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#26 Bluehawk

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 07:18 AM

Found these for the M546 APERS-T 105-mm flechette round from this source: http://www.fas.org/m...s/land/m546.htm

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#27 Sabrejet

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 07:56 AM

Hey Blue'...this has been a fascinating thread! :thumbsup: How about starting one up on "Lazy Dog"...same kind of principle but dropped from above? ( Just thinkin' ! ;) )

#28 Bluehawk

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 08:10 AM

Hey Blue'...this has been a fascinating thread! :thumbsup: How about starting one up on "Lazy Dog"...same kind of principle but dropped from above? ( Just thinkin' ! ;) )

Never heard of it... but will see what can be found.

#29 ordnance

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 11:43 AM

Thought I'd add a photo of a few of the more interesting flechette items being discussed here. All are Vietnam era pieces except the 40mm grenade round sitting on top of the 152mm projectile. That one is the current XM1001 high velocity flechette for the MK19 grenade launcher.

Below it is the M625A1 152mm canister projectile for the M551 Sheridan. It contains about 45 pounds of 1 1/2" long flechettes in a sheet aluminum can, roughly 10,000 pieces. In front are 3 different low velocity 40mm flechette cartridges for the M79 grenade launcher. These were all experimental loadings and none were ever type classified as standard ammo. In fact, I've never even been able to identify an XM designation associated with them.

To the right are 3 boxes of 12-ga shotgun flechettes, green plastic Remington loads used primarily by the USMC, and a 10-rd box of Winchester XM-258 red plastic shells, generally associated with Army use.

To their right are two of the more unique Vietnam flechette items, U.S. Navy 81mm MK120 flechette mortar rounds. These were used only by the Navy in their MK2 Mod0 deck mounted mortars. These mortars were used on Swifts, ASPBs, Monitors, and other riverine craft and could be depressed to fire horizontally into the river banks to suppress ambushes. Of course, the mortars could be conventionally drop fired or trigger fired to send flechettes or even HE rounds straight out into the jungle. Not your average mortar technique.

In front of them is the WDU-4A/A warhead for the 2.75" folding fin rocket. This is the Vietnam era warhead and is different from the M255A1 warhead mentioned earlier by Cobrahistorian. The current warhead is much longer, has an electrical pigtail to the nose, and contains much larger 60-grain flechettes. These are officially anti-materiel flechettes intended for soft skin vehicles and similar targets, although it still gets used against enemy troops. The WDU-4A/A contained 2200 20-grain flechettes.

The coils of flechettes are typical of the packing used in most of the artillery rounds. I think these are probably from 90mm tank gun projectiles. They are tied with thread and packed end to end and coiled to facilitate loading and maximum concentration. Of course, when they are fired, half of the darts will have to turn over and stabilize on the way to the target, something that didn't always happen at close ranges.

The round at the right rear is the XM546 APERS-T beehive round for the 105mm howitzer. Most of the basics can be seen in the above posts and link. One of the more interesting features of this round was fuze threads at the mouth that were different than normal artillery fuze threads. That was so the projectile could accomodate XM529 and XM563 series fuzes. To be more correct, it was so other artillery rounds could NOT use these fuzes, as they had a "MA" setting to function the round with Muzzle Action, just as it left the bore. This was important when you wanted the flechettes to spread early as the VC were attempting to overrun your position, but not so good if you could accidentally fire an HE projo with a zero time fuze.

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#30 Bluehawk

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 01:09 PM

Thanks a lot ordnance...

I was noticing in the diagram for the 105 I posted earlier that it shows the plane of ignition (for lack of a better phrase) at a certain line after firing the projectile - about how far ahead of the muzzle would you say that spread got started? I either missed or cannot decipher that distance...

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Edited by Bluehawk, 26 November 2011 - 01:10 PM.


#31 ordnance

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 03:18 PM

Thanks a lot ordnance...

I was noticing in the diagram for the 105 I posted earlier that it shows the plane of ignition (for lack of a better phrase) at a certain line after firing the projectile - about how far ahead of the muzzle would you say that spread got started? I either missed or cannot decipher that distance...



Bluehawk,

The XM546 105mm flechette has always been a particularly interesting round to me. I'm not primarily an artillery collector but always wanted one of these because of the history associated with them. I consider this round to be the quintessential U.S. flechette item. While just about every gun platform from .22 caliber to heavy artillery and rockets got an application of flechette R&D during Vietnam, I think the 105mm howitzer round was the single item that established the reputation and legend of "beehive" ammo.

Frankly, a lot of the smaller and slower flechette rounds, like shotgun and 40mm stuff, really didn't work that well because of limited velocities and payloads. They just couldn't deliver the mulitple thousands of projectiles like larger artillery could. And the 105mm howitzer round was such an interesting piece of engineering to boot. An M1 105mm HE round was positively boring in comparison......a big steel slug goes downrange and the TNT filler explodes on impact. And unlike the recoilless rifle, M625 Sheridan cartridge, and similar flechette rounds, which were just big canisters that peeled open and threw flechettes around, the 105mm howitzer flechette was a marvel of multi-function activity.

As noted earlier, the special nose fuze had timing marks down to "MA", which stood for muzzle action and fired the fuze just out of the gun tube......for those special moments when they were coming through the wire right in front of you. Just behind the fuze, 4 detonators potted in the aluminum ogive open the front end of the round like a bananna peel, scattering the first 4 layers of flechettes. At the same time, the nose fuze detonator fires a pulse throught a central tube the full length of the projo. That initiates a base ejection charge that pushes the lower 5 layers out the cental body of the shell like a gun being fired. The base of the projectile also had a tracer element to follow your shot and a smoke puff feature at functioning to see where your flechettes are released for longer range shots. A pretty amazing bunch of monkey motion for one artillery round. As far as I know, this cartridge was obsoleted shortly after Vietnam.

I had to dig back into the manual to figure out the specific answer to your question. When set on MA, the cartridge would function within 3 meters of the muzzle. This would not provide enough time for proper dispersal of the payload but hey, when you are unleashing 8,000 flechettes at the enemy attacking your position, who really cares if your grouping is a little tight. By the book, the dispersal fan was only about 15 meters wide at 50 meters ahead of the gun, and 31 meters wide at 100 meters out.

The chart in your post shows the dispersal for longer ranges. When the time feature of the fuze was employed, from 1/2 to 100 seconds, a built-in feature of the fuze fires it 75 meters earlier than the time/distance setting to achieve optimal spread.

Edited by ordnance, 27 November 2011 - 03:22 PM.


#32 Bluehawk

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 06:11 PM

:blink:

Good grief... I had no idea, and I'll bet not many others did either.

Thank you for so thorough an analysis!

For the interest of history regarding this 105mm round, is it possible that Orders of Battle would document the times it was ever used against an enemy?

#33 Bluehawk

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 01:02 PM

gwb123 found this image online:

http://www.usmilitar...d...=143917&hl=

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#34 tsellati

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 06:17 AM

What a fascinating and extremely educational thread. Kudos to the originator of and contributors to this thread :thumbsup: .

Tim

#35 Sabrejet

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 08:30 AM

On eBayUK as we speak! #120912257361

#36 ikar

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 12:57 PM

For those of you who haven't seen one, her's a 90mm recoiless next to a M-72 L.A.W. Normally the view of the general base population wouldn't see these.

http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc4/ikar_photos/Air%20Force%20Security%20Police/scan0006-6.jpg

#37 Sabrejet

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 01:16 PM

Actually, until I read this thread I thought "The Flechettes" was a famous dance troupe from Radio City Music Hall! ;)

#38 11thcavsniper

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 04:45 PM

We used the flechette round in our Sheridans with devastating results. I seen the enemy physically nailed to trees after firefights. We were on an Armored Ambush one night and someone spotted movement with his night vision device. We fired a flechette round from a Sheridan where he had seen the movement. No one fired back so we went out with a couple of ACAV's to see if it was anything. As we neared the spot, some 1st Air Cavalry guys started getting up in the high grass. They were out of there area of operations and what we had seen was the point man. He was ahead of his patrol and sat down and leaned against a tree. Lucky for him he was on the back side of the tree and only received a couple of flechettes in his buttocks that stuck out on the side of the tree. The patrol was lucky that night that they didn't fire back. L.T.

#39 ikar

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 05:35 PM

A guy I knew from High School said that one time their track had become disabled and they had some bad guys trying to pry open the hatches. They sent out a call and a couple Sheridans showed up from different directions and fired their flechette rounds and cleared the area.

#40 patches

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 08:09 PM

The Ranger Batts were still using flechette rounds in the 90mm Recoiless Rifles in the mid to late 80's. 2400 1 1/4" flechettes per round if I remember correctly. We did some testing of them against commercial vehicles in the early 80's and they were very impressive.


Boys up in Alaska too, I humped one in the 4/9 Inf in fall and early winter of 81-82, we, the Companys 90 teams went to a isolated area at Eielson AB once to blow out a few rounds, the flechette being brought along with HEAT rounds, quite devastating it was when I blasted a old wood field latrine that was dumped down range as a target, it shreaded the mother, I knew then and there why we up in AK would want to use this seemly obsolete weapon, apart from the Dragons wire guided capibilities being rendered ineffective in the arctic winter months, thus the use of the M67 as the main Anti Tank weapon, this was also that this was a excellent defensive weapon when the Flechette round would be used.

#41 WW2 History Buff

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 07:38 AM

I agree with Tim!! Something to add, i went on a class trip to the Army Heritage Center in Carlisle, PA and i talked to a Vietnam Vet who used to be on a firebase and he explained to my class and I about these flechette rounds and how they were last resort and they would wait for the VC or NVA to get close enough and then they would fire the round and he said all you would see was a reddish pink mist...Pretty crazy stuff..

Haydn

#42 Sabrejet

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 02:39 AM

I've been following Blue's most interesting thread as it's developed over these past few weeks. By chance, a few days ago I had the opportunity to acquire a few "flechettes" from a VN era Beehive round. The most striking thing about them is their minuscule size....just like small iron nails with a fin...a miniature dart, if you will?

I recall reading accounts of the devastating effectiveness of these sub-munitions in various VN war histories. On more than one occasion they turned the tide of a firefight. Frontal attacks on US firebases by massed ranks of NVA or VC were often halted in their tracks by a few well placed Beehive rounds fired at point-blank range. A swarm of these flechettes flying through the air at virtually the speed of sound would cut swathes through anything in their path...much like the grapeshot used in the ACW. A terrifying prospect!

2012_0529flechettes0007.JPG 2012_0529flechettes0012.JPG .JPG]2012_0529flechettes0013.JPG

#43 Harvs73

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 03:43 AM

Flechettes had a big impact on the Vietnamese during one of the battles around FSB Coral when Australian forces were being attacked in force, an extract from Wikipedia:

"During their earlier reconnaissance, the North Vietnamese had likely observed the guns to be laid facing east and had probably planned to assault from the north as a result, yet shortly before the main attack the battery had fired a mission to the north and the guns were now directly facing their axis of assault. Moving in long straight lines across a frontage of 150 to 200 men, the main North Vietnamese assault moved against the gun position as the Australian gunners opened fire over open sights with Splintex rounds at point blank range, with thousands of darts ripping through their ranks and breaking up successive waves into small groups. Amid the confusion, follow-up sections hesitated upon reaching the mortar position, while other groups skirmished around the flanks and between the artillery and mortars.

Meanwhile, the 1 RAR Anti-Tank Platoonócommanded by Lieutenant Les Tranteróalso engaged with Splintex from their 90 mm RCLs, firing across the front of the mortars and relieving the immediate pressure on them. However, with the North Vietnamese having successfully achieved a break-in, and faced with the possibility of imminent annihilation, the 1 RAR Mortar Platoon second-in-commandóLieutenant Tony Jensenówas forced to direct the RCLs onto his own position, to which Bennett agreed. As the North Vietnamese attempted to turn the captured mortars against the Australians, the flechette darts swept the area, clearing everything above ground, causing heavy casualties among the assaulting force and damaging a number of mortar tubes. Elsewhere, the North Vietnamese assault had reached the Australian gun position, over-running two guns as desperate close quarters fighting broke out between the emplacements. The attackers subsequently succeeded in capturing No. 6 gun on the extreme edge of the gun-line and then attempted to destroy it with satchel charges. In both the mortar and artillery positions the North Vietnamese and Australians occupied adjacent pits, fighting each other at close range for their possession. The gun position officeróCaptain Ian Ahearnóco-ordinated the defence, and the Australians finally drove off the assault with grenades and small arms, as well as Splintex rounds fired from the Anti-Tank Platoon. Meanwhile, with the assault falling mainly on 1 RAR and 102nd Field Battery, to the west 3 RAR had largely remained out of contact."

http://en.wikipedia....r...2ÄďBalmoral

During the battle mentioned above the soldiers firing the guns reportedly were not used to firing the rounds and were putting too much of a delay onthe initial rounds. It was reportedly still effective as they were being fired at the front rows of attacking troops but not exploding until they had gone past, but this caused the successive waves to be chopped up.

#44 Bluehawk

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 04:19 AM

Ian, thanks for that addition. Having something like this in one's hands must bring the effect home a lot more directly.

David's post raises the word "Splintex" as a description of flechette rounds, which (of course) caused me to look that up - and this is some of what I found:

http://hampo.smugmug...B...994&k=LnQxz

Splintex, I take it, is a generic term for flechette rounds in Australian military, or what? Are there other forms of Splintex rounds?

#45 Sabrejet

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 04:26 AM

Found this image in the forum's archives. It illustrates how the flechettes were packed inside the shell casing.

Picture940.jpgMEGA.jpg

#46 Sabrejet

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 04:36 AM

Cobra gunship lets loose with flechette munitions, VN war! :o

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

#47 Garandy

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 05:44 AM

What about these? I bought these on Cape Cod at an Army/Navy store as "Lazy Dogs" in the 1970's for pennies..WW2-Korean era? Almost 2 inches long..lead slug like a .50 BMG with fins, supposedly dropped from altitude, theyre deadly as rounds
http://i313.photobucket.com/albums/ll373/AndrewG1957/cot.jpg

#48 Sabrejet

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 05:49 AM

Lazy Dog? Here you go...

http://en.wikipedia....Lazy_Dog_(bomb)

#49 Garandy

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 06:14 AM

Wow! Isnt this one an earlier forged piece?

#50 Sabrejet

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 07:08 AM

Wow! Isnt this one an earlier forged piece?


Could be! Imagine a shower of those little buggers headed your way. "Death from above!" :pinch:


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