The M60 General Purpose Machine Gun Was One of the Vietnam War’s Iconic Weapons


Throughout the late morning hours of July 1, 1970, 5 82 mm mortar rounds struck Fireplace Assist Base Ripcord in northern South Vietnam. Small-arms fireplace and rocket-propelled grenades adopted. Defending the bottom’s perimeter, Delta Firm, 2nd Battalion, 506th Airborne Regiment, a hundred and first Airborne Division, engaged North Vietnamese Military troops about 700 yards away.

Thus started the 23-day battle for Ripcord, one of many final main battles between the U.S. and North Vietnamese armies, which ended when American forces have been ordered to evacuate. The combating generally pitted particular person American corporations in opposition to two NVA battalions. The American platoons’ M60 machine weapons performed a decisive function in these fights.

The M60, launched in 1957, integrated options of the German MG-42 machine gun and FG-42 assault rifle. It fired over an open bolt, used a disintegrating hyperlink belt feed and had a quick-change barrel. The M60 was lighter than the M1919A4 and A6 Browning machine weapons it changed, however early fashions may very well be unreliable in Vietnam’s harsh situations.

The barrel change lever tended to catch onto foliage and troopers’ belts, releasing the barrel with out warning. A push-bottom mechanism changed it, beginning in 1966. A fragile part within the set off mechanism usually triggered the gun to “run away” when firing. Grime tended to gather within the fuel cylinder, reducing the speed of fireside. The gun was additionally poorly balanced and tough to hold.

Nonetheless, the M60 shortly grew to become one of many struggle’s iconic weapons. Along with troop subject expedients, many different modifications and enhancements have been made because the struggle progressed. 5 variants served in Vietnam, equipping nearly each automobile, armored personnel service, tank, helicopter and Navy patrol craft. Broadly exported and upgraded for the reason that Vietnam Struggle, it noticed fight motion properly into the twenty first century.

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