The Vietnam War was between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The United States of America were supporting
South Vietnam in this conflict and had requested manual support from South Korea, Thailand, Australia and New
I have always been aware of the fact that Russia and China helped North Vietnam in some ways. But it is only
since deciding to research this fact that I have found that others existed as well. Hence the creation of this page.
Of the North Vietnam and Viet Cong force, it is estimated that they lost in the region of 1.1 million service
personnel. In every group that fought in this war, where a figure can be found, no group suffered deaths any more
than a quarter of its total man power, most had far less than a sixth of their total. If that is so, then the number of
North Vietnamese and Viet Cong would have been more than 4.4 million personnel. At least a fifth of this force is
suggested to be made up of female forces, that then would mean that over 800,000 females fought with the North
Vietnamese and Viet Cong fighters.
This was not a group of fighters organised to fight a battle, it was a country who were fighting to unite a nation,
survive whatever happened and ensure they came out in control at the end.
The Chinese involvement in the Vietnam War was motivated mainly by the fear that the United States would have
direct access to the southern border of China through Vietnam had it defeated North Vietnam. They needed to
provide whatever Hanoi needed for the war in the south in order to succeed.
China provided about three quarters of the total military aid given to North Vietnam during the war. Vietnamese
figures show that China provided nearly 1.6 million tons of military aid during the conflict.
In 1964 China provided a MIG Regiment of 36 MIG’s to North Vietnam. This regiment included North Vietnamese
pilots and crewmen who were trained in China and deployed on a newly developed airfield about 12 kms north of
Hanoi at Phuc Yen.
Between 1965 and 1969 320,000 Chinese soldiers served in Vietnam the greatest number at any one time is said
to be about 170,000. Given that the greatest number of forces during the whole war was in 1968 my assumption is
that this would most likely be the time when China had 170,000 soldiers serving in Vietnam, this number is more
than ten divisions.
During 1970 to 1972 while the United States was withdrawing, China still provided more than 300 tanks and 200
field guns to North Vietnam with nearly half a million artillery shells. Remember, this was effectively the end of the
Vietnam War for the United States and their allies.
Why were the Russians involved and what did they stand to gain from backing this war, sending advisers,
weapons and money to help the North Vietnamese? Moscow was most concerned about its credibility as an
ally to communism.
Up to 1969 the Soviet Union had supplied $1.5 million of aid to North Vietnam. They supplied AK47’s, RPG2
Recoilless Rocket Launchers, PT 76 Amphibious Light Tanks, F60 57mm ANTI-Aircraft Guns, Supersonic MIG 21
Interceptor Aircrafts, Helicopters, Artillery Guns and Medical expertise. They trained NVA Officers in Several
different Russian Academies and over 2,000 Russian advisors were stationed in Vietnam assisting with radar and
Anti-Aircraft instillations between 1964 - 1973
In 1962, the United States, both Vietnams, and several other nations agreed to respect the neutrality and not
interfere in the affairs of Laos, which borders Vietnam to the west. North Vietnam immediately broke the accord,
however, moving troops and supplies through Laos rather than traversing the heavily guarded demilitarized zone
that separated it from South Vietnam.
The North Vietnamese also came to dominate a communist insurgency against the royalist government of Prince
Souvanna Phouma, recognising the local Laotian Communists as partners.
In response to these North Vietnamese transgressions, the Americans covertly rained down billions of pounds of
bombs on Laos. The nine-year campaign was so intense that, on average, a planeload of explosives fell every
eight minutes, making Laos, per capita, the most heavily bombed nation on earth. Unexploded munitions from the
Vietnam War-era continue to kill Laotians (and Vietnamese and Cambodians) to this day.
Unsurprisingly, the North Vietnamese moved troops and supplies through Cambodia. While officially neutral,
Cambodia turned a blind eye on communist intrusions. As a result of this Cambodia was bombed by the United
States for allowing this to happen.
Prince Norodom Sihanouk, despite having anti-communist politics, basically felt that he was surrounded by
dangerous enemies. He had to be nice with them and could not afford to offend the North Vietnamese despite
The United States responded with a secret bombing campaign that was drastically ramped up in 1969. In 1970 the
US then sent troops across the border, taking advantage of a coup that ousted Sihanouk in favour of a pro-
An official Vietnamese military history published in 2001 contained only the following general statement: “Under
the terms of an agreement between Korea and Vietnam, in 1967 a number of pilots from the Korean People’s
Liberation Army were sent to Vietnam to provide us training and the benefit of their experience and to participate
in combat operations alongside the pilots of the People’s Army of Vietnam. On a number of flights Korean pilots
scored victories by shooting down American aircraft.” Vietnamese military histories usually refer only to an
unidentified regimental-sized flying unit called “Group Z” [Doan Z]. Except in a few isolated instances, these
histories provide no information about the exact size, composition, or activities of the mysterious “Group Z,” except
that it was based at Kep Airfield northeast of Hanoi from early 1967 through 1968.
Castro visited North Vietnam in 1973 to show his support for the communist-led country in the midst of its war with
the United States. Cuba provided doctors and military engineers who took part in the widening of the Ho Chi Minh
John McCain, a Navy pilot when he was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967, says he was tortured by Cuban
and Vietnamese captors over more than five years in captivity. Cuba and North Vietnam were Cold War allies of
the Soviet Union at the time.
As previously mentioned, the United States of America assisted South Vietnam with other US allied forces. The US
and its four allies are included at the end.
South Vietnam offer an estimate of over 850,000 service persons served for South Vietnam. Of that total, more
than 200,000 or as many as 250,000 service persons died in service. That is a number of 50,000 as their margin of
An estimation of over 2.5 million and up to 3.8 million civilians died in total from both North and South Vietnam.
In 1965, after increasing the number of United States troops in its fight with South Vietnam, President Lyndon B.
Johnson asked General Franco to contribute a military contingent to the Vietnamese war effort.
The first group of medical soldiers, including four doctors, seven nurses and one officer in charge of military
supplies, arrived in Vietnam in 1966 and worked at Truong Cong Dinh hospital in the Go Gong district, about 45
kilometres from the capital, Saigon. From 1966 to 1971 three other groups, totalling nearly 100 Spaniards, worked
at the hospital.
To avoid being seen to be publicly supporting the United States, General Franco ordered the medics to keep their
activities secret. The soldiers, who completed their mission in 1971, were told to remain silent.
Captain Ramón Gutiérrez de Terán was among those who travelled to Vietnam. "We took a civilian flight, and were
not wearing military fatigues. Nobody came to see us off. We knew where Vietnam was, more or less, but not
where we were actually to be based." Like the others who volunteered, Gutiérrez de Terán says that he saw his
mission as a humanitarian one, and that he wanted to travel, to see the war close up.
Another member of one team, Velázquez says that the hospital they worked in was in poor shape. "It was an old
colonial building, falling apart, and the hygiene was terrible. There were 150 beds, and at times, up to 400 injured
and wounded. We had no medical supplies; we had to scrounge them from either the Americans or the guerrillas,"
The hospital did not attend solely to military personnel, or civilians caught up in the fighting; the team also
performed simple operations on children with cleft palates, or pregnant women with typhoid fever.
"The local people were very supportive of us, and recognized our help by dedicating a bridge to us," says
In early 1961 the president of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, invited General Wang Sheng and seven other
Taiwanese officers to Saigon. They were given the responsibility for training a series of anti-communist political
and psychological programs in Saigon to senior officers of the South Vietnamese Forces. These officers soon
became actively engaged in reforming South Vietnamese military education, training, intelligence, propaganda,
and psychological warfare.
Shortly after this Taipei quietly begun providing Saigon with self-made military supplies. These events slowly
became the beginning of what Chiang Kai-shek described as an interdependent anti-communist alliance between
Taiwan and South Vietnam.
In the spring of 1975, as Saigon was about to be captured by the North Vietnamese, Taiwan was the only country
in the world still having an unofficial military advisory group there to assist the South Vietnamese government in its
defence against the North.
The only figure I could find was 25 who were killed in action.
The Philippines sent a total of 2,068 and of these 9 were killed in action. The non-combat force included an
engineer construction battalion, medical and rural community development teams, a security battalion, and a
logistics and headquarters element.
By the time American forces finally withdrew in 1973, about 2.7 million U.S. soldier's had served in Vietnam, more
than 58,000 had died, and the nation had racked up a staggering bill of at least $111 billion (plus billions more in
South Korea was the main U.S. and South Vietnamese partner, providing approximately 320,000 troops and
suffering some 5,099 deaths.
In October 1967 the first Thai volunteer soldiers, a regiment-size unit called the Queen’s Cobras, were sent off to
Bien Hoa in South Vietnam to fight alongside the Americans as part of the so-called Free World Forces. Eventually
some 40,000 Thai soldiers and sailors would serve, 351 were killed in action and there were 1,351 wounded in
Vietnam. While the Vietnam War is remembered rightly as a tragedy in both the United States and Vietnam, the
same cannot be said for Thailand. There the war is described by participants, military histories and official
monuments in largely upbeat terms.
The country was aided by the United States in becoming not only a base for aircraft of many types but also a place
for servicemen to take leave from the war. Because of these factors the tourism industry was enhanced and the
growth was incredible.
For all of the downsides that Thailand found in being America’s ally in a losing effort, it can legitimately claim, as it
does in its monuments, command histories and veterans’ memories, that it came out of the Vietnam War a winner.
The arrival of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) in South Vietnam during July and August 1962
was the beginning of Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War. Australia's participation in the war was formally
declared at an end when the Governor-General issued a proclamation on 11 January 1973. The only combat
troops remaining in Vietnam were a platoon guarding the Australian embassy in Saigon, which was withdrawn in
From the time of the arrival of the first members of the Team in 1962 almost 61,000 Australians, including ground
troops and air force and navy personnel, served in Vietnam; 521 died as a result of the war and over 3,000 were
wounded. The war was the cause of the greatest social and political dissent in Australia.
I will add here that of the 61,000 Australian troops, 191 were originally from New Zealand.
New Zealand contributed a little more than 3,000 personnel in total, with a loss of 37 killed whilst serving in
Vietnam, these 3,000 included office staff, medical staff, air crews, 161 Artillery personnel, SAS and Infantry
personnel as well as others.
It is estimated that at least 4 million people were involved in the fighting of this war and I have even seen
suggested that there was approximately 5.5 million involved. Given that the population of North Vietnam was
estimated at between 16 to 20 million people in 1968, I would suggest that North Vietnam had far in excess of
3.5 million of their population (approx. 10%) involved with the fighting of the war in some way.
I must add here that because Canada was not involved in this conflict as many as 30,000 Canadians joined the
US military and approximately 110 of these died in action.
Of course, there were soldiers of the British Military who got out of the British service and joined the United
States military to enable themselves to be involved in this war. As mentioned, there were New Zealanders who
fought with the United States and with the Australian force also. Therefore, in light of this one must accept that
there were most likely persons from other countries who joined any one of the groups listed and were also
involved in the VIETNAM WAR.