Misfire

The Tragic Failure of the M16 in Vietnam

Bob Orkand, Lyman Duryea

Misfire combines insider knowledge of U.S. Army weapons development with firsthand combat experience to tell the story of the M16 - iconic as the American weapon of the Vietnam War and, indeed, as the U.S. military's standard service rifle until only a few years ago despite its tragic failure.
Publication date:
August 2019
Publisher :
Stackpole Books
Language:
English
Illustration :
25
Format Available     Quantity Price
Hardback
ISBN : 9780811737968

Dimensions : 229 X 152 mm
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This book is temporarily out of stock.
£19.95

Overview
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• Uses insider knowledge of US Army weapons development to tell the story of the M16 and its troubled history.
• Provides a detailed description of the testing phase of the famous weapon.
• Basis its analysis of the testimonials of dozens of soldiers who experienced first-hand the setbacks of the M16.

The M16 rifle is one of the world's most famous firearms, iconic as the American weapon of the Vietnam War - and, indeed, as the U.S. military's standard service rifle until only a few years ago. But the story of the M16 in Vietnam is anything but a success story. In the early years of the war, the U.S. military had a problem: its primary infantry rifle, the M14, couldn't stand up to the enemy's AK-47s. The search was on for a replacement that was lighter weight, more durable, and more lethal than the M14. After tests (some of which the new rifle had failed) and debates (more than a few rooted in the army brass's resistance to change), Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered the adoption of the M16, which was rushed through production and rushed to Vietnam, reaching troops' hands in early 1965. Problems appeared immediately. Soldiers were not adequately trained to maintain the new rifle - billed as self-cleaning--nor were they given cleaning supplies or instructions. The jungle humidity corroded the rifle's inner components (the manufacturer had decided against chrome-plating); the cheap gunpowder in the rounds fouled the chamber. The M16 often failed to eject spent cartridges, often jammed, making the rifle "about as effective as a muzzleloader," in the words of one officer. Men began to be killed in combat because they couldn't return fire or because they had paused to fix their rifles. Congress investigated, and the rifle and its ammunition were modified, greatly improving its reliability by 1967-68. But the damage to its reputation had been done, and many soldiers remained deeply skeptical of their rifle through the war's end.

Misfire combines insider knowledge of U.S. Army weapons development with firsthand combat experience in Vietnam to tell the story of the M16 in Vietnam. Even as it details the behind-the-scenes development, tests, and debates that brought this rifle into service, the book also describes men and M16s in action on the battlefield, never losing sight of the soldiers who carried M16s in the jungles of Vietnam and all too often suffered the consequences of decisions they had nothing to do with.