Weapons of the Vietnam War | vietnam war secret weapons

US Infantry Weapons in The Vietnam War

The US forces used a range of small arms in the Vietnam War. This was the standard issue rifle of the United States infantryman until 1967 through 1968 when it was replaced with the M16. It was effectively a replacement for the M1 Garand the BAR (M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle) the M1 carbine the M3 grease gun and the Thompson, which were still being used in Vietnam War. 

The M14 at a 20 round detachable box magazine, which held the powerful 7.62 by 51 millimeter NATO cartridge and could fire and Semi-Automatic or Fully Automatic mode. Although this was hard to control. 

Weapons of the Vietnam War


The M16A1 rifle 

The M16A1 became the standard US army rifle in 1969 replacing the M14. The M16A1 itself was an upgrade of the M16 which was first being used by the US Air Force and then limited use with the U.S. army gaining a reputation for jamming. 

The M16A1 Fixed reliability issues via a forward assist and chrome-lined barrel It was gas-operated and could fire in Semi-Automatic and Fully Automatic modes. The rifle was fed by a 20 or 30 round detachable box magazine holding the smaller 5.56 by 45 millimeter NATO caliber. 

The M60 Machine gun

 This primary general-purpose machine gun could be used as both squad support or a vehicle-mounted weapon. The weapon could even be fired somewhat accurately from the shoulder without the bipod in place. 

The M60 fired the 7.62 by 51 millimeter NATO cartridge held on a belt. These cartridge belts were heavy and therefore were often spread across the infantry squad members. The M79 grenade launcher. This grenade launcher known as "The Blooper" or "The Thumper" could fire high explosive and smoke grenades. 

The M79 launcher gave the option of having a Grenadier in the squad. Although it was a primary weapon. It made him vulnerable at close quarters. 

Read German squad tactics in World War II 

The M1911-A1 pistol 

As it was in previous wars the M1911-A1 continued to see service in Vietnam as the standard sidearm in the US army. 

Model 77E Shotgun

The Stevens M77E was the most manufactured and used shotgun during the conflict used by the Army and Marines. 

It was pump-action and had a shorter stock with a rubber recoil pad to make it easier for South Vietnamese soldiers to use the weapon. 

The M7 Bayonet 

This bayonet was designed to be used with the M16 rifle and was based on the older M6 bayonet for the M14 rifle. 

The M61 & M67 Grenades

The M61 grenade was a variant of the M26 featuring a jungle clip to prevent snagging on vegetation. Therefore preventing accidental detonation. 

It contained five and a half ounces of explosives and resembled a lemon. It was replaced by the spherical M67 grenade near the end of the war. 

The M18 Claymore mine 

This Anti-Personnel mine was contained in a plastic box that when detonated fired metal balls outward like a shotgun. 

It could be used on infantry and even in some vehicles.

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