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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Found this picture while searching the net at school today and I noticed the M1 almost instantly, the man with the blood on his head survived from what the caption on the picture said. The picture is from either 1967 or 1968. The site has some interesting pictures on it
 

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Early in the Viet Nam war, M1 Garands were given to the local villagers for self-protection. It turned out the M1 Garands were almost as tall as the local villagers! It was then decided to give them the M1 Carbine for self-protection, which was a far better choice in terms of them handling the weapon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's pretty interesting, I never knew that. Wouldn't it be likely that a lot of these M1s and M1 Carbines would be given to the NVA by the villagers?
 

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That's pretty interesting, I never knew that. Wouldn't it be likely that a lot of these M1s and M1 Carbines would be given to the NVA by the villagers?
I doubt if they would give them away as the NVA probably would not want them as there would be an ammunition supply problem. Garand .30'06 and .30 Cal. carbine ammo would very difficult to obtain through NVA supply system. I would think a limited, small amount of ammo would be supplied by the US Army to each village as this would be a reason to revisit the village to give them more ammo if they needed it and to check on the status of the weapons supplied. This would be part of the "capturing the hearts and minds" program early in the war where direct contact with the people was being established.
 

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Throughout the war the M1 Carbine was a favored weapon of the Viet Cong guerrillas. They made heavy use of the Carbine, and had little trouble getting ammo for it from the South Vietnamese army, often by bribery-purchase. The Chinese were able to supply many Carbines and a lot of ammo they'd captured in Korea and Carbines captured or bought from the South Vietnamese were common.
For US forces to re-capture M1 Carbines from the VC was very common.
Reading the various books written by or about Navy SEALS describe any number of times where SEALS captured Carbines after ambushes, they were so common in VC hands.

The NVA, as a regular army were equipped with Com-block weapons like the SKS and AK-47.

We did supply a lot of M1 rifles early on, but it was apparent the M1 was just too big and had too much recoil for the small, light Vietnamese. The M1 Carbine was a much better "fit".

I once saw a photo of an early war US Special Forces adviser. He was wearing a bonnie hat and a .45 in a Model 1916 hip holster worn on his LEFT hip, butt forward. He had an M1 rifle slung upside down on his shoulder. The photo caption stated that many early war advisor's preferred the power of the M1 rifle to the M1 or M2 Carbine.

The US military did think that if Vietnam "blew up" there'd be a need to re-issue M1 rifles to US forces as a stop-gap for the still in short supply M-14, and possibly to the South Vietnamese.
That's why in the mid-1960's a lot of M1 rifles were put through rebuild programs at US arsenals.
A lot of the DCM and now-CMP M1 rifles have these 60's rebuild marks electro-penciled on the right front receiver legs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for that inputdfaris, do you know of any picture of a Vietnam bringback M1 carbine or was that even possible to bring it back?
 

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I was issued a brand new M 2 Carbine in 1968.

I was a SF advisor in an A Camp with usually 8-10 GIs and a couple hundred CIDG strikers.
They also carried BARs A6s, 3.5 Rocket Launchers, etc,

We were pretty far down the food chain and finally got modern stuff early in '69.

Our first planeload was destroyed by a direct 155 mm inpact by some fools from a temp US artillery position who dropped 5 rounds inside our wire.
Killed a couple locals as well.

There was a program for shortening M1 buttstocks.
Most all carbines in VN were M2s and there were zillions of them.
Not a very desireable weapon in my experience. The M16 was a vast improvement.

I had a M1 Sniper I had scrounged-not very effective in triple canopy.
It got destroyed with the other stuff.

Charlie used carbines, but dumped them as soon as they could.
By 1968 and earlier, they had good supplies of SKS and AKs.
The VC basically were wiped out during Tet 68.
The NVA had plans to coopt the revolution and this greatly facilitated them.

Ref "giving" them to villagers. It was quite a bit more complicated and organized than a simple "give away."
Enter SF advisors and the CIDG program.
Anyways it was an interesting as well as exciting 18 months in my young life.
 

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According to my reading, most of the weapons, including Carbines that were captured or re-captured by US personnel were in pretty bad shape.
The VC weren't professional soldiers and seldom gave or were able to give weapons much maintenance.
This, coupled with the hot, wet jungle environment was hard on guns.

I don't know if US personnel were allowed to bring recaptured Carbines home. I seem to have read something about this years ago, and I want to say that they weren't allowed to bring US weapons back, only VC or NVA non-full auto rifles and pistols, with the appropriate documentation.

I have a friend who has a Russian SKS with capture papers.

Point is, there were A LOT of M1 and M2 Carbines given to the South Vietnamese and a good many "somehow" turned up in the hands of the VC.
As late as the end of US involvement French bolt action rifles were still being used by what was left of the VC, along with Carbines, Grease guns, Thompson's, and any other weapon that would shoot.
 

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The French also left a lot or lost a lot of M1 carbines in Vietnam. If you look at photos of French Troops in Vietnam. They are armed with more M1 Carbines than anything else. Some may say thats probably why they lost.
 

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I was a USMC small arms armorer based out of Phu-Bai about 8 miles south of Hue, in 1967, before the Tet attack in Jan. There was a small ARVN (South Vietnamese Army) compound close to us and just about all the ARVNs I saw were packing M1 Garands. Sure looked odd the little guys with the big rifles, however in my experience they didn't like to use them very much, as we got called on quite a bit for help.
 

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The French also left a lot or lost a lot of M1 carbines in Vietnam. If you look at photos of French Troops in Vietnam. They are armed with more M1 Carbines than anything else. Some may say thats probably why they lost.
I have an old Army publication from around the time of the 1st Indochina War that shows pictures of French troops armed with M1A1's. In fact, I didn't see any pictures of regular M1 Carbines. Only the those paratrooper ones. I found this interesting for sure.
 

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I'm thinking the soldier in the picture is an ARVN. Another possibility is its a GI with an "acquired" M1. I have a picture of myself with an M3 that most certainly was not issued to me but "acquired".
 

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I've got a M1Carbine from Vietnam in my collection. It's a Inland 630XXX serial number, no bayonet shroud, well used, 6-43 barrel, Vietnamese name written on the buttstock. It uses a cartridge to hold the sling in the rear. I've looked for an M1 Garand bringback for years but have only seen one and didn't end up with it. Still actively looking...
 

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There were re-captured US weapons brought back from Nam to the US with papers allowing such. I am sure Mel has some. At least one 1903a4 was recaptured from and brought back by a US service member. The gun and paperwork were posted somewhere, probably on gunboards, but I only remember seeing it, not where. Hopefully someone will post some more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If anyone has pictures of the US weapons brought back from Vietnam I'd love to see them. SgtSavage, could we see the picture?
 

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Maybe "John Wayne" pictures can be embarrassing.
 

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Here's a couple in a photo I have readily at hand. They are a Winchester 70 and a z series 1903A4. The Win 70 is a 101st Abn bringback and was recaptured from the VC. The 1903A4 is a SOG bringback that was found in a weapons cache.
I do have several others besided the aforementioned M1 carbine: a Remington 1917, a couple of 1903A1's and a 1903A3. I'll try to get a photo or two done if I can. There are other GB members who post fairly regularly that I know have 1903A1's also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for showing those vet bring backs, what's carved into the buttstock of that M1 Carbine?
 
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