The M-60 Machine Gun

 

M-60 Ammom60.gif (53221 bytes)As a new man in the field I served as ammo bearer for the M-60 machine gun in our squad.  That added 500 rounds of machine gun ammo to my load.  The ammunition came in hundred-round belts connected with black metal clips.  These belts could be linked into a continuous strip of ammo (a neat trick while the gunner is firing!).   Belts were worn across the chest like a bandoleer.  I carried two over each shoulder and one wrapped double about my waist.  The ammo was heavy - 500 rounds was a lot of extra weight to carry all day long, on top of the weight of my own M-16 ammo and grenades and water.  A machine-gunner had two ammo bearers, and usually carried 250 rounds himself, plus the gun.

For a short time I carried an M-60 machine gun - twenty-three pounds of sore back and aching shoulders.  Each squad had one.  The M-60 fired 450-550 rounds per minute.  It provided a continuous stream of fire, unlike the M-16's that stopped when their magazine was empty.  And it fired a heavier bullet, about the size of a 30-06.

 

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The M-60 Machine Gun:  Tales Of A War Far Away
Copyright 1995 Kirk S. Ramsey
M-60 Ammo Picture Copyright 1995 Bob Lindgren
Last modified: March 02, 1995