Guns of Vietnam


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jtward01
January 2, 2006, 03:46 PM
All,

I'm looking for information on the types of small arms used by US, ARVN, VC and ANV soldiers during the period the US was involved.

I know, of course, about the 1911A1, M1A1/M14, M16A2, M1 carbine, M3 "grease gun" and BARs. Were Thompson's still used? Garands? I know there were sniper rifles used, but I don't know types or model numbers. Anything else?

I believe the SKS was used by the communist forces but I don't know anything about what else they used in significant numbers.

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1 old 0311
January 2, 2006, 03:49 PM
AK 47's were used, mostly by the NVA. I saw a few Grease guns but no Thompsons. The VC used lots of old strange French weapons also.

Kevin

p.s I have a Poloroid I can fax you of some of the 'off the wall' NVA, VC, guns we found. Can't post it. My computer was made by Fred Flinstone. PM me if you are intrested.

WT
January 2, 2006, 03:55 PM
Two of my friends carried Thompsons. One was a Ranger and the other was SF. Another SF friend used a Garand as a sniper rifle.

I have heard that Swedish K's were used by some of our SF troops but haven't met anyone who actually carried one.

Brian Williams
January 2, 2006, 03:59 PM
The M16, m16A1, M40 sniper rifle(was a Rem 700 with Win onepiece baseplate/triggerguard). Also it was not an M1A1 it was the M14. Also the CAR-16 and XM version

Scarface
January 2, 2006, 04:36 PM
Two of my friends carried Thompsons. One was a Ranger and the other was SF. Another SF friend used a Garand as a sniper rifle.

I have heard that Swedish K's were used by some of our SF troops but haven't met anyone who actually carried one.

Hi WT,

I was a Marine, flying Cobras. Our Recon people said thanks once, by giving me a Swedish K. I carried that until I got my grease gun. Prior to that, I had a cut down M14. It was convenient, since we carried 4,000 rounds of 7.62.

Be Well,
Scarface

Vern Humphrey
January 2, 2006, 05:08 PM
All,

I'm looking for information on the types of small arms used by US, ARVN, VC and ANV soldiers during the period the US was involved.

I know, of course, about the 1911A1, M1A1/M14, M16A2, M1 carbine, M3 "grease gun" and BARs. Were Thompson's still used? Garands? I know there were sniper rifles used, but I don't know types or model numbers. Anything else?

I believe the SKS was used by the communist forces but I don't know anything about what else they used in significant numbers.

Standard weapons were the M16A1, the M1911A1 and the M60 machinegun. The M79 grenade launcher was standard until replaced late in the war by the M203, which mounts under the M16A1 rifle.

The M14 and M14A2 were used early in the war -- 'til about 66 or 67 in some units. The standard sniper rifle was the M21. My company had two pre-M21s, accurized M14s (since I had only one trained sniper, I kept the other for myself.)

As an adviser my previous tour, I was issued an M2 carbine, which got wrapped around a tree. After that, I carried an M1 rifle I bummed from the ARVN. ARVN units of that era carried the M1, with officers being issued the M2 carbine, the M1911A1. The M1918A2 BAR was standard, as was the M1919A6 machine gun.

Lots of older weapons floated around, including the Thompson (which was not standard issue with either US or ARVN) and the M3 grease-gun (standard with tankers and often found in other units.) I sometimes saw S&W copies of the Swedish K submachine gun. My company had two Winchester Model 12 shotguns, as well.

The VC had a hodge-podge of weapons -- mostly WWII vintage early in the war -- I saw a US M1917 captured from the VC once. I also saw a captured hand-made M1911A1 pistol. Very crude. As you can imagine, they had a lot of French weapons and some Japanese, too.

I once killed an NVA lieutenant who had a Browning Hi-Power, made by Inglis of Canada, complete with shoulder stock and cleaning rod.

The M1944 Moisn Nagant was not uncommon among VC, and by '66 the SKS and AK 47 began to appear in numbers. The MN sniper version was also used -- my battalion killed an NVA sniper near Con Thieu in '69.

TimH
January 2, 2006, 05:13 PM
Whats a "Grease gun"? Why do they call it that? Thanks Tim

The Viking
January 2, 2006, 05:18 PM
Whats a "Grease gun"? Why do they call it that? Thanks Tim
This is the M3/M3A1. It nicknamed "Greasegun" because it looks like one. (http://world.guns.ru/smg/smg32-e.htm)

Hkmp5sd
January 2, 2006, 05:31 PM
Soviet: SKS(carbine), AK-47(rifle), SVD(sniper rifle), RPK(light machinegun), RPD(light machinegun), 12.7(heavy machinegun), 75mm Recoiless rifle (chinese), RPG7, and tons of US WWII arms that were captured by the Chinese communists after the communists kicked the nationalists off the continent.

Some US arms not previously listed: SW-76 (9mm submachinegun), S&W Model 39 (suppressed), MAC-10, STEN, assorted .38 SPL revolvers. Stoner (belt fed 5.56mm machinegun), Browning .50 machinegun(assorted configurations), M73 7.62 machinegun, and LAW.

Scarface
January 2, 2006, 07:30 PM
Hi Tim,

Look at http://www.rt66.com/~korteng/SmallArms/grease.htm

The bolt on this was about the size of a soft drink can. When it was fired, it felt like you were shootin a pogo stick. We taped 3 maazines together to have a LOT of .45 ACP handy.

Vern, we saw some of the same territory. Glad you made it.

Be Well,

Scarface

Vern Humphrey
January 2, 2006, 07:38 PM
Hi Tim,

Look at http://www.rt66.com/~korteng/SmallArms/grease.htm

The bolt on this was about the size of a soft drink can. When it was fired, it felt like you were shootin a pogo stick. We taped 3 maazines together to have a LOT of .45 ACP handy.

Vern, we saw some of the same territory. Glad you made it.

Be Well,

Scarface

Thanks and the same to you. And here's to absent comrades.

Chesty, by the way, is in the old cemetary in Tappahannock, Virginia. Many of his family are there, but the main attraction was that until he got there, the ranking man was a Confederate Brigadier General.:p

Ala Dan
January 2, 2006, 08:21 PM
FWIW, the suppressed Smith & Wesson model 39 was called a "Hush Puppy".
Used to take out sentry's (or guard dogs) around fortified positions.:uhoh: :D

V4Vendetta
January 2, 2006, 08:55 PM
I read that the SOG's used CAR15's & K9's. Sometimes they had to use AK's for when they went into Cambodia.

Crosshair
January 2, 2006, 10:55 PM
Don't forget that the Vietnamese used the RPG-2 and RPG-7 to great effect as well.

Walter
January 2, 2006, 11:11 PM
Good night, Chesty, wherever you are!
And Semper Fi, too.

I don't believe RPGs would qualify as "small arms".
Just as I don't think LAAW's or claymores would be
classified as "small arms".

Just my opinion.

Walter

isp2605
January 2, 2006, 11:13 PM
Quite a few early M-16s carried by USAF Air Police were stamped AR-15. Had one in my inventory so stamped that was made by H&R with a 5 digit serial number. Side arm for the USAF SPs and air crews was S&W Model 15. Might also see the occasional Model 10 and heard there were some Rugers for issue in country.

Arethusa
January 2, 2006, 11:23 PM
FWIW, the suppressed Smith & Wesson model 39 was called a "Hush Puppy".
Used to take out sentry's (or guard dogs) around fortified positions.:uhoh: :D
There are some slight differences between the 29 and the Mk 22 Mod 0, most notably the raised sights to allow you to aim with the suppressor attached (as well as the threaded barrel to attach the suppressor). There were a few other little things I can't quite remember right now. Nothing so dramatic as the difference between a USP Tactical and an Mk 23 Mod 0.

Also worth mentioning that a lot of WW2 era Soviet hardware showed up in Vietnam, including PPSH41s, PPS43s, and Mosin Magants. The weaponry being used depends pretty heavily on what part of the war you're looking at.

dumza
January 3, 2006, 02:40 AM
For our weapons, can't forget the 106 recoiless rifle nor the 90 mm recoiless. Also the mortars count. The 60mm, 81mm and the 4.2". Sorry was a 45b. Small arms repairman in the 701st (68-69). Seen a nice Purdy 12 ga. stolen from a french plantation. Was brought in from a s&d off a VC. Oh and what was that under barrel grenade launcher the xm 240? Got to handle one one of the three shot automatic 40mm grenade launcher. Never did find out the designation though.
tom

Dr.Rob
January 3, 2006, 01:44 PM
I've met two different SF guys who carried the BAR in Vietnam.

Both told me the RF/PF forces and ARVN used the BAR as a crew served (2 man team) weapon. Both liked the BAR's ability to shoot through log bunkers out in the sticks.

I read a story about one of the survivors of the US Embassy attack at Tet never went anywhere unarmed afterwards, one of his many arms was a bedside Thompson.

Hkmp5sd
January 3, 2006, 01:45 PM
There are some slight differences between the 39 and the Mk 22 Mod 0, most notably the raised sights to allow you to aim with the suppressor attached

It also had a slide lock to keep the slide from cycling when fired.

BigG
January 3, 2006, 02:04 PM
Quite a few early M-16s carried by USAF Air Police were stamped AR-15.

As I recall, all of our Army Colt M16A1s were stamped "COLT AR15" with the horse and the globe and below it "Model M16." Just like a civilian SP1 except for the SP1 stamped where the M16 would be. YMMV

Hawkmoon
January 3, 2006, 04:28 PM
I was there in 1968. We didn't have M16A1s ... we had M16s.

Ran into some Republic of Korea Marines once who were carrying US carbines. Dunno if they were M1 or M2 version, though.

isp2605
January 3, 2006, 04:50 PM
As I recall, all of our Army Colt M16A1s were stamped "COLT AR15" with the horse and the globe and below it "Model M16." Just like a civilian SP1 except for the SP1 stamped where the M16 would be. YMMV

Yup, had Colts like that too. The H&R I had in inventory was the only H&R I've seen. The "AR" stamped ones were probably from the early-mid 60s vintage.

isp2605
January 3, 2006, 07:18 PM
Oh and what was that under barrel grenade launcher the xm 240?

Are you thinking of the M-203? There was also the M-148. And can't forget the M-79.

cxm
January 3, 2006, 08:39 PM
Early on the VC had a lot of German weapons (captured by the Russians in WWII) as well as Japanese, U.S. and Russian stuff. At one time there were quite a few Mauser types and I know of StGw 44s being encountered as well.

As the war progressed, Russian Moisen-Nagant rifles of various types showed up, and later SKS carbines of assorted heritage and AK type started arriving as well.

Also, there were a LOT of privately owned weapons carried by U.S. forces. The PX sold tons of S&W and Colt's pistols and revolvers. The S&W M58 .41 Magnum was considered a particular prize because of it's power and reliability as well as low price, but it was in short supply.

The troops from Oz used a home built version of the FAL plus some BHP pistols and AUSSTEN SMGS.

FWIW

Chuck


All,

I'm looking for information on the types of small arms used by US, ARVN, VC and ANV soldiers during the period the US was involved.

I know, of course, about the 1911A1, M1A1/M14, M16A2, M1 carbine, M3 "grease gun" and BARs. Were Thompson's still used? Garands? I know there were sniper rifles used, but I don't know types or model numbers. Anything else?

I believe the SKS was used by the communist forces but I don't know anything about what else they used in significant numbers.

Larry Ashcraft
January 3, 2006, 08:54 PM
I have heard that Swedish K's were used by some of our SF troops but haven't met anyone who actually carried one.
Medal of Honor winner Drew Dix carried one (he's a friend of mine), along with a BHP. His favorite weapon though, was the .50 BMG.

Bart Noir
January 3, 2006, 10:20 PM
Had to say that, as I dislike posers. But I am glad to see some confirmation of the StG-44 (also known as MP-44) since I have been wondering for many years if the fella was right, the one who had been SF in the '60s to include the Tet time. He told me his team sometimes used this weapon when going into countries that we never, ever went into, nope, not once. Now you say that some were there in the hands of the VC. If only I could find a photo, of anybody using this weapon.

I have always wondered if he was the aforementioned poser type.

Bart Noir

Brownshoe Sailor
July 15, 2009, 06:40 PM
I was hoist operator/gunner in a Navy SH-3D, Indian Gal 69, on a "Shining Brass" mission into NVN on 16 October '66. The White Rabbit team we inserted carried Swedish K's.

We (along with a second H-3) dropped the team on a ridgetop LZ we'd found a couple days previously, about 25 miles inland in the skinny part of North Vietnam. After they ran into some militia we went in to pick them up, two at a time on the jungle penetrator seat. The third pair had just got on and were barely clear of the ground when the firing started. My second crewman (on the M-60 pintle mounted atop a sheet of hardface that filled the lower half of the port side personnel door) and the four team members we already had on board were all firing back up the slope of the ridge to our port. I'm not sure the team's "Swedish K" machine pistols were doing much good at that range, but they'd punched out the port side cabin windows and were merrily blazing away. About the same time we took a rifle hit in the #1 engine fuel line, and JP came streaming through the cabin and out past my station on the hoist. Our pilot asked if we were clear to move out and I gave him an enthusiastic affirmative. We got out of the hover and started over the other ridge (east of us above our nose) before the fuel left in the fuel control ran out. A real golden BB affair.

On one engine we couldn't get much above 60 to 70 knots (normal in the poorly balanced armored SH-3s was 107 max) and 3,000 feet - so we couldn't pick up Tacan signals from ships in the gulf, but we knew the water was east and headed that way. Everything was fine until we crossed the coast near a town that had bridges - and AAA. Normally we were vectored away from AAA concentrations, so we weren't prepared for the pops and bangs and smoke puffs that started to look like one of those B-17 movies. Besides numerous fragments from bigger stuff, we took a string of three 37mm direct hits and lost the tail rotor control cables - but that old Sikorsky truck still made 15 miles out to sea where we ditched between a destroyer and frigate and were promptly rescued ourselves by a rival squadron. Pretty much everyone on board got hit, but between a flak vest and a badly bent M-60, when I woke up I'd caught only little pieces of frags and flying skin metal despite looking into a 37mm burst from four or five feet away.

http://raunchyredskins.us/Operations/SAR%20Pix.htm

Leadbutt
July 15, 2009, 06:53 PM
BrownShoe thank for the photos,, I was on a LRP team in the 60's can't tell you how many times the Navy SPADS and Air Force SANDY' saved our bacon.

Our teams primarly carried the 16 and the XM177/CAR but on long reach patrols we carried either Indig or "other" weapons

BHP FAN
July 15, 2009, 06:55 PM
Very cool stuff.There is a Historical pictures thread over on M1911.org that you should consider donateing to,as well.Thank you for your service,sir.

Vern Humphrey
July 15, 2009, 06:59 PM
The Swedish Ks (officially the M/45) used in Viet Nam was actually a Smith and Wesson knock off, the M76. The wisdom of issueing those to people who might actually have to use them in combat is something that completely eluded me.

jhco
July 15, 2009, 07:04 PM
IIRC the sniper rifle used was a m40a1 basically a remington 700

Dr.Rob
July 15, 2009, 07:16 PM
Another old and resurrected thread...

had to think back but a Col. I knew (who was a JAG in the army) swore he had an SF buddy that packed an MP38/40 'Schmiesser'. I'm always leary of stories like that but the Col. recounted a lot of colorful info about this soldier that had the ring of 'truth.'

justashooter in pa
July 15, 2009, 09:32 PM
I have seen ZB30 in 8X57 and in 7.62X39 conversion that did time in VN in the beijing military museum. chinese copies of the 1919 made in Hanyang arsenal in 8X57 and GI lend lease 1919 in 30-06 provided during the Stillwell period were also used as mounted guns.

justashooter in pa
July 15, 2009, 09:35 PM
Hey Brownshoe,

That's a nasty situation. As a Bell Textron certified fuel systems P mechanic familiar with 212 systems for the Pratt Whitney PT6 (damned near to the 205 engine and in just about the same airframe) I understand what you're talking about.

84B20
July 15, 2009, 09:45 PM
You can add a S&W model 10 with 4" barrel and a Walther P-38 (9mm). These actually weren't issued by the Army. I brought my own along. Since I was a photographer I didn't want to carry a long gun along with my cameras so after being issued an M16, which was taken away when I arrive in country and replace with an M14, I didn't want the extra weight since I had to travel all over the country for my unit.

meytind
July 15, 2009, 09:52 PM
What shotguns were popular?

jhco
July 15, 2009, 10:00 PM
Ithaca model 37 was used some

LRaccuracy
July 15, 2009, 10:07 PM
Some pilots carried .38 special revolvers. I believe mine was a S&W model 10.

MABS-16 MAG-16

meytind
July 15, 2009, 11:40 PM
Ithaca model 37 was used some
I hear from a former marine that the 870's he saw in Vietnam tended to jam up and that the Ithaca 37s didn't have that problem. Any truth to that?

mp510
July 16, 2009, 12:00 AM
The Swedish Ks (officially the M/45) used in Viet Nam was actually a Smith and Wesson knock off, the M76. The wisdom of issueing those to people who might actually have to use them in combat is something that completely eluded me. My understanding is that the Smith 76 was devised after the Swedish cut-off exports of the K to protest our intervention in viet nam.

Trebor
July 16, 2009, 01:16 AM
I wasn't there (I was born in '67) but I've read quite a bit about the war, especially on the small unit level.

My understanding is that pretty much *anything* made up 'till then turned up in Vietnam at one point or another.

The early U.S. advisors used a lot of U.S. WWII weapons, as did the ARVN troops the U.S. was advising. A lot of M-1 Garands were rebuilt in U.S. arsenals to keep the supply of foreign military aid to Vietnam flowing. The Garand was particularly ill-suited for the Vietnamese because many were of very small stature.

Later when the Garands were replaced with AR-15/M-16's, the Garands still in the rebuild pipeline were retained stateside. Many were rebuilt, put into storage, and never issued again. Some were later released under the DCM or CMP programs. I have one that went through that 60's era rebuild that I got from the CMP.

Early AR-15's were issued to U.S. advisors and Vietnemese troops before the U.S. military even planned to adopt the weapon itself. The AR-15 was smaller and lighter and had less recoil then the Garand, so it worked better for the Vietnamese troops. The suitability of the AR-15/M-16 as foreign aid to Vietnam was one of the things that kept that rifle program alive early on. The U.S. military didn't want it for itself, but was willing to let the ARVN troops use it.

The later models, the XM-16E1, USAF M-16, and US Army M-16A1 became the standard U.S. and ARVN weapon in the mid-sixties, largely replacing the M-14 (in U.S. service) and the M-1 Garand and M-1 Carbine (in ARVN service). The USMC hung onto their M-14's past the point were the army switched over. (I don't know if that was USMC preference or because of a lack of M-16's to arm the USCM. I suspect a bit of both).

The early U.S. advisors and Special Forces also used a variety of non-standard weapons as well, mainly left overs from WWII. From what I've read, it seems to me that if a U.S. advisor or SF unit got it's hands on something unique they wanted to use, and could get a supply of ammo for it, they'd use it until the ammo ran out or they were ordered not to use it anymore. In addition to the fairly common "Swedish K" SMG (and the U.S. S&W 76 copy), I've seen references to U.S. advisors or SF teams using German MP-40's, Chinese PPsH SMG copies, and other odd stuff.

The VC used anything they could get their hands on, especially early on before they were really being supplied from the North. As the war progressed, their weaponry was slowly upgraded with weapons brought from NV into SV via the Ho Chi Minh trail.

Early Viet Minh and early Viet Cong used mainly WWII era weapons: There were a lot of left over Japanese WWII weapons. They also used a lot of captured French weapons, especially when they were still fighting the French, but even later into the war. We're talking about French MAS rifles, MAT-49 SMG's, and things like that. Many of the captured MAT-49 SMG's were later rechambered in 7.62 (Pistol) instead of 9mm, for ease of ammo resupply.

The Mosin Nagant was another fairly common rifle for the VC early on. I believe these were Soviet aid exports. Of course, the VC being guerillas, would always use whatever they could capture from ARVN or U.S. troops or otherwise scrounge up. So, if the U.S. or ARVN used it, expect for the VC to have some as well.

Later, when the VC started getting regular supplies from the North, they used more Chinese built SKS rifles and Chinese built AK-47's (Chinese Type 56).

When the U.S. started sending in "regular" troops, in large units, instead of just advisors and SF teams, the weapons became more standardized. The early units used the M-14, with the XM-16E1 and then the M-16A1 becoming standard for many units sometime around '65 - '66. It did take time to make the transition, so both rifles were in use at the same time.

The grenade lauchers included the M-79 single shot launcher, an experimental 3 shot launcher that was tested in country (very few), and later an experimental underbarrel launcher that was withdrawn after combat use proved that it was not durable enough. The M-203 underbarrel launcher came around late in the war, after the first failed underbarrel launcher.

The standard U.S. Army pistol was the 1911A1. Army helicopter pilots were often issued a .38 Special S&W, although many acquired 1911A1's later. Army tunnel rates liked the .38 Special revolvers when they could get them, but most probably used the 1911A1 .45 as it was more readily available. The 9mm Browning High Power was a favorite of SF types.

Don't forget the South Koreans, the Australians, and other countries sent troops to Vietnam as well. There was a lot of different stuff used in the war.

Shung
July 16, 2009, 03:18 AM
Quite a few early M-16s carried by USAF Air Police were stamped AR-15

so is my M16A1 lower..

Blakenzy
July 16, 2009, 03:43 AM
What about S&W M39's?

max popenker
July 16, 2009, 04:02 AM
I believe that VC had plenty of ex-French weapons, incl. MAT-49 subguns (some were converted to 7.62x25Tok), MAC 1924/29 LMGs and MAS 49/56 rifles
Also, lots of Chinese-made, soviet-designed guns like SKS / Type 56 carbines, AK / Type 56 assault rifles, and PPSh / Type 51 subguns.

Vern Humphrey
July 16, 2009, 08:00 AM
Early AR-15's were issued to U.S. advisors and Vietnemese troops before the U.S. military even planned to adopt the weapon itself.
By '66, when I started my first tour, the standard weapon for advisers was the M2 Carbine, no exceptions. Mine got wrapped around a tree and I carried a Garand from then on.

Fred Fuller
July 16, 2009, 10:02 AM
jtward01
Member (and OP on this thread)

Last Activity: March 16th, 2006 06:18 PM

Can anyone say, "Zombie thread??" Somebody please start a new one if you want to continue...

lpl (Let the dead threads bury the dead...)

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