SGM Herb Friedman (Ret.)
I got the idea for this article after seeing virtually hundreds of fake Vietnam War leaflets offered for sale on EBay. All of them are very handsome and pristine, printed in full color, and show the insignia of various units. The idea of course, is to sell a leaflet to some sucker who was in such a unit during the war and now will pay $10-15 to get what he believes is a Communist Viet Cong propaganda leaflet bearing his crest. I guess it is true that there is a sucker born every minute because I continually see these fake leaflets being offered and sold. One would think that the Viet Cong had an Order of Battle of U.S. troops and were able to leisurely produce leaflets showing every single American military unit while on the run from Allied ground and air attacks. At any rate, I began to wonder how many genuine PSYOP leaflets depicted unit insignia. I dug around in my files and have come up with a number that were produced by American Psywarriors. I will add more as I run across them. This article should be considered a work in progress.
World War II
Leaflet GE-219-0115-44 was prepared by the
5th Army during WWII for use against the Germans. It depicts the insignia of the 5th Army and the English-language message: United States
The German soldier who carries this safe conduct is using it as a sign of his genuine wish to give up. He is to be disarmed, well looked after, to receive food and medical attention as required, and is to be removed from the danger zone as soon as possible.Headquarters Fifth Army
There is a German-language Passierschien (Safe conduct pass) below the English text explaining to the finder of the leaflet that he can surrender to either British or American troops and translating the English text into German.
prepared a number of leaflets in the W.G. (Workers) series that depicted the insignia of the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force above the propaganda text. United States
1,308,978 copies of leaflet WG 48 were dropped between 19 March and 24 March 1945. The text of the leaflet reads:
To The CIVIL POPULATION
of Frankfurt on Main and
You live in one of
's most important areas of war industry. The whole armament industry of Frankfurt and Germany Mannheim from now on will be subjected to a merciless bombardment. But the allies are determined to destroy not the German people, nut the German war machine. For this reason the Supreme Commander has issued the following warning. Ludwigshafen
The warning applies to all parts of Frankfurt and
Mainincluding the following suburbs: Niederusel, Heddernheim, Eschersheim, Eckenheim, Ginnheim, Preungsheim, Seckbach, Fechenheim, Burgel, Offenbach, Oberrad, Niederrad, Griesheim, Rodelheim, Hausen, Praunheim.
The warning applies to the town of
including the following suburbs: Sandhofen, Waldhof, Kaftertal, Wallstadt, Feudenheim, Seckenheim, Neckarau, Mundenheim, Rheingonheim, Mutterstadt, Friesenheim, Oggersheim, Oppau, Esheim, Frankental. Mannheim-Ludwigshafen
These districts are now combat areas. Every inhabitant of the above name districts is hereby warned to remove himself and his family immediately to a safe place outside the battle area.
You are specifically advised that from now on, no shelter or refuge within the above named districts can be considered safe. Your life depends upon the immediate execution of these orders. Act now! out of the battle areas! Out of the war!
March 17th, 1945 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force
The Fifth Army was activated at
Oujda, French on 5 January 1943, under the command of Lt. Gen. Mark Clark and tasked with the North African campaign. Fifth Army became the first American army to initiate combat on the European mainland in World War II at Morocco on 9 September 1943. It fought all through Salerno for the remainder of the war where it took part in several major victories. However, the Italian campaign cost the Fifth Army 109,642 casualties in 602 days of combat and 19,475 killed in action. The Army was deactivated in Italy in October 1945. Italy
OWI Blood Chit and Leaflet to the Chinese
During WWII the United States Army Air Corps flew bombing missions against Japanese occupied territory. A number of leaflets were prepared to identify American pilots to the Chinese and ask for their help in returning them to Allied lines. Office of War Information (OWI) leaflet CA-111 was prepared in early 1945 and carried by pilots flying from Bases in the Philippine Islands against the Japanese in mainland China. The front depicts an American pilot opening his jacket to show a Chinese coolie his Blood Chit, his downed fighter in the background. An almost identical leaflet is CA-125 except the downed plane in the background is a bomber. At the bottom of the leaflet is the insignia of the 5th and the 13th Air Forces and the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theatre of War. Curiously, this leaflet was placed in Evasion and Escape kits that actually contained a blood chit that also bore the same insignia. At the lower left next to the insignia is a message in Chinese:
Help the Allied aviators. They are your friends.
Pay attention to these patches.
The back of the leaflet is all text and once again depicts the three patches. Some of the long propaganda text is:
To our loyal Chinese friends in the occupied territory:
In preparation for the American forces to land on the beaches of China, the Japanese forces must be bombed and destroyed. Lately, sorties from air bases such as those on Mindanao and Luzon Islands have reached your area. These sorties will increase day by day.
Therefore, some of these American flyers will be forced down and land in your area. If they end up in the hands of the Japanese they will face torture and execution. Even though these dangers exist, these flyers risk their lives because they want to defeat the Japanese The best way to an early liberation is to help these American flyers who have been forced down to escape to Free China.
You are to search for and locate these patches on the American flyers For your liberation and peace; you should try your best to help them.
The actual blood chit in the same E&E kit was in the form of a letter that said in part:
To All Chinese Friends:
The people that wear these patches on their left sleeve are your friends. They are the American pilots; here to help you drive the contemptible Japanese bandits out of China Please generously assist the foreigners wearing any of these patches. They are your friends. All your expenses will be paid for by the government of the United States.
Leaflet 98 11 44/22
Air Force units did not wear unit insignia during WWII. Many units prepared unofficial patches like those for the Strategic Air Force or Tactical Air Force, but they were illegal for wear on Class A uniforms. However, there was a general patch for all Air force members. This 1944 German leaflet entitled Farewell to Dreams shows a member of the Air Force wearing the official service patch. This leaflet mostly mentions economics and asks what the soldier (at the time the Air Force was part of the U.S. Army), will do upon his return to the United States when 15 million former service members will be looking for jobs. There is not much real propaganda and the text mostly talks about inflation, high prices, unemployment and a coming depression.
German Skorpion West Counterfeit Leaflet
The Germans attacked these leaflets when their propaganda unit Skorpion West prepared a counterfeit signed by General Dwight D. Eisenhower that spoke of the terrible battles and dreadful bloodshed that the Allies were yet to face and said that the war would continue on indefinitely.
Army 84th Infantry Division U.S.
German Skorpion leaflet 653SK5b was disseminated February 1945. It was aimed at the United States Army 84th Infantry Division (Railsplitters). Activated in
Texas, the division had landed in Francein November 1944, moved to Belgiumin December 1944 and in February 1945. It returned to Holland on 7 February 1945 and was greeted by the Germans with leaflets. The front of the leaflet greets the division with text like: Germany
To the lads of the
Here is a present for you.
Keep it as a souvenir.
The insignia you are so proud of had to be taken off and turned in.
Here is another one for you.
We always want to help you whenever we can
The back of the leaflet lists the names of four soldiers of the division who were captured by the Germans and are both in safety.
The Germans were quite good at getting on the Americanís nerves by talking about them on their propaganda radio and stating fact that the Germans should not know. For instance, one 97-year-old-veteran named Jim Sterner who was a Private at the time in Company K told me about propaganda used against his division.
On 28 November 1944, Axis Sally was a voice over a loudspeaker just after the battle for the town of Geilenkirchen, Germany. The loud German speaker in a female voice, blared:
Welcome to Germany, 84th Infantry. We know you trained in Claiborne.
She then described in detail over the loudspeaker the history of the 84th Infantry Division. She then spoke directly to the GIís:
Give up now! Go back home to your girlfriends and wives. The 4-F's [Civilians deemed not fit for military service] left in your Country are with your women!
Then big band music was played over loudspeaker, maybe Tommy Dorsey. Sterner told me he never saw any German leaflets.
The American Answer
In the case of the 84th Infantry Division, the Americans retaliated with a leaflet of their own which once again depicted their insignia. The leaflet was addressed to their enemies at the front and reminded them of the fate of earlier units that had fought the Rail splitters. The leaflet is coded CPH which indicates that it was printed as a tactical leaflet by the
9th Army Psychological Warfare Department. We depict the English language version of the leaflet. Naturally, the version that was disseminated had German text. Initially, the CPH leaflets were printed in a shop in the Dutch town of U.S. . Later, the CPH leaflets were produced by mobile printing presses in the field. They were disseminated by artillery or grenade. Maastricht
The 35th Division
German Skorpion leaflet 650SK8b was disseminated February 1945. Its target was the United States Army 35th Infantry Division. The 35th Infantry Division was formed in
in 1940. The Division arrived in Nebraska May 1944. It hit the beaches of England Franceon D-Day 1944, crossed into Belgiumin December 1944, and back to in January 1945. It crossed back into France in February 1945. The leaflet has text that says in part: Germany
Welcome MEN OF THE 35TH DIVISION!
Considering the fact that you are newcomers, we would like to do everything to make you feel at home. We extend to you a cordial greeting to the
! Rur Valley
Before you arrived there were other divisions here who didnt fare so well; namely: the 84th, the 102nd, the 29th, and, not to be forgotten, the British. They all got knocked about a bit. You can see that you wont have an easy time of it against the Rur defense lines
Soldiers of the Blood and Fire Division
This strange German leaflet never actually mentions the number of the division that it targets. It was dropped in January 1945 and coded SKW 527/45. We can deduce the division by the text on the back that mentions thirteen soldiers of the 254th Regiment who have been captured by the Germans. The 254th Regiment was assigned to the 63rd Infantry Division. That division arrived in
in December of 1944. It fought a German offensive south of Bitche from 1 January to 19 January 1945 and entered France 20 March 1945. Germany
Boys of the 102nd
German leaflet 627SK/6b is aimed at the 102nd Infantry Division. The text is confusing and convoluted and seems to imply that military deaths are somehow connected to defense plant profits. It was dropped late in the war in January 1945. The 102nd Infantry Division arrived in
Francein September 1944, crossed into Belgiumin October 1944 and finally into in November 1944. Germany
Curiously, a second German leaflet coded 628SK/6b is almost identical except that it is addressed to Boys of the 29th and does not depict the unit patch.
Soldiers of the 30th Infantry
The image on the front of this German leaflet is of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division. The 30th Infantry Regiment was part of that division and the text on the back of this leaflet mentions them in some depth. Some of the poorly written text is:
Soldiers of the 30th INF!
What is the real truth? You know now! Your best formations flung, hit or missed, in the battle for Colmar. Really, somebody played a dirty trick on you. You fought bravely, but during the attack across the open plain the artillery fire caused you severe losses. You must pay for the rashness of your leaders with your blood.
Lt. Darwyn E. Walker Co. I 30th INF.
Lt. A.H. Stephens Co K 30th INF.
And the 100 men of Co I and now glad enough to have escaped with this senseless bloodshed For them the war has already had a happy end, and peace time has already arrived. And you?
The German code is unreadable but I can make out the letter SKW so that means the printers were the German Skorpion propaganda unit. The 3rd Infantry Division fought in North Africa in January 1942 and Sicily in July 1943. It took part in the Anzio landing in January 1944 and entered France in August 1944. In March of 1945 it crossed into Germany. As part of the Division the 30th Regiment made all the same movements and in addition entered Salzburg Austria in May 1945. It returned to the U.S.A. and sailed into N.Y.C. Harbor in September 1946.
The Van Fleet Banknote Leaflet (Chinese)
During the Korean War there were a number of safe conduct passes produced in the form of banknotes and signed by Generals Ridgway, Clark and Van Fleet. For instance, the Psychological Warfare Section of the Eighth
U.S.Army (EUSAK) designed such a leaflet with the general appearance of currency. This leaflet is identified in official documents as "Currency safe conduct pass." The note is: Korea
To be printed in color (red) to approximate a North Korean 100 won bill. The North Korean soldier will then be able to hide this pass among his North Korean money.
The artwork is described as a:
Reproduction of engraving used on Korean currency; with the United Nations flag; Eighth Army patch, and official Eighth Army chop on the front page.
The leaflet was prepared in several different forms, in both the Chinese and Korean language. On the front, a United Nations flag is at the left, and an Eighth Army patch is at the right on all the varieties. A square "chop" below the Eighth Army patch reads in Chinese:
Good care guaranteed by the U.S. Eighth Army
The Van Fleet Banknote Leaflet (Korean)
There are some differences in the texts of the leaflets aimed at the Chinese and Korean enemy. The Korean language leaflets have "United Nations" at the upper left and right on the picture side. "We welcome your submission, and guarantee to save your life" is at the top center. The leaflet has the words "
," in large characters in the center, and the text "Commander, United Nations Forces" at the bottom. Safe Conduct Pass
On the side with the text, the Korean-language leaflet has the words "Good treatment" at the upper left and right in Chinese characters. At the lower left and right, we find the Korean-language words "Your life," and "is guaranteed."
The center reads in English:
Safe Conduct Pass.
This certificate guarantees good treatment.
(Signed) James A. Van Fleet, Commanding General, UN Forces in
These leaflets are mentioned in the monthly report of the First Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company for the period May 1951. It states that leaflet 8529, the
was dropped 10 May 1951. One million were printed, later an additional 900,000. In all, four varieties of the Van Fleet 100 won surrender pass exist, two aimed at the North Koreans, two aimed at the Chinese. Chinese Currency Safe Conduct Pass
This 24 March 1951 Official Eighth Army Safe Conduct Pass depicts the 8th Army patch at top and offers safe conduct to any Chinese fighter. It is authorized by Lieutenant General Ridgway; and Major General Leven C. Allen, Chief Of Staff. The pass is signed by Lieutenant Colonel R.L. Butt Jr., AGC Acting Adjutant General. The back of the leaflet bears Chinese text and the three chops of the American officers. The leaflet says in part:
It is hereby ordered that accommodations and good treatment be given to the bearer of this certificate and his followers. They have voluntarily disarmed themselves, ceased resistance, and surrender to the U.N. forces in accordance with proper procedure.
There were many leaflets prepared by American PSYOP units that bore military insignia. Most of the ones you will see in this section were printed by the 246th PSYOP Company in Bien Hoa, South Vietnam. I still have their Leaflet Catalog dated 20 December 1966. The booklet explains:
This leaflet catalog has been prepared by the 246th PSYOP Company so that interested parties within the III CTZ may become aware of the type of materials produced by this company. This catalog is designed to give personnel in the field a ready reference for leaflet ideas.
There are over a half-dozen different units that have their insignia as part of the image and in some cases that same image may have been used two or three times. So, there are a lot of insignia leaflets from the 246th PSYOP Company. I will just show one of each but the reader should understand that I could show many more.
As the code number explains, this was the 397th leaflet prepared by the 246th PSYOP Company in 1967. The leaflet depicts the insignia of the United States Army 199th Infantry Brigade at the left and right. In the center is a mortar, a mortar shell and an aiming device. The text is:
82mm Mortar 70,000 piasters 82mm Mortar Tube 60,000 piasters Mortar Sight 10,000 piasters 1 Mortar Round 4,000 piasters
Note: In addition, you will receive a reward for other types of Viet Cong weapons and ammunition, depending on the value of the individual type of weapon or round.
The 199th Infantry Brigade (Light) left Ft. Benning, Georgia and arrived in Vietnam 10 December 1966. It departed Vietnam 11 October 1970 and returned to Ft. Benning where it was deactivated on 15 October 1970. It worked closely with the Republic of Vietnam Army. It had heavy action during the 1968 Tet offensive and retook the Phu Tho Racetrack in Saigon from the Viet Cong who were using it as a command center.
Leaflet 246-135-67 was produced by the 246th PSYOP Company at the request of the 4th Infantry Division. 10,000 of the 4 x 5-inch leaflets were printed to be disseminated by both air and hand to the Viet Cong and their relatives. The leaflet depicts the division patch on the front and the following text on the back:
The soldiers of the
4th Infantry Division have arrived in your area. We come as friends to the Vietnamese people and at the request of your government. We are here to help rid your country of the bandits from United States and their brothers, the Viet Cong, so that you and your family can live together in peace. The Viet Cong lie to your husbands and sons and force them to fight for an evil cause. Our forces are mighty, our cause is just, and we will triumph in the end. If you have a relative or friend who is with the Viet Cong, urge them to watch for a chance to rally to the government cause, so that your family can be reunited in peace before they are killed or wounded and left to die alone by the Viet Cong. Hanoi
The 4th Infantry Division (Ivy Division) arrived in
Vietnamon 23 September 1968 from . It departed , Ft.Lewis Washington Vietnamon 7 December 1970 to Fort Carson, Colorado. During the Vietnam War the Division was sometimes called the Funky Fourth or the Poison Ivy Division.
100,000 copies of Leaflet 246-118-67 were printed at the request of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade. The leaflets were 5 x 8-inches and disseminated by both air and hand. Notice the number 969. This was used on many different surrender leaflets and was meant to signify a willingness to rally to the
. The leaflet has a Vietnamese-language message on the front and an English language message on the back. The Vietnamese text is: Republicof Vietnam
969 REWARD 969
The American soldiers are here to help your
bring peace and security to your country. To accomplish this task we need your help. To protect you and other innocent people, we will give a reward to anyone who gives us information on: Republicof Vietnam Government
Viet Cong mines and weapons caches.
Viet Cong traps and ambushes.
Contact the nearest American soldier of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade and give him this leaflet or number 969. The soldier will read the reverse side of this leaflet written in English and help you report your information to the concerned authority. You will be properly rewarded for valuable information.
U.S.Light Infantry Brigade Reward - 196th Light Infantry Brigade U.S.
We are not sure exactly who printed this leaflet although we can probably assume it was the 246th PSYOP Company. In this case, they did not print the company number; just the numbers that show it was the 409th printing job of 1967. The front depicts the insignia of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade and the text:
The U.S. 196th Light Infantry Brigade will conduct an operation into this area to drive out the Viet Cong aggressors. You all should remember that the Viet Cong are liars who make empty promises but never do anything to help the people. In addition, they force you to pay heavy taxes. They confiscate the people's food and money and they force your sons and brothers to die for an unjust cause. Today you have an opportunity to break the shackles of the Viet Cong. Let U.S. forces help you to build a new and better life.
The wording of the leaflet strongly indicates that it is a translation of something that was originally written in English and later translated literally to Vietnamese. This leaflet was originally in an East German archive which indicates that the North Vietnamese shared their propaganda files with the DDR.
The 196th U.S. Light Infantry Brigade arrived in
26 August 1966. During the six years in-country it served in Tay Ninh, Chu Lai, Tam Ky, Phong Dien, Hoi An, Chu Lai and Da Nang. The Brigade departed Vietnam 29 June 1972. The insignia depicts a slow match, or slow-burning igniter that's lit at both ends to signify readiness. It was sometimes called The burning worm or The Burning Rope. Vietnam
100,000 copies of Leaflet 246-110-67 were printed at the request of the
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. The 4 x 5-inch leaflets were disseminated by both air and hand. The title of the leaflet was Good Guys. This same title was used on a number of Allied leaflets that espoused the American friendship for the Vietnamese. Text on the back is: U.S.
The 11th Armored Cavalry has arrived in
. They have mighty tanks that will seek out and destroy the Viet Cong. When not fighting the Viet Cong bandits who rebel against their own people, the Vietnam U.S.11th Armored Cavalry will be helping to build schools, treat the sick and injured and distribute food to the people of . But, they can only help you if you help them. When you see the American soldiers wearing the big black horse on their shoulder, remember, we are your friends. Vietnam
The 11th Armored Cavalry also requested 100,000 copies of leaflet 246-126-67. This leaflet is very similar to leaflet 246-118-67 depicted above, bears the number 969 and the propaganda message is identical to the leaflet except that the unit has been changed.
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Insignia
I have seen many leaflets that bear the symbol of the Black Horse 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. We know more about these leaflets because the Psychological Operations Veterans Association featured them in its 1 December 2020 issue of their newsletter, The Leaflet Drop:
Between May and July of 1967, the 10th Mobile Field Propaganda Team, 246th Psychological Operations Company, conducted 78 psychological operations missions, distributing nearly 7.5 million leaflets. During this period, the 6th PSYOP Battalion and the 18th ARVN Psychological Operations team supported the 11th Armored Cavalry's civil affairs missions 5 times.
Editor's Note: the 246th PSYOP Company became the 6th PSYOP Battalion when the 4th PSYOP Group was activated in late 1967. PSYOP soldiers served alongside 11th ACR troops performing combat PSYOP for the entire time the 11th served in Viet-Nam.
The same symbol, now flanked by flowers and bamboo appears on a Tet themed leaflet coded 246-195-67. The text is in part:
Viet Cong Soldiers Attention
We hope you will have a happy Tet. We know that you do not have as much food for Tet as the free Vietnamese people. We, the soldiers of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, hope that you will rally now so that you can have a happy Tet with your families and friends.
Blackhorse Cavalry Tank
This uncoded leaflet also depicts the insignia of the 11th Armored Blackhorse Cavalry. The ferocious tank chases and kills fleeing Viet Cong. The text on the front is:
Viet Cong Beware!!
The text on the back is:
There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide! The tanks and armored vehicles of the Blackhorse Regiment will find and destroy you! It is too late to fight. Beware, Viet Cong, we are everywhere! Rally now under the Chieu Hoi Program; it is your only hope to live!
The exact same image tank appears on leaflet 246-172-67. The text on that back of that leaflet says in part:
Attention Viet Cong Soldiers of the 275th Regiment
Do you wish to die in an unmarked grave?100 soldiers of the 275th Viet Cong Regiment were killed by the U.S. Army when they tried to ambush an 11th Armored Cavalry convoy on 2 December 1966. Many more were wounded. Your lives will always be in danger of bombs and artillery and you will be separated from your family
The Power of the Insignia
If the reader wonders if the insignia on leaflets had any power, note this letter from Colonel George S. Patton to his troops in Vietnam telling them of the fear on Viet Cong unit had of that patch.
The 11th Armored Cavalry (The Blackhorse Regiment) arrived in
8 September 1966. It departed Vietnam 5 March 1971. Vietnam
This leaflet depicts the insignia of the 720th Military Police Battalion. 10,000 copies were ordered on 23 October 1967. The text on the front to the right of the insignia is:
For the protection of your families, friends and property, the 720th Military Police Battalion is working with the National Police, popular forces and Government Officials in Long Binh, Tam An, Hoa Hung, Dong Hung villages and surrounding area to locate and destroy National Liberation Front Forces.
The back depicts a solider and Vietnamese in a friendly pose and tell the people that the armed forces wish them no harm and that they should report any Viet Cong to the local authorities.
100,000 copies of Leaflet 246-168-67 were printed at the request of the
173rd Airborne Brigade. The 5 x 8-inch leaflets were disseminated by aircraft. The text is identical to 246-118-67 depicted above except that the unit has been changed. The leaflet has two images of the unit patch and the number 969. U.S.
The 173rd also requested 50,000 copies of leaflet 246-286. This 4 x 5-inch leaflet depicts the Brigade patch and a flag of the
and was entitled MEDCAP. The leaflet discusses the medical aid that the unit is giving to the civilians of Republicof Vietnam . On the back an airborne medic is depicted treating a young Vietnamese child. The text beneath the picture is: Vietnam
Medical aid is only one of the ,many ways the sky-soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade cooperates with your government authorities in helping the people.
AND ITS ALLIES. REPUBLICOF VIETNAM
50,000 copies of leaflet 246-069 were printed for distribution over friendly civilians. This leaflet depicted the insignia of the 173rd on the front and a scene of soldiers helping farmers on the back. Some of the text is:
We come as friends. We are part of the American forces in
helping you achieve the inevitable victory over Communist aggression in your country. We want you to be able to lead a life of happiness free from Viet Cong terror. Help us by providing information about the Viet Cong. Vietnam
The 246th PSYOP Company printed 500,000 copies of leaflet 343 in July 1966. This leaflet depicted the insignia of the 173rd Airborne Brigade on one side and soldiers interacting with Vietnamese children on the back. It was considered a variation of 246-069 mentioned above. Some of the text is:
We are American paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne brigade. Our unit is operations with Vietnamese and other units in this area to destroy the Viet Cong and their bases. While most of our units are busy defeating the Viet Cong, others are working on projects to help you.
We come as friends. We are part of the American forces in Vietnam helping you achieve the inevitable victory over Communist aggression in your country. We wish to help you have a better way of life free from Viet Cong terror. Help us by providing information about the Viet Cong.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade (Sky Soldiers) arrived in
7 May 1965. During the six years it was in-country it was located at Bien Hoa, An Khe and Bong Son. It took part in a combat parachute assault during Operation Junction City, 22 February 1967. Members of the Brigade often refer to themselves as The Herd. The Brigade departed Vietnam on 25 August 1971. Vietnam
100,000 copies of Leaflet 246-140-67 were printed at the request of the
2nd Battalion of the 34th Armored Division. In this case, the leaflet does not have a patch to depict, so it instead they selected the insignia worn on the tankers hats. The 4 x 5-inch leaflets were disseminated by aircraft. The message on the leaflet is almost identical to leaflet 246-110-67 except that the unit has been changed: U.S.
The 2nd Battalion of the 34th Armored Division has arrived in
. They have mighty tanks that will seek out and destroy the Viet Cong. When not fighting the Viet Cong bandits who rebel against their own people, the U.S. 2nd Battalion of the 34th Armored Division will be helping to build schools, treat the sick and injured and distribute food to the people of Vietnam. But, they can only help you if you help them. When you see the American soldiers wearing the tank with crossed swords on their hats, remember, we are your friends. Vietnam
Once again, the 2nd Battalion of the 34th Armored Division requested a second leaflet. 50,000 copies of leaflet 246-157-67 were printed. The 5 x 8-inch leaflets were distributed by air and hand. They depicted the unit hat insignia and the numbers 969, along with the same message as Leaflet 246-118-67 offering a reward for information about mines, weapons, tunnels booby traps and ambushes.
The 2nd Battalion of the 34th Armored Division arrived in
Vietnam12 September 1966 from . It departed Ft. Irwin, California 15 December 1970. Vietnam
There are a number of leaflets that display the insignia of the
1st Infantry Division (Big Red One). The early ones are crude and in black and white, some later ones are in color. 50,000 copies of the 4 x 5-inch leaflet 246-045 were dropped over civilians in the III Corps area at the request of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division. The leaflet depicts the Division insignia and text on one side, and soldiers and happy Vietnamese children on the other. This was a contingency Leaflet and the design was saved and stored in the Psychological Operations Leaflet Catalog of the 246th PSYOP Company in Bien Hoa where it was available for future printing and dissemination as needed. The text on the front is: U.S.
We are American soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division. Our unit is operating with the Army of the
and other Allied units to destroy the Viet Cong and their bases. While most of our units are busy defeating the Viet Cong, others are working on projects in this area to help you. Republicof Vietnam
The text on the back is:
We come as friends. We are part of the American forces in
helping you achieve the inevitable victory over Communist aggression in your country. Vietnam
We want you to be able to lead a life free from Viet Cong terror and a life of happiness. Help us by providing information about the Viet Cong.
I added this very strange leaflet because I liked the image of the animal-like helicopter with teeth and claws holding dead Viet Cong and the 1 on front signifying the 1st Infantry Division. The 246th PSYOP Company printed 50,000 copies of the leaflet for the 1st Infantry Division on 9 July 1966. The text says in part:
Attention Viet Cong!
Why do you continue to struggle and fight in hardship and misery for an unjust cause? How can you possibly hope to win against our overwhelming military superiority? One of the most fearsome airplanes at our disposal is the helicopter. The helicopter can search you out anywhere. It can hover over your positions and direct artillery and airstrikes against you. It can fly in low and surprise you with deadly machinegun fire or rockers. It can land anywhere and bring troops right into your midst
The 1st Infantry Division arrived in
Vietnam2 October 1965 from . It departed Ft. Riley, Kansas 15 April 1970. Vietnam
Probably the best known 1st Division Leaflet is this one that shows the insignia in full color. The text on the front is:
You are fighting against a powerful infantry division. You cannot win.
The back is all text:
YOU DONT HAVE TO DIE!
Do not resist. Hide your weapon, raise your hands over your head and present yourself to any American soldier. He will treat you kindly.
CEASE HOPELESSLY RESISTING AND SAVE YOUR LIFE!
Retired Master Sergeant Gregory H. Murry seems to be mentioning this leaflet in his book Content with my Wages, No End to Publishing Co., Austin, Texas, 2013. He says:
They prominently displayed a full color picture of the patch, the Big Red One, and a message in both Vietnamese and English. The message in English was for the Viet Cong who hadnt yet learned to read Vietnamese. It said: You are fighting against the invincible Big Red One. It has never been defeated, and you would do well to surrender, or words to that effect.
This leaflet depicts the insignia of the First Cavalry Division on the front. The code on the back tells us that it was the 40th PSYOP product produced by the 245th PSYOP Battalion in 1967. The 245th was formed on 10 February 1966 as part of the 6th Battalion and served II Corps initially from Nha Trang. The unit was subsequently relocated to Pleiku (in II Corps) when the 6th PSYOP Battalion became the 4th PSYOP Group. The back is all text and bears a message to the North Vietnamese that says:
Soldiers of the North Vietnamese Army
In this year of the horse, beware of the flying horsemen! Just as surely as inevitable victory will come to the
, injury and death will come to you. Who will be there to give you an honorable burial? Your family? Of course not. They wont even know that you are dead. Cease your murderous aggression against your fellow Vietnamese. Use a safe conduct pass and rally to the just cause of the Republicof Vietnam . Which will it be? Death and burial in an unmarked grave in the middle of the jungle or return to an honorable life? Decide quickly before it is too late! Republicof Vietnam
1st Cavalry Soccer Balls
Although this article is about insignia on leaflets, the images also appeared on other PSYOP objects. For instance, during Operation Iraqi Freedom the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division prepared soccer balls with their insignia (A black horsehead on a yellow shield) on one side and a map of Iraq on the other. The balls were given to Iraqi children to help win them over to the new Iraqi government and its U.S. allies. The balls were certainly welcomed by the children, but a member of the Cavalry unit said:
These were given to kids in Iraq. We were told to stop giving them out because the insurgents had threatened to kill anybody with them.
100,000 copies of leaflet 246-118 were printed at the request of the 25th Infantry Division (Tropic Lightning). This was a standard 3 x 6-inch leaflet to be distributed by both air and hand. The front of the leaflet depicts the unit insignia and the text:
We are American soldiers of the
25th Infantry Division. Our unit is operating with the Army of the U.S. Republicof Vietnamand other Allied units to destroy the Viet Cong and their bases, and to help the achieve inevitable victory over Communist aggression. Republicof Vietnam
The back of the leaflet depicts a surrendering Viet Cong surrounded by
and RVN military might and the text: U.S.
So not permit the Viet Cong to use your homes or your fields to hide and do not permit them to set off mines or shoot at us. We will return the fire. Therefore, you must protect your family. Tell the American or the Vietnamese Army forces nearest you where the Viet Cong are hiding. We will search them out and destroy them. If the Viet Cong continues to fire upon us you should take cover and protect yourselves.
25,000 copies of leaflet 246-161 were printed for the 25th Infantry Division. The front depicted the insignia and the back showed troops meeting with Vietnamese farmers and children.The message was the standard we come as friends mentioned above.
50,000 copies of leaflet 246-204 depicted the unit insignia and military medics treating Vietnamese civilians. The text warned the Viet Cong that the division was watching them and offered them a better life if they came back to the government.
100,000 copies of leaflet 246-208 were printed for the 25th Infantry Division. The front depicted the insignia and text and the back is all text. The leaflets were directed at civilians in the divisions area of operations. Some of the text is:
The Viet Cong charge you outrageous taxes, steal your food and possessions, and force your youth to die for a losing cause. Now is your chance to break the Viet Cong yoke of oppression. Let the friendly American forces help you build a better life.
The 25th Infantry Division arrived in
Vietnam28 March 1966 from . Although officially called Tropic Lightning, they were better known as the Electric Strawberry. The division was also sometimes called the Cu Chi National Guard because the division headquarters and many of its units were stationed at Cu Chi throughout the war. The division departed Hawaii 8 December 1970. Vietnam
The 246th PSYOP Company prepared a number of leaflets that bear the symbol of the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagle Division in 1968. The leaflets depict the patch at the top left and right, the numbers 101, and the usual word Reward in Vietnamese. Notice that instead of the number 969, the Vietnamese finder is now asked to say 101. Text on the front is:
101 REWARD 101
U.S.Armed Forces in . The presence of the Vietnam U.S.Armed forces in is to help your government bring security and peace to your country. In order to succeed in this mission we very much need your help. In order to protect you and innocent civilians, we will provide a monetary reward to those who can give us the following: Landmines, information depots of the communist armed forces, tunnels, where they hide their weapons, traps, or where they plan their ambushes. Please contact American soldiers closest to the 101st Airborne Division and give them this flyer or the number 101. Those soldiers will read the back of this flyer in English and will assist you in informing the appropriate authorities. You will be amply rewarded for your useful information. Vietnam
The English-language text on the back is:
Attention American Personnel. American personnel who receive this leaflet or a message bearing the figures 101 from a Vietnamese national will courteously detain him (her) and notify their commander. This person wants to report information regarding the items on the other side of the leaflet. He has been offered payment if the information can be verified. If the Vietnamese refuses to stay or come with you, obtain his (her) name, address, date and place of birth. This data can be found on his (her) identity card. Copy all information on the card and give it to your commander.
The 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) arrived in
Vietnam19 November 1967 from . The division departed , Ft.Campbell Kentucky Vietnam10 March 1972 and returned to . Although their official nick-name was Screaming Eagles, they had some unofficial ones such as One-oh-worst. Of course, any unit with a number ending in a first would eventually end up with it being changed to worst by some detractor (or in the case of the 101st, any member of the 82nd Airborne). Ft. Campbell
Leaflet 7-163-68 is special because it depicts the insignia of two American airborne divisions. The 101st Screaming Eagles Airborne Division insignia appears above the insignia of the 82nd All American Airborne Division. The leaflet announced the presence of paratroopers who had been assigned to the Huong Thuy district in I Corps. The text is:
To the People of Huong Thuy District
To protect your lives and properties effectively, the highly experienced American soldiers of the Airborne Divisions have been transferred to your area.
Those courageous allied soldiers wish to participate in the fight for freedom and peace. The American paratroopers are ready to search and destroy the Communists to bring peace to
. As long as the Communists want to take over Vietnam , the American paratroopers will stay here to protect this country. For many years the Communists have caused the country to be engulfed in war and have brought misery and death to your loved ones. For whoever wants to fight for the right of the cause to stop the suffering of the people, this is a good opportunity to do so. South Vietnam
Please cooperate fully with the American paratroopers and help destroy the Communist invaders.
Text on the back is:
To Avoid Damage to Your Properties and Lives, Please follow these guidelines:
1. Dont go outside the villages; dont go into the Communist areas that are being encircled by the Allied forces.
2. Dont run and hide when military operations require the Allied forces to go through your village.
3. Keep away from the Viet Cong or North Vietnamese soldiers when they use your houses or your rice field as shields to attack the allied forces.
4. For the safety of your roads and rice fields, please report the location of any Viet Cong mine placements so that the experts can clear them.
WITH YOUR COOPERATION, THE SAFETY IN THE VILLAGES WILL BE GUARANTEED.
Leaflet 246-168-67 is depicted earlier in this article above with the symbol of the 25th Infantry Division. The exact same text is on the front of leaflet 246-176-67, but the symbol has been changed to that of the United States 9th Infantry Division. The message on the back is:
Attention American Personnel
American personnel who receive this leaflet or a message bearing the figures 969 from a Vietnamese national will courteously detain him (her) and notify their commander. This person wants to report information regarding items on the other side of this leaflet. He has been offered payment if the information can be verified.
If the Vietnamese refuses to stay or come with you, obtain his (her) name, address, date and place of birth. This data can be found on his (her) identity card. Copy all the information on the card and give it to your commander.
Most of the leaflets depicted above were produced by the 246th PSYOP Company in 1967. The next two leaflets were produced by the 10th PSYOP Battalion in late 1968. You can see that the equipment is a little better and some color has been added to the leaflets, though just for effect.
300,000 copies of leaflet 10-440-68 were printed on 5 September 1968 at the request of a Captain Mitchell, Dong Tam Field Team 10-A-4,
. The leaflet shows the patch of the Dinh Tuong Province 9th Infantry Division on the front and the back, although it has been slightly modified and the colors are not the true dark red and blue of the genuine insignia. It is a more artistic version of the patch, but still recognizable. The text is: U.S.
VIET CONG CADRE OF
DINH TUONG PROVINCE
This letter is sent to you be the
9th Infantry Division. We have caused heavy losses to your unit many times recently. We are not aggressors coming to take possession of your Fatherland. We are here by the U.S. s request to help the South Vietnamese people against the Communists. Republicof Vietnam
We are deeply touched by the hundreds and hundreds of Vietnamese youths who were killed for the greedy illusions of Communist leaders. They cannot explain why they have pushed all these young men to a meaningless death in a cruel fight. Think about it and think of your parents and your family that is awaiting your return. We are constantly thinking of you, hoping you avoid the Communists and rally to the National Cause to help build up your country.
The 9th Infantry Division (Old Reliables) arrived in
Vietnam16 December 1966 from . The Division departed , Ft.Riley Kansas Vietnam27 August 1969 for . During the Vietnam War, the division's insignia inspired such nicknames as "Flower Power" and "The Psychedelic Cookie." Fort Lewis, Washington
It wasnt only American military units that placed their patches on leaflets. The 10th PSYOP Battalion printed 200,000 copies of tactical leaflet 10-591-68 in blue for the 9th Infantry Division of the Army of
(ARVN) in Sadec province. The leaflets were printed 18 November 1968 for distribution by aircraft. The front shows the division insignia and a heroic South Vietnamese soldier. The text is: Vietnam
TO THE SOLDIERS OF THE 857TH COMMUNIST BATTALION
ARTILLERY AND BOMBS THREATEN YOUR LIVES DAY AND NIGHT
The back is all text:
The Operations of the Army of
s 9th Infantry Division are designed to pursue your unit. You are living in a mournful situation; hungry, cold, sick and wounded. You dont have doctors or medicine. Your life is marked by hardship. Vietnam
You still have one way to save yourselves and live with your family. The alternative is to rally. The Government and the Army are ready to receive and take care of you and see that you have a happy life with your family. The Governments Chieu Hoi program aims at opening the way for you to escape from the Communists. The Government hopes you soon find the happy life under freedom.
Operation Desert Fox
The Iraqi Republican Guard
Operation DesertFox in 1988 the produced a leaflet that depicts the Iraqi eagle symbol at the left and a red triangle is at the right. The triangle is the shoulder patch of the elite Iraqi Republican Guard. The Iraqi Army at its peak was at about 1.7 million troops, including reserves and paramilitary. They were the shock troops of United States 's military. By 1987, this Force had grown to three armored divisions, one infantry division, and one commando division. Iraq
Over the triangle, the propagandists have printed a crosshairs. The symbolism is clear. The coalition is taking aim at the Republican Guard. The back of the leaflet shows a fainter image of the Iraqi eagle, and the Arabic text:
Our targets are only the forces that back the government in
. You are not our target, but you are under observation. Do not leave your positions. Do not head south. Baghdad
Many leaflets depict emblems or crests during the First Persian Gulf War, or what Americans call
Storm. Operation Desert
The Marines are Coming
The United States generally do not wear patches but the Globe and anchor symbol is known around the world. This Coalition leaflet was part of a deception plan to make the Iraqis believe that the
U. S.Marines will invade from the sea. The leaflet depicts a Marine coming in from the ocean holding a bloody Kabar fighting knife. 12,000 of the leaflets were placed in empty plastic water bottles and floated up on the beaches of occupied Kuwait . Allegedly, another 90,000 were dropped by aircraft. The text on the back is: Kuwait
Cease resistance - Be safe
To seek refuge safely, the bearer must strictly adhere to the following procedures:
1. Remove the magazine from your weapon.
2. Sling your weapon over your left shoulder, muzzle down.
3. Have both arms raised above your head.
4. Approach the Multi-national forces slowly, with the soldier holding this document above his head.
5. If you do this, you will not die.
The Shield and the Storm, Jostens Inc., 1991, says:
U. S.amphibious warships with nearly 8000 Marines and 10,000 sailors were on-station in the . Before Desert Storm began, the task force enacted elaborate practice landings on Coalition beaches in the Gulfof Oman Persian Gulf. Five divisions of Iraqi infantry entrenched in Kuwait, some 80,000 men in all, watched and listened with keen interest as amphibious forces conducted these highly visible exercises, often accompanied by members of the international press corps. U. S.
The XVIII Airborne Corps
Although the Corps patch is difficult to see, it appears on the back of this standard safe conduct pass printed for use against the Iraqis. This is a deception leaflet used to hold Iraqi Army in central
. The symbol of the XVIII Airborne Corps was placed on the leaflet in hopes that the Iraqi Army would believe that they were facing that Corps. In fact, XVIII Corps had moved far to the west of the expected battleground in an attempt to flank the well dug-in enemy. 900,000 leaflets were printed. In order for the deception plan to work, Task Force Troy, consisting of 460 service members from the 4th PSYOP Group, the Army and the Marines, drove their five tanks and their wheeled vehicles back and forth in front of the Iraqi lines broadcasting the sounds of heavy armor movement and transmitting a great volume of bogus radio transmissions. It worked. The Iraqis stayed in place awaiting a frontal assault. Kuwait
The VII Corps
As part of the same deception plan to hold the Iraqi Army in central Kuwait the symbol of the VII Corps was placed on this standard safe conduct pass in hopes that the Iraqi Army would believe that they were facing that organization In fact, VII Corps had moved far to the west of the expected battleground. 270,000 leaflets were printed. The fact that the Corps symbol was similar to a Star of David and might infuriate the other Arab Coalition allies or be used by Saddam Hussein to motive his forces caused the symbol to be changed later to the Corps mascot Jaybird.
Afghanistan National Army's First Battalion
After the Operation Enduring Freedom invasion of
in 2001, the Coalition nations attempted to build a new Afghan Army. This leaflet depicts Afghan soldiers in armored personnel carriers at the upper left and surrounded by young children at the lower right. The insignia of the new Afghan Army is at the lower left. This leaflet has the same image on both sides, one with Pashto text, the other with Dari text. The text is: Afghanistan
The Afghan National Army works hard for a better future for all Afghanis.
AfghanistanNational Army's first regular army battalion developed a unit insignia patch that underscores the latest chapter of 's military history. Afghanistan
The centerpiece on the patch is an outline of
bracketed by two sheaves of wheat and overlaid with a fountain pen and two crossed rifles. The fountain pen signifies the re-writing of Afghan's history and also the intent of the soldiers to learn and become better educated. Afghanistan
In Arabic, the words "God is Great" are embroidered at the top and "First Battalion, National Army" are embroidered in a banner across the center. Near the bottom of the patch are small black, red and green bars replicating the colors of the Afghan national flag.
Patches appeared on leaflets again in 2003 when the
United Statesinvaded as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. IZD-036a depicts parachutists falling from the sky and the patch and tab of the 82nd Airborne Division. The text is: Iraq
For your safety do not interfere with Coalition forces. Coalition Special Operations Forces are here to end the oppressive rule of Saddams regime and liberate the people of
The back depicts two photographs of armed Special Forces. The text is:
Do not interfere with Coalition forces. Coalition Special Operations Forces do not wish to harm or injure non-combatants.
Leaflet IZD-042S depicts Coalition troops marching forward with helicopters overhead. At the left is the patch of the 1st Infantry Division, at the right is the patch of the 4th Infantry division. The text is:
The Coalition has amassed a formidable fighting force to the north.
The back depicts a helicopter disgorging Coalition troops. The text is:
For your safety do not interfere with Coalition forces. Coalition Special Operations Forces are here to end the oppressive rule of Saddams regime and liberate the people of Iraq.
Like the leaflet directly above, leaflet IZD-036 depicts the patch of the 1st Infantry Division at left and at the right is the patch of the 4th Infantry division. Both of these leaflets seem to be variants of other leaflets, using their images in a different format. I do not believe that either of these leaflets was disseminated. I suspect for some reason a version without the insignia was used, but I have no proof of that opinion. This leaflet depicts Coalition soldiers on the front and the text:
Do not interfere with Coalition Forces. Coalition Special Operation Forces do not wish to harm or injure non-combatants.
The back depicts an Iraqi vehicle in what appears to be a bomb crater and the text:
To confront them would bring you certain destruction.
Leaflet IZB3jG3-3124 depicts the insignia of the 82nd All American Airborne Division along with a soldier using a night vision device and a dead Iraqi. The Arabic is poorly written but the text can be translated as follows:
This is the emblem of the Second Airborne Infantry Battalion of the 325th Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Infantry Division.
Our capable military does not hide like cowards.
This terrorist blew himself up as he was about to manufacture an explosive in
Leaflet 3059 depicts the insignia of the Bushmasters, Bravo Company, 1/327, 101st Airborne Division. The other side of the leaflet has the text:
We know you are a terrorist. We are coming for you. If you want to live, surrender to the authorities now. If you do not, the next time we see you we will kill you.
It wasnt only American unit insignia that appeared on leaflets. As part of the nation building campaign the 361st PSYOP Company also printed leaflets showing Iraqi insignia.
Leaflet 3010 is designed to encourage enlistment in the new Iraqi National Guard. It shows a super-hero type Iraqi soldier fighting terrorists and the text:
Real Iraqi Heroes
Leaflet IAA5eG303036 depicts both the Iraqi National Guard emblem and the insignia of the new Iraqi Police Force. The text is:
Good Citizens of
Thank you for your support and cooperation during these trying times for our city. We are working hard to make your homes safe once again.
Task Force Lightning
This handout might hold a record for insignia. Used during the consolidation period of Operation Iraqi Freedom, it depicts six insignia. From left to right are the
U.S.82nd Airborne Division, the electric strawberry of the 25th Infantry Division, the Iraqi Police Force and Army, the 2nd Infantry Division and the first Cavalry Division. An identical version of the leaflet exists with the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) patch in place of that of the First Cavalry Division. The text on the front of the leaflet is: U.S.
Task Force Lightning
One team, one mission
s People Iraq
The back is all text:
Friends and Iraqi partners,
We are proud to be here and anxious to get to work with our Iraqi teammates. Our mission here is clear: provide out Iraqi friends and counterparts the assistance they need to take over their own security. We will continue to put Iraqi units in the lead; we will stand with them and beside them. We are honored to serve alongside with you. Our joint ultimate goal is an
Iraqfree of the threat of terrorism where your citizens can live their daily lives in a safe, free and prosperous confident that they can attain their goals and their dreams for their children . Iraq
Task Force Lightning.
The Second Image
Above we depict the same general Task Force Lightning image with the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) patch in place of that of the First Cavalry Division. In this case, the images have been printed on gummed stickers that can be placed on walls. The text on the front and back is the same as the first version.
The same vignette appears on a number of large posters printed on both regular and glossy paper.
25th Infantry Division leaflet
We know very little about this leaflet. It depicts the electric strawberry of the 25th Infantry division on the front and a brief Arabic message. I suspect that this message was made up by the PSYOP troops as a souvenir of service in
. Often, the PSYOP unit will be asked to prepare calendars, certificates, greeting cards or notepads for the troops they support. This appears to be a similar case because on the front of the leaflet is a greeting similar to the American good morning. It is: Iraq
Glory to all
On the back of the leaflet in perfect English and caps is the phrase that translates to a job well done:
KUDOS TO EVERYONE
Bogus Viet Cong Leaflets offered for Sale
At the start of this article we mentioned the various fakes that are offered to military veterans as collectables. In this article we have depicted some real Allied leaflets that have the insignia of the 82nd or 101st Airborne Divisions or the 25th Infantry Division. In reality, the Viet Cong in the field printed their leaflets of any paper they could find and then left them where Americans congregated or might pass, along trails or base camps in rain, dampness and dirt.
A genuine Viet Cong Leaflet
Notice the damage caused by sunlight and moisture in a jungle environment. And yet, most collectors would be happy to pay $15-20 for such a genuine leaflet brought back by a Vietnam veteran.
Above are a group of frauds offered for sale for $40. That is the first clue. Genuine Viet Cong leaflets with faded color on torn pulp paper with text so bad it can hardly be read sell for $15-20. On the day I wrote this paragraph I saw four genuine Viet Cong leaflets for sale and the prices varied from $9.99 to $17.99. Notice that all of these leaflets that were allegedly in the rain of Vietnam and perhaps on the ground in the jungle for months before being found are perfectly printed in rich color on cardboard. Notice how pristine these cards are. Think about it.
As I said at the start, this is just a brief look at some leaflets that show unit insignia. I look forward to hearing from readers who have comments or leaflets that should be added to this article. Kindly contact the author at email@example.com..