Tunnel rat weapons?


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45Guy
March 2, 2007, 06:08 PM
What kind of weapons did tunnel rats in Vietnam carry? In the movies it is always a flashlight and a 1911, but what other types of weapons did they have? Shotguns? Suppressed weapons?

Thanks- 45Guy

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carpediem
March 2, 2007, 06:11 PM
I've heard .38s, .45s, and the occasional sawed off or M2 Carbine

Personally, if reliable suppressed weapons weren't available, I'd probably take a 6" .38 revolver...don't want to flashblind or deafen yourself

CWL
March 2, 2007, 06:14 PM
One of the earliest tunnel rats (forgot name) used a Ruger .22lr that he brought from the USA. Killed a VC with it.

SDC
March 2, 2007, 06:54 PM
38 Special revolvers and 1911s were the most common, according to the books I've read, but there was at least one weapon system supposedly made specifically for the tunel rats; the "Quiet Special Purpose Revolver", or "QSPR". This was a modified S&W 44 Mag N-frame chambered for an internally-silenced buckshot cartridge. When these rounds were fired, an internal piston would capture the propellant gasses, but still push the payload out the muzzle at a lethal velocity. http://stinet.dtic.mil/oai/oai?&verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=AD0524796

They also manufactured suppressed 12-gauge shotgun shells along the same line, like so:
http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p22/StaceyC123/QSPS2.jpg

TnRebel
March 2, 2007, 07:01 PM
SDC ; that was in the later part of that mess, in 65 n 66 when I was there it was the 1911 or a captured luger in 9 mm the 1911 would cause a cave in's alot. :mad:

mike101
March 2, 2007, 07:06 PM
I heard that a lot of Ruger .22 pistols were issued, after the .45s proved to be so loud in the tunnels.

Wayne D
March 2, 2007, 07:21 PM
An article I read said .38 special revolvers.

Leanwolf
March 2, 2007, 07:56 PM
I've only known one "tunnel rat." USMC. He used a 1911 Govt. .45ACP.

L.W.

U.S.SFC_RET
March 2, 2007, 08:36 PM
An tunnel rat (Combat Engineer) told me he used a flashlight in one hand and a knife in another. Tunnels were so small he wouldn't dare use a gun, hauling in explosives and shaped charges to blow up the tunnels.

Harry Paget Flashman
March 2, 2007, 08:48 PM
Not a tunnel rat, but an A-6E B/N LCDR I knew said FAE weapons worked best for collapsing tunnels. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermobaric_weapon for details.

Trebor
March 2, 2007, 09:10 PM
I'm sure the most common "Tunnel Rat" weapon was the 1911A1 pistol. It was the most readily available and was in the infantry supply chain.

I know that .38 Special S&W revolvers were also used. I've seen pics of both short barrel and 4" guns. I've read that these were prefered when they could be obtained as they had less muzzle blast and noise then the .45.

I doubt if more than a handful of the "exotic" weapons, such as the silenced .38 revolver were used. I don't think that one ever got past the prototype stage.

Husker1911
March 2, 2007, 09:17 PM
I remember an article from years ago that mentioned High Standard .22 pistols as another popular choice.

TheFederalistWeasel
March 2, 2007, 09:26 PM
Flame Thrower... :D

oneshooter
March 2, 2007, 09:39 PM
"We", being myself and another Staff, managed to "liberate" a M-10 w/ can from an unmanned jeep. This was given, after a well deserved rest( 3 weeks), to our tunnel rats. THEY LOVED IT!!:evil:
Don't know what became of it, I was med-evaced two months later.

Oneshooter
Livin in Texas

TnRebel
March 2, 2007, 09:40 PM
none of them was any good if a two step got you :fire:

carpediem
March 2, 2007, 09:43 PM
M-10

Smith & Wesson M10 :confused:

TimboKhan
March 3, 2007, 12:26 AM
I know an old Marine that was a tunnel rat on occasion, and I know he used his bare hands and a ka-bar on one occasion...

ABTOMAT
March 3, 2007, 01:41 AM
Ingram M-10? Those things are a hoot and a half with the supressor.

oneshooter
March 3, 2007, 09:07 AM
Yes it was a Ingram M10! :evil: :D

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=54259&stc=1&d=1172930739


Oneshooter
Livin in Texas

dfaugh
March 3, 2007, 09:12 AM
I've heard/read accounts of them using cut-down shotguns as well. Hadda be REALLY loud in those tunnels.

There is a book called (IIRC) "The Tunnels of Chu-Chi",which is very interesting reading on the VC use of tunnels, and our efforts to stop them.

Battlespace
March 3, 2007, 10:13 AM
Our tunnel rats used a GI flashlight and M1911A1. One did get hold of a .38 from an aviation unit. He liked it as it was lighter, but ammunition was hard to get since we only had .45, .223, 7.62, and .50 in the unit.

But he used the .38 mainly for shooting the rats (four legged and long tail) around the mess hall on the fire base. They were bigger than most cats and the first sergeant had a bounty of a can of beer or coke on each one you turned in to him. Most deadly round for them was a 5.56 with the bullet removed and a core of Ivory soap in its place.

Leatherneck
March 3, 2007, 10:24 AM
Not a tunnel rat, but an A-6E B/N LCDR I knew said FAE weapons worked best for collapsing tunnels. We didn't have FAEs in the VN war, at least when I was there in 68-69. I don't know how you would assure dispersal of the fuel-air mix in the restricted space of a tunnel. We dropped MK 82 and MK 83 GP bombs with delayed fuzes to get down in the tunnel complexes. The Marine 'Rats in I Corps mostly preferred the 1911, IIRC.

TC

Harry Paget Flashman
March 3, 2007, 06:54 PM
Leatherneck. The B/N said in tests that the peak over-pressure from FAE air bursts would collapse underground tunnels and leave a visible trenchline on the surface. This was from a course I attended in '82. I can't say whether or not they were ever used in Vietnam. I sort of inferred from the classroom that they were. Who knows? Given my druthers, I'd call in an air strike before crawling into a tunnel.

I think someone may have posted about the "Rodenator" before. Here is an interesting link to a video: http://www.rodenator.com/videos.htm

Mannlicher
March 3, 2007, 07:14 PM
my younger brother crawled through a few holes. I called him and asked what he had with him. He said he carried the 4 inch S&W Mod. 19 that I had given him, loaded with 148 grain LWC. Less muzzle blast and flash. He said it was 'effective'.

Trebor
March 4, 2007, 05:04 AM
my younger brother crawled through a few holes. I called him and asked what he had with him. He said he carried the 4 inch S&W Mod. 19 that I had given him,

Sound like your were a good big brother.

Thank your brother for his service for me next time you talk to him, would you?

GRIZ22
March 4, 2007, 06:29 AM
The only weapon I saw tunnel rats use were 1911, SW M10 or M15.

Not a tunnel rat, but an A-6E B/N LCDR I knew said FAE weapons worked best for collapsing tunnels. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermobaric_weapon for details.


We didn't call it a thermobaric weapon (don't know if the term was invented yet) but there was a technique that gave the same effect I witnessed in I Corps. I don't know if it was used elsewhere.

If it was large complex and we were done clearing it or just wanted to clear out whatever was down there, we would get some support in this manner. A Huey would fly out gas in cans, a generator and one of those big smoke fans the fire department uses. We would pour the gas in the tunnel opening and then start up the generator and use the fan to spread the fumes through the tunnel complex. Someone told me that 5 gallons of gas vaporized has the same explosive force as several hundred pounds on TNT (don't know if it's true). After the vapors were blown by the fan through the tunnel a white phosphorus grenade sure would light things up. We always found a few more tunnel entrances that way.

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