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Old 12-28-2012, 09:33 AM
James Langham James Langham is offline
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Default Gun trucks and convoy escorts

A larger article that grew and grew in writing...

Nitpicks and comments as ever welcome.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:44 PM
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I imagine gun trucks as one of those custom bits of equipment -- they were made to fulfill a specific need, there's no manual on their construction, they're armed and armored with whatever is available, and no one is the same as another.
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:26 PM
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I imagine gun trucks as one of those custom bits of equipment -- they were made to fulfill a specific need, there's no manual on their construction, they're armed and armored with whatever is available, and no one is the same as another.
That was actually how I came to the subject until I looked at what had happened in Iraq. I think it will depend on who designs them, I imagine Pact ones as being more standardized than US ones for example.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:46 AM
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It's worth keeping in mind the difference in both time, place and tactical situation. Iraq is a completely different circumstance to continental USA post nuke.
So all in all, I'm with Paul and believe trucks will be created on a case by case basis depending on need and availability of resources.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:52 AM
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If you take a look at gun trucks early in the Iraq war, you'll notice very little standardization. All kinds of trucks from HUMVEEs to HEMTs were armed variously and armored with whatever was at hand ("hillbilly armor" they called it). Only later did you start seeing purpose-made armor kits, turrets, and that sort of thing.

I think that, in the Twilight War, by the time the need for gun trucks became apparent, no one really had the manufacturing capacity to create "official" armor and/or armaments packages. Therefore, gun trucks would be created ad-hoc, with whatever armor, weapons, etc. that the creators happened to have on hand.

We had quite a discussion on gun trucks a while back, James. There may be some useful info and pics here, if you decide to make any revisions. Here's the link.

http://forum.juhlin.com/showthread.p...ight=guntrucks
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:03 PM
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If you take a look at gun trucks early in the Iraq war, you'll notice very little standardization. All kinds of trucks from HUMVEEs to HEMTs were armed variously and armored with whatever was at hand ("hillbilly armor" they called it). Only later did you start seeing purpose-made armor kits, turrets, and that sort of thing.

I think that, in the Twilight War, by the time the need for gun trucks became apparent, no one really had the manufacturing capacity to create "official" armor and/or armaments packages. Therefore, gun trucks would be created ad-hoc, with whatever armor, weapons, etc. that the creators happened to have on hand.

We had quite a discussion on gun trucks a while back, James. There may be some useful info and pics here, if you decide to make any revisions. Here's the link.

http://forum.juhlin.com/showthread.p...ight=guntrucks
Thanks, I should have remembered that thread as I posted in it... A couple of pics will make their way into the revised version.

I can see the standardised parts arriving sooner than we think, after all Iraq was very much a case of denying there was a problem. Maybe the best way to treat it is that a local pattern at a base workshop is standardised - I am basing that thought on the way the plows were created in Normandy in 1944 and fitted very quickly.
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:27 AM
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I am in agreement with the "evolutionary" theory of improvised-to-standardised armor for gun trucks/technicals..
1. Whatever comes to hand--sandbags, brick/concrete, metal plates, chain link fence and sheet metal (pre-detonation of shaped charge warheads. The sandbags would be easily replaceable, and chain link and sheet metal are ubiquitous, except perhaps in the desert or deep jungle. I can even see garbage dumpsters cannibalized for their nice, large metal plates to be slung/welded to the vehicle.

Question of a technical nature; I have seen and read descriptions of spall liners as upgrades for APCs and other AFVs. Anyone with an Armored or Mechanized background: how hard or possible would it be to remove said spall liners from an otherwise disabled vehicle for reinstallation on a guntruck?
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Langham View Post
I can see the standardised parts arriving sooner than we think, after all Iraq was very much a case of denying there was a problem. Maybe the best way to treat it is that a local pattern at a base workshop is standardised - I am basing that thought on the way the plows were created in Normandy in 1944 and fitted very quickly.
True, but that was due to the nature of the fighting there. In an insurgency, there are rarely front lines, per se, and Coalition forces soon learned that unarmored and lightly armed trucks travelling more or less anywhere in country were extremely vulnerable to ambush and IED attacks. Vietnam was a similar [guerilla] conflict, therefore gun trucks became a necessity. Same with Afghanistan (both during the Soviet occupation and currently).

In a conventional war in Europe, this would not be the case. In WWII, for example, there weren't really any gun trucks in the ETO. Only when the front line began to fracture and become more porous (after the war went nuclear), would convoys likely be in much danger from enemy raiders and/or marauders. It would most likely be at that point that units would begin constructing gun trucks.

I think the latter point you make with the Hedgerow plows is spot on. Once depots saw the need for gun trucks, there would have been a lot of sharing of ideas and procedures, resulting in a fair bit of standardization, at least at the Corps level. I still think that you'd see a good deal of local variance, though, especially between cantonments that were too far apart to share ideas and resources.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WallShadow View Post
I am in agreement with the "evolutionary" theory of improvised-to-standardised armor for gun trucks/technicals..
1. Whatever comes to hand--sandbags, brick/concrete, metal plates, chain link fence and sheet metal (pre-detonation of shaped charge warheads. The sandbags would be easily replaceable, and chain link and sheet metal are ubiquitous, except perhaps in the desert or deep jungle. I can even see garbage dumpsters cannibalized for their nice, large metal plates to be slung/welded to the vehicle.

Question of a technical nature; I have seen and read descriptions of spall liners as upgrades for APCs and other AFVs. Anyone with an Armored or Mechanized background: how hard or possible would it be to remove said spall liners from an otherwise disabled vehicle for reinstallation on a guntruck?
Depends?

Spall liners themselves really are not something that is draped on the inside and hanging loose - its usually incorporated (IE, Bonded) into the armour itself from what I saw. Doesn't make it impossible, just not very practical in my mind.

An exception I know of first hand is the M113A3. In that case, they are sliding doors that are mounted inside part of the hull:

http://personnelcarrier.tpub.com/TM-...77-24P_482.htm

You could take these out and use them - I don't know what sort of protection they would offer.
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WallShadow View Post
I am in agreement with the "evolutionary" theory of improvised-to-standardised armor for gun trucks/technicals..
1. Whatever comes to hand--sandbags, brick/concrete, metal plates, chain link fence and sheet metal (pre-detonation of shaped charge warheads. The sandbags would be easily replaceable, and chain link and sheet metal are ubiquitous, except perhaps in the desert or deep jungle. I can even see garbage dumpsters cannibalized for their nice, large metal plates to be slung/welded to the vehicle.

Question of a technical nature; I have seen and read descriptions of spall liners as upgrades for APCs and other AFVs. Anyone with an Armored or Mechanized background: how hard or possible would it be to remove said spall liners from an otherwise disabled vehicle for reinstallation on a guntruck?
There are companies that do hardening for vehicles and make spall blankets and hard kevlar slabs to install within vehicles. But it's better, as Panther says, to have the hardening company to make something that is designed for your vehicle and fits the interior like a glove (and that would include a new or reconditioned vehicle as well).
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:44 PM
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You could take these out and use them - I don't know what sort of protection they would offer.
I'd be inclined to give it an AV of 1 or 2, depending on the thickness.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:33 PM
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James-I like it very much overall!

As far as the US Stateside gun trucks, beyond the obvious HMMWV variants and odd M151 series vehicle, I would think you would see the following:

M35 Series 2.5 tom

M54 Series 5 ton

M939 Series 5 ton

You MAY see some of the older GMC M211 series 2.5 ton vehicles, but even in collectin circles those aren't very common and were phased out for the M35 series soon after introduction.

For heavy stuff, I would think the purpose built bank armored cars would be snapped up by whatever group was in the area, federal, state, or criminal.

Here in the states 10 wheel 6x4 dump trucks with steel bodies are cmmonplace...every town of any size has at least one excavating/earthmoving firm with one or more, plus county and state highway installations. I would think the most direct conversion of civillian vehicles would start here. I would think you could add a platform or steps inside the bed to stand on at the firing positions, possibly more armor to the bed walls, and an improvised armored cab. I could see body and machine shops cutting away most of the cab and reconstructing an armored one from sheet steel.

In my area there are places the distribute raw steel in various grades, sizes , and sheet thicknesses. I would think that would be a good place to start.

And I can't emphasize the on-site repair trucks I see to service construction sites as both captive and free lance operations...ever one I see has a crane, air tools, and welder on board, and I would imagine that there is a plasma cutter there too. All of this is self contained and while not as sweet as the US military's mobile workshop trucks, they will be invaluable to building and maintaining a county or state detachment of gun trucks.

I would think here in the states in areas away from the Mexican invasion, communities would band together to maintain a fleet (no matter how small) of gun truck vehicles for use with a reaction force, probably using state, county, or local SWAT personnel and verterans. Here in the Chicago area there are county SWAT and municipal SWAT detachments (depending on the size of the town...Chicago itself obviously having its own SWAT force), so local militias would probably start from there.

I could very much see gun truck units being used to guard whatever relief supplies areas might be receiving and the production from local harvests.

That alone could be a good start for a small scale local adventure campaign. Large but few gun trucks guarding a grain convoy to an elevetor/shipping point from a wheeled gang of some size.

In the States you will find a noticeable quantity of obsolete military vehicles that had been preserved by collectors. I know we've discussed the whole old tank thing, but there are a number of half tracks and armored vehicles from 1940-1970 in my area. You will probably see a motley fleey of ex-civillian gun trucks and a M2/M3 Half Track or two or three here and there. There is a fair amount of 1950's WP stuff here and there, BTR-152's, BTR-40's, and BRDM-1's, along with an amount of Saracens, Ferrets, Saxons, and Humber Pigs.


WW2 stuff will be the most common, but cold war stuff will exist here and there...for flavor if you will!

Thank again for the work, as always, a great job!

Dave
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:19 PM
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James-I like it very much overall!

As far as the US Stateside gun trucks, beyond the obvious HMMWV variants and odd M151 series vehicle, I would think you would see the following:

M35 Series 2.5 tom
As I left my first duty post in Ft Stewart, we had just traded in the last of our battalion's M35s, and we were told that they were being phased out of active-duty service. (That was in July 1987.) When I got to Korea in August 1987, they had already traded in all their deuces for 5-tons months before. So my guess that a unit in T2K that has them is a National Guard unit or had them brought in from storage to replace losses. Or got them from another country's unit operating M35s and...didn't need them anymore.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:55 PM
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How about these?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_...tical_Vehicles

It looks like they entered service, IRL, before '96, so one might encounter this line of trucks in either T2K timeline. If you do a Google search for images, you will see a few "gun-truck" versions with armored cabs and weapon station. One could easily set up some armor panels around the bed and add a couple more GPMGs and voila!
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:21 PM
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Over the last 10-15 years there have been a significant number of M35 series vehicles on the US surplus market...nowadays I'm seeing a number of them being surplussed out from second or third owners...in these cases state entities (Wisconsin in particular).

A friend has a 1952? M211 that came...of all things...from his local High School's bus garage where it was used as a snow plow truck for a number of years, The engine, transmission, and steering are all 1990's GMC bus parts.

Normally I see M35 series vehicles being used as brush or off road fire trucks with a semi portable fire apparatus. When they get done with them, they remove the fire apparatus from the bed and auction the truck off.

I even see a Kaiser M715 from time to time come up this way, although Chevy CUCV's and Dodge M880's (less so) are more common.

I believe many M151's were torch cut to destroy them due to the bad rap they got from rollovers rather than sold surplus in numbers...you see original/restored M151's but they aren't very common. At times it is easier to find a surplus HMMWV for sale.

There is a place 30 mile NW of here that does armored civillian vehicles, so a place like that can be an option too. If anything, I would thing the experience of the staff remaining there would vbe almost invaluable.

-Dave
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:13 AM
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This discussion dovetails with something I asked here about a year ago; I recall that we never came up with a satisfactory answer. Every military vehicle, be it on exercise, in combat, or in war footage has the exterior of the vehicle practically covered with personal gear, food, extra water, etc. What sort of AV would this kind of stuff make (if only temporary...). I would think it might at least break up a plasma jet from a HEAT round.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:51 AM
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Here's another thing you could armor up with (though they'd be rare) are EOD armor blankets. They use them to throw over explosives when they need to contain an explosion they believe to be imminent. Police would be more likely to have them than military. They're generally of Kevlar/glass fiber construction, and they're pretty much heavy blankets. Might solve your spall liner problem if you can find enough.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:30 AM
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Paul, when I was a shotfirer we had blast mats that performed a similar function to the EOD blankets you describe. We used them to prevent flyrock from surface or shallow sub-surface charges, and to protect vulnerable objects near blast sites. They could certainly withstand the effects of detonating small charges in direct contact.

Ours were made from cut sections of worn out steel radial belted tyres, stitched together with heavy gauge wire. Cheap and easy to put together but due to their weight not as portable as the ones you mentioned and ours wouldn't have been as fire resistant either.
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmulcahy11b View Post
This discussion dovetails with something I asked here about a year ago; I recall that we never came up with a satisfactory answer. Every military vehicle, be it on exercise, in combat, or in war footage has the exterior of the vehicle practically covered with personal gear, food, extra water, etc. What sort of AV would this kind of stuff make (if only temporary...). I would think it might at least break up a plasma jet from a HEAT round.
Speaking from experience, not much.

A Brad was knocked out by a RPG back when I was over, and the round pretty much ignored the duffels as it blew past them and into the rear of the track.

Unoccupied, thankfully, but it did mission kill the Brad.
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:01 PM
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That makes sense in terms of how shaped charge warheads work. They usually have to strike a solid object to detonate. Packs, ration cartons, plastic containers, cammo nets, ponchos, clothing, these are all materials that would tend to collapse, give way or be pushed aside by a flying projectile. The plasma jet can't be dissipated if it hasn't yet been formed.
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:02 PM
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I think thats part of it: the rest I think can be attributed to the fact that the usual soft items found in the bags really don't attrit the jet all that much if at all: the plasma is meant to cut through steel: a bag full of uniforms isn't gonna faze it.
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:47 PM
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I wonder if having soft items like bags and rucks hanging over reactive armor blocks would affect the reliability/effectiveness of the reactive armor. Obviously if a block detonated it would shred soft items on top of it.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:21 AM
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In reference to using the 2.5s for gun trucks. They would not hold up long mechanically as was discovered in 'Nam. The frames broke when they were armored up and got heavy ordnance, hence the switch to 5 tonners. I'm sure you'd see some, but the heavier truck is much more preferred from experience. And IF you are going to go to the trouble to armor a vehicle, why not do it to a vehicle that can take the mechanical punishment than run the risk of a breakdown with the sub-standard one?

Just my 2 cents and change.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:46 AM
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One area you left out would be in Kenya with the US forces there. Considering the threat from Somalis and others using Technicals to attack convoys and isolated garrisions, along with the fact that the US forces in Kenya were on a shoe string the whole time, the gun truck would be something that would definitely make an appearance there - and there could be a large mix there of US, British, civilian, Chinese and Pact vehicles being used by both sides.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:23 AM
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I wonder if having soft items like bags and rucks hanging over reactive armor blocks would affect the reliability/effectiveness of the reactive armor. Obviously if a block detonated it would shred soft items on top of it.
Yes, actually you are not supposed to store gear externally on the sides of tracks (APCS/TANKS) if they have had reactive armor blocks installed on them. It negatively impacts performance.


On another note, I'm curious how this thread has completely overlooked the wide spread use of "Gun Trucks" in vietnam. There was a little info in the article, but there is as much variation as there is imagination. I agree with the opinion that they are "come as you are" designs. Have done two tours in Iraq, once when we were doing a large amount of custom fabrication and once when all our armor was actually manufactured as part of the vehicle with the new M1114 series of HMMV hitting the sand.

Let's not ignore the down side of slapping several thousand pounds of steel onto a chassis that wasn't meant to carry it....1) Mechanical Breakdowns increase as stress is placed on the suspension and drive train. 2) You are putting more pounds per square inch on the same wheeled footprint. This has the effect of hampering cross country movement and increase the chances of getting stuck in softer terrain.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:05 AM
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On another note, I'm curious how this thread has completely overlooked the wide spread use of "Gun Trucks" in vietnam.
This thread doesn't cover it but we've had a couple of previous, extensive threads on gun trucks and technicals where gun trucks in Vietnam were discussed. If I have time tomorrow I might look through the old threads for the relevent discussions.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:19 AM
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Let's not ignore the down side of slapping several thousand pounds of steel onto a chassis that wasn't meant to carry it....1) Mechanical Breakdowns increase as stress is placed on the suspension and drive train. 2) You are putting more pounds per square inch on the same wheeled footprint. This has the effect of hampering cross country movement and increase the chances of getting stuck in softer terrain.
From what I've been able to find out there, that would seem to be the reason (as others have pointed out here) why they went from 2.5 ton class trucks (M35 series) to 5 ton class trucks in Vietnam. I'd assume the same would happen abroad in T2K.

I am still very much of the opinion that most gun truck type vehicles possesed at the community/county and perhaps even state level in the US (away from the war zones of the Southwest) would be 6x4 or 6x6 dump trucks...those frames are meant for carrying a ton (no pun intended) of weight, and I doubt much additional plating would be need to be added to the side walls of steel dump bodies anyway. I've seen some trucks used by professional demolition companies here and the bodies seem heaviier to account for dealing with reinforced concrete scrap.

I would also think trucks used for construction work with high flotation tires (wider, not monster truck tires) would be attractive as well.

Particularly inventive and/or handy communities may even get into converting cement mixer trucks to gun trucks. After all, in T2K, do you really need a fleet of dozens of cement trucks? There are ready-mmix plants in the area here that have fleets in the order of dozens of vehicles.

Any thoughts whether you would see the tracked cargo carriers converted here or abroad into ersatz armored vehicles?

My $0.05-

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Old 01-06-2013, 11:25 AM
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Please allow me to clarify my suggestion about converted cement trucks...I mean replacing the mixer apparatus with a non functional dump body. I would imagine you could take either a 3 axle dump truck body or shorten a semi trailer dump box to do the job. Shortening the semi body would probbably allow you to construct a passage to the cab as well at the same time.

-Dave
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:36 PM
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Please allow me to clarify my suggestion about converted cement trucks...I mean replacing the mixer apparatus with a non functional dump body. I would imagine you could take either a 3 axle dump truck body or shorten a semi trailer dump box to do the job. Shortening the semi body would probbably allow you to construct a passage to the cab as well at the same time.

-Dave
Maybe one could also cut the top of the mixer apparatus (tough work, I know) and put a metal or wood floor down inside, then weld some pintle mounts around the sides and front. A heavier weapon could be fired from the rear. Maybe even some kind of ball mount could be made for the rear.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:10 PM
Neal5x5 Neal5x5 is offline
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This is a very good article and James should be congratulated. This is as good as anything published by GDW and possibly Osprey.

Regarding a followup, it might be worthwhile to explore some of the convoy/gun truck material that came out of Africa in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly Rhodesia. There was some wild stuff built there to protect convoys of civilians and military alike.

One of my favorite was the Spider shotgun system, a barrel-like device mounted on the top of a vehicle with something like 40 12 ga. shotgun barrels splayed around it in a circle. The operator turned a crank, setting off all the shotgun shells and spraying the entire nearby area with whatever load the shells posessed. I recall seeing it in an old (1980s) Soldier of Fortune magazine and noting that it was also used for clearing landmines (?). I have no idea if the thing worked, but it looked utterly menacing and would definitely make me hesitate rush that particular vehicle.
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