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off topic Vietnam
The AFV ASSOCIATION was formed in 1964 to support the thoughts and research of all those interested in Armored Fighting Vehicles and related topics, such as AFV drawings. The emphasis has always been on sharing information and communicating with other members of similar interests; e.g. German armor, Japanese AFVs, or whatever.
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SHAWN
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 10:28 pm
Post subject: off topic Vietnam

off topic Vietnam, AR-15

those who remember me on this forum know that i am always digging for more info...

does anyone know of aar's or any documentation that gives specifics for the early failures of the M16, primarily unit specific aar's, etc.

my father, uncle rich, and uncle dan were in nam between 65-67, they never carried the mattel product.

shawn
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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 7:34 am
Post subject: Re: off topic Vietnam

Hi Shawn...glad you found us!

One source to get your hands on (that isn't just internet ramblings), is the Ichord Subcommittee report of October '67. 600 pages of bureaucratese mingled with useful data.

For a reasonable and short list of the early issues, the Wikipedia history of the M-16 isn't bad either. The stories you are most likely to hear are of propellant fouling from ball powder, lack of cleaning kits with early issued weapons, bolt failures, etc.

My own personal experience, which came later (beginning in '71) was that decently maintained, the A1's were highly reliable and effective in all but heavy bushy (like bamboo stands). I never experienced a failure to function in the field with an A1, and I had three in VN (and the ones up north were subjected to the wettest conditions you normally associate with anyplace other than the delta). Nor do I recall others in my unit having issues with it. Roy's experience may be different, maybe he'll chime in.
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Dontos
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 8:06 am
Post subject: Re: off topic Vietnam

Hey Shawn

I've been doing a lot of USMC Command Chronology reading lately, for obvious reasons, known only to .....anyway

There are some references to field testing a number of 'Stoner' weapons, but I wasn't interested in that so not sure what the reference is for.

I'll dig thru and see what that is all about. I'll let you know.

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mike_Duplessis
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:31 am
Post subject: Re: off topic Vietnam

From my reading M16's early trouble was mostly with the ammo. The brass casings had to be heat-treated or the round would jam in the gun. One Vietnam memoir I read had the author rummaging throughall the unit's stockpile of newly acquired 5.56 ammo and throwing out any rounds he found that didn't have the blue-ish tinge of heat treating on it. Apparently that solved the problem for his unit.
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David_Reasoner
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 10:01 am
Post subject: Re: off topic Vietnam

Clinton Ezell's book, The Great Rifle Controversy should be required reading on the subject. It covers the development and selection process that led from the M1 Garand through the M14 to the M16. He covers a lot of the early service issues with the M16.

David
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bsmart
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:27 am
Post subject: Re: off topic Vietnam

- mike_Duplessis
From my reading M16's early trouble was mostly with the ammo. The brass casings had to be heat-treated or the round would jam in the gun. One Vietnam memoir I read had the author rummaging throughall the unit's stockpile of newly acquired 5.56 ammo and throwing out any rounds he found that didn't have the blue-ish tinge of heat treating on it. Apparently that solved the problem for his unit.


I don't know if this is the one you are thinking about but "Tank Sergeant" by Zumbro comments on the bluish tinge as related to jamming problems

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mike_Duplessis
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 1:07 pm
Post subject: Re: off topic Vietnam

Yup, 'Tank Seargent'. I would've never remember the title on my own. That's the book where the author's career in Vietnam ended with a coconut falling on him!
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SHAWN
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 3:28 pm
Post subject: Re: off topic Vietnam

hey fellas, thanks for the leads and input (doug, mike, dontos, bob, david, et al)

i have heard the rumors from my dad about GI's who got overrun do to M16 failures, etc. but no real specifics about who or where or when, just vets saying "that is what i heard, the weapons jammed etc. etc etc, they lost their lives".
biggest fault voiced by uncle dan and ron was the inadequate .223 cartridge.

all i have run across so far is the same stuff dealing with the ammo and primer malfunctions, the testing and retesting studies, the initial procurements (us army da-11-199-amc-508) and many of the generals and staff and engineers and civilian pros and cons, blah, blah, blah all debating back and forth.

i just want to hear it from those who use it! if you can keep it clean it will work. .223 be damned but it will work.

i know that the 1st air cav and the 173rd initially deployed with the M16 but havent found any accounts of combat losses due to M16 malfunctions, etc. the 1st air cav had the 16's that had the forward bolt assist (they were not the M16A1's, earlier 16's with many of the improvements though).

anyway, i guess i have been more interested in this historical trivia because i just bought an AR-15 with the early upper and lower receivers...

thanks,
shawn
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Cloudy
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 3:46 pm
Post subject: Re: off topic Vietnam

I believe that the problem was corrosion of the chamber and barrel brought about by a switch in propellants. This was cured by chroming said areas and adding a forward assist to help chamber rounds when necessary.
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mike_Duplessis
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 3:46 pm
Post subject: Re: off topic Vietnam

A semi-related anecdote:

Let's not forget the 'Jessica Lynch' affair started when her M16 jammed the first time she tried to use it during the Iraq invasion. I've heard some comments along the line of "Yeh, that National Guard unit never did maintain their weapons properly", which sounds a bit like blaming the victim. Crying or Very sad

One obvious change from the original M16 is the little protrusion you can see sticking out of the right side of the reciever at an angle. If a round fails to chamber properly you're supposed to pound the whatchacallit with the heel of your hand to force the round into the chamber. A feature missing from the initial production gun.
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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 3:53 pm
Post subject: Re: off topic Vietnam

- mike_Duplessis
A semi-related anecdote:

Let's not forget the 'Jessica Lynch' affair started when her M16 jammed the first time she tried to use it during the Iraq invasion. I've heard some comments along the line of "Yeh, that National Guard unit never did maintain their weapons properly", which sounds a bit like blaming the victim. Crying or Very sad

One obvious change from the original M16 is the little protrusion you can see sticking out of the right side of the reciever at an angle. If a round fails to chamber properly you're supposed to pound the whatchacallit with the heel of your hand to force the round into the chamber. A feature missing from the initial production gun.


That would be the "forward bolt assist" that Shawn referenced in his post. Might have been useful in the early days. I never once had occasion to use mine.

Re: The Jessica Lynch thing....I wouldn't rush to criticize the Guard necessarily, but definitely there were a number of units there that went into uncertain areas (is there another kind?) totally unprepared to fight if necessary. From all accounts, that unit was one of them...apart from poor communication, abyssmal navigation, and poor situational awareness on the part of everybody that was nominally "in charge"...when things turned ugly, they were unable to respond effectively. That's a leadership/training issue of the first order.
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Joe_D
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 1:20 am
Post subject: Re: off topic Vietnam

Doug is correct,
It was very frustrating knowing what happened and watching the media's attempt to make a new hero daily, when the facts were finally released the media hooked their horse to another wagon. BTW, 507th was an active component from what I recall from Bliss. Units for the most part were pretty well led, but there were some (small number) that were terrible, almost criminal in both Combat leadership and training. This was across the board, Active, NG or Reserve. Lack of training is a direct result of poor leadership, BOTTOM LINE. Your rifle is your personal weapon and if leadership cannot instill the value of maintaining and qualifying it in their troops the leadership needs to go away. Sorry, this subject gets to me. There is nothing wrong with the M16 today if put in the hands of a trained soldier. The old "I'm just a mechanic/cook/truck driver, what do I need to know that for?" just don't cut it.

Joe D
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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 4:19 am
Post subject: Re: off topic Vietnam

Hi Folks!

- Joe_D

It was very frustrating knowing what happened and watching the media's attempt to make a new hero daily, when the facts were finally released the media hooked their horse to another wagon. BTW, 507th was an active component from what I recall from Bliss.


Joe is correct. The 507th 'WAS' the maintance support company of a Patriot Missile Brigade based here at Ft. Bliss. The 'WAS' is due to current Unit of Action on going reorg.s. The company stood down a few months ago.

- Joe_D

Units for the most part were pretty well led, but there were some (small number) that were terrible, almost criminal in both Combat leadership and training. This was across the board, Active, NG or Reserve. Lack of training is a direct result of poor leadership, BOTTOM LINE. Your rifle is your personal weapon and if leadership cannot instill the value of maintaining and qualifying it in their troops the leadership needs to go away. Sorry, this subject gets to me. There is nothing wrong with the M16 today if put in the hands of a trained soldier. The old "I'm just a mechanic/cook/truck driver, what do I need to know that for?" just don't cut it.
Joe D


In a way Joe is right about the "what do I need to know that for", but I think in the case of the 507th it was not that simple. I feel that their problem was cause by the Brigade Headquarters. As supporters of the firing units (the Patriot Brty.s) all the focus was keeping the main shooters working. There was no time for individaul weapons training or convoy training. Don't forget, during Desert Shield, that truck with the male and female crew that drove into the fire fight for that town in NorthEast corner of Saudi Arabia and ended up as POWs for the rest of that action. That transport company was from Ft. Bliss also. No time for individual weapons training or map reading or convoy operations, everyone is needed to haul cargo back and forth to the training ranges for all the primary combat units.

Hi Shawn!

My take on the early version of the M-16.

This is another case of I think we could use Old Top and his input.

My 1st tour with the Marines. I was working in the DASC at Dong Ha when the Marines first recived that junk. Time frame was somewhere around a few months before the siege at Khe Son starting. A battalion from the 5th Marine Division had to take Hills 881 and 882. They went up those two mountains with that junk. The rumors that made it back to Dong Ha was that almost every Marine that died on those two hills was found with a jamed M-16. That most of those who made it to the top, had thrown their M-16s away and had picked up an AK-47 or SKS rifle. The one thing that I remember was we recevied a lot of med-evac requests during those two operations.

As for me, I DON'T TRUST an M-16 as far as it can move on it on. When I was in Vietnam during my second tour, I always carried a M-60 machine gun.

I would say that Joe is most likely right about the current version being OK.

Times changes, sometimes it is harder for people to change. In my case, the early version of the M-16 is still a sore spot with me.
Sgt, Scouts Out!

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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:40 am
Post subject: Re: off topic Vietnam

- bsmart
- mike_Duplessis
From my reading M16's early trouble was mostly with the ammo. The brass casings had to be heat-treated or the round would jam in the gun. One Vietnam memoir I read had the author rummaging throughall the unit's stockpile of newly acquired 5.56 ammo and throwing out any rounds he found that didn't have the blue-ish tinge of heat treating on it. Apparently that solved the problem for his unit.


I don't know if this is the one you are thinking about but "Tank Sergeant" by Zumbro comments on the bluish tinge as related to jamming problems


Hi Folks!

Bluish tinge? First time I recall ever hearing that one.

Sgt, Scouts Out!

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General G.S. Patton Jr.
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David_Reasoner
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 7:34 am
Post subject: Re: off topic Vietnam

- Cloudy
I believe that the problem was corrosion of the chamber and barrel brought about by a switch in propellants. This was cured by chroming said areas and adding a forward assist to help chamber rounds when necessary.


WW2 style ball powder tended to foul the gas tube. The M16 uses direct gas impingement on the bolt to cycle the action. The M1 and M14 use a piston type gas action more resistant to the effects of fouling. IIRC, they also had a gas adjustment in the system to compensate for fouling.

David
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