Sunday, September 13, 2015
Republic of Vietnam Regional Forces - Địa phương quân VNCH
Regional Forces unit during training, 1972, RVNHS Archive.
The Republic of Vietnam Regional Forces were initially formed as auxiliaries for the regular army. They were charged with guarding outposts, roadways, and other vital areas. They were organized by battalions, and covered every district of the Republic of Vietnam. By the late 1960s, the regional forces had grown substantially with new battalions continually being raised through 1975.
Flag of the Regional Forces and Popular Forces.
Regional forces personnel were often the first to face enemy attacks. As the numbers of regional forces grew, the battalions began to be used in offensive operations as well. The role of the regional forces became an essential part of the defense strategy of the Republic of Vietnam, and during its history hundreds of thousands of would serve as members of regional forces units.
Examples of Regional Forces insignia.
Top: Regional Forces sleeve patch, left - printed, right - silk woven.
Middle: Regional Forces Battalion Patches,
left to right - 102nd, 131st, 213th, and 448th Battalions.
Bottom: left to right - 504th and 513th Battalions,
747th Reconnaissance and 838th Reconnaissance, RVNHS Archive.
Regional forces personnel wore regular army uniforms and equipment. Insignia consisted of a beret badge (usually worn on a black beret) and sleeve patch, which could be colored or subdued. Each regional forces battalion and reconnaissance units also had unit-specific insignia, which was worn on the chest pockets. A handful of units had specific insignia for each company. Some units also had numbered tapes, which were worn above the pockets, or scrolls that were worn on the shoulders. Ranks followed the standard Republic of Vietnam Army system.
Regional Forces member with patch on left sleeve, 1969, RVNHS Archive.