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The Vietnam battle was a helicopter war. Practically 12,000 helicopters the varying types flew throughout the conflict, yet one model in particular has taken on iconic status. Thanks in large part to the helicopter’s plenty of appearances on the silver screen, the is now complicated to snapshot the Vietnam battle without see the UH-1 Iroquois – much better known as the Huey. Right here are six facts about it.

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1. It was initially intended to be an wait ambulance 

In 1955, the US military asked because that a new utility helicopter for usage as one aerial ambulance through the Medical service Corps. The Bell Helicopter agency won the contract through their XH-40 model. The made its an initial flight ~ above 20 October 1956 and went into production in 1959.  


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2. The surname “Huey” comes from an early designation  

The army initially designated the XH-40 as the HU-1 (Helicopter Utility). This designation mechanism was changed in 1962 and the HU-1 came to be the UH-1, however the initial nickname “Huey” remained.  

The official name of the UH-1 is the Iroquois, adhering to the currently defunct US heritage of specify name helicopters after native American tribes.  

3. The UH-1B to be the united state Army’s an initial gunship  

Unarmed Hueys, recognized as “slicks”, were offered as convoy transporters in Vietnam. The first UH variant, the UH-1A, could bring up to six seats (or 2 stretchers for a medevac role). Yet the vulnerability that slicks triggered the advancement of the UH-1B, the us Army’s first purpose-built gunship, which could be equipped v M60 machine guns and rockets.


Troops jump from a “slick” as it hovers over the landing zone. Hueys were peak targets because that the Viet Cong.


Later gunships, or “hogs” together they ended up being known, were likewise equipped with M134 Gatling miniguns. This armament was augmented by 2 door gunners, secured in ar by what was well-known as the “monkey strap”.

Crews were detailed with chest armour, i beg your pardon they referred to as “chicken plate” but many opted to sit top top their armour (or their helmet) to safeguard themselves from foe fire penetrating the relatively thin aluminium shell that the helicopter native below.

4. Brand-new Huey variants tackled power issues

The UH-1A and B variants to be both hampered by a absence of power. Though your turboshaft engines were an ext powerful 보다 anything previously available, they quiet struggled in the warmth of Vietnam’s mountainous regions.

The UH-1C, another variant designed because that the gunship role, sought to resolve this difficulty by including an extra 150-horsepower to the engine. The UH-1D, meanwhile, was the an initial of a new, bigger model of Huey with much longer rotors and another additional 100-horsepower.

The UH-1D to be intended primarily for medevac and also transport duties and also could carry up come 12 troops. Yet the hot air that Vietnam supposed it hardly ever flew full.

5. Hueys carried the end a range of roles in Vietnam


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Among the Huey’s biggest strengths to be its versatility. It was used as a convoy transporter, because that close wait support and for clinical evacuation.

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Medevac missions, recognized as “dustoffs”, to be by far the many dangerous job for a Huey crew. Despite this, a wounded united state soldier in Vietnam could expect to be evacuated in ~ an hour that sustaining their injuries. The rate of evacuation had a significant effect on mortality rates. The mortality rate among injured soldiers in Vietnam was less than 1 in 100 casualties contrasted with 2.5 in 100 throughout the oriental War.

6. Pilots loved the Huey

Known together the workhorse the the Vietnam War, the Huey was a favourite amongst pilots who valued its adaptability and ruggedness.

In his memoir Chickenhawk, pilot Robert Mason described the Huey as “the delivery everybody lusted come fly”. That his first experience taking off in the Huey, he said: “The device left the ground like it to be falling up.”

Another Huey pilot, Richard Jellerson, likened the helicopter come a truck:

“It was simple to fix and also could take any kind of amount the punishment. Few of them came back with so plenty of holes, you simply wouldn’t believe they’d ever before fly again”.