The Bows and Arrows of Charlie Troop

Posted on February 8, 2012

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Most of the information in this post was found in the following websites:

www.aircav.com, www.238awc.org , www.wikipedia.org and www.ask.com.

The weapons used in Vietnam were numerous. Those used by the Infantryman in Charlie Troop changed as field use and other factors demanded. The weaponry used on the helicopters also changed as the aircraft changed.

The following is a list of the weaponry used by the Infantryman and on helicopters in Charlie Troop:

M15 Car rifle: light weight (7.96 lbs), air cooled, gas operated, magazine fed (20 rounds), shoulder fired. It could fire semi automatic or full automatic. It had a maximum range of 2653 meters and ahs a maximum effective range of 460 meters.  Gas operated means that it had a plunger and spring system that would be pushed back by the gases of the fired round into the stock of the rifle while the next round was inserted into the chamber.  The Car 15 could be modified to be shorted and sometimes the pilots would use this as a personal weapon while flying the aircraft.

M16/M16A1 rifle: This rifle had all of the characteristics of the M15. Most infantrymen would tape two magazines together (one up one down) so when the fire fight would start they could quickly unload and reload the magazines. The average infantryman carried 20 to 30 magazines with the 5.56mm rounds. The M16 could fire both ball and tracer rounds. Many infantryman would put no more than 2 ball rounds and then a tracer so they could use the tracer round to adjust fire.

45 Caliber single action pistol: It used a 7 round magazine. It was mostly used by Pilots and other officers for close in personal protection.

M3A1 Grease gun: This weaponry was fully automatic. It fired a 45 Caliber round supplied through a 30 round magazine and could fire 350-450 rounds per minute ( if you could change magazines fast enough). It had a maximum effective range of  55 yards. It weighed 8 lbs.

M60 Machine gun: The M60 machine gun was carried by each squad and mounted on a lot of helicopters. Door gunner would hook an M60 up to a bungee cord for more maneuverability. The M60 was belt fed, gas operated and could be carried, mounted on a tripod or as above on a bungee cord. The M60 weighed 23 lbs and when used in the Infantry it was suppose to have a two man crew. In our unit it was a one man crew assisted when possible by a second person. Every man carried 100 to 200 rounds of M60 7.62mm ammunition at all times. It could fire 500-650 rounds per minute. The M60 could fire, ball, tracer, and armor piercing rounds.

M79 Grenade Launcher: The M79 is a single shot, shoulder fired (usually). It fired a  40x46mm grenade. The round could be an explosive anti-personnel round, a smoke grenade, a buckshot round and a flechette round . A Flechette round is a round packed with many small horse shoe shaped nails. The M79 could be used like a mortar. It was required that the round made so many revolutions before it was armed. Firing at a short distance was not always that effective. By placing the butt of the stock on the ground, the M79 could be angled to fire at short distances by traveling high into the air. The M79 weighed 6.45 lbs. The effective distance was  383 meters with a maximum range of 437 meters. It is breach loaded.

M203 – M16A1 with a modified M79 grenade launcher attached to the bottom. This weapon gave the Grenadier added fire power. The effective range was 150 meters.

LAW – Light Anti-Tank Weapon: The LAw was an Anti-Tank Weapon but could be used as a Anti-personnel weapon by firing it into the trees and letting the schrapnel shower the area. It weighed 4lbs. It had an effective range of 165-200 meters and a maximum range of 1,000 meters.

M61 Fragmentation Grenade: Anti-personnel grenade. The M61 had  a Pin you would pull and then you would throw the grenade. The Fuse had a 4-5 second time delay. The M61 had a 15 meter Kill zone.

M18A1 Clymore anti-personnel mine: This mine would be placed 50 meters out to your front. The mine was concaved on one side and convexed on the other. On the convexed side were the words “Front Towards the Enemy”. The mine was made up of small (1/8 inch) steel balls and C-4 explosive. It came with a carrying case, a Pluger to detonate the mine and a roll of wire with a blasting cap. This mine was designed to hit anything from ground level to 6’6″ high and up to 50 meters away.

 WO Jan D. Janus holding a 2.75mm Rocket 1968

2.75mm Rocket: Fired from pods attached under the short wing of a AH-1G helicopter or attached to the sides of a “B” or “C” model Huey.

7.62mm mini-gun:  The min-gun was attached to the front underside of the nose on a AH-1G Cobra. The mini-gun can fire from 4,000 to 6,000 rounds per minute.

40mm Chunkier: This was a modified form of the M79 grenade launcher used on the Cobra and the “C” model.

I hope this has given you an insight into the weaponry that the 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry regiment used in Vietnam. Of course the most important piece of weaponry was the Troopers who served so proudly and use these weapons as needed.

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