, the main battle forces in South Vietnam were the NLF army, not the People's Army of Vietnam.
Battle of Ap Bac; Battle of Binh Gia; Battle of Dong Xoai; Battle of Van Tuong or Operation Starlite; Battle of Nui Thanh; Battle of Ba Gia; Defeating Operation Junction City; Victories in the 1968 Tet Offensive; Victories in the 1972 Easter Offensive; Victories in the 1975 Battle of Ban Me Thuot; Victories in the 1975 Battle of Phuoc Long; Victories in the 1975 Battle of Xuan Loc; Victories in the 1975 Hue–Da Nang Campaign; Victories in the 1975 Hồ Chí Minh Campaign.
If a PLAF unit has the same name with a NVA unit, the PLAF name will be added the letter of B after the number.Division 1 (Main battle force in Central Highlands (Vietnam) area)
Division 2 (Main battle force in South Central Coast area)
Division 3 Sao Vàng (Golden Star) (Main battle force in South Central Coast area)
Division 303 (Main battle force in the South)
Division 4 (Main battle force in the South)
Division 5 (Main battle force in Mekong Delta area)
Division 325 (Main battle force in Central Highlands (Vietnam) area)
Division 6 (Main battle force in Southeast (Vietnam) area)
Division 7 (Main battle force in the South)
Division 8 (Main battle force in Mekong Delta area)
Division 9 (Main battle force in the South)
Division 10 (Main battle force in Central Highlands (Vietnam) area)
Division 324B (Viet Cong)
Division 304B (Viet Cong)
Division 308B (Viet Cong)
Special forces Division 100 (Viet Cong)
Template:Viet Cong's army-People's Liberation Armed Forces of South Vietnam (PLAF)