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Old February 13, 2013, 03:49 AM   #26
Bud Helms
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Okay, gentlemen.

As a retired member of the USAF Airborne Artillery Brigade (AKA: AC-130 Spectre, the A-model in my case), may I say that for many of us, you guys were the reason for the mission.

I came here to close this thread because it is off topic and not about firearms, but I thought I'd give it one shot to get back on topic.

Here is what I rode when we went "outside the wire".


The First Lady: 53-3129. She gets credit for being the first commissioned C-130 in the USAF. A 1953 tail number.




2 ea 20mm GE Vulcan "Gatlings" up front.




2 ea 40mm Swedish Bofors Cannon in the back.



There were also provisions for 7.62 miniguns (2 ea) over the left wheel well, but with the advent of shoulder-fired SAMs they fell out of use quickly (low altitude and man-portable heat seekers don't mix. ).

Today the configuration of C-130-based side-firing gunships has advanced far beyond the days when I crewed on these. Oct 95 was my last flight.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg A-model 20mms.jpg (15.8 KB, 80 views)
File Type: jpg The First Lady.jpg (4.2 KB, 80 views)
File Type: jpg A-model 40mms.jpg (7.7 KB, 79 views)
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Old February 13, 2013, 09:41 AM   #27
kraigwy
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Worked with those puppies a while when I was in the 38th SF Company in the early 70s in Alaska.

Certainly came a long ways from the C-47 (Puff) of the late 60s.

They had a 105 cannon to go with the mini guns.

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Old February 13, 2013, 01:05 PM   #28
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I have the CIB that my father earned in WWII, in Italy. He ended up being captured and spending a year in a large prison camp (where Americans were in the minority) not very far from where I spent almost two years myself. When I was there, however, I was almost ten years younger than he was when he was there.

Referring to the infantryman's load, one might note how few photos one sees of soldiers in WWII, either in Europe or the Pacific, carrying much of a load beyond their weapon, ammunition and water. Even troops going in over the beach in an assault never seem to have anything more than their haversack, though I'm sure they carried more than the standard load of ammunition. Exceptions included Southeast Asia, both in WWII and later.
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Old February 13, 2013, 01:11 PM   #29
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I might also throw in a comment that in most armies, it was apparently necessary to carry belted machine gun ammunition draped around one's neck or around your body bandolier fashion. Only recently does alternative methods seem to be used. In some armies, when magazine-fed light machine guns were introduced, additional magazines were democratically distributed throughout the squad or section so that the burden was (in theory) spread out more as well as allowing more ammunition to be carried for what was thought of as the most important weapon of the squad. That was not done in American practice, though, and the BAR man had a real load.
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Old February 13, 2013, 06:53 PM   #30
Bud Helms
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Quote:
They had a 105 cannon to go with the mini guns.
Right, that would be the H-model.
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Old February 13, 2013, 07:00 PM   #31
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No back problems here at age 63,though I have a fairly rugged constitution, at 5'10 and 200 or so pounds I am not exactly a shrimp. I learned to properly
pack a back pack in the Boy Scouts-had ZERO training on that in the Army.
One thing I credit the Army for in my war-Vietnam-is that they did enforce the regulation that the CIB was only for those serving in the 11B and related
MOS's. I knew several MPs who were turned down for it even though they accompanied infantry units as POW handlers on extended operations and rear echelon types who though they were entitled to one-and awarded it to themselves-when their bases were shelled or a "sniper" took potshots at them-were quickly told to take it off.When I was in the National Guard inthe 1970s I saw Official Messages stating that Marines serving in the Guard whohad been awarded the Combat Action Badge were NOT authorized to wear the CIB.
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Old February 13, 2013, 11:11 PM   #32
Walter
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Quote:
As a retired member of the USAF Airborne Artillery Brigade (AKA: AC-130 Spectre, the A-model in my case), may I say that for many of us, you guys were the reason for the mission.
Bud, as one of the grunts on the ground, my thanks to you guys for being there when we needed you. Your predecessor, "Spooky", kept my company from being overrun more than once over in "The Arizona" (actually, the An Hoa Basin), RVN, in early 1969. They only had the 7.62 GE miniguns back then, but that solid stream of orange arcing down was a welcome sight , many nights.

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Old February 13, 2013, 11:45 PM   #33
Tom68
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Bluetrain, wearing that belted MG ammo "Pancho Villa" style is a good way to damage or dirty up the ammo and tie up a gun. I've seen it done, and at the Benning School for Boys it's a definite no-no...but some folks just seem to be unable to resist...or at least that's the way it was back in 1992.

In operational units, I'm sure the enforcement varies, but I'm willing to bet that most of the images showing that practice come either from the movies, or from fellows posing for pictures, because the middle of a firefight is the worst possible time to learn that looking cool has just rendered a key weapons system inop.

I'm not in the infantry anymore, so I'm sure things have changed, but like a previous poster put out before, back when we were practicing fighting the Krasnovians (a shout out to all of you who recall that insidious enemy), when we filled our rucks with boots and uniforms, we recognized that during a shooting war those items would be quickly replaced by MG ammo, smoke grenades, and extra water.
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Old February 14, 2013, 12:59 AM   #34
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I served in Marine Recon from '08-'12. Over 2 deployments to Afghanistan, our bread and butter was helo-inserting into a totally non-friendly area, securing said area, and patrolling it on our own for up to 1 month at a time. We also got to do some high speed drug raids, as well as boring mounted patrols in the middle of nowhere.

Because we needed to be completely self sufficient without vehicles or ground unit support of any kind we were very heavy. If a firefight broke out and you had your full 90lb ruck on, you ditched it if you knew you could get back to it, but generally people kept them on. We had all of our battle necessities on our kits, and the only person who really needed to keep their pack on regardless was the radio operator.

I normally carried a ruck with med gear, an M72 LAW, batteries, spare personal radio, and water. Maybe some food. I cinched it to me so tightly that it was like an extension of my body armor. It was only about 25lbs so I could move really well with it on me.

On my second deployment I carried the M107 (.50 cal Barrett) and normally a small backpack with water and ammo. Maybe some kind of thermal or binos too. I didn't really have to carry much platoon gear since I had the big gun.


That's me back in 2010 just off of a short patrol. Note that my waist strap and chest strap are fastened and tightened. My shoulder straps are also as tight as they can be because I knew that I wanted to keep my gear with me and not have to try and recover it later, or worse, put that rocket launcher or radio in the hands of the enemy.


This is prior to inserting into our area of operations. We planned to be there a week, but our birds took too much fire on the way in and we had to abort. The .50 cal was separated into 2 parts for the actual insert but is assembled for this pic so you can tell what it is. It weighs about 35 pounds loaded, and I carried 4 extra mags at 5lb each plus my required food, water, batteries etc... I was very, very heavy. Still, in this instance I would have kept my ruck with me in a firefight if at all possible, and only dropped it once a rally point had been established.

Once we inserted and we had established a patrol base, I could then pick and choose what I needed for any particular patrol. If I took the fifty cal, I generally took only the fifty cal and ammo, but it depended on where we were patrolling and the surrounding environment.
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Old February 14, 2013, 07:15 AM   #35
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To Tom68 from the great state of Alabama, I understand what you're saying. But 1992 seems like only yesterday. However, there is no doubt that real life soldiers do things they see in the movies and vice versa. For instance, my son was a tank crewman for about 15 months in Iraq. Most of that time he was in Tal Afar. The rest of the time his platoon or company was attached to a Marine Corps unit somewhere else (He helped them celebrate the Marine Corps birthday, too). Anyway, I have a photo of him standing in front of his tank. He is armed with his pistol in a private purchase drop-leg holster and a shotgun. I asked him about the shotgun and he said, "Oh, that was just for the photo."

By the way, his unit also had personnel sent to the designated marksman school (or whatever it was) and did receive .50 cal. rifles. He said the unit thought they were useless for their role and they passed them on to infantry units. Also, for a time, they had an attached infantry platoon with their Bradleys. The infantry unit had weapons they never unpacked which stayed in the shipping container. Their own unit had a few captured enemy rifles but apparently they were of no particular interest to anyone and no one used them for anything. They also later turned in their pistols, too, and everyone got some variation of an M4 or M16.

In some armies the introduction of new small arms generally meant that new webbing or pouches were needed. I'm sure you've all seen the special belts that BAR men used in the army (into the 1970s, too). That was also the reason the British started using the large pouches that were used in WWII, so anyone could carry a couple of Bren gun magazines, although it cut down on the amount of rifle ammunition they could carry (made up for with bandoliers). I've never read anything that mentioned how that idea worked out in practice. Although I've known personally a few people who were WWII veterans of other armies, they were all cavalry (when the cavalry had horses). One was Polish and he competed in the 1936 Olympics. He liked to stand about six inches away when he talked to you.
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Old February 14, 2013, 03:25 PM   #36
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BlueTrain, my Grandfather was a BAR man in Europe. He drug out his belt one day and was showing it to all the grand kids. He also had a bandolier that was essentially three of the BAR pouches on a web strap.

He said that doctrine called for him to have an assitant gunner to help lug spare mags, but that never materialized. He was also supposed to be issued a .45 Automatic, but that never materialized either.

Our platoon sergeant was very quick to chastise anyone caught playing "Rambo" with ammo belts. Most of our guys would carry a drum for the SAW somewhere on thier vest.

In regards to a PDM, our TO&E, designed to fight the Russians in the Fulda Gap mind you, didn't allow for designated marksman at the individual platoon level. However, our H&H Troop did, and had several M-16A3s with nice optics and refurbished M-14s with nice optics issued. However, since our H&H Troop never left the wire, our Squadron Commander worked with the Troop commanders to ensure that every platoon had atleast one PDM rifle and we ran some ad hoc PDM training, too.

He had to carry a shotgun per Humvee in order to comply with the ROE about having a less lethal option.

As SIGHR stated, I learned to back a backpack/rucksack in the Boy Scouts, which served me well in the Army. I was lucky in that the furthest I ever had to carry a rucksack while deployed was no more than five or so klicks from where the Blackhawks dropped us off to where we established a patrol base.

In said rucksack, was mostly ammo and water, with a fleece, gloves, and a couple of pairs of spare socks as well. MREs were tossed out of a Blackhawk when we landed, still in cases, and we just lugged those to our patrol base as well.

In regards to back problems, my back gets stiff sometimes, but according to the VA, that was a result of a negative helicopter-ground interaction, so nothing too bad.

But then again, I'm still young and stupid, so we shall see.
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Old February 14, 2013, 03:42 PM   #37
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So maybe that shotgun my son had in the photo was for less lethal options. I used to think it was for anti-tank purposes.

One thing about all these standard operating procedures/standing orders, together with all the stuff in manuals, lesson plans, TOEs, and whatnot was that once people are on the ground and stuff starts flying around, everything goes to pieces, sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally, and sometimes even before anything starts to happen. This is the real life part of the military (any military, any time) that is either not generally realized or believed.

Units take casualties, which mean gaps in the carefully designed structure of a unit, and sometimes losses of equipment, sometimes vital equipment. Units may not have authorized equipment or personnel because someone else somewhere else had priority. Things don't work properly because they're too old or they were expected to be used under different conditions. Things wear out. No unit on deployment operating in the field (the expression used to be "campaigning") could possibly pass any inspection. No one in any unit in the field has full knowledge of what is actually happening and some have no idea at all what is happening.

The only one outside of the army who appreciates what the soldier is actually going through is a soldier on the other side: the enemy, who everyone believes is better equipped, better motivated, younger, more experienced, a much better shot, and much more willing to die, which is probably why more of them do.
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Old February 14, 2013, 06:07 PM   #38
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We were told "officially" not to carry M-60 ammo "Pancho Villa" style, as with so many "official" things in that conflict.....likewise helmets had a way of disappearing-they were sweat buckets.
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Old February 14, 2013, 08:26 PM   #39
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Kimio pardon if this is off topic but I thought it might be helpful.

Check out a Veitnam era film Charlie MOPIC filmed as docudrama. Interesting look at Long Range Patrols.
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Old February 16, 2013, 02:30 AM   #40
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Had an AC130 Spectre flying over us in Fallujah. Those mini guns are downright nasty. You can't hear the individual rounds being fired. Sounds like nothing else in the world of firearms. Only thing I can compare it to, is the sound of canvas being torn.
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Old February 16, 2013, 06:17 AM   #41
Bud Helms
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I really don't think miniguns are being used any longer. It has been a while since I researched the recent configuration, but last I heard they had gone to 25mm GAU-12 "Gatling" in one of the front weapon stations with a version of the M102 105mm howitzer in the rear. I don't believe the Vulcan is in use on the latest model Spectres these days either, but at least for a while the 40mm Bofors L60 Cannon was still there. It may still be in use, but I am not positive.

I wasn't there, but you probably saw the 25's.
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Last edited by Bud Helms; February 16, 2013 at 08:03 AM.
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Old February 16, 2013, 07:23 AM   #42
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Re: Question for Military (active or retired) Infantry members

Youre right. I had originally wrote gatling guns but after reading the above posts mentioning mini guns, I just swapped terms.
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