Small arm

M-1928 Thompson Sub Machine Gun

Posted on May 3, 2007. Filed under: Small arm |

The Thompson submachine gun is one of the most famous, most recognized guns in the world. First designed and made in an era when cheap labor enabled lavish expenditures of time and materials, the Thompson was an over-engineered, bulky, heavy gun. The Thompson answered a question that had not been asked yet: What kind of gun is needed for mobile troops on a rapidly changing battlefield? For mounted troops?For urban warfare? For paratroops?

When World War II came along and “asked” these questions the Thompson was the only answer. Auto-Ordnance had still not sold all of the original production run of 1921. It was a beautiful gun. It was reliable.It did not wear out. And it fired the biggest pistol cartridge anyone had – the .45 CAP. But the realities of war overcame this wonderful gun. The Thompson took too long to make, and was too expensive to make.

Production was simplified, and finally in mid-war the production of the Thompson ceased in favor of the M3 Grease gun. To say that the pendulum swung the other way would be an understatement. Later advancements in gun and ammunition design eliminated the need for a submachine gun. The Thompson remains one of the unique American icons.

In its glory days of W.W.II it provided un-equaled close range firepower to American and Allied troops. It served on through Korea and Vietnam. Nobody is sorry they carried one. This gun is hugely popular due to its use in Korea and Vietnam, frequent use in gangster and war movies, and due to the “revival” of interest in World War II.

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M-60 Machine Gun

Posted on May 3, 2007. Filed under: Small arm |

The 7.62mm M60 general purpose machine-gun (GPMG) was employed in a light role on it’s bipod (effective range 500 meters) or in a medium role on a tripod (effective range 1,100 meters) as well as being used as protective armament on vehicles and helicopters.

Gas operated, air cooled and belt fed, with a quick-change barrel to counter overheating during sustained firing, it has a practical rate of fire of 200 rpm (550 rpm max). In Vietnam it was the main firepower of the infantry rifle section. With bipod the M60 weighs 10.5 kg (23 pounds), which increases by 6.8kg (15 pounds) if a tripod is added (Total 38 pounds minus ammo).

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Browning .50 Cal Machine Gun

Posted on May 3, 2007. Filed under: Small arm |

The Browning M2 .50 caliber (12.7mm) Machine Gun, is a World War II era automatic, belt-fed, recoil operated, air-cooled, crew-operated machine gun. The M2 is crew transportable with limited amounts of ammunition over short distances. This gun is has a back plate with spade grips, trigger, and bolt latch release. The gun is equipped with leaf-type rear sight, flash suppressor and a spare barrel assembly. By repositioning some of the component parts, ammunition may be fed from either the left or right side. A disintegrating metallic link-belt is used to feed the ammunition into the weapon. The gun is capable of single-shot (ground M2), as well as automatic fire.

This gun may be mounted on ground mounts and most vehicles as an anti-personnel and anti-aircraft weapon. Associated components are the M63 antiaircraft mount and the M3 tripod mount. The M2 .50 Cal. flexible version is used as a ground gun on the M3 tripod mount or various Naval mounts. The M2 .50 Cal., M48 turret type, fixed type, and soft mount are installed on mounts of several different types of combat vehicles and ships. The weapon provides automatic weapon suppressive fire for offensive and defensive purposes. This weapon can be used effectively against personnel, light armored vehicles; low, slow flying aircraft; and small boats.

The M2 machine gun on the M3 tripod provided a very stable firing platform. Together with its slow rate of fire and its traversing and elevating mechanism, the M2 was used to a very limited extent as a sniper weapon during the Vietnam war at fixed installations such as firebases. Snipers prefired the weapons at identifiable targets and worked the data into range cards insuring increased first-round accuracy. The 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division constructed 20-30 foot high shooting platforms, adding steel base plates and posts to further stabilize the M2 on the M3 tripod. Together with the use of Starlight night vision scopes, the M2 severely limited enemy movement within 900 yards (1,000m) of the perimeter of a firebase.

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M-79 Grenade Launcher

Posted on May 3, 2007. Filed under: Small arm |

Commonly known as the ‘Thumper’ or ‘Blooper’, this weapon first appeared during the Vietnam war and closely resembled a large bore, single barrel, sawn-off shotgun. The first M79 Grenade launchers were delivered to the US Army in 1961.

The M79 was designed as a close support weapon for the infantry, with two weapons being issued to each rifle squad. The tactical use of the weapon required the gunner (grenadier) to be dedicated to the weapon and only carried a pistol as a side arm. the M79 was intended to bridge the gap between the maximum throwing distance of a hand grenade, and the lowest range of supporting mortar fire – between 50 and 300 meters – and thus gave the squad an integral indirect fire weapon. With a length of 737mm (barrel = 355mm) and a loaded weight of 3kg, (6 and a half pounds) the M79 was an ideal weapon in the close terrain of Vietnam.

The M79 was a single shot, shoulder fired, break-barrel weapon which fired a spherical 40mm diameter grenade loaded directly into the breech. It had a rubber pad fitted to the shoulder stock to absorb some of the shock. The M-406 40mm HE grenades fired from the M79 traveled at a muzzle velocity of 75 meters per second, and contained enough explosive within a steel casing that upon impact with the target would produce over 300 fragments at 1,524 meters per second within a lethal radius of up to 5 meters. Stabilized in flight by the spin imparted on it by the rifled barrel the grenade rotated at 3,700rpm, this in turn, after approximately 15 meters of flight, armed the grenade.

For close range fighting the Army came up with two types of M79 rounds. The first was a flechette round ( or Bee Hives round) which housed approx 45 small darts in a plastic casing, these rounds were issued on an experimental basis. Later this round was replaced by the M-576 buckshot round. This round contained twenty-seven 00 buckshot which on firing was carried down the barrel in a 40mm plastic sabot which slowed down in flight so that the pellets could travel in their forward direction un-aided. The M79 could also fire smoke grenades (both standard and parachute), CS gas, and flares.

The M79 had a large flip up sight situated half way down the barrel, with a basic leaf foresight fixed at the end of the barrel. The rear sight was calibrated up to 375 meters (410 yds) in 25 meter (27.3 yds) intervals. In the hands of a good experienced Grenadier the M79 was highly accurate up to 200 meters. Later in the war the M79 was superseded by the M203.

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M-72 Light Anti-tank Weapon

Posted on May 3, 2007. Filed under: Small arm |

Weighing 2.37-kg (5.2 pounds) complete, the LAW was designed as a discardable one-man rocket launcher primarily for use as an anti-tank weapon. In Vietnam however, the LAW was used almost exclusively as a bunker buster or for attacking entrenched enemies.

When carried, the smooth-bore launcher tube was carried closed, and was watertight. In action, the end covers were opened by removing safety pins and the inner tube was telescoped outwards. This cocked the firing mechanism. Held over the shoulder, aimed by the simple sights, the weapon was fired by pressing the trigger button. The LAW Fired a 1-kg rocket to a maximum effective range of 300m.

The rocket motor was fully burnt out by the time it left the launcher and resulted in a large back-blast danger area behind the firer. Once fired the tube was discarded. Due to it’s low weight, a number of complete assemblies could be carried in a squad with each person capable of packing at least two if necessary.

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M-67 Recoilless Rifle

Posted on May 3, 2007. Filed under: Small arm |

Measuring 1,346-mm (53-inches) in length and weighing in at a hefty 16-kg (35-lbs), the M-67 was intended for use against AFV’s and bunkers as a portable crew served weapon. It was a breech-loaded, single-shot weapon which was shaped like a long tube with the sight assembly and firing mechanism offset to the side in opposite directions about half way along the barrel. The breech was hinged on the right side, and had to be swung open to load the round. It was then swung closed and when the rifle was fired, the rear end of the shell case broke up and was blown out of the back of the breech block.

Capable of maintaining a sustained fire rate of 1 round per minute, the weapon could be fired at an increased rate of 1 round every 6 seconds (10 rpm) by a well trained crew. However, due to excessive heating at this rate of fire, it was necessary to allow the weapon a 15-minute cooling period after each 5 rounds fired.

The maximum range of the M-67 was 400-meters (437-yds) and was sighted to 800-meters (875-yds) although the shell could actually be fired out to 2,000-meters (2,187-yds).

Requiring a crew of three (gunner, assistant gunner and ammo bearer) the M-67 fired a 9.5-lb M371E1 HEAT round and could be shoulder fired or ground mounted.

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M-1/M-2 Carbine Rifle

Posted on May 3, 2007. Filed under: Small arm |

The M1 Garand was the weapon of choice for infantry. The M1 Carbine, half the weight and with a less powerful cartridge, was the weapon of choice for support troops, and others not primarily involved in infantry combat. It was designed to meet combat needs less demanding than the M1 Rifle, but more than can be met by the M1911A1 pistol. It was more convenient to use than the M1, and less intrusive to their other duties, while still much more effective than hand guns.

Originally, the M1 was to be capable of selective fire control, but this was dropped. Because a demand arose for an automatic capability, the M2 was developed, with a selective-fire switch added to the left side of the receiver, operating on the sear mechanism.

The US Carbine, Caliber .30in, M3, or T3, was simply an M2 with suitable mountings prepared on the receiver to take various models of infra-red night-sighting devices. No open or conventional sights were provided, and the IR carbine mounted an M3 flash hider, a simpler design than that for the M1C Garand. The M3 carbine, (its development title was T3), was produced in limited numbers as a semi-prototype. Only about 2100 were manufactured compared to 5,510,000 M1 carbines, 150,000 M1A1 carbines and 570,000 M2 carbines.

The M1 and M2 Carbines were also much more powerful than the Russian type burp guns used by the North Koreans and, later, the Chinese, having more than twice their muzzle energy.

In the infantry, the M2 Carbine was carried by Staff NCOs and officers. With its 30 round magazine, rapid fire and greater stopping power, it was an effective counter to the various submachine guns used by the Communists in the Korean War.

In intense cold, however, such as the Chosin battle, light weapons such as the carbine and air-cooled .30 calibre light machine guns malfunctioned much more often than the M1 and the water-cooled heavies, with anti-freeze in their jackets. The Marines used alcohol based hair tonic as anti-freeze lubricants for all light weapons, with good success, but the carbine components were small and fragile, and repeatedly malfunctioned.

The Carbine continued to be used in Viet Nam, until replaced by the M16.

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AR-15 Assault Rifle

Posted on May 3, 2007. Filed under: Small arm |

he XM-177E2, commonly known as the Colt Commando. This is a shortened version of the M-16 with a telescoping stock. The CAR-15 was very popular with special ops troops but saw only limited use with line units.

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M-16 Rifle

Posted on May 3, 2007. Filed under: Small arm |

This is the weapon most commonly associated with US troops in Vietnam. Despite early problems with the weapon it has now become a respected assault weapon. The 5.56mm M16A1 is a gas operated magazine-fed rifle capable of semi-automatic and automatic fire with an effective range of 300 meters and a practical rate of fire of 60 rpm.

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M-14 Rifle

Posted on May 3, 2007. Filed under: Small arm |

Until the introduction of the M-16, the M-14 was the standard rifle of the US forces and saw service in Vietnam from 1957 onwards until its replacement. The M14 national Match (Accursed) was the sniper rifle variant, later renamed the M-21.

Production of the M14 ceased in 1964 but a further variant was the M14A1 which came close to being a light machine-gun. The M14A1 had a pistol grip, a folding fore-hand grip about half-way down the forestock, a folding bipod, a shoulder strap, and a sleeve was fitted over the muzzle to act as a compensator when firing fully automatic. This helped to keep the barrel down and prevent climb.

The M-14 was adopted in 1957 as the successor to the WWII M-1 Garand, and was basically an evolution of that rifle.

The main and more obvious improvements were the gas system and magazines. On the M-1 the magazine was fixed and had to be loaded using a charger. On the M-14, detachable 20-round box magazines were used. The normal M-14 fired semi-automatic only. A slide-on bipod could be provided, and the rifle fitted the M-76 grenade launcher which was slipped on to the flash suppressor and secured to the bayonet lug.

The M-14 weighed 5.1-kg (11.22 pounds) with a full magazine and cleaning kit carried. It had a maximum effective range on semi-automatic without the M-2 bipod of 460-meters. When the bipod was added this range increased to 700-meters.

A special suppressor was fitted to the muzzle of the sniper rifle which did not affect the performance of the bullet, but reduced the velocity of the emerging gases to below that of sound. This made location very difficult as the target heard only the crack of the bullet and no shot from the rifle.

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