Patrol Boat River (PBR) was a heavily armed river boat used by the American Navy during the Vietnam War to patrol the rivers of Vietnam. Armed with forward facing twin .50 cal machineguns, one rear deck .50 cal, up to two side mounted M60 machineguns, and a Mk19 grenade launcher, the PBR’s crew of four was capable to laying down a huge volume of fire. The boat itself offered little protection to its crew, who relied on the PBR’s speed, approximately 28 knots, to escape danger. PBR crewmen were some of the most decorated men of the War, but also suffered one of the highest casualty rates. By wars end one in every three PBR sailors would become a casualty of the War in Vietnam.
I picked up my two PBRs from Peter Pig’s Men of Company B Vietnam War range. Peter Pig has a decent selection of 15mm models for use in Vietnam gaming. Among them are the PBRs, which cost about $14.50 before shipping. You can order directly from Peter Pig or from Brookhurst Hobbies in the US.
The PBR kit is a resin and metal model. The boat is a single piece of resin while the guns, crew and antenna are metal. Assembly was quick. Peter Pig has a good solid reputation for having good detail and crisp figures that require little to no clean up. This kit was no different. I took some extra time to magnetize the front twin .50 cals so they would swivel. I didn’t magnetize the rear .50 cal, but wish I would have now that they are done.
I absolutely love almost every feature on these PBRs. They are such a dynamic and fun piece which is guaranteed to give life to your Tour of Duty games. The only critique I have of the model it the boat is cast as one resin piece. You cannot see into the pilot house and the PBR looks like it has windows instead of a canvass cover.
Battlefront does not currently have any rules for using a PBR, and they may never have any since it is a water craft. However the brown water navy played a vital part of the American war effort. We are going to play test these down the road and were looking at the following rules.
Name Move Front Side Top Notes
Weapon Range ROF AT FP
Patrol Boat River Fast Boat 0 0 0 Fast Boat
Twin.50cal 16 6 4 5+ Front Deck Mounted
.50cal 16 3 4 5+ Rear Deck Mounted
Side mounted M60 16 3 2 6+ Side Mounted
Mk. 19 Grenade Launcher 16 3 2 4+ Side Mounted
The PBR had very little armor and relied on its speed as its main defensive asset.
Fast boats may only move on water. When moving they may move in any direction up to 12 inches. They may move at the double 24 inches, but cannot shoot. All successful hits made against a fast boat must be re-rolled.
Now in order to play with a PBR you will need a large area of water. We are thinking of an assault on a VC held village along a large river. Any feedback on these ideas would be appreciated. Once we use them I will give an update to the community.
I give these PBRs 8 out of 10 life jackets.
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“Craig Baxter is the Director of the WWPD Northern Research center in Anchorage, AK. When he’s not contributing to WWPD.net he is busy blogging, painting, modeling and rolling dice. You can find more of his work and articles at frozengamerak.blogspot.com.”