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"Marines standing in for Air Cav?" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

Fonzie27 Sep 2020 3:49 a.m. PST

I'm not American so my knowledge about the differences between Marines and Air Cav uniforms is superficial at best. I did some internet research but apart from Marines wearing a flak jacket and Air Cav not wearing one I do not see any other real differences in uniform or gear. I'm not talking about early war Marines with M14's of course.

Am I correct in assuming that the only difference is the flak jacket and did Army units never wear one?

I'm thinking about painting up some Empress Marines as Air Cav but yeah, the flak jacket. I know, my figures, my table, my game, whatever makes me happy but I will always have a nagging feeling if I don't get it right. :-) A bit anal, I know. :-)

Thanks for your input gentlemen.

Legion 427 Sep 2020 7:08 a.m. PST

No … the USMC Flak Jacket was different than the US ARMY's. And the US Army did wear them but not always under the circumstances, situations, etc. Different unit have different SOPs …

M-1952 Fragmentation Protective Body Armor

The M-1952 Body Armor was developed during the Korean War by the U.S. Army and continued in use through the Vietnam War years. This was the flak vest most frequently issued to Army personnel during the Vietnam War…

The M-1955 USMC Armored Vest
The USMC M-1951 was upgraded and became the USMC M-1955, used by the Marine Corps in Vietnam. Like the Army vests used in Vietnam, the M-1951 "Marine Vest" was developed during the Korean War …

The M-1955 vest was very similar to the M-1951 but had a rope ridge fitted to the right shoulder so as to retain a slung rifle while on the march. The vest itself was made from nylon and had 23 separate 5 1/4in square, by 1/8in thick Doron inserts. These inserts overlapped (internally) in pockets below the shoulder area, these overlapping pockets were formed by 13 layers of nylon as ballistic filler. This vest (like the Army M69) had a length collar constructed from 6 piles of ballistic nylon. In the medium size the vest weighed 10lb3oz and each one cost $47.00 USD USD.

The U.S. Army's vests (Body Armor, Fragmentation Protective, Vest M69) weighed under eight pounds and were made of several layers of ballistic nylon. The vests used by the U.S. Marines weighed more than ten pounds and were a combination of ballistic nylon layers and fiberglass plates known as Doron and was made of fiberglass fibers placed in an ethyl cellulose resin under high pressure. It was, in my experience, too hot for the jungle environment.

Also scroll thru here TMP link There are a number of photos, pics, etc., USMC and US Army MPs wearing flak vests …

Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2020 7:54 a.m. PST

In 20mm or smaller, I think the figures would be interchangeable.

The difference in flak jackets may be noticeable in 28s it might be, but only about 1 gamer in 100 would know.


Legion 427 Sep 2020 8:30 a.m. PST

Yes the smaller the scale the less one would notice, in most cases. But IIRC Empress minis that he referred to are 25-28mm. So yeah it would be obvious …

Fonzie27 Sep 2020 9:40 a.m. PST

Thanks guys, I want to get it right out of respect for the men that fought there so I will not go ahead with my Air Cav plans. My Marine figures will be painted as Marines! :-) I'm sure I will find figures suitable for Air Cav later.

Londonplod Supporting Member of TMP29 Sep 2020 2:06 a.m. PST

Parkfield have a U.S. range that would work for Air Cav

Legion 429 Sep 2020 8:09 a.m. PST

Just remember the US Air Cav wore the same uniforms, etc., as anyone in the US Army. They don't have to be Cav specific figures … And there were other Cav units in Vietnam than the 1st Air Cav Div., e.g. 11th Armored Cav Regt., etc.

Served with a number of Vets from the Cav in my time on Active Duty, '79-'90. In the early '80s we got a lot of equipment, C-Rats, etc., leftover from Vietnam.

Fonzie29 Sep 2020 8:28 a.m. PST

@Londonplod: Thanks,I will have a look at them.

@Legion 4: The only reason I wanted to do Air Cav is because the Huey that I ordered has Air Cav decals. :-) I assume the only thing that sets Air Cav Troopers apart from other infantry grunts is the big patch on their upper arm.


Legion 429 Sep 2020 3:24 p.m. PST

Yes you are correct … thumbs up

Disco Joe29 Sep 2020 7:31 p.m. PST

Fonzie, you mentioned that you got a Huey. May I inquire the company that made it and the scale that it is in?

Fonzie29 Sep 2020 10:22 p.m. PST

@Disco Joe: It's from Italeri, scale 1/48


Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP30 Sep 2020 4:51 a.m. PST

Yea, about the only difference I see for some "CAV" troops is that some wear goggles on their helmets.

Does anyone make "Air Cav" or "Ground Cav" in 15mm scale, with M-1 helmets and with goggles on those?

Peter Pig makes them with the later Fritz helmets, but I want some for Cold War, US troops, as well as for Danish recon units.

Legion 430 Sep 2020 8:20 a.m. PST

Other troops than CAV wore googles on their helmets it was not a specific issue type item. Many AFV drivers and crews, etc., had them. And generally the CAV or other Infantry on the ground rarely wore googles if ever. Maybe when running an LZ/PZ ? Otherwise it was something else to get caught on the many forms of flora in places like the jungle.

But as we saw in our current ops in deserts worldwide. Almost all troops were issue googles. They are much more useful in that environment.

Short answer, in my youth … been there … done that … in both environs … old fart

uglyfatbloke02 Oct 2020 5:44 a.m. PST

Disco Joe – you might try Corgi Unsung Heroes 'copters. Pricey if they are MIB but mostly pretty cheap otherwise – even if it's just a tatty box. My wife has about a dozen and she loves them – no building , no painting and very robust. There's pics on our FB page 'S.P.I.T. Wargames'

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