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"Cold War: US troops in Vietnam era kit" Topic

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Tgunner10 Dec 2011 5:04 a.m. PST

Okay, here's one for you guys.

What would be the appropriate period of time for US troops in Vietnam era kit? I have a mixture of 15mm Peter Pig miniatures and I want to use them for both Vietnam and for the Cold War, but I'm not quite sure what their "expiration" date would be.

These troops are armed with M-16s, M-79s, and M-60s. I WANT to say that they would be good from say 1965 all the way up to roughly 1981 or so. I think it was around that time that the US Army dropped the steel pot for the kevlar and the M-79 was firmly replaced by the M203. I know that the M-203 made its debut in Vietnam but it was special kit used by snake-eaters, LRRPs, and other special forces types but not really in general service.

On the same topic, when would the woodland camouflage pattern BDUs have replaced the OD green battle dress from Vietnam as standard issue? Would it have been in the 1970s?

I'm asking because I want to get as much mileage out of my Vietnam troops, but I don't want to go too overboard with them.


vojvoda Inactive Member10 Dec 2011 6:00 a.m. PST

Woodland camouflage came in around 1984. However I wore OG-107s up until 1991. My kit was basic Vietnam era issue until after the first Gulf War. We did change helmets but generally did not wear them as a rule. LBE was based on SOF Vietnam SOP from Son Tay. LBE modified with 550 cord, four ammo packs, two canteens, and a butt back with medical kit. A strobe mounted on the non-firing shoulder and a first aid bandage on the other.
James Mattes

vojvoda Inactive Member10 Dec 2011 6:09 a.m. PST

Weapons. I had a standard M-16 until I went to group in 82 then a car-15 or M4 or SMG-2. I also had a M203 that could be mounted below the M4. We started using the SAW about around that time as well. We also carried MAG-58s rather then M-60s.
James Mattes

74EFS Intel Inactive Member10 Dec 2011 6:49 a.m. PST

The short answer is that your Vietnam era figures are good for the regular army through the mid-80s and for the National Guard through the mid-90s, with the Kevlar helmet being the difference.

There was the ERDL pattern cammo uniform that was limited issue from mid-vietnam until the introduction of the BDU in the mid-80s. You see the Rangers and 82nd wearing it in Grenada. The biggest difference are the slanted pockets on the ERDL (cut like the 'Nam jungle jackets).

As James said, we were issued M67 nylon LBE through the mid-90s. I personally wore a combination of M56 and M67 throughout my career (I found the 'H' shoulder straps much more comfortable than the 'Y').

As are as weapons go, we brought M79 grenade launchers with us to Bosnia in 1995, along with the M203.

The American military on campaign is like a traveling museum. The Air Force issued me a 1942 dated meskit in 2007 and I saw an M16 (not an A1, but a slick M16 with no forward assist) in Iraq in 2004. I also wore 1967 dated green jungle boots (with the punji spike resistant steel shank) until last month, when we were no longer allowed to wear the BDUs.

Onomarchos Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2011 6:52 a.m. PST


My experiences in mech infantry and armored cav are similar to James. We went to BDUs in the 9th ID in 1982. I did not get the Kevlar helmet until 1985, while I was in 2nd ID in Korea. So, you could use many of the troops you have to represent Cold War troops until the early 1980s. I agree with you on the M79, but I recall them being replaced with the M203 by the mid-1970s.


vojvoda Inactive Member10 Dec 2011 7:28 a.m. PST

The main difference in our OG-107s was the bottom pockets. They were removed and placed on to the arms. Other than that our uniform was pretty standard. No name tags but blood type in its place. We did wear a US Army tab on the right breast pocket and US flag on our shoulder.
James Mattes

Cosmic Reset Inactive Member10 Dec 2011 7:29 a.m. PST

I just finished painting up a bunch of Vietnam era figs (15mm) for use in Cold War games circa 1977-82 and gained the following info from various sources (all second hand info):

OG-107, the old solid green fatigues spanned 1952 to 1989 officially, there were three or four changes to pockets and whatnot, but the basic look would be good from Nam through the the 1980's.

ERDL, the four color Vietnam cammo (there were at least three variations issued during Vietnam) started to be issued in 1967 and continued to be issued alongside OG-107 through 1981. ERDL continued to be worn after 1981, troops in Grenada wore them in '83.

BDU was introduced in 1981 featuring the M-81 four color "Woodland" camo, and began replacing Vietnam era ERDL camo.

M79 was largely replaced by the late 1970s. I know guys that were in both the Army and USMC in 1982-83 that didn't know what a M-79 was, they had 203s. But , like 74EFS says above, a coworker of mine that served in Iraq in 04-06 timeframe saw M79s over there, and the weapon is still in the inventory.

M60 MG was still in common use well into the 1980's. I don't think they started replacing them with saws until 1982, and am not sure when they disappeared from infantry units. I've talked to some guys that never saw M60s, but they didn't serve until 1991 or later.

About the only change that I made was to generally replace M79s with M16/M203 combos. Other than that, at 15mm they will look about the same. Equipment is phased out slowly, and much never completely seems to away.

If you need them, the one kicker is going to be getting Dragon ATGM gunners for the Cold War troops. The closest thing that I found is the modern Quality castings figs. I bought a pack (Modern Infantry #16102) from Warweb to convert for Cold War use. They have the "Fritz" helemts, so I'm going to grind them off and do some headswaps. The QC figs are smaller than everyone else's, but the Dragon gunners don't look too bad with my OG figs. The standing figs clearly look smaller though. There were 6 dragon gunners in the 24 figure pack.

vojvoda Inactive Member10 Dec 2011 7:45 a.m. PST

I wore OG-107s in Panama in 89. My leg left leg sleeve was blow off by a 50 cal round getting off a Air Force Helicopter and I lost the crotch climbing over the wall at Noriega's house. Going commando my ass hung out for the next four days until we were able to get resupplied. They are still the best uniform for any environment. They breathe and still keep you warm. No better uniform has the Army had.
James Mattes

74EFS Intel Inactive Member10 Dec 2011 8:00 a.m. PST

James, I agree on the awesomeness of the GO 107 jungle fatigues. Spend a couple of days dirty and the uniform 'adapts' to the local color of mud.

I can also sympathize with you on the inconvenience of blowing out areas of the only pair of pants you have while following standard infantry SOP for underwear. But it happened to me in the crotch…in Bosnia…in January. Thank god for 100 MPH tape.

Tgunner10 Dec 2011 8:09 a.m. PST

Okay, so the general consensus is that Vietnam figures are okay from the 60s into the 80s, and work as well for National Guard into the 90s.

Not perfect fits, but they'll do. That's what I needed to know. Thanks gents!

whoa Mohamed Inactive Member10 Dec 2011 9:01 a.m. PST

I wore a mixture of OG107 and Woodland (had to buy it ) but preferred the OG107. Had nylon LBE and steel pot (Never worn on Patrol or Ambush. M60E and M79 until 1984.
In Iraq I went to a sterile AK folding stock and cut down M79.
In Iraq I wore the ARMY Combat Aircrew 2 Piece which was the closest I could find to the Old OG107.
In between missions I wore blue jeans and T shirt or 511 gear…yes I admit I wore 511 inside the wire and that stuff was comfy That's the only reason i pick any gear its got to do what i want be comfortable and durable.

Tgunner10 Dec 2011 9:10 a.m. PST

Maybe that's a Eureka 300 request? Cold War/Vietnam US in OD battle dress, M16, steel pots, M79s, SAWs, M60s, M16/203 combos, Dragon ATGMs, and maybe M72/AT-4 LAWs.

They could stand in for both Vietnam and 70s and 80s Cold War GIs. I could also see them seeing service in armies that used the same basic uniforms and gear- Argentina maybe?

Garand10 Dec 2011 10:26 a.m. PST

I would love to see non-Vietnam era US Army figures…


ACW Gamer Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2011 9:01 p.m. PST

In 1979 there was some fear in the Carter Administration that the Soviets would roll into Iran like they had Afghanistan. If the US had deployed troops to Iran, would they look similar to the troops in Vietnam?

GeoffQRF Inactive Member15 Dec 2011 7:28 a.m. PST

They could stand in for both Vietnam and 70s and 80s Cold War GIs. I could also see them seeing service in armies that used the same basic uniforms and gear- Argentina maybe?

I think the biggest problem is not the regular gear (standard webbing, small arms, etc) so much as the additional stuff.

Cold War Europe are generally envisioned as regualrly equipped and dressed for a temperate climate.

Vietnam was more conscripts, much less formal in the dress code with sleeves rolled up, open shirts, things taped to helmets, etc

For Argentines, if you are looking at places like the Falklands in May '82, then you need a heavier level of dress altogether with those heavy parka-seque coats.

So that is really 3 different ranges.

I'm working on postwar Brits next, initially primarily aimed at Falklands British. The extra padding means they will probably need to be a different range from 1980s Europe British (but once I've got the basic heads, SLRs, GPMGs, etc done…)

Then perhaps I'll have to look at the US, and a matching Soviet range.

Tgunner20 Jan 2012 6:47 p.m. PST

Oh, I didn't see this. Thanks Geoff. I can't wait to see them.

HistoryPhD Inactive Member28 May 2012 7:26 p.m. PST

I was wearing Woodland Camo in 1980

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