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How did "Grenadiers" carry 40mm grenades?


MEversbergII
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Hello,

 

I've caught word that sometime in the late 80s there was a "grenade vest" that came out for those issued a 40mm grenade launcher. Might have been early 90s. Looks like this (or is exactly this): http://www.militaryoutdoorclothing.com/New-Nylon-Olive-Drab-Government-Issue-Medium-40mm-Grenade-Vest-_p_60.html

 

Seems like it holds 16 grenades - 8 on each side - with another four pockets (two per side) that are rather long - too long for a 40mm grenade I presume, as it would just slide down and become a pain to extract?

 

Prior to this vest, however, how were these 40mm grenades carried? Looking at pictures of people carrying M79's in Vietnam, it seems like they have nothing extra - though occasionally one seems to have some kind of small bag (too small for more than 2 grenades I'd guess) on their web belt. At least, they don't seem to have anything that sticks out to my untrained eye! It seems like you could stuff these in pockets - physically - but that seems a little unwise to have 40mm explosives just kind of rolling around loose in anything. Then again, I'm not trained in handling them so that may be a non issue.

 

Thanks!

 

M.

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40mm prior to the vests could be carried in the M1956 web pouches on the belt -keep in mind the early grenadier had the M79 as his primary weapon, so he didn't need the pouches for 5.56mm rifle ammo like an M203 grenadier would. The issue bandoleer the 40mm grenades came in was also a way of carrying the rounds, these had plastic egg carton type inserts inside.

 

See:

http://www.gear-illustration.com/2016/03/24/m79-40mm-grenade-bandoleer/

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In Vietnam prior to the vest, they used a few things, small fabric pouches that had hard plastic containers, kind of like egg carton looking things, field made vests too, these being of a few different designs, even up to official experimental vesrsions that were issued sometimes just putting them in the 1956 ammo cases.

 

In the early 60s and later Outside Vietnam Army wide, believe just the ammo cases were used.

 

You Beat me Barron :lol:

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This is a GI from the 1st Battle Group 29th Infantry Infantry Center and School Ft Benning Georgia, late 50s early 60s, as we see he's armed with the new M79 Grenade Launcher. Interesting is he still has not been issued the new M56 web gear, and is still wearing the M45 stuff, so, it appears he might be carrying his shells in that gas mask bag, or would carrying them in there. Unknown if this would of been the standard in this early period, the Reserve Components too, they took a while to get the new M56 gear, way past when the Regular Army started to get theirs.

 

post-34986-0-20280200-1377654264.jpg

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milsurp_scout_14

There are cloth bandoleers specifically made to carry six 40mm grenades. They have six flaps with snaps, but the pocket is just one long one with no dividers. It's fairly flimsy cloth just like the standard ammunition bandoleers..seems like the grenades would fall out if jostled around too much. Pic from the web but I have one in my collection.

post-153911-0-38613000-1487566936_thumb.jpg

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milsurp_scout_14

Sorry, just now saw Baron's post above mentioned the bandoleer's egg carton shaped inserts. Found a few pics of what they looked like.

post-153911-0-04649700-1487567204.jpg

post-153911-0-79582800-1487567369.jpg

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A grenade vest was issued during the Vietnam Era, too.

That's right, around 1970 maybe earlier in 1969. It current type or was the current type. I got Stanton, there's at least one foto maybe more, the earliy type too with those pouches on the rear waist of vest, got to look again.

 

You know having served at least two times in two different units as a Grenadier in 80-82 (Hood and Alaska) we never seen a vest, but then we didn't carry ammo for the grenade launcher when we went out, just blanks for the rifle. The two times in Alaska when we we out and conducted a live fire ( I was no longer a Grenadier), 40 MM Grenades where just handed out in place. I imagine though the vests would of been issued out if the Balloon Went Up, I guess a supply would of been made to the individual supply shops of the battalion.

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Cap Camouflage Pattern I

The last photo spike posted is the complete egg carton insert, the one milsurp scout posted is two top halves.

 

The longer pouches are for the 40mm pyrotechnic grenades, which are longer than the 40mm HE. It even says so on the website:

  • This vest contains 20 Pockets Originally for carrying the 40mm high explosive ammunition for the M79 and M203 grenade launchers and 4 longer pockets at the top of the vest for the 40mm pyrotechnic cartridges
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If I might recommend for those interested.

 

This book, among others it covers a great deal on the vests, the experimental ones, the various issue types that were continually improved before the final version.

 

post-34986-0-26228800-1487699087.jpg

Available on both ebay and or amazon.

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"The last photo spike posted is the complete egg carton insert, the one milsurp scout posted is two top halves."

 

They weren't in 2 pieces. I pretty sure the short one is used for the normal 40mm rounds and the longer holder is for the longer pyro rounds.

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Claymore bags were used as well, especially in Vietnam.

Good point Fender,forgot about that, Claymore Bags were the WW2 Light Weight Service Gas Mask Bag of the Vietnam War, both a most utilitarian item.

 

Curious thought, would Sand Bags been used? you know à la WWI German Storm Trooper.

 

BTW I still love your Avatar :lol:.

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Sorry for the long response - thanks for the information!

 

Surprisingly small load - looks like 6 per bandolier and only 8 on the vest. I'd have thought as a primary weapon for the 'Nam era guys, they'd have far more than that. I suppose they're probably not "spamming" grenades so much as waiting to be given a target (thus not needing so many)?

 

Milsurp and Spike - how much does the bag and the vest weigh?

 

Fender - wouldn't Claymore bags let these things rattle around kind of loose? I know there's an arming delay that should prevent them from just detonating but that still seems somewhat precarious.

 

Thanks,

 

M.

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Fender Rhodes

Fender - wouldn't Claymore bags let these things rattle around kind of loose? I know there's an arming delay that should prevent them from just detonating but that still seems somewhat precarious.

 

Yes and no. If you pack enough into the bag, they don't rattle. The rounds arm only after firing. They need to rotate a certain number of times before arming.

 

You can carry the rounds in almost anything. I carried 8 rounds in a SAW pouch during one short duration patrol in Iraq.

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milsurp_scout_14

The bag itself is very light, probably an ounce or two. I don't personally have any of the plastic inserts, so can't say what weight those ad.

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Our 79 guy carried 2 Demo bags full of 79 rounds. One was all HE; the second bag was mixed- beehive,shotgun,ilum, the star clusters, etc. He usually carried a shotgun or beehive round handy just in case.

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Our 79 guy carried 2 Demo bags full of 79 rounds. One was all HE; the second bag was mixed- beehive,shotgun,ilum, the star clusters, etc. He usually carried a shotgun or beehive round handy just in case.

post-34986-0-55175100-1488172903_thumb.jpg

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