In the heat of battle, weapons are the main ally and at the same time the great enemy of the soldier. Therefore, in order to win, his own pistol or rifle must work flawlessly and properly in all conditions. And in this, the American army soldiers who fought in Vietnam were not lucky: they looked with envy at the enemies armed with the legendary Kalashnikov, and literally hunted for trophy weapons. And all because their own M-16 rifle, in their own words, turned out to be "lousy".
A battle of weapons of two opposing sides is inevitable during any military clash. The same thing happened during the Vietnam War. And if the Americans had everything in order with heavy weapons, then small arms often let them down. We are talking about the M-16 automatic assault rifle.
The US Marines frankly disliked their weapons. American historian Kevin Dockery cites several reasons for this attitude of servicemen to their own weapons: the difficulty of maintenance, strong exposure to external factors on the rifle, and the M-16 could simply jam right during the battle. The latter was especially true for early weapon modifications.
This point of view is supported by veterans of the US Army and the Vietnam War in particular. Former US Airborne Forces officer Dan Shani recalled that the M-16 was very sensitive to dirt and moisture, it was often jammed. To maintain performance in the rifle, it was necessary to constantly clean the magazine slot. According to Novate.ru, the American army was required to carry out such an operation up to 5 times a day. Otherwise, the store simply could not be attached to the weapon.
In addition, problems arose with the disassembly of the rifle. The fact is that there were many small details in the design of the M-16. Therefore, the soldiers of the US Army were ordered to disassemble weapons only under special conditions.
A valuable source that clearly proves the “problematic nature” of the M-16 is the memoirs of Major General Robert Skels, a veteran of the Vietnam War. Describing the shortcomings of the rifle, he cites the following episode as an example: after a three-hour crossing of the terrain on a muddy slope, the Vietnamese fought without any problems as soon as the need arose. But the Americans, after such movements, had to disassemble and clean the weapon from clogged dirt for a long time.
The secret of constant combat capability of the Vietnamese lay in their use of the legendary Soviet Kalashnikov. And M-16 lost this battle with a Russian machine gun. After all, in fact, all the described problems of American weapons were simply not encountered by the AK. For example, even a submachine gun soiled with mud did not experience any difficulties in attaching the magazine to the body. In addition, the Kalashnikov was not so sensitive to dust and moisture, therefore, it did not jam at the most inopportune moment.
The Americans clearly, in the heat of hostilities, became convinced of the exceptional performance of the Soviet machine gun. They quickly ranked the Kalashnikov among the elite weapons. Therefore, the US Marines literally hunted for captured Vietnamese AKs.
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