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A brief look at the ratchets of Marine snipers through the years

Over at I did a quick geardo rundown of several of the Corp’s modern sniper rigs from the early WWI Rifle, “USMC Telescopic Rifle, Model of 1917” which is basically just a good shooting early M1903 with a fixed Winchester A5 scope through WWII’s updated M1903A-1 model Springfield with a Unertl 8x scope– immediately distinguishable by its long shade on the objective lens– which they designated the M1941 Sniper Rifle, and then the Korean War’s M1C and the various guns of Vietnam.

U.S. Marine firing the “USMC Telescopic Rifle, Model of 1917” which is an M1903 with a Winchester A5 scope. (Photo: National Archives)

“A U.S. Marine Marksman using a telescopic sight and with his Springfield cocked and ready, waits for a troublesome North Korean sniper to pop up so he can pick him off in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea on Sept. 28, 1950. Note the Unertl. (Photo/caption: Max Desfor/AP)

“Pvt. Randall E. Josey, a Marine sniper attached to Co. H, 2nd Bn., 5th Marines, has a bead on a Viet Cong at over 1,000 meters. Using a 3 x 9 power scope, a Remington 700 rifle has accuracy up to 1,100 meters and has been used effectively up to 2,000 meters or more.” June 19, 1967 (Photo/caption: U.S. Marine Corps History Division)

More here.

Turkey Day, 50 years back

(John Olson/Stars and Stripes)

(John Olson/Stars and Stripes)

South Vietnam, November, 1967: Staff Sgt. Raymond Scherz of Addison, Ill., has a passenger, but the gobbler’s ride shapes up as a one-way trip to C Company, 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division’s Thanksgiving dinner at the nearby Bear Cat base camp. The turkey was one of 57,000 sent in to provide as many as possible of the half-million U.S. servicemembers in Vietnam with a traditional holiday feast.

Also rolling through the supply chain for the 1967 meal were 225 tons of boneless turkey meat, 28 tons of cranberry sauce, 15 tons of mixed nuts, eight tons of candy, 11 tons of olives and 33 tons of fruitcake.

Topeka’s Terriers looking for turkey, 56 years ago today

Official U.S. Navy Photograph. Catalog #: KN-3632

This image, shows the converted light cruiser USS Topeka (CLG-8) firing a Terrier guided-missile on 18 November 1961, during weapons demonstrations for the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral George W. Anderson, a week before Thanksgiving. Photographed from on board USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63). Planes preparing for launch on the carrier’s flight deck are a F8U Crusader jet fighter, at left, and an AD-6 Skyraider attack plane (Bureau # 137588), in the lower center.

While probably not aiming at Thanksgiving dinner, Topeka was known for warming up some VC and NVA on occasion.

USS Topeka (CLG-8) fires her forward turret’s 6/47 guns at the Viet Cong, while steaming slowly in the South China Sea on an in-shore fire support mission, April 1966. Official U.S. Navy Photograph. Catalog #: K-31264

Australian SAS belt kit, as worn in Vietnam by Don Barnaby, F Troop, 2 Sqn SASR

Description via AWM:

A composite webbing set, consisting of standard US pattern waist belt, metal buckle and ‘H’ harness suspender. The suspender has been modified with the addition of five nylon webbing M79 40 mm grenade pouches, cut from a US Air Force survival vest, which are attached vertically down each front suspender strap. A blackened round brass press button secures each grenade pouch cover.

Worn at the back of the belt is a large Australian 1937 Pattern basic canvas pouch and a British 1944 Pattern water bottle and carrier. In place of the standard Australian issue basic pouches at the front are twin US Special Forces M16 5.56 mm magazine pouches and two compass pouches, one containing insect repellent.

Attached to the 1937 Pattern pouch is another compass pouch, containing another insect repellent container and inside the pouch is a field dressing. The webbing set has been hand camouflaged by adding random blotches of green and black paint. A US issue plastic M6 bayonet scabbard is also attached.

Photograph from the Australian War Memorial, and is their property and copyright. They have a great collection of his gear on hand.

2 SQN, SASR packing list 1971,from “Vietnam ANZACs” Kevin Lyles, Osprey Publishing, 2004:

Equipment carried by each patrol member:

Weapon and ammunition, to include at least two XM148/203 and two L1A1 SLR per patrol

Compass & Map
Emergency/survival pack
Shell dressing (FFD)
Emergency smoke containers x 2
Water containers

The following to be carried on the belt or in pockets, not in pack:

UHF radio (secured by cord)
Individual sheath knife
Shell dressings (FFD)
Ammunition (except Claymores)
Smoke grenades

Ammunition, minimum scales per man (weapon dependent)
7.62mm 160 rounds
5.56mm 200 round
40mm HE & Canister x 10
40mm purple smoke x 2
M34/M67 x 1

Grenades (per patrol)
Red Smoke x 5
Yellow smoke x 5

Australian SAS captain Peter Shilston as Mike Force company commander–note the WWII-style BAR belt used for 20 round M16 mags and tiger camo

Remember, “No Shave November” is now officially here

In honor of which, I give you Robin Olds, a triple ace with 16 confirmed kills, four in Vietnam and 12 in the European Theater of WWII. Seen here at the controls of his F4 Phantom, 1966.

There is salty, and then there is this guy

Found on Reddit

Indigenous member of U.S. Army Special Forces-organized MIKE force smoking his pipe after a firefight. Vietnam, mid-1960’s. Note the WWII-surplus Marine “duck hunter” camo and post-1944 modified M1 Carbine. I would imagine this fellow was probably pretty hard to kill.

Made up mostly of Montagnard hill people and other ethnic minorities, the Mobile Strike Force Command grew out of the armed hamlet program and CIDG units of the pre-Tet phase of the U.S. involvement in South Vietnam.

Note the SF advisor with the in-country made skull and crossbones MIKE Force patch

Hill fights!

The Marine Corps University History Division’s newest publication is now available online:

Hill Fights: The First Battle of Khe Sanh, 1967 (click here)

It’s 67 pages.

It’s free.

It was 50 years ago this month.

It’s a great read.

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