The usual accounting of film coverage of the Vietnam War claims that television and newsreels helped destroy any popular support for the war, and to some extent this is true--the Tet Offensive, for example, was a major defeat for the Vietcong, rather than the victory that some press accounts made it out to be (although the very fact that it could be carried out, with infiltrators even making it onto the grounds of the American embassy in Saigon, also destroyed American credibility about the progress of the war). At the same time, the United States military tried to produce some film that was on their side, mostly in the form of instructional and indoctrination, that were intended only for the eyes of U.S. military personnel.
This included the Vietnam Training Reports, 20 minute films, usually shot on actual combat missions, that explained the order of battle in the various locales in Vietnam, from the highlands to the Mekong Delta; the procedures developed for carrying out various assignments, such as securing a landing zone (LZ) and extracting troops from an LZ; search-and-destroy and reconnaissance in force missions; the roles of various hardware, from helicopters to air force fighter-bombers, in supporting troops on the ground; safety tips for men in the field (don't bunch up, don't lose track of your weapon, make sure automatic weapons squads are the first off the helicopter at any LZ....) Some of the material is unexpectedly candid, as the shots of burned out helicopters, crashed while taking off in dust; a hit by enemy fire aboard a chopper, that knocks out one camera and wounds two men; and the stacked up bodies of dead Vietcong.
VTR #24--HELICOPTERS AS AERIAL WEAPONS PLATFORMS: A quick look at the attack helicopter and the various missions to which it is assigned in Vietnam, including escort duty, reconnaissance and security, and as a platform for directing fire support by other attack helicopters. Among the tasks seen being carried out are choppers returning ground fire, and an explanation of the procedures used (on escort missions, door gunners were ordered to return just enough fire to disengage, unless an unusually good target were located). The process for a proper attack run is explained (it was critical for pilots to concern themselves with the climb away afterward, because it would slow the chopper down just at the point when it would be at the closest range to the enemy).
VTR #28--AIRMOBILE OPERATIONS: A look at the uses of the helicopter in a combat role. First it is explained that artillery and tactical air support have their limits, mostly because of the time it takes to prepare assaults by either. The attack helicopter, despite a few drawbacks (it could be grounded by bad weather, and had a limited capacity for cargo, was the answer--durable and mobile, with the capability of carrying heavy machine guns and rockets, they could be called on for an airborne strike and hit a target within a couple of hours or less, and use their weapons within 50 meters of our own troops. We also see the procedure used to plan missions, which essentially worked in reverse--from end to beginning.
GENERAL PRECISION DECCA SYSTEMS: An industrial film produced for troops in Vietnam during the mid-1960's, about the Decca precision antenna and its role in easing navigation problems in Vietnam. The problems of navigating by landmark over a country with so much foliage and so few distinctive landmarks are explained, along with the way that the navigation systems work, and their degree of precision.