Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

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dwtaylor0
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by dwtaylor0 »

Good points, I finally got my copy of 'Fire and Movement' so hopefully I'll be able to improve/revise the ARVN lists.

dwtaylor0
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by dwtaylor0 »

Random thought: How cynical should we be about the effectiveness of full-auto fire? i.e. To what extent does the usefulness of full-auto fire lie in killing/suppressing the enemy vs. the psychological value for the firer spraying lots of bullets and making lots of noise?

Richard
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Richard »

VERY cynical in my own experience. "Spray and pray" isn't a good doctrine for most troops. I'd really only add value to high quality elite units using full auto.

Rich

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Seret
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Seret »

Full auto isn't really intended to have anything other than suppressive effect dwtaylor0. Support weapons like LMGs are just trying to keep everybody in the beaten zone pinned down, while full auto from rifles should really only be used for suppressive effect (for example when trying to break contact) or at point blank range (clearing fighting positions, etc).

What you see in reality is that poorly disciplined troops tend to use it to make themselves feel tougher. Watch the evening news and you'll see plenty of examples of irregulars doing what we used to call the "Bosnian unload", where one man sticks his weapon above cover and blats off the whole mag. I've seen footage of US line infantry doing similar in Vietnam when they felt scared.

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Arlequín
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Arlequín »

Only the first round fired on full auto has any accuracy, the rest depend on how well the firer is controlling the weapon. Even the most skilled shooters struggle to get more than one round on a man-sized target at anything over twenty yards or so... nevertheless they generally do get one round on target.

A British test on groups of targets (shooters standing and moving) in WWII surprisingly came out with the Sten scoring a hit on all targets, while the Bren missed some, but put multiple rounds into others. It wasn't specified, but it is presumed they were firing short bursts rather than 'holding until it went click'.

More recent electronic testing has enabled the spread of shots to be measured accurately though and has shown that generally most rounds will at least pass within 2m of their intended target - sufficiently close to prompt the target to take cover.

Maybe someone with some actual combat weapon experience could confirm, but it does seem to be almost 'universal' that automatic weapons merely provide more of a suppressive effect than anything else, as Seret and Rich say.

Peter
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Peter »

At a guess, the sten hit with some rounds because the rounds spread over a wide area: the bren, with little spread, hits with all or none.

exchook
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by exchook »

Peter wrote:At a guess, the sten hit with some rounds because the rounds spread over a wide area: the bren, with little spread, hits with all or none.
I have fired the Bren from a standing position and the recoil would kick the weapon away from your original 'sight picture'.

When standing you are taught to 'walk your fire' onto the target.

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Seret
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Seret »

Don't think I've fired a Sten, but I did always like its very close cousin the Sterling. Probably the most well-behaved weapon I've ever fired standing on full-auto. The low recoil makes it fairly easy to manage. I have fired a Bren, but pretty sure we only fired it prone. Like exchook said long bursts and walking it in would probably be about your only hope unless you had arms like Hercules.

I was an armourer though, so most of the time we were making bangs we weren't really too bothered with accuracy. More concerned with whether the damn thing actually cycled after being put back together!

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Arlequín
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Arlequín »

My own limited experience of the Sterling was that it was probably a good throwing stick. I'm led to believe that if the stock was positioned a certain way, it would also return to the thrower if he missed. ;)

But yes indeed, the Bren being accurate didn't have as much spread as the Sten, hence the disparity and indeed if you hit with a Bren, odds were that you'd hit more than once. From what I can gather the MG42 bounced around like a mad thing, even with short bursts, so with its nominally higher rate of fire was a good weapon for suppression.

While not necessarily so, I'd imagine that the M60 and FN-MAG were somewhat similar to the MG42, while the HB-FALs were closer to the Bren (although I gather they were hard to control unless using the bipod).

For 'rifles' I think I'm on safe ground saying that semi-auto was the best option for killing stuff, while full-auto would keep their heads down so you could move.

I vaguely remember reading somewhere that the average number of rounds expended for each 'kill' in Vietnam was in the tens of thousands... and current estimations are that small arms fire accounts for as few as 10% of casualties in any Post-WWII conflict.

VC/NVA casualties for the War were in the region of 0.8-1m (100k KIA). Almost 3m U.S. servicemen served in RSVN from 1965 to 1972 and even if we halve that to count non-combatants and REMFs, that's 0.6 of a kill/wound per U.S. serviceman. That's without factoring those caused by ANZAC/ROK/ARVN, air strikes, arty, disease and whatever.

In real terms, based on those rough figures, a U.S. Platoon should create 26 enemy casualties (2-3 KIA) in a twelve month tour. Okay you can make stats say anything, but it's still somewhat less bloody than a typical wargame.

:)

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Seret
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Seret »

Probably much less, given that most casualties would have been caused by arty and air. You're probably looking at substantially more than 50% non-combattant, too. I did hear one statistic that said the average US infantryman saw action three times in his tour, and that the most never even saw a live enemy during those contacts.

Not that such averages really mean much. Some guys probably never fired a shot in anger, and others waded through Hue. Averaging those two experiences doesn't really tell us much.

As for M60s, horrible thing. Worst MG I ever had the displeasure of handling. Heavy, awkward to use pig of a gun. Probably nothing significant enough to model in a wargame though. Treat as ordinary full calibre belt-fed LMG.

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