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US M79 40mm Grenade Launcher

  • The Vietnam War
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

First designed in 1952 and officially fielded by The US Military in 1961, The Model 79. 40mm Grenade Launcher was the first successful attempt to deploy a reliable Grenade Launching system that could be deployed by the average Infantry Soldier. The US Military experimented with Grenade Launching systems in 1943, with the deployment of The M-7 Grenade Launcher.this device was attached to the barrel of The M-1 Garand Rifle. The common issue with this device, was that it took time to attach and remove it. Further, when attached, the Rifle could not be used.

 

The Model 79 was a Breech-loading, single shot weapon. They weighed only 8-pounds and were 30-inches long. The weapon could be slung over the shoulder of a Soldier  (thus also allowing him to carry a Rifle). The Model 79 was nicknamed the "Thumper", after the Walt Disney Cartoon character from the Film "Bambi". "Thumper" was a Rabbit noted for his repeated thumping of his foot against the ground.

 

The weapon fired a 40mm Fragmentation or Smoke Marking/Targeting Round, to a range of between 300 to 400 yards. It could produce a Killing Radius between 15 and 25 Meters. The M-79 proved highly effective against fixed Positions and the infamous Tunnel System used by NVA and Viet Cong Forces. Training was very simple, making every Soldier a potential "Grenadier". The weapon also performed well in the hot climates of Jungle Warfare.

 

Unfortunately, The 400,000 produced still retained the problem of being a single component weapon that was required to be carried along with a soldier's personal weapon. To correct this, The US Army designed a replacement called The Model 203  40mm Grenade Launcher, which was mounted underneath The M-16 Rifle. Some Countries still deploy The Model 79, even today.