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Guns of Vietnam (contd)

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Dr. Fresh, Jul 16, 2009.

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  1. Dr. Fresh

    Dr. Fresh Member

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    The last thread was one of the most fascinating I've read in a while, what with all the stories told by veterans and the variety of weapons used in the war. I'd like to see it continue, so I decided to start this one.

    EDIT: The old thread:
    http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=174401
     
  2. Nate1778

    Nate1778 Member

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    Very cool thread, and being 30 I would like to say thanks to the veterans that had to sleep with their weapons for my kids and my freedom and those around the world. Much respect and free drink at the bar from me...............
     
  3. Shung

    Shung Member

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    I really don't understand why the other thread was closed.. is the fact that the OP doesnt read it anymore relevant to close it ??? I mean, we were many others reading it !
     
  4. Noxx

    Noxx Member

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    S'alright, just continue it here.

    I noticed the Swedish K was mentioned several times in the previous thread. John Plaster mentioned in his SOG memoir (Secret Commandos, very good read btw if you haven't picked it up) that a suppressed K was his first weapon for missions over the border. Apparently he had several issues with it's hitting power and moved on to a CAR15.

    I was a little surprised to read this, in that after the lessons of WWII, and the overall performance history of 9mm FMJ anybody was still taking a 9mm sub gun into a combat zone.

    I am intrigued by the K tho, and would definitely like to hear more from any posters who've had some real experience with them over the years.
     
  5. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    I'd like to mention one of my favorite handguns of the Evil Empire here,and that's the excellent Tokarev pistol.
     
  6. Dr. Fresh

    Dr. Fresh Member

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    Yeah, I was surprised as well, since there had to have been plenty of Thompsons or M3s laying around.

    Then again, we still use 9mm FMJ in our pistols.
     
  7. Pyzon

    Pyzon Member

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    The Ithaca 37 I was handed never malfunctioned, but it was so shiny from cleaning and carrying that I painted it with flat black spray the second day. The stock was screwed together in 4 places but felt solid as a rock.

    To this day a model 37 is my favorite field gun.
     
  8. krs

    krs Member

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    It looks like the old thread, very likely one of many on the topic, was closed for two-three years of inactivity, and that makes sense enough since it's still available for reading.

    But there's something ridiculous when new members come in, start to search, and then contribute to dead threads. Or worse, they often ask questions of posters in long inactive threads. Do they really expect answers from someone who's last post may have been four years ago? I doubt any of them know enough to look for recent activity by a member.

    Anyway, M16 issued on arrival, a S&W .38 issued on being made an OH6 crewchief, (chief of one crew, me :) ) and M60 as the door gun. Later got minigun systems for the left side, and carried assorted toys behind the seat. My favorites of those were the M79 (try those from a helicopter!) and the greasegun (M3) that was passed to me by a friend who deros'd.
     
  9. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    As Will Rogers said, "There are three kinds of people. There's them that can learn from books, there's them that can learn from others, and there's them that has to pee on the electric fence for themselves."

    Carrying submachine guns in combat is like peeing on the fence -- you're in for a shocking surprise.:p
     
  10. Ron James

    Ron James Member

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    What lessons from WW II show that the 9MM was a bad sub machine round. Curious, The 9mm makes an excellent sub-machine gun round. By the way,compared to the Swedish K the M-3 sucks. The Thompson, 11 pounds of steel unloaded, OK,. you lug around that much weight in the boonies and see how long you last. The only one carrying Thompson's ( and M-3s) were the cooks in the rear area. Guys, I know you weren't there but read up a little bit more before you make these statements. Do you even know why the Thompson and M-3 are in 45 caliber?? It has absolutely nothing to do with combat effectiveness. It has to do with the same reason the Garand is chambered in 30-06.:neener:
     
  11. JR47

    JR47 Member

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    Submachineguns, as shown in WWII, are specialty weapons for a combined weapons team. They are limited in range, and tend to be less accurate than rifles at anything beyond 75 yards. In a jungle, they tend to be lots of sound and fury, but distances allow a skilled user to be more effective. The cartridge, however, is still that of a pistol, and there's a lot of cover against an SMG in triple canopy.

    The Marines of WWII made good use of the Thompson in the Pacific. The M1A weighs 10.8 pounds, by the way. At least that's what the WWII manual says.

    With the limited use of an SMG, one caliber is much the same as another. The Russians armed entire battalions with the SMG firing the 7.62x25 round, and had them operate in close proximity to tank formations.

    I was there, were you? Please, it doesn't sound like it. The M14, standard issue until 11/67, also weighs in at almost 10 pounds. I never understood the "weighs so much" crap. The M1 Garand of WWII and Korea was in excess of 10 pounds, and those poor soldiers walked one heck of a lot more than the soldiers of Vietnam.

    If you actually set foot in Vietnam, and saw cooks with Thompsons, it seems like you must have been working with them. We called them REMFs, and they were ALL SEALS, Rangers, Green Berets, Pathfinders, and SOG. You can read about their exploits all over the Errornet.

    The .45 ACP was the standard caliber for all American forces from 1911 until 1986. Perhaps that's why the SMGs were .45 ACP.

    The Garand was initially designed to be capable of firing a smaller, less capable, round. However, with literally millions of 7.62x63 rounds in inventory, and all other rifles chambered for it, a wise decision was made to standardize at that caliber.

    What's with the revisionist bent? The two U.S. calibers were both the result of wartime experiences, and, for the day, scientific research. That was why they were standardized. That the Germans chose the 7.92x57, and the 9x19 is hardly a reference, as they tended to lose. WWII being the second time in less than 30 years. The British pistol caliber was the .38/200, an abysmal choice.
     
  12. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Another point is that when you shoot at people, they tend to hide behind things. When your enemy is behind a concrete wall, a coconut log bunker, or something like, you need a weapon that penetrates -- which is why we went to AP ammo as standard for the M1 and machine guns.
     
  13. Ron James

    Ron James Member

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    Oh yes , I was there, Three tours, Yes I was there, and my oldest son was in the Gulf war driving A Bradley M-2. He didn't carry a Thompson or M-3 either. Our troops did very well with the Thompson in World War II because it was the only sub machine gun they had that worked. The British Commando's loved it because it was so much more reliable that the Stern and so on and so on. My First tour I was issued and used the M-14, however the only American troops in 3 tours I saw using the Thompson or M-3 were MP's, truck drivers, cooks. and company clerks.:) Were you one of those carrying a "Tommy Gun"? The 9MM was and is still a very effective sub-machine gun round. Only the Americans are in love with the .45 ACP. And yes I own two 1911's. If you want to get together and swap DD 214's, hey , that should be fun. BTW, what was the question again? By the way, the Thompson was chambered in 45 ACP because it was the only round in the U S inventory that would work. The M-1 was chambered in 30-06 because of the millions of rounds left over from WWI
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2009
  14. Dr. Fresh

    Dr. Fresh Member

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    No reason to get so worked up. Ron, it would appear that JR47 was there as well, so what's with all the attacks?

    I was not there, but it would appear that submachine guns became obsolete in the military for a reason. 9mm or .45, they're still just pistol rounds, and the M16 does just fine at short range.

    EDIT: Sorry, just notice you directed your comments at Vern.
     
  15. Byron

    Byron Member

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    I was an 11B with the 4th Inf Div 68-69. We were running a 4 man patrol in Bam Be Thout at the southern end of the Central Highlands.We came upon an ARVN patrol.They had Garands and WW II helmets. We had our 16's. It was a funny sight when we first saw them as the Garand was as big as they almost and it seemed the helmet covered most of them. Byron
     
  16. Vonderek

    Vonderek Member

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    I dunno, the Russians seemed to do good work on the Germans with submachine guns in WWII.
     
  17. krs

    krs Member

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    How could you leave out all the LRRPs, JR (spelled "Lurp") :)
     
  18. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Nope. On my first tour I was an adviser and was issued an M2 Carbine. I soon borrowed a Garand and carried it for the rest of my tour. My second tour, I was a company commander, and got my battalion commander to get me two M14 (pre-M21) sniper rifles. I had one kid who'd been through sniper school, and I carried the other.

    The Russians also sent unarmed men into battle, with instructions to follow someone who had a rifle, and to pick it up after he was killed. They didn't do that because it was a good idea, they did it because they didn't have enough rifles. Which is why most nations issued submachine guns -- not enough rifles and submachine guns were cheap and easy to produce. The British Sten is a case in point.
     
  19. gmar54

    gmar54 Member

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    i came across two Thompsons in 67-68 in Phu-bai.i was air crew on Huey gun ships (Marine).i did not keep them as i preferred M-79 & 1911.it seemed that there was allways some lined up to barter with. p.s. does anyone know how to contact Larry Albach?
     
  20. hueytaxi

    hueytaxi Member

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    My first tour I was issued a S&W .38 and a shoulder holster as a sidearm while piloting my Huey. I used it mainly with ratshot back in the forward base at night (LZ English or Hammond). 2nd Tour I took my own Python over and declined an issue weapon. Since .357 was hard to get, I got to know the armorer and we made reloads in the evenings and some hot .38 back up. This time I was flying the Kiowa (Jet Ranger) and carried a variety of auxillary weapons. Early I traded an Arvn sgt. a desktop oscillating fan for a Thompson with 4 magazines. I loved shooting it, but it was impractical. With my flight helmet, chicken pplate and required gear, the additional weight was too much to carry. Plus it was to big and unwieldly to try to fire one handed out my door. I traded that to my armorer for a new M3 grease gun. Still couldn't control it one handed. Finally traded some 35mm film for a M2 carbine (select fire). I cut the stock just in back of the hand grip to still leave a surface to shoulder if needed. I also cut the barrel off at the forestock. This was my weapon of choice. Trying it out during one flight, it was easy to handle. Also it was loud and put out quite a fireball. I used it a few times when flying convoy cover and the troops were receiving fire. I seldom saw the target, but it seemed effective. I also carried an M79 between the seats with 3 grenade rounds and 6 shotgun rounds for my passenger (who normally had a .45 and 2 magazines). I did bring hime a battered SKS with a hand carved stock. Definitey a "Charley" model.
     
  21. Dr. Fresh

    Dr. Fresh Member

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    Vern:
    I've always been curious, why are there so many unissued Mosin-Nagants on the market if there was such a rifle shortage? Or are they actual wartime pieces? I could swear I heard most of them were unissued.
     
  22. Roadkill

    Roadkill Member

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    I was a Combat Engineer (12B) with the 25th Inf Div. Started with a M79, then a M16, later had a Ithaca Mod 37. Did primarily combat support like mine sweeping and bulldozer type road and construction work. Hit the jackpot on enemy weapons in Cambodia in 1970.
    Here's some odds and ends I bought back, added some other stuff to fill it out.

    [​IMG]
     
  23. Dr. Fresh

    Dr. Fresh Member

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    When your primary weapon was the M79, did you also carry a pistol? I've always been curious about that. Seems to me that the M79 is useless in certain situations (close range).
     
  24. Rio Laxas

    Rio Laxas Member

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    My father was a radio operator with the Army Security Agency (ASA) assigned to support MACV-SOG. He spent most of his time in a helicopter over Laos and Cambodia doing radio relay. He carried an M-79 and a S&W Model 10 that went with his flight vest. I believe he was issued an M14. He liked all three, but really enjoyed the M-79. He makes it sound like they kind of had a pool of various weapons between them in addition to their M14s.

    I would just like to say that I don't think the REMF references are especially appropriate. My father was a REMF, so what? He still found time to put law school on hold and volunteer for the Army during an unpopular war. Despite being in a support branch, he still was awarded the bronze star with a V device and received the purple heart. The Army couldn't put everyone in infantry or special operations.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2009
  25. SeekHer

    SeekHer Member

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    Then explain the Uzi that the Israelis used so well during 4 wars and the US Secret Service issues to presidential details--see Reagan shooting attempt and then explain why the HK MP5 and USP are the darlings of every Special Forces group the world over including the USA...

    I didn't serve in "The Nam" but during the Yom Kippur War in an IDF Sayeret (scout) unit and my issue weapons were a 7.62mm Mauser K98 w/4x German optics and an Uzi and 6 mags and had brought over my own Browning P35 9mm pistol in a leather tanker rig of WW2 British surplus...We were later issued the M16 which I had to carry while in base but left it behind because it was (at that time) a POS and others were taking their FN-FALs back from the armourers because they at least didn't jam...I used the UZI in its prescribed manner, a close in weapon ideal for house/room clearing to excellent effect and obvious results as I'm here typing this...

    Oh, the Thompson was issued in.45 ACP so it could get the military contract (which it didn't get until many years after WW1) as that was the standard round of the US...the Garand, originally designed for the .276 Pedersen and issued in .30/06 was because of "The Great Depression" and the Billions of surplus rounds in storage...

    What years were you there as an observer 1960 to 62, 62 to 64 with the Marines or Army? I also have never seen an M14 Sniper rifle from those dates as IIRC the US didn't have a sniper school until a little later in the war and they were nearly all National Match Winchesters...

    Also, the British Webley were issued in .45 ACP with [half] moon clips (What do you call the ones that hold only 2 cartridges???) as they found prior to the First World conflict that the .38 wasn't very good and they went to the .455 Webley which meant with a little cylinder work and now available in .45 ACP...The .455 Webley Mark 6. British Revolver adopted in 1915. Muzz Vel of 600 fps. "Prior to the acceptance of the Browning HP-35, this revolver was a standard issue sidearm of the British army...

    The Bren was at best a makeshift firearm, made out of desperation, with junk parts but they worked, killed lots of "Bosch" and the side magazine meant they could fire and more importantly reload from the prone position...

    Also, the in the rear with the gear REMFs accounted for 80% to 90% of the military forces in Vietnam as they had done in WW1, USSR, WW2, Greece, Korea and continue to do so with Somalia, Desert Storm 1 & 2 etc right up to today in Iraq and Afghanistan......
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2009
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