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Iraq Gun-Trucks

Several readers have drawn our attention to a curious armoured gun-truck which has been seen in Kuwait.

It was constructed as an 'ambush buster' by volunteers from AMC's Anniston Army Depot and Red River Army Depot operating out of AMC's US Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command's Forward Repair Activity at Camp Aarifjan, Kuwait The vehicle can be hidden in a convoy and, if attacked, will 'lay down a base of suppressive fire', thwarting attempts to attack the supply convoys heading north into Iraq.

Gun-trucks were widely used in Vietnam and early examples consisted of M35 'deuces' armed with M60 machine guns. Later, the larger 5-ton variant was deployed, mounting single or multiple 0.50 calibre machine guns, with some vehicles carrying 7.62mm machine guns and M79 grenade launchers. Steel plate on the front rear and sides, cab floor and truck bed, gave protection against mines but, when supplies of steel plate became difficult, resourceful crews stripped armoured personnel carriers, mounting the hull on the truck.

This provided the AMC crew with the idea.

The Kuwait gun-truck was assembled from a non-repairable M818 and a similarly uneconomic M113 armoured personnel carrier (APC). The fifth wheel and cab were removed from the truck, whilst the M113 was prepared by cutting off the nose, removing the running gear and fitting the armoured glass windscreens from a HMMWV. The armoured aluminium hull - weighing less than 1000 lb (450kg) -was mounted on the truck chassis and mated to the engine compartment giving the driver full armoured protection. Finally, two or four 0.50 calibre ring mounts will be fined, allowing a pair machine guns to be mounted on HMMWV ball-bearing ring mounts.

If the truck proves successful in operation, the team would like to use the chassis of a more modern truck where a little more electrical power might be available for weapons like mini-guns. Better suspension would also be an advantage.

Posted on: 16/12/03

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