Thursday, May 24, 2007

Problems With the M-16




Another aspect of the battle on Sept. 21, 1967 was the fact that we were fighting with a defective weapon. The M-16, at this time in 1967, would often jam after firing only a few rounds. We were told by our officers we were not keeping our rifles clean. Keeping the M-16 clean in Vietnam was difficult at best. This was due to the environment and the weather. But this was not the problem. There were real problems with the M-16, and many Marines were killed because of the weapons malfunctions. I personally went through three M-16s during the September 21st fight, serving with Golf Company until I was wounded. It was like fighting with one arm tied behind our backs. We were outnumbered, using a weapon that jammed, but we still fought like Marines have always fought. And we gave as good as we got.

Semper Fi,
Bob Bliss Golf-2/4 1967


As Bob Bliss has written above, there were problems with the M16 jamming and the troops were blamed for not keeping their rifles clean. We now know that the real problem was the type of powder used. During testing, Dupont IMR powder was specified. When mass production of the M16 was started, the powder to be used in the ammunition was changed to standard ball powder. The problems resulting from this change were:

The new powder caused much more fouling which quickly jammed the action unless it was cleaned well and often. But Colt had promoted the M16 as low maintenance, so to save money, no cleaning supplies were procured for the troops and no training was provided for the troops. The new powder also increased the rate of fire which decreased accuracy and contributed to jamming and wore out parts more quickly.

After all the problems with the M16 in 1967, the powder was changed, cleaning kits were developed and issued to the troops, and special training programs were developed and conducted.

In short, it was impossible for the troops to keep the M16 clean enough to function properly. So the government saved some money in 1967, but who knows the cost in lives lost.

Semper Fi,
Bill Sellers


We received the m-16 in early April and promptly had problems with it. Charlie lost 16 men to the malfunctions around April 17, while Sgt Huff said the gun saved their butts in Bravo in the spring Khe Sahn hill fights. They were able to carry more ammo. Delta guys tell me of shooting a round and then having to extract the casing with a cleaning rod while on the Street Without Joy. The aluminum chamber caused problems as it would pit and when the shell fired it would fill the pit holes and the extractor could not get the shell out. Currie Clement one of the Bn Armorers said some of the rifles would get broken trying to get the bolt out. He also had to keep quiet while an inspection team claimed that the Marines were not keeping the rifles clean. There was a Bn who received the rifles on ship, and the brass did not know what to do when they malfunctioned when they shot them off the fantail. I got mine second hand from an Arty FO who was turning his in for an M-14. He told me it was a good one and had killed somebody with it already. It would take 100 rounds or so on full auto and then only shoot single shot until I cleaned it up.


Bill Weidenbacher
Alpha 1/9 66-67 H&S 1/26 67
June 1, 2007 12:19 AM
If you really want to read about the M16 piece of crap, go to this link. Former Marine Culver does a great job exposing what went on: http://www.jouster.com/articles30m1/index.html
SFC.B. Clement H&S Co. 1/9 66-67
June 5, 2007 10:42 PM

2 comments:

woodstockweid said...

The Iron Feather sent me. On my 1/9 hat I wear all of the operations and it says 1/9 was on Operation Kingfisher, yet nobody talks of it. The sister of the MIA talked to me in Albany, NY. She claimed the fight 2/4 got into was at the same place 1/9 Bravo lost 85 plus men on 2 July.

We received the m-16 in early April and promly had problems with it. Charlie lost 16 men to the malfunctions around April 17, while
Sgt Huff said the gun saved their butts in Bravo in the spring Khe Sahn hill fights. They were able to
carry more ammo. Delta guys tell me of shooting a round and then having to extract the casing with a cleaning rod while on the Street Without Joy.

The aluminum chamber caused problems as it would pit and when the shell fired it would fill the pit holes and the extractor could not get the shell out.

Currie Clement one of the Bn Armorers said some of the rifles would get broken trying to get the
bolt our. He also had to keep quiet while an inspection team claimed that the Marines were not keeping the rifles clean.

There was a Bn who received the rifles on ship, and the brass did not know what to do when they malfunctioned when they shot them off the fantail.

I got mine second hand from an Arty FO who was turning his in for an M-14. He told me it was a good one and had killed somebody with it already. It would take 100 round or so on full auto and then only shoot single shot until I cleaned it up

Bill Weidenbacher
Alpha 1/9 66-67
H&S 1/26 67

Anonymous said...

If you realy want to read about the M16 piece of crap, go to this link. Former Marine Culver does a great job exposing what went on.

http://www.jouster.com/articles30m1/index.html

SF

C.B. Clement
H&S Co. 1/9
66-67