The primary role of North Vietnam’s navy was guarding the coast to counter South Vietnamese commando raids, but in a more aggressive move three of its Soviet-designed, Chinese-built P4 class torpedo boats, like those at right, attacked the U.S. destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin on Aug. 2, 1964. The Maddox and F-8 Crusaders from carrier USS Ticonderoga damaged and drove off the assailants. The clash revealed the inadequacies of North Vietnam’s torpedo boats, and the U.S. used the incident to expand its military presence in the country. (Sputnik/Alamy)