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"Any vietnam vets willing to answer some questions?" Topic

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rodvik04 Jan 2013 12:08 p.m. PST

I know we have some veterans here. I wonder if you might have some insights into a couple of questions particularly for Vietnam.

1.) What kind of distance would you expect to travel on foot when in the field through various terrain? A rough kilometer per hour or day would be useful.

2.) Resupply in the field. How much ammo did you usually see carried? How was resupply managed?

Any answers appreciated thanks!

Dennis030204 Jan 2013 2:58 p.m. PST

1.) Depended on the terrain, the weather and how dense the bush was. Also varied on how likely contact was.
2.) Average Marine would carry 20 magazines for the M-16 (18rds. per magazine) and two bandoliers of 5.56 or more. I can't recall how many rds. per bandolier, a belt of 7.62 for the M 60, 4-5 gernades and either a Claymore, LAW (or 3.5" round up until around mid 1968) or 60MM mortar rd.

Resupply could occur during a heavy contact situation and the amount and type of ammo resupplied depended on type of consumption and helicopter avalaibility. Routine resupply would be roughly every other day, dependent on the weather and helicopter avaliability.

For a more detailed look at logistics at the small unit level, including issues with medievac and resupply as well as terrain and movement rates see Karl Marlantes's "Matterhorn"

rodvik04 Jan 2013 3:09 p.m. PST

Thanks Dennis.

Thats a lot more ammo than I would have thought. Makes sense though. I appreciate the resupply info as well.

Yeah the movement rate is a tricky one, your variables make a lot of sense.

peru52200004 Jan 2013 3:28 p.m. PST

For a more detailed look at logistics at the small unit level, including issues with medievac and resupply as well as terrain and movement rates see Karl Marlantes's "Matterhorn"

Reading that book right now. Highly recommend it!

rodvik04 Jan 2013 3:29 p.m. PST

Oh thanks! On kindle as well. Sweet!

Cherno04 Jan 2013 6:41 p.m. PST

I don't have the resource ready, but I read on the web that soldiers on patrol also had a large number of ammo in stripper clips in additon to the normal m16 magazines.

COL Scott0again Inactive Member05 Jan 2013 7:39 a.m. PST

All M16 and now M4 ammo comes on stripper clips. The bandoliers had about 8 pockets each with a box of 20 rounds on two ten round stripper clips. Each bandolier also had a small metal mag attachment that you feed the stripper clips into the mag with allowing you to load 10 rounds into a mag in about 3-4 seconds.

BTW do the math on the ammount of weight in ammo that Dennis describes. I am a bit younger than Vietnam era but when I was in the 82nd the basic load was 210 rounds plus M60 belt and mortar or LAW round plus grenades – it was over half what we carried. The American way of way is to expend bullets not blood whenever possible- so to shoot a lot you either have tocarry a lot or have constant resupply which puts support Soldiers on the road more often increasing that risk. Bad guys prefer to attack support Soldiers rather than frontline troops, look at the stats for casualty rates.

No one likes to run out of ammo esp mid firefight so often Paratroopers would carry more than their basic load. I does make for a lot of weight for an interesting read find S.L.A. Marshall's Soldiers Load and Mobility of the Nation.

Lion in the Stars Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2013 5:24 p.m. PST

There are reports of troops carrying 600 rounds of 5.56 in the Sandbox with 5-6000 rounds in the vehicles, my now-Captain friend said that he didn't packrat ammo so much as commo and batteries.

Gotta doublecheck the ammo weights, but the current Army is real big on doing EVERYTHING in full battle-rattle. Friend realized that he'd been back in the barracks for ~2 hours and hadn't taken his armor off yet, he was so used to that weight.

HistoryPhD Inactive Member05 Jan 2013 5:42 p.m. PST

The " small metal mag attachment that you feed the stripper clips into the mag" with was called a charging key. I assume it still is. And yes, pretty much everyone carried spare belts for the M60. One of the several reasons it was called "the pig" was because it ate like a pig (i.e. at an astonishing rate).

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