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View Full Version : Rounds per kill in Vietnam?



bayul
12-19-2004, 03:15 AM
I remember reading somewhere that in Vietnam American soldiers fired 30, 000 rounds for every kill....is this true? if so...source?
if not what is the real number?
Thanks

JB

b33f
12-19-2004, 08:33 AM
multiple times i read it was around 50k rounds fired for every kill, compared to 1.33 rounds per sniper kill, but those 50k rounds included supressive fire, and recon-by-fire.

Firing a minigun or any-other-gun-with-considerably-high-ROF does "waste" some amount of rounds as well, when trying to hit charlies running through the jungle.

So what can be concluded is that US infantry troops sprayed-and-prayed to some extent but it doesn't sound as "terrible" when including the variety of sources of fire, stated by me above.

MEGR
12-19-2004, 10:13 AM
Sort of what beef said. Obviously snipers would kill with less than 2 or 3 rounds, but the reg infantry man spent alot of lead in killing a VC/NVA. I heard on the History Channel that the reason why the modern M16s are at most three round burst, are because the Vietnam era infantry expended too many rounds per kill.

Shaw
12-21-2004, 12:18 AM
Vietnam and a host of other dirty bush wars introduced the ambush concept of very high rates of fire, light ammunition and firepower. Ammunition had to be light, weapons cheap and easy to fix, and general tactics dictated spraying thousands of rounds during short firefights. The number of rounds per kill tripled from WWII levels to a staggering 50,000 rounds for each kill. In Vietnam, the light and deadly M-16 became the overwhelming choice of ground troops.

MEGR
12-21-2004, 12:35 AM
Stemming off of what Shaw said, Vietnam was mainly a war of meeting engagements. You wander in the bush and usually just run into the enemy. When this meeting occurs, it's a matter of who lets loose more lead. The m16 has a high rate of fire and can lay down some hurting in a short amount of time. I assume that is another reason why you'd see alot of US troops spraying their m16s.

maundy
12-21-2004, 02:06 AM
That doesn't seem quite right.

Say a grunt killed 20 VC/NVA during a 1 year tour. Would the average grunt who killed 20 have therefore fired about 1million rounds on average?

That doesn't seem right.

Michael RVR
12-21-2004, 07:35 AM
Just watch some video of US combat troops in Vietnam, some of the firing i've seen i'm surprised they hit anything - best one of note was a guy one handedly firing an M16 over the top of a wall or something on full auto :lol:

Course i'm taking the piss, but its not far off otherthings that i've heard 4th hand.

maundy, did you pluck that number out of the air or is that a realistic number for a one year tour ?

I would have thought it'd be less than that, not including the double-counting of kills.

digrar
12-21-2004, 09:09 AM
Take the Battle of Long Tan. Aprox 100 soldiers, (against a NVA regiment, VC battalion and NVA support battalion), carrying about 100 rounds each plus a resuply mid battle so about 200 rounds each. Add 4 M60s with about 1000 rounds each, probably 4000 with the resup. So about 39000 rounds in an afternoon battle for 245 confirmed kills and a further 150 estimated KIA. Which equalls out to about 100 rounds per kill.
This doesn't including the 2639 Artillery rounds fired which would have caused some of the KIAs or the rounds fired by the MGs on the APCs and helicopter resup.
A fleeting contact between the lead scouts and a couple of VC would be totaly different equation.

sino foxtrot
12-21-2004, 05:33 PM
It doesn't surprise me that so many rounds were expended per kill in vietnam. In the bush, you run into contact; soon after, the VC or NVA break contact. Keep in mind that you can probably see only about 7-10 feet ahead of you in the triple canopy jungle, so the primary tactic will be to spray as much lead as possible to increase the probability of a kills, while at the same time, calling in arty if possible. Keep in mind that vietnam was all about the body count, no matter how it is achieved... ; )

maundy
12-23-2004, 05:55 AM
I plucked 20 out of the air. I'd say 20 would be a pretty conservative estimate. Look at digs post.

Although Long Tan was a major Australian engagement, I still think the average rifleman would have got more than 20 in a year.

And the 50000 rounds still sounds dodgy.

Maybe they counted up the number of rounds they shipped out and divided it by confirmed kills?

Haiw
12-23-2004, 06:42 AM
20 kills / grunt / year. I think that if you count the total amount of US soldiers in Vietnam every year that by that calculation they'd have killed the entire Vietnamese population several times. ;)

maundy
12-23-2004, 07:10 AM
Yes, but I wrote rifleman/infantry/grunt though.

I would not expect a storeman to spend time in the bush.

Roger Rabbit
12-23-2004, 09:16 AM
Yes, but I wrote rifleman/infantry/grunt though.

I would not expect a storeman to spend time in the bush.

I think you may have over estimated here.

digrar
12-23-2004, 09:16 AM
20 would be a bit high I reckon. There are about 500 fighting men in a Battalion that would make for 10,000 enemy KIA per tour. The RAR did 16 Batalion tours and I'm sure we didn't account for 160,000 enemy KIA.

maundy
12-23-2004, 09:47 AM
Yeah well I was plucking the number out of the air. ;)

Kitsune
12-23-2004, 09:52 AM
A grunt killing 20 NVA/VC on average?

LOL.

Guys, most GIs killed not one Vietnamese during their tour. Even front troups mainly crawled through the Jungle, searching for Charlie...and about 98% of all these "excursions" failed to result in contact with the enemy. (One could fall prey to enemy mines and ****y traps nonetheless). Most Vietnamese were killed through bombs or artillery. And please do not forget the South Vietnamese troops when you hear that more than 2 million Vietnamese were killed...they fought and died on the American side.
The high numbers of fired shots per kill were the result of the many automatic weapons that were used...from a M16 in full auto to the full barrage of an *Puff*The Magic Dragon plane.

maundy
12-23-2004, 10:19 AM
I got a book in front of me that says NVA/VC had 1100000 KIA and 660000 WIA.

I'd say most grunts had a kill. Or their platoons had a few. So many blokes came back with PTSD.

And as I wrote, I was pulling 20 out of the air. I have no idea what the average killed per man was.

I am not in the military, never have been, and definately havn't been to war. I was just throwing a number around!

Roger Rabbit
12-23-2004, 10:21 AM
Guys, most GIs killed not one Vietnamese during their tour.


That's the popular one--how many people did you kill? I slaughtered millions of people, all helpless, innocent civilians. I threw them up and cut them down like dogs. Actually, I try to give people an honest answer. They have a conception that war is like John Wayne movies. You walk along, some Japanese soldiers walk out, you say, "hello Japs, eat lead," and shoot them down. In real war, you rarely see the enemy. It's more a question of walking along, somebody starts shooting at you. They shoot over here, you shoot over there. You can't see anything. Later you go over and there are some shot people. You don't know who shot them. Very few people in Vietnam saw someone and shot them. You're holding your rifle, firing over your head, thinking "I hope I don't get shot." You're not really going around taking score. I was under fire about 50 times, but I only saw the enemy once. At Hue, we could see for about 500 yards, and what you saw was these little teeny-tiny ants. You couldn't even tell they were people.
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MEGR
12-23-2004, 01:10 PM
Alot of VC/NVA were killed by artillery or airstrikes. Sure, there are instances where soldiers were used to kill massive amounts of enemy combatants. Saying that every grunt killed 20 vc/nva is not entirely true, but is rather a product of taking averages.

However, don't forget, that alot of VC/NVA were also killed by disese and other causes. I don't know if that was counted in there or not.

Herrmannek
12-23-2004, 02:15 PM
I've read report that small arms fire is least effective in battlefield..I believe that number of deths/wounds inflicted by small arms fire mentioned there was lesser than 10% of total deaths/wounds in various conflicts, and still is going down.. If I remember well reprot was about WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan and maybe other smaller... can't find it now, it was printed in some newspaper and was explaining reason for introducing grenade launcher part in OICW project. Reason: Most of the hits is inflicted by fragmentation wepons(mortars, artilery, grenades etc...)

Para
12-26-2004, 01:23 PM
Herrmannek

If you think that small arms fire is the least effective in a battlefield, well I suggest that you go and try it out and then pass a comment.

Herrmannek
12-26-2004, 03:06 PM
Herrmannek

If you think that small arms fire is the least effective in a battlefield, well I suggest that you go and try it out and then pass a comment.

You could give more constructive answear than that ^^^, if you don't agree or have beter data show it to us. I'm very interested in that mater...

Sayeret
12-27-2004, 01:57 PM
Herrmannek

If you think that small arms fire is the least effective in a battlefield, well I suggest that you go and try it out and then pass a comment.

Small arms isn't as effective as artillery or airstrikes in killing people. Even in World War I a lot more people were killed by artillery than by small arms fire.

Sayeret
12-27-2004, 02:00 PM
I got a book in front of me that says NVA/VC had 1100000 KIA and 660000 WIA.

I'd say most grunts had a kill. Or their platoons had a few. So many blokes came back with PTSD.

And as I wrote, I was pulling 20 out of the air. I have no idea what the average killed per man was.

I am not in the military, never have been, and definately havn't been to war. I was just throwing a number around!

Most people in Vietnam didn't kill people. I'm pretty sure most of the time in wars the majority of people in it don't actually kill people.

Angelino
12-28-2004, 03:35 AM
I was reading a book on snipers by Charles W. Sasser and Craig Roberts and one chapter had the following facts/figures:



Enemy Casualties caused by US soldiers
-----------------------------------------------
WW I -- 7,000 rounds/casualty
WW II -- 25,000 rounds/casualty
Korea -- 50,000 rounds/casualty
Vietnam -- 200,000-400,000 rounds/casualty

It appeared that GI Joe was losing his shooting skills as the years went by. In 1971, Major Lones Wigger Jr, a member of the US shooting team in Olympics and World Championships, took command of the 23rd Infantry Division's Sniper School in Vietnam and his duties also included marksmanship training for the division's replacement troops. What he found didn't make him very happy at all. He said, "I found the average replacement could not hit a silhouette target at 25 metres, knew little of basic marksmanship fundamentals and did not understand why he needed to zero his rifle."

At around the same time, Master Sergeant Emil W. Heugatter of the 25th Infantry Division at Cu Chi, was testing the marksmanship of selected line platoons. He placed one-foot square targets at a distance of 25 meters and found that only about 10% of the soldiers hit their targets. Most was due to poor marksmanship knowledge, some soldiers didn't understand why they had to zero their sights, nor how to do it, and some due to poor maintenance of their rifles. Apparently, the front sights of some rifles had rusted beyond adjustment and one rifle was missing them. These findings extended to some officers and NCOs as well.

In order to cure this problem, they started to emphasize the Known Distance system of shooting, over the Trainfire training system (introduced in 1956) and the Quick Kill training policy (introduced along with the M-16 -- basically volume automatic fire). The new system of training worked very well.

In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the new training program, Major John R. Foster (Wigger's counterpart in the 101st Airborne Division), started a marksmanship refresher course, where each company in sent two men each week for training. When each weekly group of about 30 seasoned combat troops arrived, he had them select among themselves, the worst shot in the group, usually a "Gomer Pyle" type. Then, while the rest of the class went through the intro briefing, instructors force-fed Gomer Pyle basic marksmanship instructions.

Afterwards, each man of the group, except Gomer, stepped to the firing line with his M-16 and two 30 round magazines. The target was a single man-sized silhouette at 50 meters. The shooter was instructed to fire as many rounds as he could within one minute. His position and rate of fire was left up to him.

Most of the soldiers shot from a standing position on full auto. Many didn't bother to use their rear sights. The group averaged 4-6 hits total out of approximately 1,800 rounds of ammunition.

Then, Gomer Pyle, the worst shot in the group, was put to the firing line. Unlike everyone else, he had received five minutes of instructions on basic marksmanship and was told to fire only from the ****e position and only in semi-automatic mode. Invariably, Gomer would hit the target more times with his 60 rounds than the rest of the group with 1,800 rounds.

These successful demos caused the new training methods to be introduced to the troops :D.

Herrmannek
12-28-2004, 06:34 AM
In order to cure this problem, they started to emphasize the Known Distance system of shooting, over the Trainfire training system (introduced in 1956) and the Quick Kill training policy (introduced along with the M-16 -- basically volume automatic fire). The new system of training worked very well.

What that terms means?

Cardinal
12-28-2004, 06:46 AM
I have a book by Jack Lewis, "The Gun Digest Book of Assault Weapons", in which he states that for every enemy killed in Vietnam, the US forces fired 300,000 rounds. Don't know how he backs it up, though.

Angelino
12-28-2004, 10:02 AM
In order to cure this problem, they started to emphasize the Known Distance system of shooting, over the Trainfire training system (introduced in 1956) and the Quick Kill training policy (introduced along with the M-16 -- basically volume automatic fire). The new system of training worked very well.

What that terms means?

"Known Distance" training worked with targets placed at known distances. Students were trained to align their sights, get in a good position to shoot, control firing rate etc. This is traditional training for a marksman.

"Trainfire" system of training marksmanship placed less training on basic sharpshooting techniques and more on simulated combat conditions. Instead of teaching how to shoot accurately, it taught cover and concealment, with man-sized pop-up targets appearing at various ranges. Soldiers were taught to snap-shoot instead of traditional marksmanship courses, where the distance to the target was known.

"Quick Kill" training was originally called "Quick Skill" training course. Around the 60's, the Army and Navy were trying out new courses in marksmanship, with an idea of simulating realistic targets and combat conditions. Along came a guy called "Lucky McDaniels", who developed a method of training for shooting moving targets, that he called "Quick Skill". He went around the country demonstrating his training methods and quite a few gun magazines carried articles on him. He would use a BB gun and have an assistant throw a washer in the air and shoot into the hole at 10 feet range. The Army bought his training methods and renamed it "Quick Kill". This course deemphasized traditional shooting techniques such as sight alignment, shooting position, trigger control etc. and instead put more emphasis on rapid fire onto the target. Unfortunately, this training technique caused soldiers to spray bullets at the enemy, hoping that maybe a few rounds would hit. Some studies found that they missed more than they hit though.

Lucky MdDaniels also demonstrated his techniques to the Marine Corps Marksmanship Training Unit and Weapons Training Battalion at Quantico. The head there was a Colonel Walsh, who was a former FBI agent and experienced combat marine and had also served in many US Olympic shooting teams. After watching McDaniels demo with the BB gun and washers, he is reputed to have commented that if the Marines were ever in danger of being overrun by hostile washers, he would be sure to contact McDaniels. This is why Quick Kill was never taught in the Marine Corps.

Para
12-29-2004, 02:57 PM
Why all this fuss on how many rounds it takes to kill some one, as a vet we never went round counting the opposing dead, what was important thing was your objective or mission, whether that was a success or failure. We would take all the ammunition that we thought we needed no one ever bothered to see just how much we had or what we brought back so how the heck can some one produce these figures. If we wanted to go of and zero in our weapons we did just that we would walk into the stores help our selfs to the ammunition and just fire away to we where happy on the adjustments to our sights.