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Small Arms Use in Vietnam: The M14 Rifle and .45-Caliber Pistol

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Well this is interesting. A 1967 questionnaire of 83 grunts in Vietnam asking about their M14 and .45.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That is interesting. Lot of variation in opinions between the M16 and M14 as to which is 'better'.
It is staggering to me some of the horrid comments about the M-14 while touting the M-16 as the greatest thing since sliced bread, while ignoring how many GI's died due to a jammed rifle and all of the stopping power problems it had. If it's so great, why did they bring back the M14 in the sandbox, and why is the US military replacing the M16 with the new Captain Billywhizbang 6.8? Seems like a repeat of 1967 all over again........
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What is/was a "Mighty Mite?"
page 14
"Something should be done about Marines always getting equipment second
hand or when it's already outdated. Examples: flack jacket, helmet, M14,
Mighty Mite."
It was a little jeep that the Marine Corps only used and had an air cooled engine. It was not that great
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Is that true about Marines getting hand me down equipment?
How in the world was that allowed to happen? :(
Absolutely it’s true. The Marine Corps has always been the redheaded stepchild of the military and has the smallest budget. That Mighty Mite has a V4 engine, air cooled, and only has 55 hp, with an aluminum body
 

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Well this is interesting. A 1967 questionnaire of 83 grunts in Vietnam asking about their M14 and .45.

Thanks for posting this excellent questionnaire.

Two quick observations: First, pretty small sampling and that from one division. Second, look at the questions/responses 5, 6, 7 and 8.

Normally, how far away is the enemy when you shoot? 300 yds 15% 200.300 46% 100-200 30% less than 8%. Roughly 60% more than 200 yards.

How often do you fire at the enemy at night? Most of 10% Some of 77% Never 12%. That's 7/8s of the time "some or most at night."

When you fire at night, do you see the enemy clearly? Most of 6% Some of 42% Never 51%. Over 90% at an unclear target.

At night, do you aim your weapon or just point it in the general direction? 81% aimed fire some of the time or never.

Again thanks for posting this interesting stuff.
 

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Is that true about Marines getting hand me down equipment?
How in the world was that allowed to happen? :(
You bet it was. Even some of our C-rats came through the Army. Many times we received open cases with with everything except the fart in a can removed. Had a photo of a pallet of C-rats with " Marines get what they deserve" spray painted on the side. We suspected some low life Army drafty was responsible. My brother in law was an Army supply sgt. near Saigon and told me this went on all the time and laughed about it. I lost 50lbs in Vietnam and he gained 50 so that tells me something. He died of covid within the first 2 months of it's arrival.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
We all know about the M16 stick to ball powder controversy that cost too many lives. Apart from the author's exaggerated description of the M14's minuses, this is a very good account of the bureaucratic mess that became the M16 in Viet Nam.
M-16: A Bureaucratic Horror Story
Exactly. I have an M16A1 clone and I like it, but simply put, it is no match for the M14. It is about a 225 yard weapon max. You can do so much more with the M14, and the modern day ones are just that much better than they were 60 years ago. Everything is a trade-off, and what you give up for a lighter rifle is much more limiting in my book. And anything after the A1 is absolute trash, and don’t even get me started on this new fangled 6.8 they’re going to adopt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You bet it was. Even some of our C-rats came through the Army. Many times we received open cases with with everything except the fart in a can removed. Had a photo of a pallet of C-rats with " Marines get what they deserve" spray painted on the side. We suspected some low life Army drafty was responsible. My brother in law was an Army supply sgt. near Saigon and told me this went on all the time and laughed about it. I lost 50lbs in Vietnam and he gained 50 so that tells me something. He died of covid within the first 2 months of it's arrival.
My dad hated the Air Force, because one time in Vietnam he tried to go to one of their mess halls and they would not let Marines in. Let’s be honest, the United States Marine Corps is the finest branch of military service, and all of the branches simply exist to support the Marines. That’s just the way it is. 😂
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for posting this excellent questionnaire.

Two quick observations: First, pretty small sampling and that from one division. Second, look at the questions/responses 5, 6, 7 and 8.

Normally, how far away is the enemy when you shoot? 300 yds 15% 200.300 46% 100-200 30% less than 8%. Roughly 60% more than 200 yards.

How often do you fire at the enemy at night? Most of 10% Some of 77% Never 12%. That's 7/8s of the time "some or most at night."

When you fire at night, do you see the enemy clearly? Most of 6% Some of 42% Never 51%. Over 90% at an unclear target.

At night, do you aim your weapon or just point it in the general direction? 81% aimed fire some of the time or never.

Again thanks for posting this interesting stuff.
Yes, 83 troops is not much of a sampling. And it would be interesting to get their take after having been issued the M-16A1 on how they felt about the M14 at that point as well. If the M14 was such garbage, why do they still use it to this day and brought them back for Iraq and Afghanistan? Something else I don’t get is people complain about the weight of the M14, yet they have no problem with a 10+ pound M4 carbine with all the toys and crap hanging off of it. Makes no sense. There was a post on ar15.com some years back, and they took a poll from a lot of their members on the weight of their M4’s and every one of them were 10 to 11 pounds, same weight as the M14. Go figure. I’ve also never understood the ammunition argument because most troops in Vietnam had 18 rounds in their 20 round magazine with the M16, yet the 20 round magazines of the M14 were loaded to capacity with no problems. In hindsight, a lot of these arguments for the AR15 platform doesn’t add up.
 

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Absolutely it’s true. The Marine Corps has always been the redheaded stepchild of the military and has the smallest budget. That Mighty Mite has a V4 engine, air cooled, and only has 55 hp, with an aluminum body
Sounds like Adolph's Kubelwagen! 😂

4cyl air cooled 24 hp

Tire Wheel Vehicle Car Hood
 

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Absolutely it’s true. The Marine Corps has always been the redheaded stepchild of the military and has the smallest budget. That Mighty Mite has a V4 engine, air cooled, and only has 55 hp, with an aluminum body
The major problem with the M422 "Mighty Mite" was they were susceptible to salt water corrosion. For a vehicle primarily used by the USMC, this was a bad problem.
 

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In 1967-'68, I met a Viet Nam vet who was doing some physical therapu for a service related injury. I was a young-ish teen then and do not recll the details now. What I do remember is that the M-16 controversy was on the front page at the time. I asked this young man about it . He said that any of the maintenance drawbacks were outweighed ny the other military advantages of the weapon ovr the M-14. That is just one data point I know, and it was a long time ago.

Re" .45 1911 . . . .. In twelve years working at a VA hospital, I asked, but did not run across a veteran who liked the 1911. Most doubted the gun would shoot where aimed. Plenty liked the Thompson and claimed one hit would put a man down regardless of the location.
 

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It is staggering to me some of the horrid comments about the M-14 while touting the M-16 as the greatest thing since sliced bread, while ignoring how many GI's died due to a jammed rifle and all of the stopping power problems it had. If it's so great, why did they bring back the M14 in the sandbox, and why is the US military replacing the M16 with the new Captain Billywhizbang 6.8? Seems like a repeat of 1967 all over again........

There is a similar 1960's Army report posted on the M14 link at the CMP forum that includes GI comments deriding the M14 as un-reliable, inaccurate, etc. A forum member was arguing with any posting differently how bad the rifle was in VN. 🤨
 
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