Gun Trucks - A Visual History of the U.S. Army’s Vietnam-Era Wheeled Escort Platforms

Published: March 15th, 2016     
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Author: David Doyle
Reviewed by: Bill O'Malley - IPMS# 46473
ISBN #: 978-0-9861127-3-7
Other Publication Information: Softcover, 120 pages, color and B&W photos
Price: $22.95
Product provided by: Ampersand Publishing

Ampersand's website:

Noted military truck historian David Doyle has created an extensive and vivid portrait of these unique trucks. He begins with a detailed description of the truck platforms and designs, giving the reader a basic primer of the trucks prior to modification. This is followed by a lengthy illustrated description of the many weapons systems used, from small arms to the .50-caliber quad. Coverage of the trucks in action follows and is composed of many never before seen photos, many of which are full page in size and in color.

The first section describes military transport vehicles from the 1/4 ton M151, 2 1/2 ton 6 x 6, the 5 ton 6 x 6, and the M37. Each of the vehicle types is described in two or three pages with overall views and detailed photos of the engines. The photos are 'proving ground' type shots and in-action photos.

The next section covers The "Quad" M55 quadruple .50 caliber machine gun mount. This section includes over 9 pages of walk-around photos of an example at the Rock Island Arsenal museum.

The next section, The Birth Of The Gun Truck, talks about early attempts to provide armor protection on cargo trucks during the Vietnam War.

The section on weapons has photos of small arms in addition to heavy machine guns.

There are individual chapters on the 2 1/2 ton gun truck, the 5 ton gun truck, APC (armored personnel carrier) body trucks, engineer gun trucks, armored M151s, and armored M37s.

The last chapter, The Last Survivor, is 23 pages of photographs of a remaining M54A2C gun truck nicknamed 'Eve of Destruction' that is in the US Army Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis Virginia. The truck contains twin .50 caliber machine guns, plus several single .50 caliber mounts. There are walk-around exterior photos, many detail photos of the engine and chassis, body panels, and interior of the vehicle. All of the photographs are in color. There are also many in-action photographs from the Vietnam era of the eve of destruction in the 5 ton Gun Truck section.

Summary

This is a great photographic reference of the unique vehicles that were field-modified in Vietnam to provide additional protection for supply convoys. The many quality photographs illustrate the field modifications and also the unique nicknames and decorations applied by the soldiers. This is a great reference.

Thanks to Ampersand Group for providing the review copy and to IPMS USA for allowing me to review this fine book.

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