The AMD-65 In The Vietnam War


In 1971 the RVN with support from US troops launched a limited invasion, spoiling attack in to Laos. The purpose was to disrupt the ability of the PAVN forcing to operate the Ho CHi Minh tail and stage their spring offensives into South Vietnam , much like the previous invasion into Cambodia.

While in Laos this AK variant was recovered. Whats the big deal? Well. These were very rarely seen in RVN during the war. The AMD is a Hungarian made version of the AK. Designed for armored troops and paratroopers with its folding stock and shorter barrel.

Of course this wasn’t the only one to turn up in South East Asia.

Above, Pat MacGrath of IUWG Unit-3 holds an ADM.

Below is a picture of Donald Ramsey of Recon Team Delaware, MACV/SOG firing an ADM at the range.

How they got there? No doubt communist forces received them via their normal communist supply routes. SOG no doubt had them as part of their giant inventory of foreign untraceable weapons for use on cross border missions. The restrictions on US weapons was relaxed after a few years, but some teams still preferred to carry the same weapons of the enemy for a variety of reasons. To disguise their profile long enough to get an upper hand, to be able to use the enemies ammunition, to disguise sound signature, to leave combloc empty cases on the ground to make it harder to track them after a chance encounter firefight etc.


  1. I have some questions about all this.

    One, the theory that you’re going to mask your presence via using the enemy’s weapons…? Well, based on my admittedly limited experience with the model, the AMD is not going to do that for you. The shorter barrel results in a noticeably different signature, enough so that I was able to ID which positions had the AMD on them during an “enemy weapons” familiarization fire session we did back in the day.

    So, there’s that.

    Then, too, there’s another issue entirely–The source of these things. I have been told by reasonably well-informed people, that there was an awful lot of “leakage” from COMBLOC periphery nations like Hungary, and that we got entire tanks, aircraft, and even fairly advanced AA missile systems out of those nations. I’ve also been told that we got a bunch of small arms, to include the AMD, and that’s why the AMD was so prevalent in the SF community’s Arms Rooms back during the seventies and eighties.

    Info is apocryphal, can’t verify any of it, but I suspect that my SF armorer buddy might have been telling the truth about why we had so many of a relatively rare AK variant hanging around the various SF and technical intelligence outfits. This may explain why they were in Vietnam, and why there aren’t any rational reasons for that specific weapon to have been sent as “fraternal aid”. It’s entirely possible that there’s a bit of “whitewashing” going on here to muddy the trail and keep the people who gave them to us safe–If we say we recovered them in Southeast Asia, well, then… Maybe we did, maybe we didn’t. It would also explain why they sent this relatively rare item there, if they did–So, we gave a bunch to the Americans? No problem; we’ll ship some off to the Vietnamese, too, and then we can say that some got captured…

    There was a metric shit-ton of suspicious and entirely nonsensical things going on during those years. Stuff you have to look at and go “Now, why the hell did that happen, and how…?”. I think I may have mentioned having an old guy from Alaska show me a handful of 5.45X39 brass back in the mid-1980’s; long before that crap ever showed up on the surplus market in North America. His story about where and how he found it simply don’t add up, at-fucking-all, and it’s still one of those things that make me go “Hmmmm…”.

    The AMD in Southeast Asia may be one of those sorts of things, one where we may never actually know the real story.

    • the only real reason was plausible deniability if SOG men got caught/killed in Laos/Cambodia/North VN. No IDs. sterile uniforms, no US weapons and a Gov denying they exist as US citizens, Any other supposed advantage was incidental.

      • Which is kinda my point… I think we got the AMDs from Hungary, likely direct, and then used them in Vietnam. Captured weapons are an unlikely choice for handing out to the troops, for ohsoverymany reasons. Not the least of which is that you don’t know what you don’t know about captured weapons–Not to mention, how much are you going to tell the enemy about your actions if he recaptures them?

        Far better to source “clean” sterile weapons you can use, and that you know the provenance of. Use Hungarian weapons in Laos/Vietnam, and you’ve just set some foxes in with the chickens, especially if there is no chance for blowback on the Hungarian assets that sold you the weapons.

        Whole thing is opaque as hell. I really doubt the “captured” thing, though…

Leave a Reply to Kirk Cancel reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here