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"Mules for Vietnam?" Topic

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Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP15 Feb 2019 5:54 a.m. PST

Now I posted this first thing to both Modern New Products and cross posted to Vietnam. Fine, both accepted. But the message never appeared.

I suspect the Bug and now posted to Goblins of the Second Punic Wars Topic. Try again!

Now this represents a bit of a departure for Ged of Gringos40.
He has produced many a recent release in 28mm for the Indochina conflicts of Colonial France in the 19th C;
TMP link
This is something more akin to 1968 and Max Hastings new book. That classic line in many a novel. "Hey, it is New Year in a few days, where shall we go to celebrate?"
This is a 28mm model of the Marines' Mule, a recoilless rifle that proved so useful for FIBU. Just be sure not to stand behind it. I am bound to wonder if more to follow!




Maha Bandula15 Feb 2019 6:41 a.m. PST

Empress is also bringing out a 28mm Nam range. Oh, what a time to be alive! Woohoo.

Legion 415 Feb 2019 9:27 a.m. PST

Talked about Mules in this thread. We still had some in the 101 left over from the war in SE Asia, in the early '80s. TMP link

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP15 Feb 2019 10:20 a.m. PST

I meant Mark Bowden's Hue 1968 of course, which I read just before my signed copy of Max Hasting's book on the Vietnam War.

I seem to recall (I am a Napoleonic enthusiast I stress, might explain why I put this on the Modern Board, not even realising there was a Cold War one. Never think of Vietnam as Cold War to be honest, but back to the point) that four of these could be stuck on a weird tiny tracked vehicle to create an Ontos was it? Sounds like a suicidal job to get out and load them however.

Was there not also another obsolete bit of kit that proved useful? Tamiya did a model of a self propelled AA set up…was it a Duster M42? Purely a vague recall from a 65 year old, who was then surprised to see them used for ground fire in Vietnam.

Legion thanks for pointing me the right way. Ged did ask me to do one simple task….Cold war and Vietnam Boards. Not Modern Wars.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP15 Feb 2019 5:16 p.m. PST

It was our Battalion Level AT weapon in the early 1970s. They were a blast to drive around without the gun. Eventually, they were replaced by Dragons. They had a really good .50cal spotting rifled which meant an excellent chance for a first round hit. Shoot & Scoot was SOP because of the backblast. At Khe Sanh, they used the 106 to take out sniper positions.

deadhead: The ONTOS had 6x 106 RR mounted on them. After firing six Beehive rounds there was not anything that was going to be shooting back at you. The hatch and ready ammo were in the rear and there was some cover when reloading.


Legion 416 Feb 2019 9:25 a.m. PST

Glad to help deadhead !

Duster M42
The US Army Air Defense units used the M42 Duster. Was a twin 40mm AAA gun mounted on the M41 chassis. link Was effective against massed Infantry attacks which was it's primary use in SE Asia, as well as aircraft. But I don't remember hearing of anytime the NVAF were used for CAS. Only CAP.

At Khe Sahn and elsewhere in Vietnam, the US ARMY had ADA units with the M42 and Quad mounted .50s mounted on trailer towed by Deuce & 1/2 Cargo trucks. A leftover from WWII. In '78 at Ft. Lewis, WA. Those Quad .50s were still in use. When I was there for cadet advanced training at that time. They could do a lot of damage to troops, equipment and aircraft.

they were replaced by Dragons
Yes, each Army Infantry Platoon when I was on active duty, '79-'90 had one Dragon per squad. They were man-packed. Only good for about 1000m. But was better than nothing. Could be mounted on an M113 too in Mech Cos.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP16 Feb 2019 11:55 a.m. PST

In VN the Army used the duster for convoy protection riding shotgun. Think of it as having two high velocity automatic 40mm grenade launchers. They were great suppressing ambushes.

The quad 50's were normally set up at firebases.


d88mm1940 Supporting Member of TMP16 Feb 2019 1:28 p.m. PST

I had a mule for about a month, when I was in country. I got it 'in a trade', as we often did. It did not have a gun. It was just the basic vehicle. I was fun to drive. Kind of like a gokart. The shift lever kept falling thru the shifting brackets and would fall straight down. It was hairy trying to reach down at 10 mph to recover it. We used to have a game where a 40,000 pound forklift would try to run you over. Great fun!
Regards the Duster. I used to have bunker duty next to one that was dug-in. I would visit occasionally and the boys gave me a great briefing (I always brought great rations).
There was a Geneva Convention stud that kept the twin 40mm's from depressing lower that +15 degrees (I think it was +15 degrees). That was the first thing to go! Then they would back it up on wedges so the rear end was higher to get even more depression on the guns. The entire sandbag emplacement, horseshoe shaped, was based on ammo boxes. Yes, hundreds, if not thousands of rounds of ammo surrounded the tank. And these guys were proud of their weapon. Clean and in top shape. They showed me how they could rapidly change the fuse settings on the rounds. And they prayed every night for a VC attack.
I always felt secure when I had perimeter duty next to these guys.
Viet Nam. June 69 to June 70.

Legion 416 Feb 2019 9:08 p.m. PST

Very interesting d88mm … Thanks for sharing and for your service.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP17 Feb 2019 3:30 a.m. PST

Thanks all. Learnt so much and that prompted me to spend a good hour or two on Google.

I imagines a few dozen of these converted from Walker Bulldogs. Now I realise over 3,000 built and served widely. I honestly thought of it as an offbeat Tamiya release of something obsolete that was seen occasionally in Vietnam. I long had the impression that NATO did not favour AAA, in contrast to Warsaw Pact vehicles like the ZSU.

Plus nothing beats first hand accounts as above. As Legion 4 said……..thanks twice over

The ONTOS with six recoilless rifles. Blimey. Would be very useful, if completely surrounded, to fire off the lot at once. I can imagine six beehive rounds would settle things in front, but I doubt there would be much threat from any direction after that!

Legion 417 Feb 2019 9:50 a.m. PST

The US ARMY originally designed the ONTOS, but didn't want it and the USMC got it. I've only seen them in museums like when I was at the Naval Amphib Base, Little Creek, Norfolk, VA for Basic Amph Training in the early '80s.

One of my ROTC Instructors, an Airborne Ranger CPT with the 1ID in Vietnam. Told us about the time a VC unit was attacking a US Firebase. And an M48 MBT opened up with some Beehive rounds. The surviving VC quickly retreated. It was not pretty … Some were even tacked to trees … Or parts of them were.

I long had the impression that NATO did not favour AAA, in contrast to Warsaw Pact vehicles like the ZSU.
The US had the M163, a minigun mounted on an M113 hull. The Germans had the Roland, and their were other AAA guns mounted on vehicles. And of course the man packed Redeye and later the Stringer AAA missiles. As well as AAA missile systems.

BTW, USSR/WP AAA systems, like the ZSUs, were a priority target. Kill them first then let our CAS and gunships fly in and do the job. Without taking AAA fire.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP17 Feb 2019 11:20 a.m. PST

First, I know almost nothing here…I am an Irish passport carrying Napoleonic obsessionalist…..who dashed home from school every day to hear the latest from Khe Sahn or Hue or the Delta.

But complete ignorance of many a subject has never stopped me standing up in front of hundreds and speaking with great authority. Powerpoint helps. Plus the chairman saying "There will be no time for questions at the end" (OH YESSSSSSS).

One, it is so weird that the US Marines, an elite unit, always ended up with the obsolete kit, from WWII to Veeetnam. Always. Warsaw Pact doctrine was reinforce success, the absolute converse applied in the "Free World". Give the best the crap. The rubbish need upgrading.

Triple A by definition is AA artillery, not SAM. Yes, the very occasional tracked vehicle. Was not the Bundeswehr thing a Leopard with a quad turret, a Gepard…almost the right spelling? But nothing like as prevalent as the ZSU. Indeed, Jane Fonda's AA gun, however daft she was, where would she have found a gun like that in the whole of West Germany……….indeed anywhere in Europe ?

jammy four Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Feb 2019 1:28 p.m. PST

d88mm1940 and legion4 fascinating information and some great info ..many thanks

back from the Tate Britain Exhibition of black and white
photographs in London, amongst a slew of other conflicts were a large collection on Hue 68..really sobering ..and awe inspiring.


Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP18 Feb 2019 2:31 a.m. PST

Don McCullen exhibition?

jammy four Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Feb 2019 7:12 a.m. PST

it was indeed Liam!


Legion 418 Feb 2019 9:43 a.m. PST

Again glad to help !

Hue '68 as well as many other battle during Tet, were very bloody. But on the battlefield the US/ARVN won. Almost completely decimating the VC. And causing severe losses to the NVA to the point that they could not launch another major attack until the '72 Easter Offensive.

Legion 418 Feb 2019 4:46 p.m. PST

One, it is so weird that the US Marines, an elite unit, always ended up with the obsolete kit, from WWII to Veeetnam.
A weapon is only as good as the trooper/crew behind it. Along with capable leadership …

And in many cases Infantry units are always the last to get what they need.

jammy four Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Feb 2019 3:08 a.m. PST

Legion 4….do you have the low down on the back blast for the 106 recoilless rifles for rules purposes..examples etc if at all possible? not standing behind the blast would help…!


Legion 420 Feb 2019 9:13 a.m. PST

Over 100m in a 90 degree fan … chances are if you are in that back blast area, you will be severely injured or dead. And obviously you can't fire it in an enclosed space/building, etc.


Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2019 10:06 a.m. PST

That last video is just incredible. I knew there was some blast and lost of flame/smoke….which totally reveals one's position. But had no idea of how extreme.

The comments section on the video is worth reading for some very confused input. So many seem to think this fired a self propelled rocket, not understanding the recoilless rifle idea. (I suppose it was rifled?). Imagine an ONTOS firing six of these then…..

I imagine this was far cheaper than a TOW and was more for HE than A/T Armour Piercing?

Amazing what a Napoleonic buff can learn here. Suddenly I want to see more in the Hue 68 range. I have already digressed once into Missouri Bushwhackers…..

Amused to read this could be fun to drive. No suspension…none at all. 16 HP and claimed top speed 25mph. I loved the bit that the driver could abandon the exposed seat and drive the vehicle from behind in an emergency. I think I would just have run.

Legion 420 Feb 2019 4:58 p.m. PST

Bottom line don't stand anywhere near the back of a RR, or Rocket Launcher, e.g. LAW, RPG, etc.

The TOW is a HEAT missile as is the M47 Dragon. There were never an type TOW warheads other than HEAT for AT, AFAIK. The RR based on who makes it could have a variety of rounds.

And yes, I remember the Mules carrying everything from ammo to us !

jammy four Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Feb 2019 6:29 p.m. PST

legion 4 great video………….mega-destructive front and back!!
seen Mules piled high with almost anything useful..wonder what the maximum load was

great input chaps!!

Legion 421 Feb 2019 6:50 a.m. PST

thumbs up

She can carry about a 1/2 ton off road … link

Sometimes we'd pile on them like on a bus or train car you see in 3d World Countries. Better than walking !

Legion 421 Feb 2019 6:52 a.m. PST

Their are some for sale on line if you want one of your oun ! evil grin

Lion in the Stars21 Feb 2019 12:51 p.m. PST

I imagine this was far cheaper than a TOW and was more for HE than A/T Armour Piercing?

Ontos was designed/invented about 20 years before the TOW, but it did throw HEAT rounds, in addition to HEP/HESH, canister/beehive, and HE-antipersonnel.

In Vietnam, I'd bet on having mostly HE and beehive, with a few HESH and probably no HEAT at all.

Legion 422 Feb 2019 7:03 a.m. PST

Yes, as I said, like many RRs, they could fire a variety of rounds as posted. RR have been around since WWII.

In '88, the CEs in our Mech Hvy Bde were still using 90mm RRs as their primary AT weapon. At the same time Mech Inf Cos. had 1 Dragon per Sqd. And an AT Section of 2 M901s ITVs.

Joe Legan22 Feb 2019 3:22 p.m. PST

Entertaining discussion!

jammy four Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Feb 2019 12:26 a.m. PST

legion 4 and Lion in the stars thanks for great input!


Legion 423 Feb 2019 8:00 a.m. PST

thumbs up

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2019 12:29 p.m. PST

Legion4. Re your 18.02.19 (sorry US would be 02.18.19) 0843.

Ever read "Unheralded Victory" by Mark Woodruff, published 2000? Very convincing account of how US ground forces beat the NVA, VC in every conventional engagement, not just Tet.

OK, we know the end result, but that is a different story. Anyone who hasn't read it….recommended! (this from a Napoleonic Buff)

Legion 428 Feb 2019 9:02 a.m. PST

No I have not, but thanks for that info. I may have to give that a read. And yes, I agree, based on all of my study, serving with Vietnam Vets, Vietnamese refugees in the US Army, etc. I agree totally, toe-to-to the US won every engagement. And I stand by that.

Interestingly our POTUS was in Hanoi yesterday. Talking to the Nork leader Un. The news media showing the city clearly demonstrated to me, and probably others. With US assistance among others, Vietnam was rebuilt and has a striving economy. And the locals were looking forward to seeng the POTUS. Just like after WWII Germany and Japan was rebuilt with much US assistance. We see today Vietnam is another example of that.

As a side bar, my health care is entirely from the Veteran's Admin clinic and hospital. The cane, crutches, and walker they gave me for my hip and now knee … Were made in Vietnam. I'm sure the Vietnam Vets there can see the irony of that.

I'm going today for an x-ray of my knee and get a knee brace. I will be interested in seeing where the brace was made … evil grin

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP01 Mar 2019 6:53 a.m. PST

Great story. For years I had to pretend to my Mom that my SUV was not Japanese (a Mitsubishi) and that the twin seater was British (a Toyota). All to do with Hong Kong late 1941……

Grand Cherokee went down better,later on.

Did you notice how many older buildings are extant in Hanoi, despite Linebackers? Shows how careful they were to target out of town, as we were always assured. Vietnam's economy is predicted to boom,with IT technology investments.

Good luck with the knee. I had many an offer of an arthroscopy and guddle about, but held on. I never would have my PSA checked, nor would any Urologist I know. I do not "DO" health checks/screens (possibly due to 42 years in the trade!)

That book is brilliant and I would highly recommend it. Still in print (second edition now)

Legion 401 Mar 2019 7:34 a.m. PST

I had a Dodge Ram Jeep in the later '80s. But everything on the inside said "Mitsubishi". The same guys that made the Zero fighter. evil grin

Yes, the US was as surgical as it could be with airstrikes on Hanoi. With the NVA starting to run out of SAMs. The US had destroyed much of Hanoi and it's infrastructure.

Linebacker brought the North's leadership back to the peace talks table. I had heard if we kept up with Linebacker, etc., Hanoi would have looked like the dark side of the moon. And may have influenced the outcome ?

But if you look at much of Vietnam today … it does look like they "won". Again with US trade and support … And their economy is thriving.

And thank you, the VA docs have me a "very expensive" knee brace. So it seems to certainly help !

Yes, I will look for that book … Thank you again …

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2019 12:05 p.m. PST

Mind you, it looks even better with lick of paint.


Legion 414 Mar 2019 12:36 p.m. PST

Nicely done ! thumbs up

jammy four Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Mar 2019 4:59 p.m. PST

Cheers legion4


davejl29 Mar 2019 2:31 p.m. PST

Brilliant painting which brings the quality of the vehicle to light. Well done

jammy four Sponsoring Member of TMP30 Mar 2019 10:23 a.m. PST

many thanks Davejl!


jammy four Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Apr 2019 4:19 a.m. PST

just a note Driver and additional "equipment" being added


Legion 414 Apr 2019 7:43 a.m. PST

thumbs up grin

jammy four Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Jun 2019 4:49 a.m. PST

Mule release is not that far away do bear with us


jammy four Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Jul 2019 2:12 a.m. PST

working hard to release the Mule as soon as possible


Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP20 Oct 2019 4:02 a.m. PST

and the hard work has paid off I gather.

Oh heck…I was just about to post the new MUTT from Gringos40. MUTT not a mule!


jammy four Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Oct 2019 12:01 p.m. PST

that's ok" they are both released now!

jammy four Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Nov 2019 3:05 a.m. PST

last few Mules left before re stock!!


Legion 413 Nov 2019 8:11 a.m. PST

There were a whole bunch sitting in the Cannibalization Point in the early '80s. At Ft. Campbell, KY … old fart wink

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP13 Nov 2019 10:01 a.m. PST

I cannot help but think many a farmer would have a really good use for a (mechanical version of a) mule. Not exactly packed with safety features though.

I cannot see a seat belt, air bags, roll over bars, or wire cutter, let alone a cup holder or USB port. The driver is the crumple zone.

Legion 413 Nov 2019 3:11 p.m. PST

To make all those upgrades you may as well buy a newer vehicle ! evil grin

Those in the Cann Pt. were broken down and some were damaged in drops too. My Bn lost 7 out of 7 when the Riggers were practicing rigging them up for air drops. frown

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