SGM Herbert A. 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 American’s 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 GI’s:
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.
Allied Insignia Leaflets to the Germans
To the Soldiers of the 305th Infantry Division.
This is a very strange leaflet. It was made by the Allies, but the code T/67 is a German code that was used in North Africa, and later in Italy, and targeted both British 8th Army and American troops from 1943 to 1945. Perhaps the Allies believed the German would see the code and believe the leaflet was one of theirs. This may be a "black leaflet," although the propaganda text would immediately point to it being an Allied leaflet. The 305th Infantry Division was a German Army unit that saw extensive, front-line action during World War II. This division was present at the Battle of Stalingrad, the Battle of Monte Cassino, and surrendered to U.S. Army's 88th Infantry Division in Northern Italy near Trento in late April 1945. It was disseminated in German of course but since I have an American file copy, I will show that so the readers can see the complete text.
Uncoded German Leaflet to Belgium
Like combat patches, flags are a sort of insignia. The Americans wear them on their uniforms as do many other nations. I thought I would show some Leaflets throughout this article that use flags as their theme. The text, if any, can be for or against the flag depicted. This German uncoded leaflet depicts the flag of the United States and the United Kingdom on one side, and a black message on the back that attempts to look like it is written by the British.
Belgians! Yesterday we threw you leaflets to ENCOURAGE YOU.
TODAY we threw bombs at you to FREE YOU.
We can't make omelets without breaking eggs...too bad if you're an egg.
GOD SAVE THE KING.
The American and Philippines Flags back-to-back.
Perhaps to prepare the Filipino people for liberation and celebration, General Douglas MacArthur’s Psychological Warfare Branch printed flag leaflets that depicted the Philippine flag on one side in full color and the 48-star flag of the United States on the other side. The leaflet bears no code, but my files show it was coded 4F1.
Stanley Sandler says about the flag leaflets:
From San Jose to Tacloban, the roads were lined with Filipino citizens, many of them with our combination Filipino-American flag leaflets in their hands, many more with them tacked up in front of their houses.
The United States to Burma
During WWII the Americans had guerrillas fighting in Burma. It also had Kachin tribesmen helping the Americans with scouting and information. This leaflet was dropped on Burma and depicts the flag of the United States and the symbol used on aircraft. It enables the locals to identify an American plane. At one time there was a red ball at the center of the white star displaying all the colors of the United States: red, white, and blue. After the Japanese attack on Pearl harbor, the red Meatball was removed. It reminded Americans of the Japanese treachery and might cause our allies to mistake a plane with a red ball on the wing as a Japanese aircraft. The message is in Burmese and Kachin and there is no translation of it, but it certainly says something like This is an American friend and is to be trusted and aided.
The Officer of War Information worked with the U.S. Navy on Saipan to prepare propaganda leaflets to be dropped on the Japanese in the Pacific. Leaflet 2018 is in the form of a Japanese flag. The bright red ball on a white background was sure to attract attention and would certainly be picked up by the average finder who made think it is a Japanese patriotic paper to be saved or put on a barracks wall. Instead, it is an American leaflet telling the Japanese that they have lost the war and they must live to rebuild the nation. The text on the back is:
Save the Nation!
Japan is faced with a national danger. Now is not the time for you to think of your own fame or follow your own desires. What is the proper act for a Japanese under such circumstances?
Obviously, one who dies foolishly at such a time accomplishes nothing. Japan is losing the war. Japan cannot afford to lose its citizens as well. Preserve your race and help build a better Japan after the war.
I have seen one of these OWI “meatball” leaflets with the typed text:
These were dropped on Tokyo, 16 February 1945 by Task Force 58 of the Fifth Fleet. We were within 150 miles of the Japanese mainland. No air opposition was encountered!
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.
A United Nations leaflet featuring their flag is coded 0705. Printed 30 April 1952, this leaflet was part of “Plan Mist,” an attempt to distract the Communists from the observance of May Day. The front of the small leaflet depicts the UN Flag; there is a short text message on the back:
The United Nations – Defenders of Peace and Justice.
As in WWII, the some PSYOP leaflets were made in the form of flags. Sometimes they were used to show their own people what their National Flag looked like. Other times it could be a political message to basically say “This is your flag, not that other one.” This leaflet was printed 15 April 1951 by the PSYWAR Section of the Eighth U.S. Army Korea, and depicts the South Korean flag. The text on the front is:
Here is your true Flag
The back has a long text to former South Korean soldiers who might have been captured and impressed into the North Korean 45th Division. Some of the text is:
Your Communist captors have forced you to endure great hardships. The U.N. forces understand that you have been forced to fight your dear brothers. Come to the U.N. lines. You will be fed and clothed, and if you wish, will be allowed to rejoin your comrades in arms in the battle for a free Korea….
Just as there was a belief that many Koreans did not recognize their own flag, it was also thought that they could not identify the flag of the United Nations. As a result, this leaflet was prepared to show them what the flag looked like. The text on the front is:
REMEMBER THIS SYMBOL – IT IS THE MARK OF FREEDOM AND HOPE
Some of the message on the back is:
Do you know what freedom and hope really are?
Freedom is freeing yourself from the never-ending surveillance of the Communists!
Freedom is returning to enjoy a happy family life!
Freedom is working in your chosen occupation!
Freedom is refusing to swim in the United Nations Sea of fire!
Freedom is escaping a Dog’s death under the Communists!
Hope is expecting to live like a man again!
Hope is expecting not to work and march and dig all day and night!
Leaflet 7222 is another United Nations leaflet using a flag as theme. It depicts the Chinese Communist flag and the text:
This is a United Nations message for the Communist military forces. Post it for them to see. This is the flag forced upon the Chinese people by Communist Traitors. Tear it up!
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.
A Second 969 Leaflet depicting the insignia of the 199th Infantry Brigade
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 machine gun 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 engaged in combat with the invincible 1st 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. You will be welcome. It is hopeless for you to resist. Stop resisting and survive.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO DIE!
My personal files add that this leaflet was printed by the U.S. Army 7th PSYOP Group on 21 October 1966 and the full code number was 1409-VSL-R-1. The leaflet was 2-inches by 5-inches in size. A second page from my files adds:
1,000,000 copies of this leaflet were printed for use by the 1st Infantry Division. They specified the size and indicated that they planned to disseminate the leaflet by artillery rounds.
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.
This very early Vietnamese Flag leaflet was prepared before the PSYOP companies were sent to Vietnam. It was created by the I Corps PSYWAR and Civil Affairs Center. Later the 244th PSYOP Company and then the 7th PSYOP Battalion would print leaflets for the I Corps Tactical Zone. This flag is a longer than usual leaflet at about 7.75 x 3.5-inches. The standard Vietnam leaflet would soon be 6 x 3-inches due to its ability to provide a better and more accurate spread over the target. The text on the back is:
Your fruitful rice field with their heavy yellow kernels are a result of your hard work. But you must pay attention, if not, your crops will be stolen by the Viet Cong as they did during the last harvest. The Viet Cong pretend to be charitable and righteous to fool you and get rice for their military supply. The Republic of Vietnam forces request that the people never let the fruit of their harvest pass into the hands of the Viet Cong.
Truly, you know their ways! They are fed by you and every night they return to disturb your peaceful life or assassinate you. Recently they got rice, corn, and manioc from the highlanders. Because the mountainous areas are not yet peaceful the Viet Cong now come to the delta intending to rob the people's next rice harvest. You work hard and don’t get enough to eat. Every day and night you pray to the Almighty to help you get a good harvest that yields a good income to pay for the schooling of your children.
The Viet Cong are cruel and warlike. They destroy the pagodas and churches. Every night they enter the villages and hamlets to make you participate in education classes, forced labor, and you never get a sound and peaceful sleep. Do you agree to letting them take part of your income?
To protects your rights and income, the Republic of Vietnam troops request that you warn the authorities before reaping your crops to hinder the Viet Cong from taking your rice to their areas. Warn the military authorities of the presence of the Viet Cong.
A second flag leaflet from I corps was coded 113-66. This flag was a bit smaller at just 6 x 3-inches. The message on the back discussed why defoliants were needed. The Viet Cong propaganda claimed it was poisonous and dangerous to humans, but U.S. propaganda always claimed it was safe and needed to clear up the jungle areas where the Viet Cong hid and ambushed people and troops. The text is:
EXPLANATIONS OF THE CHEMICALS FOR DEFOLIATION
The Viet Cong have always taken advantage of the thick brush and woods while waiting to ambush and rob the buses or to kidnap and kill innocent people.
The military authorities have used defoliation chemicals for clearing the brush and woods to protect the lines of communication which is needed for the public trade and to hinder the Viet Cong action of robbing and killing the people.
The chemical product can make the leaves fall from vegetation when it encounters the vegetation. It has no effect on human beings and animals although it clings to their skin or mixes in the food. When the clearing is done, and the communication lines are restored, the Viet Cong will never again be able to stop and rob buses and attack other civilians and traffic.
Citizens, you must be careful of the Viet Cong propaganda. They falsely claim the defoliation chemical is a poison, because the clearing will deprive them of hiding places.
This I Corps flag leaflet is 7 x 3.5-inches. It is a bit cleaner than the other ones we have seen so far. It is odd that most of these are different sizes. Once the 7th PSYOP Group published its Low, Medium, and High-Altitude Leaflet Dissemination Guide, written by Colonel Dave Underhill and filled with formulas for leaflet dropping considering leaflet size, weight and drift, most of the leaflets were in the preferred size of 6 x 3-inches. The text on this leaflet is about aiding the Viet Cong and after reading a thousand of these leaflets you can feel that these early leaflets were stricter and more insulting and condemning of the guerrillas. Later leaflets seemed kinder and more accommodating. The text on the back of this one is:
Our military forces are going to pursue the Viet Cong from the valleys to the jungles to exterminate them. Their means of gathering food were discovered by our troops. One part of their supply was destroyed, and the other part was confiscated. The Viet Cong are now weakened because of their lack of food and their future extermination is unavoidable.
For a long time, you have been under the rule of the Viet Cong. It is a very severe hardship. You were exploited by them when they offered you one cent for a bowl of rice. You were terrorized and killed by them although you were innocent civilians. Their crimes are numerous. To free yourselves from the misfortunes of Viet Cong rule and to bring peace back to our country, all citizens are considerably requested:
Not to pay them taxes such as money and rice which is considered the same as supplying their troops. To be ready to expose their bloody crimes and their financial exploitation. To Boycott the Viet Cong and in all circumstances, you must aid the government to completely clean out the Viet Cong traitors from our hamlets and villages which await peace and happiness.
This flag leaflet is the standard 6x 3-inch size. It is a bomb-warning leaflet warning people to leave the area that will soon be bombed. The text is:
This area will be destroyed by a bomb strike in a few hours. It is requested that the people leave the village and go to the Government area. All of you will be helped by the government and the Vietnamese armed forces with foodstuffs and new housing material.
Do not believe the Vietnam Propaganda and do not follow them to the deep forest to be killed by airstrikes.
The very large leaflet measures 8 x 10.5-inches. There are three flags on one side so my first thought was that there were three leaflets left uncut. I was wrong. There was one long political letter on the back. The leaflet was clearly handed out because it is not suitable for airdrop. The letter is addressed to all the I Corps troops under the command of Major General Nguyen van Chuan. The text is long so I will only translate some of it:
To Officers, NCOs, WACs. Regulars and Popular and Regional Forces in the I Corps Tactical Zone:
As before, the Army still has the absolute duty to destroy the Communists and save the country, and to bring back peace and freedom to the nation. Under all circumstances, the above mission is of the utmost importance.
During the people’s political struggle, every soldier must have the will to set his mind on his duty, which the Army’s military especially requires, and no one can neglect it to participate in the present political theater.
It is absolutely forbidden to put on military uniforms to participate in political demonstrations. Such an act could hurt military discipline, morale, and harm the Army’s mission to destroy the Communists. I call to every soldier in the front lines to make up his mind in his spiritual duty during these wartime circumstances and respect military discipline. You must channel all your efforts to fighting and winning the war against the Communists to soon bring peace and happiness to the people.
Leaflets 2107A, B and C
The United States often prepared patriotic flags of the Allies to be disseminated among the people. In October 1967, JUSPAO prepared three flags coded 2107 A, B, and C which depicted the flags of the Republic of Vietnam, the Republic of Korea, and the United States of America. Each flag was 7 x 10-inches in size and printed on 50-pound offset paper.
This small 7 x 10-inch poster was developed in July of 1967 for the school children of the Republic of Vietnam. 2,000,000 copies were printed in Manila, 500,000 of which were placed in patriotic school kits. It was also printed as a patriotic song sheet coded 1971 with the flag on front and back and the Vietnamese National Anthem inside.
This uncoded leaflet depicts the flag of the Republic of Vietnam in full color and a short anti-communist message on the front:
The Viet Cong are now embarrassing and humiliating our Fatherland. Following orders from Communist China, they are exploiting you all. Drive them out of your hamlets and neighborhoods. Do not allow them to use your homes to shoot at the government's army and its aircraft.
The Viet Cong are losing. The government's army will continue to seek out and destroy them until our national flag flies over every hamlet and every single home.
This is a Gift…
A third Republic of Vietnam Flag leaflet is from the early days of the war and bears no code. That was common before the arrival of the PSYOP companies and battalions. The text is:
1. This is a gift to the people from the province's military and civilian staffs and units.
2. The province government is now helping the people to enjoy the kind of life that they want
3. You should support the efforts of the staffs and the commanders of the 41st Tactical Zone as they carry out the work of building a strong and prosperous province to escape from the threat of Viet Cong attacks
Leaflet 6T/DV/241 172/KH
We don’t know much about this Republic of Vietnam flag leaflet except it has a very long and mysterious code and the letters DV which indicate it is a Vietnamese Army leaflet. We also know from the text that this is late in the war, the Americans are leaving, and the Vietnamese are taking over. Encyclopedia.com mentions that at the beginning of 1970, 450,000 American troops were stationed in Vietnam. By the end of 1971, only 157,000 remained. As American soldiers departed, South Vietnamese forces assumed control of American bases and other installations scattered throughout the country. By early 1972, almost all U.S. ground forces had been withdrawn from Vietnam. Of the 95,000 U.S. military personnel remaining in the country, only 6,000 were combat troops. This decline in U.S. troop strength prompted North Vietnam to launch a massive invasion, called the Easter Offensive, into South Vietnam in the spring of 1972 in hopes of winning the war once and for all. Nixon, meanwhile, reacted angrily to the Easter Offensive. The North Vietnamese have never been bombed like they're going to be bombed this time. On April 4, he authorized U.S. air strikes and artillery fire against Communist targets from U.S. warships located in the South China Sea. This U.S. air campaign also included targets in North Vietnam. By some estimates, the North lost 100,000 soldiers and 450 tanks in the assault, which failed to capture any major cities of strategic significance.
The image on the front is the Vietnamese flag in full color, though the printing seems just a bit sloppy. The text on the back is:
At the end of March 1972, the Communists, in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1954, sent troops across the 17th parallel. Using 14 divisions supported by tanks and heavy artillery, they openly invaded the territory of the Republic of Vietnam. In reaction to this madness, the ARVN have valiantly repulsed their invasion tactics on the Quang Tri, Binh Long, Kontum, and Binh Dinh battlefields with resounding victories admired by the entire world. Defeated in the South, bombed and blockaded in the North, the Communists have been exhausted and on the verge of collapse. Knowing they cannot win militarily; they have begged the United States for a cease-fire. On the other hand, they cunningly dispersed their forces into smaller units on the hamlet level to conduct terror, assassination, and land confiscation.
Facing this situation, please be firmly confident in the just national cause and the army, determined in chasing them back to the North for the final victory. Only then shall we enjoy a just and enduring peace. The Communists are in their death throes, while we have an absolute advantage.
Please be determined:
- not to supply the Communists
- not to harbor the Communists
- not to remove the national flag
- not to listen to Communists' incitement
- to denounce the undercover Communist agents
People of the national side must defeat the Communists so freedom and democracy can prevail.
Operation Desert Fox
The Iraqi Republican Guard
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.
SomaliaIn September 1991, intense fighting took place in Mogadishu, Somalia. The conflict spread again throughout the country, wreaking havoc on the nation's agriculture and leading to mass starvation. The United Nations stepped in and attempted to distribute food supplies to starving citizens. However, an estimated 80 percent of the supplies were hijacked by warring militias, who exchanged them for weapons and munitions with other corrupt nations. Meanwhile, conditions within Somalia continued to deteriorate for the great majority of its people. In resolution 767 (1992) of 27 July 1992, the Security Council approved the proposal to establish four operational zones - Berbera, Bossasso, Mogadishu and Kismayo - and strongly endorsed sending a technical team to Somalia.
In July 1992, after a ceasefire between the opposing factions, the U.N. sent 50 military observers to watch the foods distribution. Operation Provide Relief began in August 1992, when the U.S. announced that U.S. military transports would support the multinational U.N. relief effort in Somalia. Within six months, the U.S. moved 48,000 tons of food and medical supplies to international humanitarian organizations to help Somalia's more than three million starving citizens. On 24 August 1992, the Secretary-General requested an increase in the authorized strength of UNOSOM to create the four operational zones. For each zone, UNOSOM would receive a military unit of 750 personnel. The total strength of United Nations security personnel envisaged for Somalia thus rose to 3,500. On 28 August, the Security Council, by resolution 775 (1992), authorized the increase. On 8 September, it agreed to a further addition of three logistical units, raising the total authorized strength of UNOSOM to 4,219 troops and 50 military observers. The first group of security personnel arrived in Mogadishu on 14 September 1992.
German Flag Gummed Sticker for Somalia
Among those troops was a German contingent. The German PSYOP organization was Das Fernmeldebataillon 950 OPINFO. (The 950th Signal Battalion Information Operations). As expected, they produced many leaflets and postcards. One of the items was in the form of a German flag. This German flag was made as a sticker to be placed wherever needed. 4,000 copies were produced sized DIN A4, a standard German paper size (8.27 x 11.60-inches) by at the request of III Corps. Flag symbols are important because they tell other people who you are, and it is good for the morale of your own troops. When a commander wants something patriotic and colorful printed, he needs to find artists and printing presses. Where do you find them? At the local PSYOP unit who has both.
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
During wartime all sides love to use propaganda depicting their or the enemy flags. They can show the enemy flag and make disparaging remarks, or they can show their own flag in some patriotic way and raise the morale of their own troops. Here we see a leaflet using the Iraqi flag as media for its message. In this case, the Coalition has used the flag in use from 1991-2004 before the country fell and Saddam Hussein was still in power. The center of the flag was left unchanged with “God is Great” in green still between the stars. The new text that has been added is:
With peace and unity
and the cooperation of all Iraqis can build a new Iraq.
The back depicts the flag once again but with the addition of four photographs of the new Iraq without Saddam and his political party. The text is:
Many cultures, one Iraq.
We repair and rebuild together.
Soldiers of Costa
The Costa-Ventura War games were based on guerilla wars in South America and since the U.S. Army 1st PSYOP Battalion is responsible for the area the training leaflets are usually prepared by that unit. The first leaflet in this series shows U.S. troops defending Ventura from the troops of Costa. The leaflet is stamped "Printed by the 1st PSYOP Battalion in Support of S.S. 81." The text on the front is:
Soldiers of Costa
Your supplies have been cut off! You are totally isolated! You will not win this war. Surrender to America’s finest soldiers.
Save yourself, use your safe conduct pass.
The text on the back is:
SOLDIERS OF THE 2ND 11TH MRR. YOU ARE BEING BEATEN BECAUSE YOU ARE FIGHTING AGAINST AMERICA’S BEST COMBAT SOLDIERS.
We know what American unit they are talking about because they have added the patch of the 197th Infantry Brigade.
The second leaflet depicts a Bell UH-1 Iroquois (nicknamed "Huey"), with military troops rappelling to the ground. The text on the front is:
FOOD SHELTER AND MEDICAL AID WILL BE AVAILABLE IN YOUR LOCAL COMMUNISITIES. FOLLOW OUR INSTRUCTIONS. STAY HOME AND YOU WILL BE SAFE.
The text on the back bears the comment that the 1st PSYOP Battalion designed printed the leaflet. Once again, we see the troops rappelling to the ground, and the patch of the 101st Airborne Division, and the text:
TO ALL CITIZENS IN THE COUNTRY OF VENTURA.
YOU ARE ADVISED TO STAY IN YOUR HOMES. STAY HOME AND LISTEN TO THE RADIO FOR INFORMATION ON THE LOCATION OF COMFORT STATIONS.
US FORCES ARE HERE
This leaflet seems to be from a different wargame and is coded O.P. 18. It is a very colorful leaflet with the flags of Ventura and the United States at the top. In the center we see the symbol of the United States Marine Corps. The text is:
US FORCES ARE HERE
1. To defeat and expel Costan invaders.
2. To eliminate insurgency and terrorism.
3. To assist your government in restoring peace and order.
HELP US HELP YOU.
The back is mostly ocean blue with a vague image of ships at sea that is barely visible. At the bottom of the right of the leaflet is "O.P.18 PRINTED BY THE 1ST PSYOP BN"
The text is:
THE US IS VENTURA’S ALLY.
THE US MARINES HAVE LANDED IN VENTURA.
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 on 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 fake 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. Think about the genius of these scammers. If you were a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division decades ago and you remember it with pride, then see one of these cards that you could put in your wallet and show to your friends of your grandchildren, how could you resist? They make them with every unit known today, even some that were secret at the time and probably unknown to the Viet Cong. The funny part is that the scammers also wanted to sell to those troops who liked naked women and pornography, so although you cannot see them in this offering, many show a naked girl with legs open on the back. Two birds with one stone. I wonder how you will show that card to a grandchild?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org..