Ammo Photos Taken During Vietnam War


While looking through my Vietnam stuff I found some ammunition related photos. I took these while serving as an Army S-4 (Logistics) Advisor, Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) Advisory Team 55, in the Mekong Delta at Rach Gia, Kien Giang Province, during my tour starting in March of 1968. The close-ups were taken with a Nikon F and a 55mm Micro Nikkor.

The local Vietnamese Regional Force/Popular Force (“Rough Puffs”) Army unit used Viet Cong prisoners to unload 155mm projos by throwing them out the back of a 2 ½ ton truck! Yeah, they were unfuzed, but they also tossed out the loaded boxes of fuzes! Note the Vietnamese guard armed with an M-2 Carbine, which was commonly used in this Province through late 1968.

Here’s a close-up of the XM583 40mm White Star Parachute round for the shoulder-fired M-79 Grenade Launcher.

The following two shots are of the 40mm M576 “Buck Shot” round for the M-79.

Our Team “supervised” a FAR (Fuel and Rearm) point used by a Naval Mobile Riverine unit and Army Aviation units at an airfield five miles outside the city of Rach Gia. Air Force C-123s and C-130s landed and dumped-off pallets of JP-4 fuel barrels and ammo. A Vietnamese armored cavalry platoon provided security, sort off… The locals loved the large metal ammo cans that held 20mm and 7.62mm rounds, and usually made-off with the cans after dumping the ammo while the guards dozed. The first shot shows Captain Johnson, one of our attached O-1 Bird Dog recon pilots, standing next to a M151 jeep trailer filled with dumped ammo we recovered. Note his “221st Aviation Company Shotguns” pocket patch and his extra large knife.

The following shows close-up details of the pile of linked aircraft grade 7.62mm NATO (usually 1500 rounds per can) and linked 20x110 USN.

It was an interesting year for me… Winston Churchill summed it up: “Nothing is so exhilarating in life as to be shot at with no result.”


Great images Mike.


Although not taken during the Vietnam War, here are some ammo shots from War Remnants Museum in Saigon circa autumn 2009.


How do you tell M-2 from M-1 in the photo?


Without the bayonet socket wouldn’t it be an M1?
my 2 c


Really great photos of “Ammunition In The Wild”, Mike! Thanks! More then Anything, thanks for your service during the Vietnam war. You guys are real heroes :-)



Both M1 Carbines and M2 Carbines have bayonet lugs. As factory original, most M1 carbines did not have them - in fact, I have never seen a picture in my life of a carbine with a bayonet lug on it from WWII, and only one, taken late in the Philippines, of a Carbine with the later adjustable rear sight in WWII. By Korea, most of the M1 carbines had been rebuilt and had all the “new” features, including adjustable rear sight and bayonet lug. The general rule was, later in the 50s anyway, that all carbines overseas were M2 with the selector lever, and all in CONUS were M1, without it. I don’t recall ever seeing an M2 carbine at any CONUS post I was at, although of course, they had them for training purposes, if nothing esle, at training centers.
In USARAL (today USARAK - United States Army Alaska), which when I was there was an overseas command, all of our carbines were M2s. I am sure Mike simply knows that.

I add my thanks, Mike, to those of Jason, for your service. Those of us who served, but by the luck of the draw and the accident of our age had service during the Cold War, I think are particularly grateful, as we fully understand the ramifications of combat service without having had to endure it. Bless all our combat veterans. It cannot be said too many times!

Really good pictures by the way. Much better than most of the “snapshot” photography usually seen.

John Moss

I suspect all the carbines sent to RVN for the ARVN troops, and in use by U.S. miilitary personnel like Navy Engineers and the like, were M2. I am sure



I used to know a WWII vet who dealt in carbine parts who had been in the infantry in Europe during the war. He told me that in the later part of the war the Army had mobile teams with vans that made at least some of the modifications in the field. He said all the carbines in his unit had the flip type sights changed to the adjustable ones during a rest period.


Forget where I saw it, but recall a field armorer’s truck, WW2 vintage, all fitted out with parts supply, lathe and assorted tools for repair and upgrade of firearms in the field. Mighta been the Patton Museum, or Volo, or somewhere else. But I do recall seeing it and wishing how I’d like to have one of those. From that, one could surmise to fairly high level, not depot, of repairs and upgrades effected in the field.