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AUSTRALIAN WEAPONS IN VIETNAM

SLR | F1 SMG | Owen OMC | M16 Armalite | M60 GPMG | M72 LAW | M79 Grenade Launcher
Claymore | M26 Grenade | M33 Grenade | 81 mm Mortar | 9 mm SLP

Infantry Soldier

SLR

Known as the SLR (Self Loading Rifle) and is known for is straightforward fieldstripping and robust nature. The L1A1 is the British version of the Belgian FN FAL rifle. The L1A1 is a reliable, hard-hitting, gas-operated, magazine-fed semi-automatic rifle. The weapon was extensely used by the Australian Infantryman and favoured over the US M16 because of its reliability and hitting power.

L1A1 SLR (Self Loading Rifle)
Type: Battle rifle
Wars: Cold War, Vietnam War, Falklands War
Designed: 1951
Manufacturer: Fabrique Nationale (FN)
Number built: Over 1 million
Weight: 4.0–4.96 kg (8.8–10.2 lb)
Length: 1,090 mm (43 in)
Barrel length: 533 mm (21 in)
Cartridge: 7.62 mm NATO Rimless
Calibre: 7.62 mm (.308 in)
Action: Gas and return spring operated, tilting block
Rate of fire: 20 rounds/min semi auto
Muzzle velocity: 823 m/s (2,700 ft/s)
Effective range: 600 m (656 yd)
Feed system: 20-round detachable box magazine
Sights: Aperture rear sight, hooded post front sight
Accesaries bayonet, sling, grenade launcher, telescopic sights

 

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F1 Sub Machine Gun

F1 SMG

Design details

The F1 is a simple blowback design firing from an open bolt. It shares many design features with the British Sterling submachine gun. Unlike both the Sterling and its predecessor the Owen the F1 has a fixed wooden stock and pistol grip. A curved detachable box magazine is inserted in a magazine housing on top of the barrel. The butt-plate and pistol-grip are identical to those on the L1A1 SLR.

Problems occurred with the design of the F1, as its double-stack magazine (rounds side by side in the magazine) tended to spin the rounds as the bolt connected. This eroded the chamber into a bell shape, which increased the likelihood of jams. The Australian Troops in Vietnam lost confidence with the weapon and in the 1st Australian Task Force it was replaced by the M16. The F1 continued to be used as a "garrison weapon" in the 1st Australian Logistic Support Group until the end of the war.

Characteristics and Tabulated Data
Service history In service 1963-1991. Used by Australia
Wars Vietnam War
Designed 1962
Manufacturer Lithgow Small Arms Factory
Produced 1963
Number built 400,000 +
Weight (Empty) 3.7 kg
Weight (Loaded) 4.30 kg
Length 714 mm
Barrel length 198 mm
Cartridge 9mm
Action Blowback
Rate of fire 650 rounds/min
Effective range 100m
Primary Role Fired instinctingly from the waist up to 25m
Secondary Role Using the sights up to 100m
Feed system 34-round magazine
Sights Iron fixed sights

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OWEN Machine Carbine

Owen experimental

The Owen Gun, which was known officially as the Owen Machine Carbine, was an Australian submachine gun designed by Evelyn (Evo) Owen in 1939. The Owen was the only Australian-designed service firearm of World War II and was the main submachine gun used by the Australian Army during the war.

Owen Owen, an inventor from Wollongong, was 24 in July 1939 when he demonstrated his prototype .22 calibre "Machine Carbine" to Australian Army ordnance officers at Victoria Barracks in Sydney. The gun was rejected because the army, at the time, did not recognize the value of submachine guns. Following the outbreak of war, Owen joined the army as a private.

About two years later, Owen decided to try a direct approach to a manufacturer, John Lysaght's factory at Port Kembla near Wollongong. Owen was acquainted with the daughter of the Hotel Illawarra publican, Hilda Condon in Wollongong and that Vincent Wardell was the manager of Lysaght's. Owen knew that Wardell was in habit of visiting the hotel on Friday nights. Owen asked Condon to give his prototype to Wardell. Condon agreed and passed the prototype over the counter to Wardell in a sugar bag, suggesting that he should take look at it. Wardell became intrigued by the weapon's simplicity and arranged to have Owen transferred to the Army Inventions Board, where he re-commenced work on the gun. The army continued to view the weapon in a negative light, but the government took an increasingly favourable view.

The prototype was equipped with a top-mounted drum magazine, which later gave way to a top-mounted straight magazine.

The choice of caliber took some time to be settled. As large quantities of .45 cartridges were available, it was decided to adopt it for the Owen Gun. Official Owen MCtrials were organized, and Lysaght made three versions in 9 mm, .38/200 and .45. Sten and Thompson submachine guns were used as benchmarks. As part of the testing, all of the guns were immersed in mud and covered with sand to simulate the harshest environments in which they would be used. The Owen was the only gun that still operated after the treatment. Although the test showed the Owen's capability, the army could not decide on a calibre, and it was only after intervention from the higher levels of government that the army ordered the 9 mm variant.

Production and Use

Owen MCThe Owen went into production at the Lysaght factory at Port Kembla. Between March 1942 and February 1943, Lysaght produced 28,000 Owen Guns. However, the initial batch of ammunition turned out to be the wrong type and 10,000 of the guns could not be supplied with ammunition. Once again government intervention overrode military bureaucracy, and took the ammunition through the final production stages, and into the hands of Australian troops at that time fighting Japanese forces in New Guinea. Approximately 50,000 Owens were produced from 1941 to 1945.

Although it was somewhat bulky, the Owen became very popular with soldiers because of its reliability. It was so successful that it was also ordered by the United States and New Zealand.

The Owen was used later used by Australian troops in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. It remained a standard weapon of the Australian Army until the early 1960s, when it was replaced by the F1 submachine gun.

Design

The Owen has a simple blowback design, firing from an open bolt. It is easily recognisable due to its unconventional appearance, including the magazine mounted on top of the breech, and a side-mounted sight. The placement of the magazine allows cartridges to simply fall into the chamber, rather than be pushed into it by a spring, which is more prone to failure and jamming. Another unusual feature is the separate compartment inside the receiver, which isolates the small-diameter bolt from its retracting handle by means of a small bulkhead. This prevents dirt and mud from jamming the bolt, and makes the Owen a highly reliable weapon. Like the Sten, the Owen had a non-folding wire buttstock, but also had pistol grips.

To facilitate cleaning, the ejector is built into the magazine, rather than the body of the gun. This allows the barrel to be removed rapidly, by pulling up a spring-loaded plunger in front of the magazine housing. After removing the barrel, the bolt and return spring are removed in a forward direction, completely dismantling the gun.

 

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M16
Fitted with 30 magazine
Ammo
5.56 mm bandoleer

M16: General dissatisfaction with the M14 rifle and numerous studies led the Army to the development of a light weight weapon capable of firing a burst of small caliber bullets with a controlled dispersion pattern. Although initially opposed by the US Army Ordnance Corps the Armalite AR15 was adopted by the Secretary of Defense as the 5.56mm, M16 rifle. Colt later acquired the marketing and manufacturing rights to the AR15. The M16 was selectable for semi-automatic or automatic fire. The M16 was to have had the same effective range as the M14 rifle it replaced, but it was most effective at a range of 215 yards or less. The M16 used a 5.56mm (.223 cal.) cartridge in 20 or 30 round magazines. There were a number of problems encountered during initial fielding. Better training, preventive maintenance (PM), and several design changes, resulted in the weapon that has become the standard issue rifle of the US Army, More than 3,690,000 have been manufactured. Source: Federation on American Scientists.

 

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m60

M60: The M60 was type classified in 1957 as a companion to the 7.62mm M14 rifle. The M60 is lighter than the .30 cal. M1919A6 and only slightly heavier than the .30 cal. M1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) it replaced. The M60 7.62mm machine gun has been the US Army's general purpose medium machine gun since the late 1950s. The M60 fires standard NATO 7.62mm ammunition and is used as a general support crew-served weapon. It has a removable barrel which can be easily changed to prevent overheating. The weapon has an integral, folding bipod and can also be mounted on a folding tripod. The M60 has a rate of fire of 600 rounds per minute. The M60C and M60D were aircraft versions of the basic M60 machine gun. The M60 series is today being replaced by the M240B 7.62mm medium machine gun. Click here to view the characteristics and other data relating to the M60

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M72

M72 (LAW): The M72 series light anti-tank weapon (LAW) is a lightweight, self-contained, anti-armor weapon consisting of a rocket packed in a launcher. It is man-portable, may be fired from either shoulder, and is issued as a round of ammunition.

The tubular rocket launcher is a telescoping, smooth-bore, open-breech weapon. The outer (front) tube is made of plastic-impregnated fiberglass; the inner (rear) tube is made of aluminum. When the launcher is closed, as it is during unit maintenance, the inner (rear) tube and rocket are not visible.

The disposable launcher serves as a watertight packing container for the rocket and houses a percussion-type firing mechanism that activates the rocket.

The M72 was designed in the early 1960s for use against light tanks of that era. Although the M72 is mainly used as an anti-armor weapon, it may be used with limited success against secondary targets such as gun emplacements, pillboxes, buildings, or light vehicles. The M72 replaced by the M136 AT4 rocket in US service. Source: Gary's U.S. Infantry Weapons Reference Guide.

 

 

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m79

M79: The M79 grenade launcher resembled a large gauge, single barrel, sawed-off shotgun with the the barrel angled slightly upward. The grenade launcher was designed as a close-support weapon for the infantry. It bridged the gap in firepower between the maximum throwing distance of the hand grenade and the lowest range of supporting mortars, an area between 50 and 300 meters. The US Army added two M79s to the TO&E of the line infantry rifle squad and gave the squad an crucial indirect fire weapon.

The M79 was a simple single-shot, single-barrel, shoulder-fired weapon which broke open for loading. The soldier inserted a 40mm grenade into the breech much like a shotgun. Once loaded and closed, the firer put it to his shoulder, took aim through a simple open sight, and squeezed the trigger. It fired a spherical grenade which, just 40mm in diameter, nevertheless had a kill radius of five meters. Firing a large grenade from such a lightweight weapon presented some problems, but the ammunition design was such that the whole thing became very controllable and consistent. A rubber pad was fitted to the shoulder piece of the butt stock to absorb some of the shock.

The overall length of the weapon was 29 inches and its loaded weight was nearly 6.6 lbs. This small size and low weight made the M79 an ideal weapon in the close terrain of Vietnam. It had an approximate maximum range of 437 yards. Source: gruntonline.com

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M18 Smoke

M18 (Claymore mine): The M18 Claymore, a directional fragmentation mine, is 8-1/2 inches long, 1-3/8 inches wide, 3-1/4 inches high, and weighs 3-1/2 pounds. The mine contains 700 steel spheres (10.5 grains) and 1-1/2 pound layer of composition C-4 explosive and is initiated by a No. 2 electric blasting cap. The M18 command-detonated mine may be employed with obstacles, or on the approaches, forward edges, flanks and rear edges of protective minefields as close-in protection against a dismounted Infantry attack.

The M18 Claymore, a directional fragmentation mine, is 8-1/2 inches long, 1-3/8 inches wide, 3-1/4 inches high, and weighs 3-1/2 pounds. The mine contains 700 steel spheres (10.5 grains) and 1-1/2 pound layer of composition C-4 explosive and is initiated by a No. 2 electric blasting cap. The M18 command-detonated mine may be employed with obstacles or on the approaches, forward edges, flanks and rear edges of protective minefields as close-in protection against a dismounted Infantry attack. Source: Federation of American Scientists

 

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M26 Grenade

M26 (Hand grenade): Now obsolete. These grenades were used to supplement small arms fire against an enemy in close combat. The M26 produced casualties through the high-velocity projection of fragments. The M26 and M26A1 fragmentation grenades have been reclassified as the M61. The M26 used M204A1 and M204A2 fuses. The delay element is a powder train requiring 4 to 5 seconds to burn to the detonator. The detonator sets off the filler. Casualty radius: 50 feet (15 meters). Source: Gary's U.S. Infantry Weapons Reference Guide. Click here to read more.

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m33 grenade

M33 (Hand grenade): Replaced the M26 hand grenade. Also called the baseball grenade. Besides the shape, the M33 had essentially the same kill radius, delay, fuse and explosive characteristics as the M26. Because this grenade was spherical the blast pattern was more symmetrical then the M26. Source: alphaco.us webmaster

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M29

M29 (81mm mortar): The M29A1 81mm mortar is a smooth-bore, muzzle-loaded, high angle-of-fire weapon. It consists of a cannon assembly, bipod assembly, and baseplate. The cannon assembly consists of the externally threaded barrel, mount attachment ring, and base plug with a spherical projection that contains a removable firing pin for drop firing. The bipod assembly consists of the elevating and traversing mechanism, and bipod legs. The bipod absorbs the shock of recoil in firing with a spring-type shock absorber.

The M29A1 medium mortar offers a compromise between the light and heavy mortars. Its range and explosive power is greater than the M224, yet it is still light enough to be man-packed over long distances. The M29A1 weighs about 98 pounds and can be broken down into several smaller loads for easier carrying. Rounds for this mortar weigh about 15 pounds each. The M252 replaced the M29A1 in US service. Source: Gary's U.S. Infantry Weapons Reference Guide.

 

Australian Army's Current 81 mm Mortar

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Browning 9mm Self Loading Pistol

Self loading pistol

The Browning 9mm Self Loading Pistol is the issue side arm for the Royal Air Force, RAFPC and RAF Combat Weapons Teams. The weapon is used "as issued" in competition in other words it is not allowed to be modified in any way.

This is a 9mm semi-automatic pistol that is chambered for the NATO standard 9mm x 19mm pistol round. This round is also known as the 9mm luger and 9mm parabellum. Some modern literature refers to the gun as a "hi power", early literature refers to it as a "high power", this is a translation from its original title given to it by Fabrique National d'armes de guerre (FN) "grand puissance".

History

The pistol was designed by John Moses browning in the 1920s for the Belgian weapons manufacturer FN, the pistol first went into production in 1935. John Browning died in 1927. The final design work was done on the pistol by an FN employee Dieudonne Saive. A quick visual inspection of the browning high power will immediately show its pedigree. it shares many similarities with an earlier browning design, the 1911 colt 45. The Browning High Power, also known as the Browning 9mm and at one time in the U.K. as the Browning 38 has been produced by several manufacturers besides FN, millions of these guns have been produced. Some armories have produced copies with the help and blessing of FN, some countries have produced unauthorized "knock-offs". Of the various clones, some are exact copies and have parts interchangeable with the FN guns, some don't. At various times during its history, the high power has been the issue sidearm in over fifty countries. what follows is a partial list to give some idea of the usage: Germany, Denmark, Britain, Iraq, Peru, Israel, Canada, Lithuania, Estonia, and Malaya.

Manufacturers of the high power Browning high power pistols were used during WW2 by both the axis powers and the allies. the guns the allies used were produced in Canada by John Inglis & co, pistols have also been made in Israel, Argentina, Hungary and Indonesia. The current FN production is machined in Belgium and finished in Portugal. The Argentinean model, called the FM (fabricaciones militares), is a clone made with the blessing and assistance of FN. It will interchange parts with the FN Browning and is currently in production, it is not as well finished as the Belgian models, but is functionally good. The Canadian models went out of production at the end of WW2 the Inglis models are not 100% interchangeable with the FNs. The Hungarian model the Feg fp9 is a direct copy with some differences it has a ventilated rib and is believed to have some parts interchangeable with the FN. From Israel there is a clone called the Kareen. This gun is believed to made from parts machined in Hungary. Indonesia has also produced an unauthorized clone the "Pindad". This gun has not been sold outside of Indonesia and was made to supply the needs of the Indonesian military.

Basic models

Obviously, over the years there have been many variations of the high power produced. This is not a list of the minor differences, but a note on the major differences.
Early models were produced with a detachable stock and adjustable sights. The stocks were often wood and doubled as a holster for the gun it appears these were designed for cavalry use. The pistols designed for the detachable stock have a groove cut into the rear of the pistol grip, some models have a lanyard ring at the base of the grip. Late models often have an ambidextrous safety. The finish is usually blued. Some models have been made in nickel and chrome plate and many have been phosphated (parkerised). One finish that has also been used by FN is parkerising with black enamel paint over the parkerising. this finish is designed for military use. Guns made for the civilian market by FN are usually blued.

Ammunition

The high power uses the 9mm parabellum cartridge. A production browning should have no trouble feeding and firing any cartridge of this caliber, this includes various hollow point, blunt and round bulleted cartridges. Ammunition that fails to feed in modern semi-automatic guns will usually feed and fire with no problems when loaded into a browning high power.
Magazines
The standard magazine is a blued 13 round magazine. The standard magazine can be disassembled by removing the floor plate. The floor plate slides off by inserting a small screwdriver between the body of the magazine and the front of the magazine body, pulling the screwdriver away from the body will then allow the follower and spring to drop out of the body. The magazine is usually only disassembled to replace the spring or to thoroughly clean the magazine.
Magazine safety
As currently manufactured, the high power comes with a magazine safety. This means that when the magazine is withdrawn, the gun will not fire. The FN company put this in the gun so that if the shooter touched the trigger while inserting a magazine the gun would not fire if there was still a round in the chamber. Many civilian owners remove this safety, it is done for two reasons. First of all, many owners want to gun to be in fireable condition without the magazine so a fresh magazine can be inserted during combat. The other reason is that the magazine safety prevents the empty magazine dropping freely out of the magazine well. The German military during WW2, told the FN company to leave the magazine safety out, they did this so the gun would always be in fireable condition. When FN took back the factory at the end of WW2, they continued making guns without the magazine safety for a while. These guns have an "a" in the serial number prefix.
Field stripping
The high power is easily field stripped, it can be done in the dark. When disassembled, it should consist of the following pieces: the frame, the slide, the barrel, the magazine, the slide locking lever, the main spring and the main spring guide. seven pieces including the magazine.

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