In the couple of years I've been writing articles on the Scrapboard I've been lucky enough to speak to several veteran soldiers. Often they'll mention some "trick" or "dodge" that they used that has often made the difference between them being able to talk to me now rather than qualifying for a bodybag several decades ago. What is worrying is that many of these gems of information seem to appear nowhere in official training manuals. This page is my attempt to record some of this information before it is lost and has to be relearnt the hard way.
Emery Nelson writes:-
On subject of tankers "scratching each others backs"; I was in an armor bn in the old FRG in 1973 when the Egyptians handed Israel an early ass kicking in the "Yom Kippur War". Just to give everyone a brief remindier, the Israelis lost hundreds of tanks to wire guided missiles. Many, in and out of the military, were saying that the tank was dead because these missiles would dominate the battlefield.
Seemingly unknown to the army at the time, we had faced Saggers and Sappers in Vietnam. Through the efforts of experienced NCOs and junior officers we were able to put together some "facts" about the limitations and strengths of wire guided missiles and developed TTPs to counter them. These were practiced and taught throughout the bn for the rest of my time there. I don't think anyone in our bn was particularly worried about ATGMs because we'd been informed. Surprise and fear of the unknown are great determiners of a soldiers actions on the battlefield. These weapons were completely demystified in my unit. Other bns actually sent officers around to see what we're doing but there was never anything official done at Div, Corps, Army or D of A that I ever heard about.
I took "Armor Mag" into the early 1980s and I continually heard about the danger of ATGMs but never saw anything like the TTPs that we worked on in the mid 70s. At some point we have to preserve the knowledge within the plt, company and bn. Knowledge can't reside with TRADOC it must be decentralized. We lose to much institutional knowledge with the turnover of personnel and that's got to stop.
In the age of the Internet it's unbelievable that we don't have some kind of company information system where we can store lessons learned from every officer and NCO in the unit.
Ralph Zumbro writes
That's what scares me. The loss of knowledge between wars is a hemmorage FYI.
The USMC ran FT17s in tinsien China in 1927 and a Col Serenno Brett ran a mixed platoon of light and heavy tanks in Panama for the army during the same period....And the info was lost. We need to trap that info and nail it down.
When I was researching for TANK ACES, I quickly found out that everything we had to learn in Vietnam about jungle tanking was learnt in Bataan and Guadalcanal in 42....And in Panama in 1926.
The problem is institutional memory. The ONLY source available to modern soldiers is personal memoirs. "Tank Sergeant" has been carried in tankers' pockets in Mogadishu, etc.
There has GOT to be a better way
Ralph Zumbro now has his own growing website at www.geocities.com/futuretanks.
This is one of my favourate articles with a wealth of knowledge. LIC and Small unit operations.
Many of the Lessons that Ralph has learnt were learnt in Vietnam. On the topic of Vietnam Ralph would like to make the following point:-
Ralph Zumbro: The comment has been made that
"no one reads the lessons of the Vietnam war because we lost that one"
TOTALLY UNTRUE. The military did NOT lose that war, the politicians did.
Consider, By the end of 1971, we had turned all the weaponry over to the south Viets. In 1972, the Northerners launched the Eastertide Offensive, a totally conventional war. The only American units left fighting in the country were a few AirCav air units and their TOWs were devastating. The NVA made about every mistake in the book and lost over half their army. The fighting and dying and winning was done by the South Viets.
In 1973, we had the Watergate Hotel debacle....Consider. Richard "tricky dick" Nixon was a canny politician and already had 48 our to 50 states in the bag. He did not need to use any chicanery. The apes who pulled off that breakin may easily have been working for another power. Whatever their motivation, the result was that Nixon lost his war powers and CONGRESS defunded the war in SE Asia. They also grounded the B-52s by act of congress. This effectively handed the war over to the Northerners on a silver platter.
All through late 1973 and 74, they rearmed in defiance of a treaty that they had signed in Paris. The only guarantor of that treaty was Nixon's use of the B-52s In 1975, they launched an offensive about the size of the one we sent ashore on D-Day, 1944. The military actually won its battles and war. It was the Politicoes who screwed up.....Sorry for the tirade but I needed to put things in perspective so the lessons can be used.
There is a series of books titled "Vietnam Lessons Learned" in most military libraries. The information is Valid.
Another useful resource is the Vietnam Primer
Another lesson of Vietnam is that wars are fought on many levels. The US and the French before them tried to operate on a military level, while the North Vietnamese also fought with political, economic, psycological and propaganda weapons.
RZ: We won the Hearts & Minds in RVN with public works and medical civil action patrols (MEDCAP), and I have lived in a stone age village, drunk their wine and guarded their rice and corn harvests.....While trained agitators were loose in the streets of American cities, influencing the politicians who gave my war away and betrayed the people for whom we fought and some of us died.....Yeah, I can get heavy handed, but I also took little girls on my tank fenders, into our dental clinic.
RZ: In combat in RVN we kept losing TCs until we got it right. Lt Nolan took an RPG in the chest. Sgt Mitten wounded in the shoulder. Sgt Watanabe in the head, Sgt Bell in the neck. Sgt took an RPG in one of those vision blocks and it dished his brain out. I took over that tank.
The solutions (partial) was to provide the TC with an large supply of grenades.
To ride infantry on the fenders and have them dismount and stalk along just behind the tank to clear snipers and RPG artists.
To mount claymores on the sides of the hull and turret and control them from inside. We fired them with the vehicle electric circuit, not the clackers.
We also tended to deal with attacking enemy infantry by buttoning up and clobbering each other's tanks with coax and canister, trying not to pierce the beer cooler.
I have several times in military expositions, suggested that command detonated ERA for infantry defense be developed. So far no takers. Putting a layer of BBs on one or two rows on ERA wouldn't degrade its Anti-HEAT capability.
Another nasty trick we had was to put a grenade on a spare antenna mount with a blasting cap that could be fired from inside. One TC put a pound of C-4 up there and wrapped it with barbed wire that he'd filed notches into.
Add grenade launchers that also throw frags.
It used to be a standard trick for the TC to simply call airburst artillery (fuze VT) in on top of himself, but I suspect that that is another lost trick.
In RVN we faked up a bow gun for the driver, and later mounted claymores on the dozer blade, although we had to remember to stow them when working as a dozer tank. We brought the wires in through the bilge pump outlet, but the headlight mounts would work as well.
Incidentally, the cannister rounds were very old, Korean War vintage and tended to come apart. Some of them we pulled the cannister off and installed a plastic bag full of grease....About two gallons, replacing much of the powder. We had to operate the breech manually, of course but it was nice to have a good substitute for a flamethrower in the ammo rack.
"Shove the muzzle of a main gun in through the window, or directly through the wall, and fire it.
Room is cleared."
RZ: "One of the oddball things we discovered in RVN was that if you add a few left-handers to your point squad, it has a better chance of surviving an ambush because they habitually carry their weapons pointed to the right. Also a non smoking point man can SMELL fish-eaters....And somone who is color blind compensates by seeing more texture and can usually spot camouflage, especially day old dead foliage."
RZ: I just remembered that a friend of mine, Rene Gonzalez, of TACOM, cooked up a trick with a dental mirror for an M-1. He was in one of those dreary little Balkan fracases and simply used Bondo (body putty) to make a mount for a dentist's mirror that would put it right behind the rear sight. Then all he had to do was slip the mirror into the socket, hold the weapon around the corner while he stayed safe behind the bricks, and fire a burst.
RZ: OH YEAH, the .05 second delay fuze on the 90mm HE allowed bank shots that let us shoot around corners and behind barricades. It also let us blow gooks outa the bunkers from inside. We used to swap those fuzes into WP rounds and shoot them through the walls of houses and bunkers, to go off inside....Very salutory effect.
RZ: The best .50 mount ever designed was the one on the M-60 series, with over 200 rounds available. That was with the M-85 of course, but the Browning was adaptable. We also had another .50 trick. That was to pull the HMG bbl and substitute an aircraft bbl. kicked the cyclic up to about 800 rpm.
RZ: We had a way of carrying the old M-1 carbine that was FAST. We simply imbedded a screw-eye in the left side of the stock, near the trigger guard. Next a GP strap was attached and slipped over the left shoulder, like a baldric, leaving the carbine, which by that time had had its buttstock sawn off, hanging at the right hip. Some guys put a light string from the screw-eye to the pistol belt to eliminate swinging.
The result was what we called the "Whippit" because all you had to was shove down with your right hand and whippit out, shooting. I have also seen a carbine with a stud embedded in the stock, which fit a clip on the pistol belt
Carlton Meyer, Editor of G2mil:-
If you recall "About Face" Hackworth was shocked at the loss of knowledge in the Army since he had dropped out of sight for 10 years. When I was in the Marines, I thought it would be better if we had retired combat vets teaching our tactics classes rather than 26-year old Captains.
In California, our Sergeant Major with lots of purple hearts volunteered to discuss tactics with our battalion officers. Of course, only the lieutenants showed up. We were surprised when he insisted that no one should stop to help the wounded during an attack. He said the momentum would be lost. Its better to press on and clear out the hostiles so the Corpsman can do their thing. I'd never heard that before.
RZ: The BOG (bow gunner) was a sorely needed position in RVN. We had the advantage of having WWII and Korean tanker vets with us....Our original CO Col Fairfield, was the platoon leader who took the first tank across the bridge at Remagen and the driver of the tank behind him was the grandson of one of Custer's Crow tribal scouts. Those old tankers complained bitterly about the lack of the Bow Gunner.
The BOG was used as an adjunct to the driver to clear a way for the hull while the turret was working elsewhere. I have a photo in the 1987-8 Jane's Armor and Artillery, of a Lynx with two front hatches. That means that there is room there for a BOG. I can visualize a 9x45mm machine gun there, along with either a 40mm or 30mm SINGLE SHOT gun. The idea would be a combination mount with a breech loaded small cannon with a sliding breechblock. Nine mm multiple projectile loads combined with the ability to fling a charge of explosive would be a really nice capability.
We needed the BOG so badly that many of us wound up faking one out of an M73 and assorted scrap metal. The problem, of course, was that the driver had to stick his arm out to aim it. We usually had a belt of all tracer in the weapon. I finally wound up mounting six claymores and running the wires in through the unused bilge pump discharge.
RZ: Back in the 50s, I crewed on a Jeep mounted 106RR.
Here's an oddie. You can fire those things indirect if you put marks on the Jeepmount and use a gunners quadrent on the Bbl. It ain't precise, but could be developed by issuing aiming stakes and putting a panoramic sight on the mount.
Past about I think 35-40deg of elevation there was a danger of backblast curl under, but we even played with finding a drop off for a firing area and it WORKED. The unit was the 1/505 ABG. That trick needs to be brought back. They used to make an APERS round for that gun.
Visualise an APERS with either a VT or time fuze coming in on a Terr patrol and you get the picture. That tube could also fling missiles, HEAT, etc. Adding an indirect capability would be VERY nice....As a matter of fact, you could mount the 106 on the right rear corner of a M-113, install the panoramic sight and the elevation quadrent and an Azimuth indicator and it's a bolt-up and shoot. The Vehicle height gives you the protection from curl under.
To the above I'll take the liberty of reproducing a passage from one of Mike Sparks' pages
"In Hue (Hue City, Vietnam), it (the 106mm RR) was a real workhorse. By "trial and error" we learned several helpful points in mind when deploying the 106mm in a city environment. We found that it was more effective to aim the 106 just below the window where the snipers were located, rather than fire through the opening. This creates more shrapnel than a round that sails through the room. This is equally true for the LAW and the 3.5 rocket launcher. In Hue, we also learned that NVA, positioned along a street several blocks away were able to place accurate grazing fire down the street. Since the street had to be crossed, we used the backblast smoke of the 106 to cover and conceal movement across the street. This was done by popping smoke, a tactic that always drew enemy fire, to reveal the enemy's location.
Then a "(M274) mule mounted " 106 was moved partially into the street and a round was fired at the NVA position. (The jeep mounted 106 could be employed in the same way.) This caused the enemy to duck their heads and allowed us to move across the street, concealed by the backblast smoke and dust. Once a foothold was gained in the next block, fire could be directed from a new position to eliminate the NVA resistance."
RZ: I have had the chance/necessity to shoot quite a few hostiles with the .45, in line combat. A bullet ONLY transfers momentum to the target while it is IN the carcass. If you use GI Ball ammo, what happens, unless you hit a bone, is that you get a little exit wound on the backside and the bullet goes happily down range. I have put a 5 or 6 round burst into a running VC and had him fall toward me!!!!
Then I remembered my cavalry sgt grandfather's advice and shot for bone. There's enough bone and sensetive stuff below the belt to bring them down. The old man's exact words were
"Shoot for the joint between man and mount, bound to hit something sensetive. What you want to do is put him out of the soldiering business."
RZ: Unconventional Riot control= Set a machine gun close to the ground, about 18 inches high, and fire ONE pass across the mob's legs, front to back. At that height, you CAN'T kill anyone, just puncture and break their legs, and the riot is over.
PW: In any mob such action is bound to result in several deaths due to bleed outs and post-op complications. Even if this was not the case such an action would be a phenominal pyrric victory -the propergana potential for the other side is staggering (no pun intended).
A big problem is that it is not the people at the front of the mob you want to get. The irish and palestinians both like to put stone throwing kids at the front of their riots. Rubber bullets that need to be bounced off the ground to target the legs are bound to find at least one child's head, and then you have "butter wouldn't melt" school photos of the dead child on News at Ten. It is the ringleaders at the back we need more measures against.
RZ: We may have discussed this one before. The marines found out in Mogadishu that the muzzle blast alone of the 120 was crowd control. Load anything, elevate maximum, and fire....Riot is over, everybody is on the ground holding their ears.
One bunch of warriors made their women and children lay down in front of the tanks and the drivers spun 180 and gave the ladies a few minutes of turbine exhaust and they also left.
One Somali stood resolutely in front of a tank and the TC just forced him to his knees with the gun tube.
BTW...If the loader switches the gun hydraulics off with his safety switch and then the gunner moves his controls, when the loader switches back on, the gun will INSTANTANEOUSLY catch up with its control. This feature can, and has, driven a man's skull down to his navel.
The fact that there is a telescope sight right over the coax on the Abrams allows VERY accurate boresighting of that weapon and a burst right under the testicles has been observed to have a very salutory effect.
RZ: I have the battle notes from a Captain Campbell USMC, who commanded a four tank/one VCR detachment in Mogadishu. One of his tricks was noticing that just before one of his tanks was shot at IN A CROWD SITUATION a lane would open up in the mob of natives.
Obviously, some local had just hollered, in the local dialect. "I got an RPG" or something like that.
Those Marines quickly solved that problem. The coax in an Abrams is directly under the gunner's auxiliary sight, and they had learned to boresight that weapon to the telescope, creating, in effect, a giant, fully stabilized sniper 7.62m weapon.
Upon the TC seeing the lane open up, he grabbed the override lever, whipped the turret to the lane at max depression, till the gunner yelled "Identified" The drill then, was to walk the coax stream up the now empty lane till the RPG artist lost his nerve. Several times the Somali actually lowered his weapon and saluted the skill of the tankers!!
RZ: One of the ways the old army used to wear a poncho was UNDER the web gear. The trick is to put the poncho on, then roll the sides up in about a six inch width to shoulder level. You have to have a buddy help you with this, but when you have the web gear on, it contains the flappies. The top part of the rolls can then be pulled out to act as sleeves large enough to use weapons with. In practice, we used to carry the Garand muzzle down on the left shoulder.
That means that with the hand on the balance, one has only to lift the weapon to the line of sight. Not bad for 40s gear.
RZ: We used to lay either an uninflated air mattress down drop the bag or blanket on it, and then anchor three corners of the poncho, with plenty of slack, and tie the remining corner up to whatever. Next we would stick the helmet liner in the hood and prop it up with the Garand.
Simply picking up the weapon collapsed the hootch...I miss the old steel pot. I could take a bath in that sucker, and heat enough water for coffee or heat several C-rat cans.
RZ: Old tanker trick. Use dozer tank to make earth berm and get all the elevation you can use. Elevation is then INDEPENDANT of the turret. Just run the bow up on something solid. In WWII and Korea, this was done all the time. A tank platoon with artillery controls in the turret is a gun battery. The elevation quadrant in the tool kit is normally used for zeroing, but can be placed on the witness marks on the breech for shooting, and is calibrated in artillery mills, 6400 to the circle.
We did that in RVN and it was even used by the Soviets for direct fire AA work. After all, the only thing a dive bomber does in the sights of a tank gunner is get bigger. The trick is for the driver to hit reverse QUICKLY, if the bomb is released before the bomber is terminated.
You can find any number of pictures of tanks using earth elevation in WWII and Korea.
There exists in development an anti-helicopter round for the 105, which constists of a navy Mk404 FLIR fuze simply screwed into a 105 HE-Frag. Think what that fuze would do if screwed into an APERS flechette round and shot directly at a diving attack plane, or what it would to to any aircraft....Let alone what you could do to a platoon of infantry at about eight miles on artillery controls.
RZ: On the subject of reticules, the unity window on the Patton series of tanks had a red, illuminated circle that was supposed to be used for the coax. What we did for close combat was move that circle so that it matched a cannister or flechette pattern on a large rock or the side of a defunct building, and then move the coax to it. That trick also allowed us to quick aim the cannon with solid shot to a window or whatever up to about 200 yards. After that, we just switched back to the standard reticule. We also mounted a steel "donky" sight on top of the TC cupola for hip shooting.
A donkey sight is a straight iron strap, about 1/8" by 1" and 2 feet long, that has been bent up at both ends and bolted to the top of the turret,or strapped to a gun barrel. The front end was ground to a post sight,and the rear was a simple V notch, like an open rifle sight. They were simply strapped or welded in place and "adjusted" with a hammer. We used to use them for quick laying. I first ran into them on the old jeep mounted 106RR. Later, in tanks, I found them mounted to the top of the TC cupola, which, of course, had to be locked in place for the Donkey to work for the main gun. That was no real problem, as the .50 mount on the 48 series of tank was basically an unusable abortion.
In use, the TC used his override handle and the donkey sight to put the gunner on target. Many TCs, including me, got good enough to hit main gun targets ad considerable distances. Also, many of us used the Coax for a spotter, as it has the same trajectory as the 90mm HE and WP shells, out to about 300 yards.
The system was so efficient that it was of course totally ignored by the powers that be, and lost into history.
RZ: One thing needs to be brought out about my experience in running supplies in RVN is that we many times used really dirty tricks. One time on Highway one, north of Quin Nonh, we let info slip out that we were planning a really big convoy to Bong Son, and the VC took the bait really big. We simply let a few maids and bar types get the word of how and when, and when the convoy should have gone into the kill zone, what was in the area were LRRP troops with an FO team.
We KNEW where the obvious Kill Zone was and just sent scouts in to locate the enemy's ambuscade, command post, reserves, and assembly area. Then we gave each target a TOT, followed by an air strike and naval bombardment. TOT is a US Acronym for Time On Target. Briefly, every tube that can reach a given target is fired on time so as to reach that target at the same time. Given today's levels of accuracy, a DivArty commander can simulate a small nuke....Gen Sheridan informed me that they used the USS Missouri that way too, during his tour. WOW!
Next dirty trick was on April 10, 1968 and I was personally involved in that one. We got word that the NVA were gonna ambush a convoy of fuel trucks going up through Mang Yang pass, and simply made a slight substitution....We ran a company of tanks into their kill zone. NVA Regiment 95B died that day.
What all this is in aid of is simply reinforcing my policy that the resupply convoys should be armed and have adequate commo themselves. My preference would be a supply and transport company that could RAM supplies through against hostiles.
That would take a special TO&E but would be worth it. I don't think that's ever been done before.
RZ: Bazooka tricks= We were trained to use the rounds independently of the launcher.
Trick one was to knock the ends off the fiber shipping container and connect commo wire to the two ignition wires. Then the shipping tube could be tied to a tree or embedded in the dirt next to a roadway. Especially nasty was to use a posthole digger to place one just where a tank would run over it, and then rig it for command detonation.
Trick two was to simply knock together a series of "V" shaped troughs and volley fire the rounds (we had WP available) with a truck battery.
RZ: The normal place for the grunts in combat is OFF the tank and on the ground just behind it, where there ain't no reactive armor. Their job, and they have saved many tanker's asses, is to kill off the RPG artists who pop up out of the bushes or out of alleys. For that, they HAVE to be slightly back, anyway.
It would not hurt to have the bottom two rows of ERA coated with BBs and hooked up to command detonation switches that are controlled by the crew.
RZ: We used to deploy infantry right off the damn turret tops in villages and Pleiku. A simple ladder should take them up to the third, maybe fourth floor. Anything higher, you use a gunship while the slicks drop troops on the roof.
Alternatively, you could plant charges on the building's supports, once you have the first floor and the basement under control. The Russians did this to the Germans in Stalingrad....Worked fine.
The proper way to solve the corner problem is to simply roll a tank with cannister in the tube into the intersection and fire the cannister. Then the 10 or so infantrymen who were BEHIND the tank fan out and, in conjunction with the coax and TC-mg, lay down a base of fire for the next two squads who slide up the sides of the street flipping grenades into windows, etc. The tank can also make holes for the insertion of grenades.
Beirut 1983: Gate guards not armed with anything to stop a vehicle. No barriers to force vehicle to move slowly into area.
Saudi 2003: Ditto
That RSO ought to be fired; that is incompetence. Everyone with two live brain cells within a foot of each other and a tenuous electrical connection between the two knows Al_Qiada has an obsession with bulk explosives. Bulk means a vehicle; so you set up barriers to slow/stop vehicles, with weapons to really stop vehicles if they don't comply. But I'm sure he did everything by the book, so it's just bad luck the terrorists are thinking outside the box. I' m sure that will be cold comfort to the families of the dead
Solution in Beirut 1983: Heavily sandbagged/protected guard emplacement with claymore mines aimed at critical points on approach to gate. Vehicle does not stop after three warnings, claymores are activated.
Solution to Saudi 2003: Cattle guard gate that opens behind a vehicle, preventing another vehicle from following too closely; claymore mines in series in front of and behind gate. If people start shooting, activate claymores. Interior guard position watches gate via CCTV; if problems start, observe, sent QRF. If suspect vehicle starts to move, command detonate claymores.
RZ: In RVN all 1/69 units used crossings, bridges, fords, etc as bait. The drill was that just after we had "Armorized" an area by installing fords, passes, etc with the dozer tank, we would alert the LRRPs, who would monitor the new traps for mining parties and just harvest them while they worked. We also sat on high spots with our searchlights on IR scan and busted nightcrawlers.
If you have either an aerostat or Skycastle in the area, you KNOW where the enemy is going to head for, especially with the aerostat. Quit bitching and send out the patrols.
Our tanks also had the artillery controls and we could range and traverse to a likely spot on daylight, and then hit it at random hours after dark. Captured VC/NVA told us that they had lost many comrades to this.....We called it H&I or Harrasment and Intercourse.
RZ: Second and third generation thermal imagers can SEE buried mines some time after sunset. Bill Schneck has the photos. He sent me copies, and some of those photos even show the command wire. If the imager has cross hairs and is mounted on a 50 or ASP 30, you have a very powerful DE-Miner.
In RVN it was found that mines are planted mostly at night and light infantry patrols with starlight scopes and night snipers can terminate this process. The morning thunder run was also a very good tool, as was the practice of when a mine went of under a tank, all the tanks in that platoon dumped their ready racks into local buildings and scenery. That paid off in old Momma-Sans putting out markers to tell us where the mines were...Then all we had to do was find their triggers with something...Like 90mm HEP.
RZ: A 20-40 round magazine that has been dived and rolled on just may have some feeding problems....I well remember having to hold an M-3 "Greasegun".45 SMG, UPSIDE DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF AN ATTACK ON MY TANK, because the old magazine spring couldn't shove rounds into the weapon.
Also, overly long magazines prevent the diving roll from being effective to begin with. For those who have not done it, the trick is to dive across an open space between two buildings, roll on the ground and fire a burst when you are upright and both elbows are on the ground....This is a trick that is NOT taught but that experienced grunts learn VERY quickly.
We had paratroopers riding with us who could PLF of a moving tank while firing and hit VC etc. in the bushes.
Grenade Tips and Tricks
Fold paper tape through the rings of grenades and tape the ring to the body of the grenade. The paper tape will tear for fast use, while plastic or cloth tape will not. It also keeps the ring open for your finger, stops noise and prevents snagging.
Camouflage smoke, CS, and WP grenades, using black or OD spray paint.
All team members should carry a mixture of fragmentation, CS and WP grenades on their belts for the following reasons:
Smoke grenades should be carried in or on the pack and not on the LCE. You don't fight with smoke grenades, and if you need one, 99 times out of 100, you will have time to get it from your pack. Violet and red are the smoke colors most visible from the air. However, in dense jungle or wet weather, use WP to signal aircraft. Notify aircraft before signalling with WP. Gunships or fighter-bombers may mistake it for a marking rocket indicating an enemy position and attack you.
- Fragmentation grenades are good for inflicting casualties.
- CS grenades are ideal for stopping or slowing down enemy troops and dogs pursuing your team, and are effective in damp and wet weather, whereas CS powder will dissipate.
- WP grenades have a great psychological effect against enemy troops and can be used for the same purpose as CS grenades. The use of CS and WP at the same time will more than double their effectiveness.
Each team should carry one thermite grenade for destruction of either friendly or enemy equipment.
RZ: 30th January, 1968. TET:- The NVA had tied up the occupants of a whole row of houses in downtown Pleiku. We used tanks to take the fronts off the buildings so the infantry could go in and rout the NVA. The people were quite gratefull that they still had a nation and roofs over their heads.
We found that an old trick from down on the Bong Son plain worked like a charm, once we got some infantry with us.
Lead tank uses hull and tracks to remove one wall. Following infantry squad walks along behind, lobbing grenades in through the resulting hole. OR, set cannon shells on .05 seconds delay and shoot into the base of the wall....Blows the floor out through the ceiling...VERY salutory effect on the defenders.
Rick Randal on quietening MG belts:
Two ways that work fairly easily:
1. Dump the hardshell box for a soft sided case (preferrably zippered). Use a material that is somewhat flexible, but not flimsy -- about like an M60 spare barrel bag. The belts will "rustle", but will not clank back and forth. The soft sided cases have the advantage that if you are retaining the empty cases, you can scrunch them up easily enough.
2. Have the FACTORY insert semi-flexible shims fore and aft in the current boxes (the 200 round "drums") when loading ammo. Not a meterial like foam (there is a good chance of the bullet noses hanging up on foam), but about like a piece of corregated cardboard covered in 100mph tape. A little give, but a low friction coefficient. Not as quiet as the soft sided case, but better than the current "unmuffled" situation, and better than a piece of MRE cardboard (with or without the 100mph tape). There is still a chance of a partially empty "drum" having right-left or up-down movement of the belt and coming into noisy contact with the sides, floor, or roof of the box. But it's a solution with minimal impact -- just an added step in loading the belts into the drums, and a minimal material cost.
RZ: If you spray fuel on an enemy unit, you have just locked them in place.THEY CANNOT SHOOT FOR FEAR OF SETTING IT OFF. The only thing the buggers can do is stand up and surrender. That's a trick we used to get VC out of flooded paddies. Worked like a charm. One five gallon can off the back of a jeep was enough to skin over an average paddy.
"Allied soldiers on the double, upon coming to a sudden halt frequently remain in a kneeling position, simply waiting to be shot at, instead of throwing themselves to the ground. Then, if nothing happens, they get up on the same spot where they were kneeling before, and continue their advance. I think this is extremely dangerous, especially when the terrain is dotted with snipers, as it is in Italy. I myself have seen at least a dozen Allied soldiers die because of this stupidity.
"In the German Army we think it is only common sense for an attacking soldier to select an objective for each phase of his advance. Upon reaching an objective, he immediately throws himself to the ground and crawls 10 to 15 yards to the left or right, carefully avoiding observation. He waits there a few seconds before continuing his advance."
RZ: (On gunmen firing from a building at too high a height for an Abrams to fire on them) All the tanker had to do was back up 50 yards to his right rear and run his bow up on one of those concrete barriers to get direct fire. We desperatelyneed a modern version of the old 35 ton Sherman, with reactive armor........and experienced crewman. We also need cheap, dumb ammo, to include the blue training ammo which can penetrate almost anything and take out individual men at extreme distance.
An FAE rifle grenade would work.....OR, you could install radio detonators into artillery shells, shoot about a dozen or what ever is necessary into a building, and set them off at once by radio control. For smaller buildings we used to just peel one wall off with the tracks, lay the tube over the back deck and let go
Was learned early on that the muzzle blast through a window overpressures the whole floor. You can also back an Abrams up to a window or through a wall if necessary and let the jet exhaust cook the varmints. WP smoke shells also do a nice job.Flame throwers don't create rubble like explosives do.
We could also discharge a squad of infantry from the turret top. One TC simply made a large hole with 90mm HESH and swung his turret so the grunts could trot off the bustle into the new door....Would be no trick to add a ramp to reach the third floor.