After World War II, militaries and the weapons they brought into the battlefield began to change, and they were changing very quickly.
There is simply no way we can overstate the impact the Second World War had on the world’s armed forces, particularly the lone competing superpowers: the Soviet Union and the United States of America. As each country began to involve itself in a series of proxy wars to determine the reach and influence of communism, American servicemen were able to get their hands on some very interesting weapons.
Going into the Vietnam war, the idea was to make individual infantrymen as lethal and as independent as possible, all while operating in units. One of the ways command set about doing this was completely re-vamping their standard-issue rifles. By the time the Vietnam War was in full-swing, we came a pretty long way from the M1 Garand.
At one point in time, the M16 became that rifle, but it had a very important side-kick: the XM-148 grenade launcher. The idea was to give your average infantry soldier an “area effect” to project more force into enemy territory. While the new weapon was promising, it did leave a bit to be desired — making this a fascinating forgotten weapon to study.
Here’s Forgotten Weapons with another great history lesson all gun lovers can enjoy.