Vietnam War Bibliography:

Technology and Weapons

Army Concept Team in Vietnam (ACTIV). A number of reports of this organization have been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.

Colonel Emmett R. Arnold, USA, "Tactical Communications" Military Review, December 1968 (vol. XLVIII, no. 12), pp. 86-92.

James R. Arnold, Artillery. Illustrated History of the Vietnam War, no. 7. New York: Bantam, 1987. 158 pp.

Artillery Trends ( -1968); The Field Artilleryman (1969-1972). Fort Sill, Oklahoma: U.S. Army Field Artillery School. This journal published some interesting information about weapons and technology. For further information see Artillery Trends and The Field Artilleryman in the section "Army Journals". Particularly interesting articles I have noticed are:

Attack Helicopter - Daylight Defense (USACDEC Experiment 43.6): Special Report - Vietnam: First Combat Aerial TOW Team. Fort Ord, California: United States Army Combat Developments Experimentation Command, July 1972. Very detailed documentation on tests, and combat use, of the TOW missile, in Vietnam, beginning 30 April 1972. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project at Texas Tech University, in six parts: Front matter and 30 April to 18 May 1972, 13 to 24 May 1972, 25 May to 12 June, Annex B, pp. 1-29, Annex B, pp. 30-57, Annexes C-F; sections I-IV.

Charles C. Bates and John F. Fuller, America's Weather Warriors, 1814-1985. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1986. xxiv, 360 pp. The chapters on Vietnam are mostly about weather prediction, but there is a short section on military weather modification in Vietnam.

Antoine Bousquet, "Cyberneticizing the American War Machine: Science and Computers in the Cold War." Cold War History Vol. 8, No.1 (January 2008).

Antoine Bousquet, The Scientific Way of Warfare: Order and Chaos on the Battlefields of Modernity. New York: Columbia University Press & Hurst, 2009. I have not seen this, but it should contain significant discussion of American sensor systems in the Vietnam War. Bousquet believes that the effectiveness of high-tech solutions to military problems is often exaggerated.

Hank Brandli, "Weather Satellite Photos and the Vietnam War." Naval History, Spring 1991, pp. 66-68.

Sarah Bridger, Scientists at War: The Ethics of Cold War Weapons Research. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015. 368 pp. The main focus is on the Vietnam War era.

Peter Brush, "The Ontos." Vietnam Magazine, 15:3 (October 2002), pp. 10-14. A version that has footnotes is online at the author's web site.

Peter Brush, "The Story Behind the McNamara Line." Vietnam Magazine, (February 1996), pp. 18-24. A version that has footnotes is online at the author's web site.

John T. Correll, "Igloo White". Air Force Magazine 87:11 (November 2004), pp. 56-61. Sensors used to detect enemy movements, mainly along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos.

Seymour J. Deitchman, "The 'Electronic Battlefield' in the Vietnam War." Journal of Military History 72:3 (July 2008), pp.869-887. See also the exchange of letters between Ralph Hitchins (criticizing the electronic sensor program) and Mr. Deitchman (defending it), 72:4 (October 2008), pp. 1353-55.

Paul Dickson, The Electronic Battlefield. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976.

Lt. Col. Francis C. Dimond, Jr., and Maj. Norman M. Rich, "M-16 Rifle Wounds in Vietnam," Journal of Trauma, 7:5 (September 1967), pp. 619-25.

James F. Dunnigan & Albert A. Nofi, Shooting Blanks: War Making that Doesn't Work. New York: Morrow. Not specifically about Vietnam, but apparently includes a fair bit about Vietnam.

Simon Dunstan, Vietnam Tracks: Armor in Battle, 1945-75. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1982 (also Osprey, 1982). 191 pp. Covers use of armor by all forces involved.

Freeman J. Dyson, Robert Gomer, Steven Weinberg, and S. Courtenay Wright, "Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Southeast Asia (U)." Study S-266. Institute for Defense Analysis, Jason Division, March 1967. iv, 55 pp. Argues against U.S. use of tactical nuclear weapons in the Vietnam War. The text, redacted but not very much so, is available online. Daniel Ellsberg has said the study "verges on silly" and I agree. The study puts a low estimate--looks too low to me--on the military effects that could be achieved with nuclear weapons in Vietnam and Laos. It puts a high estimate--I think clearly far too high--on the probability that the Soviet Union would react by supplying nuclear weapons to guerrillas. By far the most important argument against the use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam--that it would have created a worldwide explosion of outrage that would very seriously have damaged the United States' relations with important allies--is passed off in a single short paragraph. The authors, three physicists and one guy on the borderline between chemistry and physics, were going a bit outside their fields of specialization.

Thomas Paul Ehrhard, "Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in the United States Armed Services: A Comparative Study of Weapon System Innovation." Ph.D. dissertation, Political Science, Johns Hopkins, 2001. AAT 3006390. ix, 724 pp.

Edward J. Emering, Weapons and Field Gear of the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong. Atglen, PA: Schiffer, 1998. 159 pp.

Edward C. Ezell, The Great Rifle Controversy: Search for the Ultimate Infantry Weapon from World War II through Vietnam and Beyond. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1984.

Edward C. Ezell, Personal Firepower. Illustrated History of the Vietnam War, no. 15. New York: Bantam, 1988. 158 pp.

James Fallows, National Defense. New York: Random House, 1981. pb New York: Vintage, 1982. xvii, 204 pp. The section on the M-16 rifle is useful.

Ann Finkbeiner The Jasons: The Secret History of Science's Postwar Elite. New York: Viking (Penguin), 2006. xxx, 304 pp. A group of top-grade scientists, mainly physicists, who provided advice to the US goverment. Played an important role in the development of sensor systems. [See also above under Dyson.]

Robert Genty, Ultime secours pour Dien Bien Phu, 1953-1954. Paris: l'Harmattan, 1994. 159 pp. Genty headed a project for weather modification, designed to promote rain at Dien Bien Phu in order to impede Viet Minh operations.

John Gliedman, Terror from the Sky: North Viet-Nam's Dikes and the U.S. Bombing. Cambridge: Vietnam Resource Center, August 1972. 172 pp. An extensively documented study, with considerable attention to weather modification. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project at Texas Tech University, in three parts: front matter and pp. 1-52, pp. 53-107, and pp. 108-172.

Richard Greely, "Stringing the McNamara Line." Naval History, 11:4 (July/August 1997), pp. 60-66. Greely was involved 1967-68 with the program to place sensors on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. He says the program was ineffective.

John Guttman, "Arsenal: North Vietnam--and even its guerrilla allies in the South--produced firearms to supplement imports." Vietnam Magazine, June 2000, pp. 18-20, 70-71.

Lt. Col. William J. Hilsman, USA, "Computers in Vietnam." Military Review, September 1968 (vol. XLVIII, no. 9), pp. 65-70.

Annie Jacobsen, The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency. Boston: Little, Brown, 2015. 552 pp. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Ian Jones, Malice Aforethought: The History of Booby Traps from World War One to Vietnam. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole, 2004. 270 pp.

Larry Kahaner, AK-47: The Weapon that Changed the Face of Warfare. Wiley, 2006. 258 pp. Includes comparison of the AK-47 with the M-16.

Malvern Lumsden, Anti-personnel Weapons. London: Taylor and Francis, 1978. A SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) monograph. xv, 299 pp.

Malvern Lumsden, Incendiary Weapons. Cambridge: MIT Press/Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1975. A SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) monograph. 255 pp.

James McBride, "Electronic Warfare in Vietnam," Marine Corps Gazette, 99:1 (January 2015).

Thomas L. McNaugher, STINETMarksmanship, McNamara and The M16 Rifle: Organizations, Analysis and Weapons Acquisition. P-6306.  Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corportation, 1979. 63 pp. Also published (revised?) under the title "Marksmanship, McNamara and the M-16 Rifle: Innovation in Military Organizations", Public Policy, Winter 1980, pp. 1-37.

Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson, American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2023. 564 pp.

Thomas G. Mahnken, Technology and the American Way of War since 1945. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. x, 244 pp.

Capt. David V. Mastran, USAF, Vietnam 1968: Turning Point. Self-published, 2016. 269 pp. Mastran arrived in Vietnam in December 1967, an Air Force lieutenant on a team assigned to evaluate "McNamara's Wall" (the Igloo White sensor system monitoring traffic on the Ho Chi Minh Trail). Developing a computer simulation of interdiction operations soon became Mastran's primary task.

Robert M. Neer. Napalm: An American Biography. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013. viii, 310 pp.

Bob Orkand and Lyman Duryea, Misfire: The Tragic Failure of the M16 in Vietnam. Guilford, CT: Stackpole, 2019. vi, 251 pp.

Alfred Price, The History of U.S. Electronic Warfare. 3 vols. Arlington, VA: Association of Old Crows, 1984, 1989, 2000. I believe the Vietnam War falls in vol. 3. Can be ordered from

Dr. Alfred Price, War in the Fourth Dimension: US Electronic Warfare from the Vietnam War to the Present. London: Greenhill/Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole, 2001. 272 pp. Foreword by General Charles A. Horner. Almost 100 pages devoted to the Vietnam War.

Lt. Col. Robert D. Rego, "Anti-Infiltration Barrier Technology and the Battle for Southeast Asia, 1966-1972." Research report AU/ACSC/147/2000-04, Air Command and Staff College, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 2000. xi, 69 pp. The text has been placed online by STINET.

Anthony J. Tambini, Wiring Vietnam: The Electronic Wall. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow (Rowman & Littlefield), 2007. xiv, 212 pp.\

Nina Tannenwald, The Nuclear Taboo: The United States and the Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons Since 1945. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. xiii, 449 pp. Chapter 6 (pp. 190-240) is "Nuclear Weapons and the Vietnam War."

Anthony Thornborough, Frank B. Mormillo, et. al., Iron Hand: Smashing the Enemy's Air Defenses. Motorbooks International, 2002. 288 pp.

US Army Limited Warfare Laboratory, established June 1962, renamed US Army Land Warfare Laboratory in January 1970, abolished June 1974. A few reports of this organization have been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.

Sharon Weinberger, The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World. New York: Knopf, 2017. 496 pp. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

George L. Weise, "SEA Sensor Field: More Eyes and Ears," in Armed Forces Journal, March 1, 1971, pp. 38-39.

Jac Weller, "Enemy Weapons in Vietnam," Ordnance, no. 290 (September-October 1968), pp. 172-175.

Jac Weller, "Good and Bad Weapons for Vietnam" Military Review, October 1968 (vol. XLVIII, no. 10), pp. 56-64.

Jim Winchester, Broken Arrow: How the U.S. Navy Lost a Nuclear Bomb. Philadelphia and Oxford: Casemate, 2019. xi, 271 pp. In December 1965, as USS Ticonderoga was passing near Okinawa on its way from Yankee Station to Japan, its personnel were practicing the process of loading a hydrogen bomb on an A-4 aircraft and preparing it for launch. There was an accident. The plane, with pilot and bomb, fell off the carrier and sank to the bottom of the Pacific. The accident had no direct connection to the Vietnam War, but pp. 152-57 of the book deal with discussions within the US government of the possibility of using nuclear weapons in Vietnam.

Col. Rex D. Wing, "The Black Rifle," Ordnance, no. 305 (March-April 1971), pp. 451-54.


Photographs of weapons on display in the Army museum in Hanoi, 1986 and 1989. Also a few photos of French blockhouses, left over from the First Indochina War.

Some congressional committee hearings and reports on weapons can be found in Congressional Committee Documents: Main List

Congressional committee hearings and reports on military weather modification can be found in Weather Warfare.

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Copyright © 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, Edwin E. Moise. This document may be reproduced only by permission. Opinions expressed in this bibliography are my own. They could hardly be the opinions of Clemson University, which does not have opinions on the matters in question. Revised October 11, 2023.