Armour Collection B11E203 US Army Bell AH-1G Cobra Attack Helicopter - "Rebels", B Company, 1st Aviation Battalion, 1st Infantry Division (1:48 Scale)
"If you are in trouble anywhere in the world, an airplane can fly over and drop flowers, but a helicopter can land and save your life."
- Igor Sikorsky, 1947
While the ubiquitous UH-1 "Huey" could perform a variety of roles, it was found to be too slow for the gunship or escort role. Bell Helicopter won the competition for an interim fast armed escort helicopter in March 1966, against the Sikorsky S-61 and the Kaman H-2 Tomahawk, while the Army was waiting for the fielding of the AAFSS AH-56A Cheyenne. The AAFSS program was cancelled in 1972.
Some early model AH-1G Cobras mounted either two M134 "Miniguns" or two M129 grenade launchers in a M28A1 chin-turret (TAT-141). Because of problems with the ammunition feed systems, the twin-gun configuration was discontinued. The Cobra was first employed to Vietnam with the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in August 1967. The Cobra's primary mission was to give fire support to troop carrying "Hueys". The AH-1G Cobra was powered by a single Lycoming T53-L-13 1400 shp turbine engine, and had a speed of 196 mph (170 knots), almost twice the speed of the UH-1 "Huey". The AH-1G Cobra used the M73 reflex sight. The Cobra performed it's job so well it was possible for the first time for "slicks" and gun ships to operated as true air cavalry.
Later models of the AH-1G Cobra, or "Snake", were armed with 2.75 inch (70mm) Folding Fin Aerial Rockets (FFARS) in M158 seven-tube or M200 19-tube rocket launchers, used so effectively at An Loc in 1972. The Cobra had a chin-turret on the M28/M28A1 armament subsystem. The chin-turret mounted the M134 7.62mm "Minigun" and the M129 40mm grenade launcher. The AH-1G could also be armed with the M134 "Minigun" in fixed side-mounting M18/M18A1 gun pod, and the port (left) side mounting M195 20mm automatic gun on the M35 armament subsystem. The AH-1G could also mount the XM118 smoke grenade dispenser.
This particular Cobra was attached to the US Army's B Company, 1st Aviation Battalion, 1st Infantry Division.
Historical Account: "The Big Red One" - Arriving in July 1965, the 1st Infantry Division began combat operations within two weeks. By the end of 1965, the division had participated in three major operations: Hump, Bushmaster I and Bushmaster II, under the command of MG Jonathan O. Seaman.
In 1966, the division took part in Operation Marauder, Operation Crimp II, and Operation Rolling Stone, all in the early part of the year. In March, MG William E. DePuy took command. In June and July the division took part in the battles of Ap Tau O, Srok Dong and Minh Thanh Road. In November 1966, the division participated in Operation Attleboro.
1967 saw the 1st I.D. in Operation Cedar Falls, Operation Junction City, Operation Manhattan, and Operation Shenandoah II. MG John H. Hay assumed command in February. On October 17th, 1967, the 1st I.D suffered heavy casualties at the Battle of Ong Thanh with 58 KIA.
1968 would see the division involved in the Tet Offensive, securing the massive Tan Son Nhut Air Base. In March, MG Keith L. Ware took command. That same month the division took part in Operation Quyet Thang (Resolve to Win), April would see the division participate in the largest operation in the Vietnam conflict, Operation Toan Thang (Certain Victory). On September 13th, the division Commander, Maj. Gen. Ware, was killed in action when his command helicopter was shot down by hostile fire. MG Orwin C. Talbott moved up from his position of Assistant Division Commander to assume command of the division.
In the first half of 1969, The Big Red One conducted reconnaissance-in-force and ambush operations, including a multi-divisional operation, Atlas Wedge, and participated in the Battle of An Lộc. The last part of the year saw the division take part in "Dong Tien" (Progress Together) operations. These operations were intended to assist South Vietnamese forces to take a more active role in combat. In August, MG A. E. Milloy took command of the 1st I.D. while the division took part in battles along National Highway 13, known as "Thunder Road" to the end of the year.