|WEAPONS OF WAR - Ours & Theirs|
The standard weapon of the infantry soldier in Vietnam, the SLR (self loading rifle). The L1A1 is the Australian version of the Belgian FN FAL rifle. It entered into service with the Australian Army in 1959. The L1A1 was a reliable, hard-hitting, gas-operated, magazine-fed semi-automatic rifle, with a maximum battle range of 300 metres and a practical rate of fire of 20 rpm. It fired a 7.62mm long round. With a full 20 round magazine it weighed 4.96Kg. We generally carried 150-200 rounds of ammunition.
The 7.62mm M60 general purpose machine-gun (GPMG) was an American produced weapon that came into service with the Australian Army in 1960. It was the main fire power of our Sections. We used it as shown in the picture above (in the bipod configuration) which gave it an effective range of 500 metres. It could also be used on a tripod and 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. The M60 weighs 10.5 kg, which increases by 6.8kg if a tripod is added, which is why we didn't carry the tripod base.
The combination M16A1 automatic rifle and M203 ( a version of the M79) grenade launcher was produced to avoid the problem of a infantryman having to carry a grenade launcher as well as a weapon for personal protection.
The 5.56mm M16A1 is a gas operated, magazine-fed rifle capable of semi-automatic and automatic fire with an effective range of 300 metres and a practicle rate of fire of 60 rpm.
The M79 40mm grenade launcher was used to provide additional fire support for the infantry by delivering high explosive, parachute flares and cannister rounds . The high explosive had a maximum range of 400 metres and a casualty radius of 5 metres. The Under and Over was used extensively by SAS troops.
My second scout Boodgie Barrett used an Under & Over, and he used to put a round of white phos into a contact. The smoke would give the gunners an aiming reference.
The AK-47 was the basic infantry weapon of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the Vietcong (VC). Originally manufactured by the Soviet Union, most the the rifles that were used in the war were made in the People's Republic of China, which was the major supplier of armaments to NVA and VC forces.
Also known as the Kalishnikov, after its Russian inventor, this weapon was sturdy, reliable, compact, and relatively lightweight. It fired a 7.62mm short round. Could be fired either in a single shot configuration or in a fully automatic mode.
Most armaments analysts judge the AK-47, which normally holds thirty rounds, to be superior to the U.S. M-16, which became the standard weapon of American, Korean, and South Vietnamese troops. It was more durable and less adversely affected by the climate and conditions of Vietnam. There are a number of accounts of cases in which American troops preferred to use the AK-47 and in fact did use it when combat conditions permitted.
The AK-47 had a distinctive popping sound.
November 1965 manual of Mines and booby traps used by the
Viet Cong in South Vietnam.
by Bob Wood
© 1999 - 2001
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|Disclaimer:This site has no official links with the Army, Department of Defence, The Royal Australian Regiment or 3 RAR. The site is purely a personal page of recollections & photos of our great adventure and the blokes that shared that adventure. Any errors or omissions are accidental and regretted. Please email the Author and they will be corrected.|