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Thread: Vietnam MOUT tactics?
01-17-10, 02:09 PM #1
Vietnam MOUT tactics?
Wednesday I'm going to the field and we're doing CMP and some MOUT training. I was thinking of maybe kicking a class on the difference between the tactics for clearing buildings and urban tactics from Vietnam and prior compared to now.
Any Vietnam(or older) Marines care to share their knowledge with me?
01-17-10, 03:03 PM #2
By the end of the battle they were using many tactics as seen today: blowing mouse holes to shoot from, blasting their own entrances into buildings instead of using doors. They tried to assault buildings from the top down, but usually couldn't. Used snipers as much as possible (not as much as these days).
They also used a lot of grenades and C-4. The Marines then had a nice little weapon which was quite useful, the 106mm recoiless rifle mounted on a mechanical mule. It fired a 105mm artillery shell that could put excellent holes in walls for movement, or clear out several rooms full of NVA at a go. A good crew could darned near use it like a king-sized sniper rifle. But the backblast was tremendous and second shots from the same location were very ill-advised.
Much of the new city of Hue was like an Iraqi city in many respects. Cement buildings and walled-in compounds around homes and businesses.
When they crossed the Perfume River into the old city, they had to assault the Citadel, which was an old fort very resistant against modern weapons and, of course, designed to keep infantry out. Internally, again, they were fighting against well-entrenched NVA in sturdy buildings, except now those buildings were part of Vietnamese history and they were very restricted as to how much firepower they could use and where.
It was a very ugly battle. I would put it as much worse than Fallujha for a couple of reasons. First, the Marines had no MOUT training. Second, they had no time to really plan what they wanted to do and reherse it. It was hurry up, get into the city and start killing NVA and VC. Everything was done on the fly. Semper Gumby warfare to the max.
To make things tougher, most infantry units were shorthanded due to casualties from fighting in the jungle and had no chance to come up to strength. Some companies still had platoons in the jungle trying to disengage or find transport so they could rejoin their parent units in Hue.
The first Marine infantry unit into Hue was A/1/1. They were a platoon short (stuck at a base camp trying to get helos), plus each platoon was undermanned anyway. A/1/1 had to fight their way into the town, losing their CO WIA, and a bunch of Marines to boot. A/1/1 fought through the whole battle in the new city and their story is worth researching. Tough bunch.
If you had the time, I would recommend reading Fire in the Streets: The Battle for Hue, Tet 1968 by Eric Hammel http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Streets-B...3761747&sr=1-1 I think this is an excellent account and it also tells the US Army side of the battle, who were also heavily involved mainly on the outskirts trying to cut off NVA supply routes.
01-17-10, 03:25 PM #3
We came up with a Super Surprize,when clearing Hardened Bunkers or Buildings.Take a CLAYMORE duct tape the Hell Box wire where it screws in too the Claymore.Then when your in a area that needs clearing Room Bunker or Alley just flip the Claymore into the area and set it Off don't matter which End is Towards the ENEMY.Just make very sure You got some Concrete or Whatever Between Your ass And Theirs!!! Flipping Claymores became our Fortay for clearing and Killing the Mutha Fucers S/F
01-17-10, 06:25 PM #4
Lol I appreciate the knowledge gentleman, anyone else have more? I feel every Marine should know their history
01-17-10, 06:38 PM #5
additionally i was wondering if i could get a list of the gear brought into hue. the flaws of the gear, the perks of the gear, etc, etc,etc.... i really want these boys to understand how much more privileged we are today with our gear, tactics and other misc things that aid us
for example: i believe ya'll used the m16a1 with a laundry list of flaws whereas today we use the m4 which has the ability to shorten the butt stock, shorter length overall, rails that allow you to attach many accessories, RCO's over ironsites and the likes.
01-17-10, 07:08 PM #6
Dual purpose flamethrower...........
01-17-10, 07:13 PM #7
01-17-10, 08:08 PM #8
What they took into Hue was what they were carrying in the jungles. Same stuff, different terrain. The Marines literally went from one to the other within hours. It didn't matter if the gear had warts for fighting MOUT, that was all they had. Like Fist said, they used their imagination to improvise better weapons.
They had M-48 tanks, but those did not have the armor of an Abrams. RPGs and other stuff that only chips paint on an Abrams could put a serious whup-ass on an M-48. So they had to be much more careful how armor was used.
The Corps also had a cute little item called an Ontos. It was a tracked vehicle mounting six 106mm recoiless rifles. It had no more armor than a truck, but those 106s could cause some grief downrange. Bad part - the loader had to be out of the vehicle to load up the guns and, of course, the backblast marked your spot big time.
As far as all of the other stuff. It didn't exist then. No sense whining about no ACOGS because nobody had anything like them. There were collapsible stock M-16s with short barrels (variously called CAR-5, CAR-15, CAR-16), but those were Green Beenie and Recon guns. So no one whined about not having those either. There were none to compare short to long while running through a building. FIDO.
No SAW or anything like it. One guy in the fireteam was called the "Automatic Rifleman" but he had an M-16 same as everyone else, but he did have a bipod no one used. Two M-60s per platoon. Slower rate of fire than an M-240 and less reliability. Because of a lack of a suitable SAW, officers and NCOs tried to get more M-60s make up some difference. The firepower was needed in the jungle the same as in Hue.
No night-vision systems. Most of the building-to-building fighting had to stop at night. Arty and mortars still fell on both sides. Inability to carry the fight through at night allowed the NVA to reinforce and resupply. Of course, so did we.
No Camelback hydration systems. 1qt canteens, two-per Marine unless you wanted to carry more. Flak jackets barely stopped grenade fragmentation, never mind 7.62mm X 39mm. Helmets were nowhere close to bullet resistant like they are now. None of that stuff fit well, it was rather floppy. No knee/elbow pads available. Every guy I knew who fought at Hue had scars all over their knees and elbows from getting torn up on cement streets and rubble. No sense whining about that either, everyone else had the same problem.
Medical gear was essentially the same as used in WWII and Korea. Some improvements in battle dressings and IV fluids, but essentially the same. No such thing as combat lifesavers. The platoon doc tried to teach extra first aid classes when he could. Marines did carry extra supplies for the doc along with the other ten-tons of extra stuff for the machine gunners, the mortarmen, etc.
Google the 782 gear issued during Vietnam. That would be the stuff most Marines carried into Hue.
Speaking of carry, there were much fewer vehicles available at Hue for resupply, medevac, or just getting from A to B quickly.
One other point of difference between Hue and Fallujah occured to me. The Marines at Fallujah were essentially stationed right there and ran periodic patrols and recons through the place. The officers and NCOs had a pretty good idea of terrain and where they were going with excellent maps and aerial photos.
Almost every Marine in Hue had never been near the place and had no clue as to how the city was laid out except for a few maps the MACV people could provide after A/1/1 and the other first units fought their way into the MACV compound. The knowledge had to be learned the hard way.
I am not saying the Marines at Fallujah had a cakewalk. They did not. MOUT is sucky fighting no matter your gear, training, prep, or maps. What I am saying is the Marines at Hue had none of the above to start with, and damned little more when it ended. A lot of the lessons learned at Hue were applied at Fallujah.
01-17-10, 08:39 PM #9
wow, my brain is trying to soak this up. read it to my wife and she said "to many acronyms" lol. I've never actually heard to much as to what went on in hue and how much was learned ojt style. I can't explain how grateful I am to gather this information and appreciate it more than you'll ever know.
01-17-10, 08:49 PM #10
Basically....we were neanderthal compared to what is issued now.
01-17-10, 09:39 PM #11
What was the method of clearing a room once there was a breach? I know we use the stack nowadays but how did ya'll go about it?
01-17-10, 10:11 PM #12
Well, I wasn't at Hue (was a little too young). Basically they threw grenades, C-4, FistGrenades, whatever, busted in and killed anything still needing killing. Nothing fancy.
When I went through ITR (now SOI) in 1971, we were still not trained in MOUT as Hue was considered an aberration.
01-17-10, 10:32 PM #13
Here is a cute room clearing method I was told about by a DELTA Force member, who had been told it by a British SAS guy.
Before stun grenades and other PC devices, if the military made a room entry, people were going to get killed. God could sort them out later.
The SAS came up with a non-explosive room clearing method using the old STEN gun Mk1. This was a 9mm sub-machine gun made by the Brits in WWII. It was really cheaply made and as dangerous to good guys as bad, resulting in new versions being quickly developed.
However, the SAS discovered that they could load a STEN Mk1, cock it (they fired from an open bolt), chuck it into a room, then duck. The gun would hit the floor and start shooting full auto because the sear interfaces was so poorly made. The gun would bounce around on the floor, shooting anyone and anything in the room until the 30-round magazine was empty. The SAS guys then made entry and killed anyone still needing killing.
01-17-10, 10:33 PM #14
Zulu was spot on....grenades, sweep room or hut with some M-60 fire proceed with utmost caution...if possible run some pig's or chickens thru the door first....friggin boobytraps ya know.
01-17-10, 10:44 PM #15
I have a million questions still that I cant even think of or I think might be ridiculous
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