French and Vietminh small arms in Indo-China War

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T.R.Searle
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French and Vietminh small arms in Indo-China War

Post by T.R.Searle » 25 Aug 2002 21:48

What were the French and Vietminh small arms in the French Indo-China war (1945-1954)

I know the french used some of there Fusil MAS36's and the Vietminh used the PPSH-41 and the SKS Carbine.

Also did the Vietminh use any artillery(besides mortars)

T.R.Searle :)

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Post by Gott » 25 Aug 2002 21:53

Vietminh also used captured Japanese smallarms. And I think they used some American smallarms too when the US dropped materials to the guerillas from the air during WWII.

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Post by T.R.Searle » 25 Aug 2002 22:11

Thanx

In "We Were Soldiers"(I know its just a movie and it could be wrong) some had MP-40's

Was there any way they could have got down there?

T.R.Searle :)

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Post by Gott » 25 Aug 2002 22:12

maybe some russians captued those MP-40s and then passed it to their allies.

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Post by Logan Hartke » 25 Aug 2002 22:57

Now I haven't seen the movie, but I bet I know what you thought you saw wasn't an MP-40. I think you saw a K50M.

Image

Designed by the Soviets in 1940 and adopted for issue in 1941, the PPSh41 met the Red Army's need for an easily mass-produced, rugged weapon. It became very popular with German soldiers fighting on the Eastern Front and was converted by German armorers to fire 9-mm Parabellum rounds.

The weapon had a fire-rate selector lever positioned just in front of the trigger, allowing the rate of fire to be changed rapidly without the weapon moving off the the point of aim.

The two-piece bolt handle allows the bolt to be locked in either the forward or the rear position.

The original weapon had two different magazines; a 71-round drum or a 35-round box. Most of the weapons used in Vietnam used the box magazine but this may have been a result of the Chinese connection since the PRC Type 50 differed only slightly from the PPSh41, mainly in that it only fitted the 35-round box magazine.

The most interesting variant of the weapon was the K50M, which was the Vietnamese modification of the PRC Type 50. The Vietnamese removed the wooden butt stock and replaced it with a wooden pistol grip and a French-style sliding wire butt stock similar to that on the MAT49. At the front end of the weapon they shortened the perforated barrel jacket, left off the muzzle brake, and attached the foresight to the barrel, giving the gun a shape strongly reminiscent of the MAT49. The K50M was about 500-g (1.1-lbs) lighter than the PPSh41 at 3.4-kg (7.5-lbs) as opposed to 3.9-kg (8.6-lbs).

The weapons were all blowback operated and had an effective range of about 150-m (164-yards).

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Post by Logan Hartke » 25 Aug 2002 23:06

It might also have been an MAT-49.

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Produced by the Manufacture d’Armes de Tulle (MAT) in 1946 and using the 9mm Parabellum cartridge this SMG was adopted by the French Army in 1949 (hence the designation MAT49). The weapon was widely used by French forces in Indo-China and many found their way into the hands of the Vietminh and eventually the Viet Cong.

The Vietnamese modified the weapon to fire the Soviet 7.62mm x 25P ammunition and it’s PRC equivalent by fitting a longer 7.62mm barrel. However, they did keep all the essential features of the MAT49 except for replacing the 32-round box with a 35-round magazine.

One of the remarkable features of the weapon was the sliding wire butt stock which could be pushed forward out of the way for carrying and pulled to the rear if it was to be used in firing. The magazine housing on the receiver could be rotated forward through 90-degrees (even with the magazine fitted) to lie along the barrel. These features made the MAT49 particularly suitable for troops who required compactness in carriage.

At the back part of the pistol grip was a grip safety, which was operated by the action of squeezing the pistol grip when firing a round. This released the safety catch. When the grip safety was not squeezed, it locked the bolt in the forward position, and locked the trigger when the weapon was cocked. The lock was released by the pressure of the palm of the hand. The weapon could not be accidentally discharged.

The Vietnamese modification increased the cyclic rate of fire from 600-rounds per minute to 900-rpm.

Or it's possible that you were right and the people in the movie actually were using MP-40s.

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Post by T.R.Searle » 25 Aug 2002 23:46

After close examination :wink: it appears to be the K50M

Image

Thanx for that information Logan. And Gott,thanx for your idea on the MP-40s....lord knows maby a few did get down there.

T.R.Searle :)
Last edited by T.R.Searle on 25 Aug 2002 23:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Gott
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Post by Gott » 25 Aug 2002 23:47

hi logan,

where did you find the info? very informative indeed.

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Post by Logan Hartke » 26 Aug 2002 00:09

At this site...
http://www.173rdairborne.com/weapons.htm

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Post by wolfen » 26 Aug 2002 02:08

The french also used a number of reworked 98ks from WWII. They were issued to the french foreign legion.

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Post by Logan Hartke » 26 Aug 2002 02:20

Interesting; I've never heard that. That's pretty neat.

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Post by wolfen » 26 Aug 2002 03:02

I thought so to, here is a brief description from "Mauser Military Rifles of the World" by Robert W.D. Ball:

Basically, the carbine is almost identical to the wartime German K98k, with the exception that the carbine does not have a bayonet; in its place is a threaded hexgonal base that is screwed into the stock, with a thinner, rod-like, upper segment used for stacking arms. Both barrel bands, which are late-war welded style, are held by a screw through the stock. The lower barrel band has an integral swivel on the left side, while a crude sling attaching bar is held on the lower left side of the stock by two screws. The stock is also cut for the German-style sling. The cupped butt plate has the late-war hole for the disassembly of the firing mechanism.


I must correct my self they were manufactured in the french occupation zone from left over parts they were not reworks.

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Post by Gott » 26 Aug 2002 21:47

thanks.

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Artillery - the infantryman's friend

Post by Zygmunt » 09 Sep 2002 11:17

I think the Vietminh did have some artillery, as I remember reading that the french were sure it couldn't be deployed to Dien Bien Phu, but the Vietminh just dismantled it, schlepped it on foot across the mountains, and then set it up again. This was a real problem for the garrison during the siege of Dien Bien Phu (1954).

Google just turned up this;

http://www.hawaii.edu/cseas/pubs/explor ... -art2.html

The Vietnamese were using US 105mm artillery which had been captured by the PLA in Korea and then passed on to the Vietnamese! Right at the bottom of the article, the third paragraph before the conclusion.

Later, against the US, they definitely did have artillery, though not always actually in Vietnam. During the fight for Khe Sanh, the Viet Cong/NVA were able to call in artillery support from guns across the border in Laos. The guns were located in valleys and at the entrances to caves so that they were protected from US airstrikes and counter-battery artillery.

I'm pretty sure the VC had some Mosin-Nagants for snipers, though when these were supplied I'm not sure.

This looks like a good source for Vietminh arms in general;

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/prouty_arms.htm

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