Uniforms, equipment, weapons

 

How they looked like…

   Although US uniforms looked same, good observer can find differences between US Army and Marines. In Vietnam Marines were far from their depots in the USA (Marines were not supplied by MACV)and they had to adapt. Marines also used older items because it looked salty. Regulation was but Marine usually used what he had.

   The longer they stayed in the bush the more grungier they looked. Normal haircut started from zero to maximum 7,5 cm. From practical purposes they should not have sideburns and beards. Moustaches were allowed.

 

Ranks

   Corps had 14 ranks for officers and 12 for enlisted. These were made from metal and could be attached to both collars.

   Identification tags, dog tags, were made from aluminium with individual´s name, service number, blood type, USMC, gas mask type and religion. In case of death one was left with body and the second was taken for registration.

 

Cover

   Common cover was sage green cap, model M58. Rank could be attached to the crown. Next common cover was bush, boonie, hat – more common was later ERDL version. But in war is necessary helmet.

 

Utility uniform

   There were three types M62 – sateen utility, jungle utility from 1965 and ERDL utility from 1968. Jungle and ERDL uniforms were based on the Second World War paratrooper´s uniform. They were made from poplin and later from rip-stop cotton poplin. Coat had four pockets and was worn outside of trousers. Trousers had four pockets at hips and two big on legs. ERDL type was standardized for III MAF in Country in 1968.

   Marines had their own special khaki trousers´belt with open gold brass buckle. This web belt was used for all types of Marine uniforms.

 

Boots

   Jungle boots were preferred. Socks were cotton or wool, green or black. Very often were used for carrying rations.

 

Helmets and vests

   Steel M1 helmet with fibre liner and canvas Mitchell pattern cover with one side green dominant and the second side brown dominant. Marines also used old Duckhunter cover from the Second World War.

   Marines used M1955 flak vests or their copies made on Okinawa? or Korea?. Lower part of vest was filled by Doron plates and upper part was made from ballistic nylon. Some Marines used Army vests but they were very hot. Models since 1967 had two big pockets added. Neither vests nor helmets were bullet-proof.

   Graffiti on helmets and vest included social security number, homestates, nicknames, girlfriend etc.

 

Equipment

   Basic was M61 and M41/45. With M16 Marines started to use Army M56 equipment. Marines also used bandoleers in great numbers. Very often all types of equipment were mismatched.

   They, Marines, were called grunts – it meant the same for them as for Roman legionaires Marius mule. They carried everything what they want on their own. You should commonly carry 25kg but usually they carried 35 or 45kg.

   Normal Marine bag was M45 haversack, but it could not carry everything, additional items were wornin empty Claymore bags, Demobags etc. Marines also used ARVN, US Army or NVA packs. Other very important things were poncho with liner, spare socks, sleeping shirt, E-tool, canteens etc.

 

Weapons and radios

Marines carried to the field everything what they could carry M14, M16, M60, M79, mortars etc. M14 was basic Marine rifle until 1972?(I´m not sure), but especially for Vietnam They were in 1967 issued by M16 – new lightweight plastic Matty-Mattel full rock´n´roll firing rifle. Marines did not like tjis weapon from beginning because it caused deads in time of Hill fights. After improvemets it got better and serve with changes in 1986 until this time.

      M79 – grenade launcher used to knock down enemy fire without infantry men had to throw grenades. Compact but slow reloding.

   Officers, NCO´s, machine-gunners, grenadiers were additionaly armed by Colt .45 automatic pistol.

   Grenades - M26, M67 fragmentations, M18 smoke a M15 WP.

   For close combat Marines had bayonet for rifle and these which carried pistol had combat knife K-Bar. But E-tool was more practical.

   Radios were used AN/PRC – 10, AN/PRC – 25 and AN/PRC – 77. They were effective for ranges about 8km.