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By SLA Marshall

V I E T N A M P R I M E R

LESSON FIVE - RATES-OF-FIRE

According to the data basis, the U.S. infantry line in Vietnam requires no stimulation whatever to its employment of organic weapons when engaged. The fire rate among patrols in heavy, if brief, contact is not infrequently 100 percent. Within the rifle company, during engagement prolonged for several hours, the rate will run 80 percent or more and the only nonfirers will be the rearward administrative element or the more critical cases among the early wounded. It is not unusual for one man to engage with three or more weapons during the course of a two-hour fight.

Except during the first five minutes of unexpected engagement, which almost impels an automatic rate, fire control is generally good. The men themselves, even in unseasoned units, quickly raise the cry: "Hold your ammo! Fire semiautomatic!" No U.S. infantry unit, operating in independence, has been forced to withdraw or extract, or made to suffer a critical tactical embarrassment, as a result of ammunition shortage. Gunners on the M60 go lighter than in other wars; the average carry is 1,000 rounds, with 1,200 being about the outside limit. But in no single instance have the machineguns ceased fire during a fight because the position had run out of machinegun ammunition.

When suddenly confronted by small numbers of the enemy, the Americans firing their M16's will in the overwhelming majority of cases miss a target fully in view and not yet turning. Whether the firing is done by a moving point or by a rifleman sitting steady in an ambush, the results are about the same - five total misses out of six tries - and the data basis includes several hundred such incidents. The inaccuracy prevails though the usual such meeting is at 15 meters or less, and some of the firing is at less than 10 feet. An outright kill is most unusual. Most of the waste comes from unaimed fire done hurriedly. The fault much of the time is that out of excitement the shooter points high, rather than that the M16 bullet lacks knockdown power, a criticism of it often heard from combat- experienced NCO's. The VC winged but only wounded by an M16 bullet, then diving into the bush, makes a getaway three times out of four, leaving only his pack and a blood trail.

As to effectiveness over distance, until recently he data basis deriving from 6 major and approximately 50 minor operations contained not one episode of VC or NVA being killed by aimed fire from one or more M16's at ranges in excess of 60 meters. Then, out of Operation Cedar Falls in January, 1967, there developed 6 examples of such killings at ranges upwards of 200 meters. The difference can be explained by the nature of the terrain. Most of the kills during this operation were made in the open rice paddy.

The M16 has proved itself an ideal weapon for jungle warfare. Its high rate of fire, lightweight, and easy-to-pack ammunition have made it popular with its carrier. But it cannot take the abuse or receive the neglect its older brother, the M1, could sustain. It must be cleaned and checked out whenever the opportunity affords. Commanders need assign top billing to the maintenance of the weapon to prevent inordinate battlefield stoppages. The new field cleaning kit assists the purpose.

The fragmentation hand grenade, a workhorse in the infantryman's arsenal of weapons in Korea, is of limited value in jungle fighting. The record shows that all infantry fights in the jungle are characterized by close in-fighting at ranges from 12 to 20 meters and that the fragmentation grenade cannot be accurately delivered because of the dense, thickly intertwined and knotted jungle undergrowth that blocks its unrestricted flight. In numerous cases it was reported that the grenade striking a vine and being deflected would then rebound on its thrower, causing friendly casualties.

The Soldier enters battle with the average of four hand grenades strapped to his already overloaded equipment. He has been taught in training that the grenade is the weapon for close in-fighting. He learns empirically about the difficulty attendant on using a grenade in the bush. Many times the record shows that he had to learn his lesson the hard way. The data basis shows that fewer than 10 percent - 6 percent being the usage factor of World War II - of the grenades carried into battle are ever used. The configuration of the grenade itself makes it cumbersome and therefore dangerous, as it is carried on the outside of the Soldier's equipment and is susceptible to any vine and snag that tugs at the safety pin.

Out of this research then it may be reckoned that the Soldier's load could be lightened by two hand grenades and that all commanders should closely analyze their unit's techniques for the employment of this weapon. Procedures must be developed and then practiced by troops on specially prepared jungle hand grenade courses. The trainer should bear in mind during this instruction that post-operation analysis of World War II and Korea showed that the Soldier who had training in sports always excelled with the grenade. The information collected in Vietnam fully supports this conclusion. The old byword that was once synonymous with the art of grenade throwing, "Fire-in-the-Hole," should be brought back in use to warn all that a grenade has been dispatched and cover must be sought.



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I wonder if the missing with the M-16 at 15 yards on standing enemy soldiers was a result of the 'quick kill' training. Sounds like some kind of point shooting that didn't work so well.
 

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But it cannot take the abuse or receive the neglect its older brother, the M1, could sustain. It must be cleaned and checked out whenever the opportunity affords.
Bet that made you smile. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
:laugh01: :) :laugh01: :) :laugh01: :) :laugh01: :)
 

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Grenades are Freaky, and I don't particularly like them. But a LOT of grenades were thrown in the Central Highlands, and in the Delta. Jungle was a different story. It could come back to bite you. When the switch was made from the "Egg Grenade", M-26, to the "Baseball" M-33, a lot more of them were used, especially at night. The M-33 also had a thumb safety, besides the "cotter pin". The cotter pins were all too often straightened by inexperienced troops for "quicker pulling". Bad idea. A grenade was a much better idea when you heard that noise in the night than firing your M-16. As an aside, I alway's thought the "Quick Kill" training was beneficial. It was not so much "Point Shooting" as it was looking over your sights.
 

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yeah, that's why there's 5-6x as many AR's as M14's at the High Power matches, cause the AR needs so MUCH babying and the M1A just keeps on working, right? Wrong, the M1A has CONSTANT accuracy problems, mostly relating to the bedding, but also related to the gas piston. Ask any of the guys who REALLY shoot auto rifles to long range.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
erika/gunkid, the depth of your lack of knowledge is truly amazing! Gun games are NOT reality!!!
 

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It is obvious that andy has never shot a properly set up M1A for any length of time. But then what would you expect from a person who flinches so badly that he has to use the shorty CAR for pistol range targets.

RIKA
 
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