Vietnam Era Equipment/Weapon Suggestions and Questions

Forum for those interested in accurate Vietnam impressions and re-enactment using Airsoft. This is not a political or historical section, discussions will be limited to the gear and guns appropriate for the era and theme based games.

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Vietnam Era Equipment/Weapon Suggestions and Questions

Post by K9Troop » Tue Nov 14, 2006 12:21 am

Wanted to start this not because I'm a subject matter expert, on the contrary. I just have a question about gear and I'm hoping someone can answer it.

Will M14/.308 mags fit in the old school LBE/LCE M16 mag pouches? I want to start compiling my H Harness rig and I need to know before I go purchase.

I'll be rockin' the M14 for my Vietnam Era loadout as I vomit profusely at the sight an A1. Long story, I'll share sometime...
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Post by Erik » Tue Nov 14, 2006 6:45 am

If by "old school" you mean the M1956 "universal" ammo pouches your answer is yes. This is what most US Army troops used.

The SF used the BAR belt as well to carry ammo, however in all of my research I can find very little evidence that the SF used the M14, it seems they preferred the M16. (For arguments about this please create a separate thread).
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Post by Tank » Tue Nov 14, 2006 9:36 am

It was also rather common for guys to get an extra canteen pouch and use it for a mag pouch.
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Post by K9Troop » Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:20 am

Erik wrote:If by "old school" you mean the M1956 "universal" ammo pouches your answer is yes. This is what most US Army troops used.
You know what I meant by old school, dont be coy. The same type of ammo pouches that you and I were issued in Basic.

I want the H harness though instead of the Y, I always like the feel of the H better.
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Post by Risto » Tue Nov 14, 2006 12:34 pm

Thats good, I don't believe they had Y-Harnesses in Vietnam. Gear was mostly canvas/cotton, not nylon. For M1956 H-harnesses, go here: http://www.yellowbook.com/Listings/List ... &CT=3&AN=0

You can get entrenching tool pouches and gasmasks/bags at that store too.

They used to also sell the M1956 mag pouches but back when MadHatter and I started collecting Nam gear, we bought all of them.

Really small guys might be able to find 3rd pattern combat fatigue jackets there as well. I also got my P38 can opener and a bottle of rifle bore cleaner to stick up in my helmet band. The store is also a good source for M16 bandoliers(for 20rd mags). They also have a ton of brown 40MM grenade bandoliers(which would work for a grenadier, and also medics would somtimes use them as a convinient way to carry bandages.)

CC surplus sells the M1956 universal mag pouches but they're kinda overpriced. I have 2 spare ones for sale, I offered them to Cotton but I haven't heard back from him. If he doesn't want them you can have 'em.
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Post by K9Troop » Tue Nov 14, 2006 12:52 pm

Risto wrote:CC surplus sells the M1956 universal mag pouches but they're kinda overpriced. I have 2 spare ones for sale, I offered them to Cotton but I haven't heard back from him. If he doesn't want them you can have 'em.
Sounds like a plan, let me know if he doesn't want them.

I want an era rig, but to be honest, I'm not gonna get too wrapped up in it being era accurate. I'll get the H Harness and era looking pouches and what not, but my uniform will be OD's by Propper, Boots will be greenside Jungles, but with the waffle tread and I'll opt for an OD boonie versus a piss pot.

More power to those who go for the absolute authentic items, I think it's cool, but just not me.
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Post by dread » Tue Nov 14, 2006 2:14 pm

where is the best places to get gear for this topic?
i want to do a Vietnam load out i have a M16A1/VN.

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Post by Lord Ashtaroth » Tue Nov 14, 2006 2:25 pm

http://www.mooremilitaria.com is a place that has been recommended to me many a time.
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Post by Erik » Tue Nov 14, 2006 4:32 pm

k9troop wrote:
Erik wrote:If by "old school" you mean the M1956 "universal" ammo pouches your answer is yes. This is what most US Army troops used.
You know what I meant by old school, dont be coy. The same type of ammo pouches that you and I were issued in Basic.

I want the H harness though instead of the Y, I always like the feel of the H better.
What you are talking about is the ALICE gear (All-purpose Lightweight Carrying Equipment). That was introduced in 1974 and is period-accurate for Vietnam.

There are 2 types of ALICE ammo pouches, and I can't say for sure that they will fit M14 mags. However, they are plentiful and cheap (I got them from CTD for $2.99 each, I saw them for $1 each at the con) so it wouldn't be too tough to try them out.
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Post by Risto » Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:05 pm

ALICE gear wasn't ever fielded in Vietnam was it?

What I've heard, is that way late in the war a very limited number of pieces of M1967 gear was fielded, and never in full sets, just bits and pieces that were mixed with the old cotton M1956 stuff still in supply. The M1967 stuff resembles the ALICE stuff.

Alice gear works for the "close enough" loadouts.
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Post by ARCLIGHT » Tue Nov 14, 2006 11:00 pm

What you are talking about is the ALICE gear (All-purpose Lightweight Carrying Equipment). That was introduced in 1974 and is period-accurate for Vietnam.

There are 2 types of ALICE ammo pouches, and I can't say for sure that they will fit M14 mags. However, they are plentiful and cheap (I got them from CTD for $2.99 each, I saw them for $1 each at the con) so it wouldn't be too tough to try them out.[/quote]

This is for ERIK and everybody else,please I DO NOT mean any disrespect
but the stuff you posted is not right.

A.L.I.C.E. gear was not used in Vietnam!Some small amounts were tested in the early seventies,but A.L.I.C.E. gear was not issued to any troops in large amounts.You are right on the M56,and they also got issued M67
which was made from nylon.The A.L.I.C.E. gear was designed from most of that gear.
Y harness's were never sent to Vietnam,thats why Trey Moore doesn't sell A.L.I.C.E. GEAR on his site.A.L.I.C.E. was issued in 1980,so if you are doing Grenada war reenactment you are right on!

If you want to know what gear,uniforms,and weapons were used,and how the gear was assembled,get this book.It is 100% dead on!
UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT OF THE U.S. ARMY INFANTRY,
L.R.R.P.s,AND RANGERS IN VIETNAM 1965-1971
The writer of the book ie Paul W. Miraldi and it was put out by
Schiffer Military History Books

Also Risto your loadout and photos are dead on! Keep up the Awesome work brother! Arclight
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Post by Erik » Tue Nov 14, 2006 11:55 pm

While I'll agree that the M1956 and M1967 gear would be more common in Vietnam, the ALICE is in fact period, however it is late period, and it actual use in Vietnam was likely rare.

According to "The American Soldier: US Armies in Uniform" by Phillp Katcher (Osprey publishing) the ALICE system was introduced in 1974, and used in Vietnam.

There is also some discussion of this on http://www.olive-drab.com.

Again, ALICE would be a late-period (1974-1975, when the war ended) item.
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Post by ARCLIGHT » Wed Nov 15, 2006 5:31 pm

I agree that it was being designed and tested in the 70's,but for a group of people to use it in Vietnam renactment just wouldn't be right.I read the stuff on the link you posted above and even it says that it was issued after 1975......here's what I found on there

The time period of the main U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War (early 1960s to 1975) spanned the use of all of the equipment from the M1956 LCE to the All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE) introduced in 1974. It was common to see men in the same unit with mixtures of the equipment, even on the same individual. After 1975, the ALICE system replaced the Individual Equipment Belt suspenders and the backpack while the other items of M1967 nylon gear continued to be used. Vietnam-era Individual Equipment Belts differ from ALICE and later belts in that it has three rows of grommets. Many of the eqipment items were still in use in Afghanistan and Iraq, although often in the new camouflage colors or desert sand.

Now if you are mixing M56 and M67 gear together,I can totally see that.
But to have a M56 harness,pistol belt,and canteen holders,then put on
A.L.I.C.E. mag pouches.Well that wouldn't be right.

Erik please don't think I'm trying to pick a fight with you or anything,but I
take Vietnam renactment very serious.My Father served with 173RD
Airborne from 1969-70,and for me to use something that wasn't part of that war,well I feel I'm disrespecting him and many others! I hope you can understand this! Thanks ARCLIGHT!
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Post by Predator08 » Wed Nov 15, 2006 11:08 pm

Did anyone get the mitchell helmet cover from mooremilitaria? The covers are in VG condition and Id like to know actually how good of condition it is. Otherwise I was just gonna get the whole m1 set so I could get an excellent condition helmet cover. Also is there any place that makes the OD with the slanted pockets for cheaper than $140 for a set? I was going to get the Repoduction 3rd's but was just wondering if there is a cheaper alternative. Im hoping to get all my nam gear in the spring right when the outdoor airsoft season starts.
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Post by Risto » Wed Nov 15, 2006 11:28 pm

Moore is a great site for Nam stuff, but you should check ebay first, might find some good deals on there. You could get a complete M1 helmet w/ cover for the same price a helmet cover is on moore's. Plus there's nothin wrong with gear that looks a little used, unless you're goin for the FNG fresh off the plane look.

As far as reproduction jungle fatigues... moore's is probably the best. You could try and track down real stuff, but it'll probably cost about the same as the repo and just be more worn out.

I heard theres some company called "Ultra Force" that sells fatigues taht are almost an exact copy of the OG107 jungle fatigues for $60. LMK if you find em.

If you fit a size small maybe you can buy my fatigues, I'm tryin to switch over to size Medium, I just need some pants.
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Post by Yoroiden » Thu Nov 16, 2006 1:22 am

Erik wrote:While I'll agree that the M1956 and M1967 gear would be more common in Vietnam, the ALICE is in fact period, however it is late period, and it actual use in Vietnam was likely rare.

According to "The American Soldier: US Armies in Uniform" by Phillp Katcher (Osprey publishing) the ALICE system was introduced in 1974, and used in Vietnam.

There is also some discussion of this on http://www.olive-drab.com.

Again, ALICE would be a late-period (1974-1975, when the war ended) item.
Going with 1974-75 for the intruduction of ALICE gear, then ALICE might only be period-correct if you were re-enacting the Fall of Saigon. The last US ground troops were withdrawn at Da Nang 11 August 1972 and the last MACV advisors left 29 March 1973 from Tan Son Nhut outside Saigon, so how could gear that wasn't introduced until 1974 (at best) see use by troops that were gone by 1972-73? And those dates come from another Osprey book, "Armies of the Vietnam War 1962-75", also by Philip Katcher, w/ Mike Chappell.

Other gear that is period correct would be the USMC M-61 equipment, and some Army WW2/Korea equipment used by the Marines early in the conflict. Not to mention the variety of custom jobs made by "Mama-san".
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Post by ARCLIGHT » Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:43 pm

Yoroiden,thats what i was trying to figure out.Thanks for the help.
Also depending on what group you are coping,it would hurt to throw some captured gear in the loadout,there are tons of photos of grunts wearing N.V.A. belts with the star belt buckles.Rangers,Seals,Marine recon,all used caputered weapons and gear.I've read that alot of SEALs used,and tested CIA (CISCO) equipment.The sky is the limit.Look for photos/pictures and mix it up!
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Post by Erik » Thu Nov 16, 2006 8:49 pm

Checking the dates with other sources, it appears I had misinterperted the info I had. Apparently, ALICE gear is not period after all.

Which begs the question...in a Vietnam scenario, what should be allowed and not allowed? Obtaining some items can be problematic (weapons for example).

Do we allow what is "close enough" or go for 100% accuracy? And how do we decide what is "close enough?"
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Post by Miker » Thu Nov 16, 2006 8:54 pm

I honestly think that there is no "close enough." I think it should be "it is or isn't" because if the person is realy interested in this they would make an effort to buy the correct gear

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Post by Predator08 » Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:35 pm

I heard theres some company called "Ultra Force" that sells fatigues taht are almost an exact copy of the OG107 jungle fatigues for $60. LMK if you find em.
Hey Risto, if you look on amazon.com and you search "Ultra Force" under Apperal and Accessories a bunch of ultra force stuff comes up. Then click "show ultra force only" and look through the pages and you will find the tops and bottoms.

Also thanks for the tip.
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Post by Risto » Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:53 pm

Make sure what you're getting has the tell tale signs of the Jungle Fatigues. The pocket flaps should all be cut at an angle, and the top jacket pockets should also slant inward. The pants have slant-cut pocket flaps, and no reinforced knees or ass.
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Post by Yoroiden » Fri Nov 17, 2006 12:07 am

The one constant type of equipment that was used throughout the entire Vietnam War by US forces is the M1956 gear. So you can't really go wrong with that. Helmet should be the M1 type with the Mitchell pattern cover. The M-14 would be the standard rifle early on. The AR-15 was seen early on in 1965 by a few units (the Army NEVER had weapons marked 'M-16', only the Air Force did). By 1967 all Army units had the XM-16E1, which was eventually standardized as the M-16A1. Marines continued to use the M-14 until finally replaced by the M-16A1 1969. Pistols should be the M-1911A1.

There's lots of other equipment that could be used, but the above is just a basic guide to get at least the basic standard.
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Post by ARCLIGHT » Sun Nov 19, 2006 12:52 am

Listen to the man,he knows what he talking about! I myself would never go with close enough,but I understand Nam stuff can be exspensive,and hard to find sometimes.Besides web sites,and Ebay try going to local gun shows.I've found alot of real,NOS gear at shows for a decent price!
This also brings up a sore subject with alot of people but.......
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Post by Yoroiden » Sun Nov 19, 2006 1:03 am

Assuming their website has most of the stuff from the retail store listed, I suggest trying http://www.militaryoutlet.com (located in Junction City, KS) for 'Nam equipment. I was a regular customer at the store when I was still stationed at Ft. Riley, KS back when I was on active duty. The only M1956 part I couldn't find there was the buttpack. They also had M1 helmets, and a variety of jungle fatigues and utilities. They even had a small selection of the '67 gear.

Note that stuff is always going in and out of the store (it's down the street from Ft. Riley), so their selection can vary from day to day.
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Post by Risto » Sun Nov 19, 2006 10:22 am

You can find the right accurate gear for cheap if you shop around enough. It took almost a year of visiting local thrift stores and surplus stores, but my whole loadout cost me only about $150(if you don't include the price of AEG/mags). And I'm talking helmet with cover, jungle fatigues, boots, web gear.
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Post by ARCLIGHT » Sun Nov 19, 2006 10:51 am

I had a list of gear up in the forsale section,I anyone needs anything and I don't have it,I have alot of friends that have large collections.Just give me a p.m. with what you need!
Or Trey Moore has awesome stuff,for NVA/VC gear http://WWW.SAMPANIMPORTS.COM ,they have black pjs,hats ,scarfs everything you need to copy Uncle Ho!
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Post by Yoroiden » Sat Nov 25, 2006 10:30 pm

Damn, until I realized that was Vic next to ya I didn't realize who you were. Which is stupid on my part since I've played against Wet Works in the past (Red Dawn 2 comes to mind), and I know Vic personally. Sooner or later Wet Works and H.E.A.T. will be on the same side.

Heh, Dre once even accused me of 'stealing' your team uniform this past spring. :D
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Post by ARCLIGHT » Sun Nov 26, 2006 12:32 am

Yeah he's a little stupid some times,do you have a M14,were you runnjing in Tigers with a M56 loadout ,I think?
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Post by Yoroiden » Sun Nov 26, 2006 9:51 pm

Yep, I was running around with an advisor Tiger suit w/ M1956 earlier in the year. And I do have an M14, and have since replaced the plastic stock with a walnut one. The last few games I've used the M1956 gear with multicam.
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Post by ARCLIGHT » Sun Nov 26, 2006 10:12 pm

Hey good to talk to you,I think I compelmented you on your loadout and replica.Hope run with you soon!
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Post by Lord Ashtaroth » Mon Nov 27, 2006 3:11 pm

I'm planning on getting the same outfit as Capt. Williard complete with MACV and 173rd AB patches. I don't have a picture right now but there's a patch on his right breast and the only thing I can only guess that it's a Vietnamese Parachute Qualification Badge.

http://www.mooremilitaria.com/Viet%20Jump%20Wing.JPG

I'm trying to think real hard of anything else that would be on the right breast with wings and a star but I think part of my mind is blocking useful information.
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Post by ARCLIGHT » Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:08 pm

Image

Thought these were pretty cool,maybe they can help!

Image
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Post by Venom » Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:58 pm

I plan on playing an Vietnam War Protestor Reenactor. While you guys are off at Ops, I'll be at home with a tie-dye shrt and hippie beads, deriding you and your ethics and hitting on your lonely girlfriends.

Free love reenactment!

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Post by Tank » Wed Dec 06, 2006 6:23 pm

Venom wrote:I plan on playing an Vietnam War Protestor Reenactor. While you guys are off at Ops, I'll be at home with a tie-dye shrt and hippie beads, deriding you and your ethics and hitting on your lonely girlfriends.

Free love reenactment!
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Post by K9Troop » Wed Dec 06, 2006 9:20 pm

Venom wrote:I plan on playing an Vietnam War Protestor Reenactor. While you guys are off at Ops, I'll be at home with a tie-dye shrt and hippie beads, deriding you and your ethics and hitting on your lonely girlfriends.

Free love reenactment!
I'll bring the firehose... :P
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Post by Wolfwood » Wed Dec 06, 2006 10:06 pm

Venom wrote:I plan on playing an Vietnam War Protestor Reenactor. While you guys are off at Ops, I'll be at home with a tie-dye shrt and hippie beads, deriding you and your ethics and hitting on your lonely girlfriends.

Free love reenactment!
Thats funny. I'll start a re-enactment Canada for people who don't want to go to the field.
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Post by Predator08 » Fri Jan 12, 2007 11:33 pm

Hey, I have one of those helmets from cc military surplus and was wondering if you guys no if they are vietnam era helmets? Its not one of those PASGT helmets. It looks like the cover is ERDL. I am unsure because it seems like from pictures and movies the vietnam helmets look more domed than the one I have.
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Post by Turkey_Vulture » Fri Jan 12, 2007 11:43 pm

Venom wrote:I plan on playing an Vietnam War Protestor Reenactor. While you guys are off at Ops, I'll be at home with a tie-dye shrt and hippie beads, deriding you and your ethics and hitting on your lonely girlfriends.

Free love reenactment!
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Post by Risto » Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:08 am

Predator08 wrote:Hey, I have one of those helmets from cc military surplus and was wondering if you guys no if they are vietnam era helmets? Its not one of those PASGT helmets. It looks like the cover is ERDL. I am unsure because it seems like from pictures and movies the vietnam helmets look more domed than the one I have.
If the chinstrap is nylon, then its post war. The ones used durring the war had OD cotton canvas chinstraps, with the ball and anchor fastening system on 'em.
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Post by Miker » Thu Feb 01, 2007 5:28 pm

How accurate do we have to be? Would a new pair of OD BDU's work? Also were would I find a suitable LBE.

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Post by Lord Ashtaroth » Thu Feb 01, 2007 6:38 pm

Also were would I find a suitable LBE?
http://www.mooremilitaria.com
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Post by Miker » Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:00 pm

ARCLIGHT wrote:Image

Thought these were pretty cool,maybe they can help!

Image
That has alot of stuff thanks for the link. But looking at this picture I have a few questions about what gear to buy.
Are the straps over the shoulders conected to the belt suspenders? If so which ones and which of the ammo pouches would you buy for M16 mags, and would they work for 30 rounders or can we even use those?

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Post by Yoroiden » Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:27 pm

Miker wrote: That has alot of stuff thanks for the link. But looking at this picture I have a few questions about what gear to buy.
Are the straps over the shoulders conected to the belt suspenders? If so which ones and which of the ammo pouches would you buy for M16 mags, and would they work for 30 rounders or can we even use those?
Most of your gear questions have already been answered, both in above posts and can easily be answered by checking Moore Militaria, but I'll go over the specific ones you asked.

Those straps going over the shoulders ARE the suspenders, which attach to the web/pistol belt.

For ammo pouches, you can't go wrong with M1956 Universal Small Arms Ammo Pouches, which attach to both the belt AND the suspenders. If the period you're re-enacting is '67 or later, then the M1967 M16-specific pouches are acceptable.

30-round M16 mags will NOT fit the M1956 Universal pouches, and in any case, the 30-rounders were in extremely short supply during 'Nam (SF-types were lucky to even have ONE). The 20-rounder is pretty much the standard mag for Vietnam. For airsoft the ammo capacity is not too much of an issue as there are plenty of mid-caps in the 20-round size, and even a few hi-caps if you swing that way. Star even has a box set of 10 20-rounders.

As far as accuracy, that has been answered above, in that if it's not period-correct, then it's not accurate. OD bdus would not work as they don't look like the Jungle Fatigues. Repro Jungles would be fine, as they actually look like what was used in 'Nam.

Any questions on what to get can be easily answered by looking around Moore Militaria. They even have 'package' deals, which while rather expensive, at least list exactly what is needed for Vietnam 1965-1973.
"Far better it is to dare mighty things.. than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat."
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Post by Miker » Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:37 am

thanks for the ansewrs.
Is there anyway to get a less expensive uniform, b/c 140$ for pants and jacket is alot for a uniform I will hardly use.

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Post by Yoroiden » Sat Feb 03, 2007 11:39 pm

Amazon.com has repros for about half that.
"Far better it is to dare mighty things.. than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat."
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