Gun Truck Kits


And here’s a Vietnam-era gun truck kit:

5-ton M54A2 Mounted with Stripped Down Hull of Armored Personnel Carrier

5-ton M54A2 Mounted with Stripped Down Hull of Armored Personnel Carrier


  1. GL: Yeah, that’s totally why I picked it. I had a more standard pic picked but saw this one and a voice inside my head asked “How can you NOT post that?”

    I don’t argue with the voices inside my head. It never ends well.

  2. I wonder what else they put on the pictured specimen. I can’t believe they would roll with only a ’60 on each side.

    Although the truck in the background looks like it might have something burly in a gunshield facing forward. Maybe Big Kahuna had something facing front that you can’t see in this pic.

  3. Phelps, I would agree that the gun truck shown above does remind me of one of Drake’s combat cars. However, Drake has written that the panzers and combat cars of Hammer’s Slammers are based on the M48 tanks and ACAVs (modified M113s) that were used by the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment when he served with it in Vietnam in 1970. See Drake’s afterword to his Slammers novel “Counting the Cost”.

    Murdoc, I would recommend David Drake’s work. Strong, page-turning stuff.

  4. Murdoc,

    David Drake is one of my all time favorite authors. His “Hammer’s Slammers” books and short stories are outstanding. I also recommend anything by Bill Forstchen, especially his “Lost Regiment” series.

  5. Two thumbs up for Dave Drake and the 11th ACR (er, Hammer’s Slammers)!

    All the troops in the pic above need is either a Duster system, or Vulcan mounted on that M113 chassis …

    You know, it’s funny … in 2001, they looked at me strangely when I was searching across the Army for ACAV conversion kits for my unit’s M113s (found a couple, though the M60 gun shields don’t fit M240s without some modification) and actually mounting ring mounts and .50 cals on our cargo trucks. What a difference a war makes …

  6. Hawk,

    Only thing missing is sandbags piled around the top hatch and gunner’s mount.

    Drake reinforces a point in one of his Vietnam-set short stories (the one with the troop of 551’s and the flying saucer). Everyone who could rode on top, with all the hatches open whenever possible. That way, if a B-4 came flying in, they wouldn’t be inside if it went off, and the blast would be vented out the top.

    Same reason you didn’t fasten your chinstrap on your steel pot under your chin,

    Amazing what you remember……. 🙂

  7. I will have to ask my old man about Gun Trucks in ‘nam.
    He drove Deuce /half’s during his tour, and got to see quite a bit.

  8. AW1 Tim,
    You may be interested to know that that bit of wisdom -or lore- about the chinstrap on steel pots was still commonly shared as late as 1989. That’s when I did my basic training, and was issued a steel pot (and an M-16 with full auto, too!).

    Cadre was having none of it, of course- go ahead and get caught without your chinstrap buckled. “Who are you, John Wayne?! Go on John Wayne, knock ’em out!”

    Good times.

  9. GeekLethal,

    Interesting. When I went through basic they showed us how to pull our chinstraps up and buckle them behind the helmet. We had full-auto selectors as well. We were wearing the standard Vietnam era uniforms with cammo helmet covers, although our nametapes, etc, were all black on OD then (1974).

    FWIW, my son recently graduated from Benning’s School for Boys. They wore the new DCU’s and fritz helmets, BUT they had ALICE gear rather than the newer MOLLE stuff. I find that interesting, inthat the Army is trying to use up the leftover equipment before issuing the new stuff to recruit training commands.

    The Army did the same thing in the Mormon war where they issued all the old-pattern uniforms to the troops assigned to Albert Sydney Johnston’s army to “use it up”. Thus you had infantry in dragoon jackets, artillery with wheel caps, etc. A colourful bunch.

    After the ACW, they did the same thing. Although Custer’s men had the new 1872 carbines and revolvers, their saddles and tack & most of their accouterments were modified M1855 pattern gear, again, using it up rather than sell it off and buying new stuff.

    You can see a pic of me at Fort Knox on the range at, along with pix of my navy days.

  10. AW1 Tim,
    Oh, yeah- Army’s real good at using up old crap. “Use until exhausted” was the directive printed on the bottom of any number of bullsh!t forms, and it extended across the service I daresay. Although I came to learn that it meant “use until it runs out”, not in the sense of “use until you’re tired of dealing with this bs”.

    Give it to training units- I wasn’t issued a k-pot until I got to my first duty station in ’90. And even then there were still a few M16A1s floating around the arms room, the officers still had .45s, and the vehicle crews had M3 grease guns. Hell, 3ID was still flying Cobras for that matter.

    And you can also give stuff to friendly armies. No accident that Iraqis and others are wearing 6-color desert BDUs that we fielded for DS. We musta had warehouses full of ’em.

    Of course when stuff’s REALLY old and busted, the Army likes to give it to the Marine Corps.

  11. Hi, I was in the 8th Transportation Group in the Phu Tai Valley from Oct 68 till Oct 69. I saw the Big Kahuna everyday and the turrent you see up front is a 50 cal. It also had two 50 cal. (one on each side) plus two m-60 machine guns. I dont know why they are not in the picture, but I have pictures that definatley show the fifties. Maybe that was an earlier picture.The Big Kahuna was not a machine to be messed with. The guys in Nam expiermented with all types of gun trucks. Quad fifties, mini guns, and everything in between. I was a sergeant in the communications for the convoys. After reading some of the feedback, I thought I would e-mail you and tell how it was. Thanks

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