Vietnam War Dictionary


People's Liberation Armed Forces - Commonly known as the Viet Cong, the PLAF was the military arm of the National Liberation Front.

Collectively nicknamed Charlie (VC – Victor Charlie) by American troops, US Intelligence generally categorized PLAF forces into several parts:
  • Main Force - divisions and regiments operating throughout South Vietnam
  • Local Force - battalion sized units operating within their own province / district
  • Irregulars
    • Guerrillas - squads and platoons carrying out offensive and defensive operations in conjunction with VC regulars. They also conduct terrorist and sabotage activities, collect taxes and disseminate propaganda.
    • Self-Defense Force - part time militia defending VC controlled villages / hamlets
    • Secret Self-Defense Force - clandestine militia in GVN controlled villages / hamlets

Additional to the military PLAF was the Viet Cong’s political apparatus (VCI)

The Main and Local Forces often wore khaki or olive green uniforms, whilst the guerrillas typically wore black peasant pyjamas and sandals made from discarded truck tires.

The PLAF were strongest in the southern half of South Vietnam, however their military capabilities were decimated during the 1968 Tet Offensive.


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