M72 LAW ineffective versus PT76?
So, I just finished a fun book on Khe Sanh, "The End Of The Line: The Siege of Khe Sanh" by Robert Pisor.
As you might know one of the historical events that took place around the area of Khe Sanh was the first appearance of North Vietnamese armor.
I guess for this to make sense I have to outline kind of what lead to the event with the armor. Basically, first there were only Green Berets in the area around Khe Sanh, but then General Westmoreland decided that it would be a good thing if he could draw the NVA out into the open so that he could subsequently pulverize them with artillery and airstrikes, so he would fortify a big old hill and try to temp the NVA into attacking the hill thinking they could pull a Diembienphu. So, the Marines showed up and built a fortification on the hill, and the Green Berets got pissed because this seriously interfered with their trying to make working relationships with the locals. Eventually the Green Berets moved away from that big hill and made the most heavily fortifed special forces camp in Vietnam, Lang Vei.
So one day, the NVA attacked Lang Vei, but they had armor, PT76 units, which was basically totally unexpected. Long story short nearly all the Green Berets and their indiginous guerillas died and the Marines basically refused to help them on the grounds that anyone they sent out to help would probably be massacred en route.
According to this book, the M72 LAWs that the Green Berets fired at the PT76 units were super ineffective. Here's a quote from pg. 193
When I read that it blew my mind that nine hits with an antitank rocket apparently couldn't even disable a PT76, which has light armor, and which was replaced by the much-maligned BMP-1. According to wikipedia, the PT76 armor won't even stop .50 BMG rounds.
Colonel Schungel knelt in the middle of the camp, with green tracers from enemy machine guns criss-crossing the ground in front of him, and wildly-swinging parachute flares overhead, and fired a LAW at the lead tank. The shell hit in a great shower of orange sparks, but the tank kept rolling. He moved closer with another LAW, but this time the disposable launcher refused to fire. Now he was close enough to roll hand grenades into the tank's treads, and to fire his rifle into the eyeslits. The tank kept rolling. Another team hit one North Vietnamese tank nine times with shoulder-fired LAW rockets, and the tank kept rolling.
Are shoulder-fired anti-armor weapons actually effective against armor, or are they total crap that only works in theory, and against bunkers?