MILITARY

AIR FORCE TRAINING FILM "FUEL CONTAMINATION" 1960s (25 min)

Air force training film about the dangers of using bad or contaminated fuel for airplanes. Three topics:

1. How to load and handle nuclear weapons.

2. Fuel contamination, a jet age killer.

3. Aircraft ejection seats.

 

VIETNAM FILMS

 

VIETNAM NEWS August 19-23, 1966 (approx 45 min)

The Vietnam era left many thousands of sounds and images in its wake, but few are sadder or more ominous than the contents of this outstanding tape, which consists of dozens of edited news reports from CBS, NBC, and ABC of events in Vietnam, edited together for Armed Forces viewers by the Defense Department. One can understand, watching these concentrated reports of military strikes and counter-strikes, rescues and tragedies, how the United States ended up on the slippery slope that it ultimately slid down – the constant hum of battle activity that runs behind the events described, and the false assumptions behind the numbers being reported give this video a profoundly moving undercurrent, as Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley et al, all dutifully report on the news from the ground, sea, and air in Vietnam. One listens to the numbers of casualties cited, especially the enemy dead, and wonders how close this was to the beginning of the lies and deceptions about how well we were doing there in the fighting – one watches General Westmoreland, the commander of all U.S. ground troops in Vietnam, assuring us that North Vietnam doesn’t have the wherewithal for an extended fight, and thinks of the nine more years that the war went on. Anyone who served in Vietnam may be moved by what they see and hear, and anyone who saw the war from American shores will find the anger and outrage rising anew. The faded black-and-white images of the newsmen, the action on land and in the air, and harsh texture of the pictures present a striking underside to most memories of the 1960’s. Ideally, one might watch this while listening to lots of ‘60s-era radio hits in the background, for an effect similar to Apocalypse Now.

VIETNAM TRAINING REPORTS (approx 55 min)

The usual accounting of film coverage of the Vietnam War claims that television and newsreels helped destroy any popular support for the war, and to some extent this is true--the Tet Offensive, for example, was a major defeat for the Vietcong, rather than the victory that some press accounts made it out to be (although the very fact that it could be carried out, with infiltrators even making it onto the grounds of the American embassy in Saigon, also destroyed American credibility about the progress of the war). At the same time, the United States military tried to produce some film that was on their side, mostly in the form of instructional and indoctrination, that were intended only for the eyes of U.S. military personnel. This included the Vietnam Training Reports, 20 minute films, usually shot on actual combat missions, that explained the order of battle in the various locales in Vietnam, from the highlands to the Mekong Delta; the procedures developed for carrying out various assignments, such as securing a landing zone (LZ) and extracting troops from an LZ; search-and-destroy and reconnaissance in force missions; the roles of various hardware, from helicopters to air force fighter-bombers, in supporting troops on the ground; safety tips for men in the field (don't bunch up, don't lose track of your weapon, make sure automatic weapons squads are the first off the helicopter at any LZ....) Some of the material is unexpectedly candid, as the shots of burned out helicopters, crashed while taking off in dust; a hit by enemy fire aboard a chopper, that knocks out one camera and wounds two men; and the stacked up bodies of dead Vietcong.

VIETNAM TRAINING REPORTS: VOLUME ONE (approx 55 min)

VTR #24--HELICOPTERS AS AERIAL WEAPONS PLATFORMS: A quick look at the attack helicopter and the various missions to which it is assigned in Vietnam, including escort duty, reconnaissance and security, and as a platform for directing fire support by other attack helicopters. Among the tasks seen being carried out are choppers returning ground fire, and an explanation of the procedures used (on escort missions, door gunners were ordered to return just enough fire to disengage, unless an unusually good target were located). The process for a proper attack run is explained (it was critical for pilots to concern themselves with the climb away afterward, because it would slow the chopper down just at the point when it would be at the closest range to the enemy).

 

VTR #28--AIRMOBILE OPERATIONS: A look at the uses of the helicopter in a combat role. First it is explained that artillery and tactical air support have their limits, mostly because of the time it takes to prepare assaults by either. The attack helicopter, despite a few drawbacks (it could be grounded by bad weather, and had a limited capacity for cargo, was the answer--durable and mobile, with the capability of carrying heavy machine guns and rockets, they could be called on for an airborne strike and hit a target within a couple of hours or less, and use their weapons within 50 meters of our own troops. We also see the procedure used to plan missions, which essentially worked in reverse--from end to beginning.

 

GENERAL PRECISION DECCA SYSTEMS: An industrial film produced for troops in Vietnam during the mid-1960's, about the Decca precision antenna and its role in easing navigation problems in Vietnam. The problems of navigating by landmark over a country with so much foliage and so few distinctive landmarks are explained, along with the way that the navigation systems work, and their degree of precision.

 

VTR #24--HELICOPTERS AS AERIAL WEAPONS PLATFORMS

A quick look at the attack helicopter and the various missions to which it is assigned in Vietnam, including escort duty, reconnaissance and security, and as a platform for directing fire support by other attack helicopters. Among the tasks seen being carried out are choppers returning ground fire, and an explanation of the procedures used (on escort missions, door gunners were ordered to return just enough fire to disengage, unless an unusually good target were located). The process for a proper attack run is explained (it was critical for pilots to concern themselves with the climb away afterward, because it would slow the chopper down just at the point when it would be at the closest range to the enemy).

 

VTR #28--AIR MOBILE OPERATIONS

A look at the uses of the helicopter in a combat role. First it is explained that artillery and tactical air support have their limits, mostly because of the time it takes to prepare assaults by either. The attack helicopter, despite a few drawbacks (it could be grounded by bad weather, and had a limited capacity for cargo, was the answer--durable and mobile, with the capability of carrying heavy machine guns and rockets, they could be called on for an airborne strike and hit a target within a couple of hours or less, and use their weapons within 50 meters of our own troops. We also see the procedure used to plan missions, which essentially worked in reverse--from end to beginning.

 

GENERAL PRECISION DECCA SYSTEMS

An industrial film produced for troops in Vietnam during the mid-1960's, about the Decca precision antenna and its role in easing navigation problems in Vietnam. The problems of navigating by landmark over a country with so much foliage and so few distinctive landmarks are explained, along with the way that the navigation systems work, and their degree of precision.

 

VIETNAM TRAINING REPORTS--VOLUME TWO (approx 55 min)

VTR #8 (1966): COUNTER-GUERILLA STRIKE OPERATIONS – The up-close and wide-angle, long-shot look at financing westerns, and way that forces, equipment, and men are utilized to maximum effect. We get a look at the tunnel rats at work, being lowered into Vietcong tunnels to check for survivors, prisoners, and booby traps; checking abandoned Cong huts for booby traps; patrols are seen bringing in wounded Vietcong prisoners, as well as American troops firing on and killing Vietcong, and interrogating survivors. The film is also advice given to infantrymen, about how to stay alive on patrol, how to handle blasting caps and explosives, testing fuses before they are used.

               

VTR #4 (1966): OPERATIONAL ORDERS – A film about the new army air mobility concept, and its revolutionary potential as the first real advance in warfare planning in centuries. The organization of the First Air Cavalry is told about, and the way in which it occupied a unique role in the Vietnam War.

 

VIETNAM REPORTS--VOLUME THREE (approx. 55 min.)

 

VTR #13--PART 2 (1967): FIRST TEAM IN VIETNAM--FIRST AIR CAVALRY – A blatant piece of self-promotion, about the role of the First Air Cavalry Division in Vietnam. The truth was the First Air Cavalry had been humiliated in Korea, losing their colors when their headquarters was overrun, and they were considered a laughing stock by other units of the military. This film depicts them as a hard-as-nails, hyper-efficient, deadly military force (which they probably were). We see them in the field, flying interdiction missions into Cambodia (two helicopters flying at different levels do a strafing attack, in support of a rifle platoon); doing search-and-destroy missions, with the enemy coming in close to the LZ to escape the firepower used to soften them up; an entire battalion being transported by 60 choppers at once into the field; and securing a forward base in the heart of Cong territory; clear-and-hold missions, in which they secure highways and protect harvests, and also bring medical treatment to the local population.

 

VTR #6: FIRE SUPPORT – An instructional film about conducting combat in Vietnam--troops on trucks or armored personnel carriers face outward, and all flaps and coverings are raised for maximum visibility; the role of Chinook helicopters in moving troops, weapons, or ammunition to the field locations where they're needed; artillery units dig in like riflemen; howitzers play a direct-fire role; combating rust and other sources of malfunction; the changes in the 105mm howitzer (the mainstay of artillery in Vietnam) during the course of the war; the proper way of using artillery in combat, including VT fuses, which burn down and explode a shell 20 feet above the ground; the proper way of mounting rocket pods on helicopters for an aerial assault on a ground target; and the role of air force fighter-bombers in close air support.

 

ATOMIC TV (75 minutes)

"The Future Is Now" is our journey's theme for this special tape which covers the marvels of Fifties TV and Sixties discoveries, home video cameras, picture telephones, computerized kitchens, and other electronic wonders. And, of course, no piece on this era could be complete without a retrospective of the postwar era's fear of nuclear attack, a look which we give you with DUCK AND COVER: SURVIVAL UNDER NUCLEAR ATTACK, narrated by Edward R. Murrow, featuring "A is for Atom" clips.

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