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U.S.M.C gun trucks?

Sgt C

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Hudson/new Hampshire
Two common vehicle-mounted radios during Vietnam were the RT-524 and the RT-246. They are very similar in size and appearance, the -524 has dial tuned frequencies, the -246 has push buttons for pre-selected frequencies. A lot of vehicles (for instance the V100) had a second receiver, the R-442, mounted next to the receive-transmit unit.
All three are pretty easy to find now, and if you are not wanting functioning ones, even easier.

Both big radios use the same mount. If someone doesn't chime in with the designation for the mount and antennae, I'll look those up when I get home this evening.

Cheers

View attachment 887167 View attachment 887168
Thank you! Still so much to learn....
 

SgtMajHarper

Well-known member
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Falcon, CO
Thank you! Still so much to learn....
Great thread here guys! I gotta chime again.....as you and I have chatted some already.....it's your truck, you can set it up the way you want and it will still be right. Unless you are going full bore and making an exact replica truck (and you are not), it won't be wrong. Currently you have some markings on it as an artillery battery truck. As a "gun bunny" I can tell you with plenty of certainty that we def. had lots of rolling stock, some dedicated to the gun line for carrying ammo. and powder and those "projos" had to be trucked in. Our advance party when it went out because we had a "CSMO" was a small "recon" type element used to locate, establish and hold a new position for the battery which would come later, sometimes days later. Those guys were as heavily armed as we could send them as they were going alone in a handful of vehicles. We had a couple of trucks that we mounted a .50 into the bed on a platform kinda like others have mentioned, also a couple of M60's.

Just to stick up for the arty guys, I like the artillery unit story (yes, I am biased), I also wouldn't change the whole hood and bumper numbers, I'd just take off the "04P" and put a "1" where the "P" is and call it good, as that gives you the right sequence of numbers and it still jives with what you found engraved. As far as radio's go, in my trucks I have mostly PRC 77's, again in my world "good enough". My single vehicle mount radio is an earlier version than the ones posted above, but still period correct, especially for Marines who often use old gear. Plus, on a backpack rig, I can hang a 77 on my Mule, looks cool with the long antenna.

Also as I sit here musing.....one thing that keeps entering my brain housing group is that in the "green machine", much of the gear we had was "specific" to a certain job, while a lot of other stuff was used for any and every job you (or maybe a Gunny) could think of. I never remembered thinking that we had too much of anything good, especially not too many vehicles. A big truck not only carried troops, but it also carried ammo., it also was a prime mover for a howitzer, it also made a chow run sometimes, also carried trash and maybe wounded and pulled a variety of trailers. So making something "too dedicated" to a single purpose would limit its overall usefulness for other things it could be used for. (I'm not trying to preach to the choir, just thinking out loud).

Anyway........great truck, great project, looking forward to hearing and seeing what you decide.

Semper Fi !
 

Sgt C

Well-known member
124
382
63
Location
Hudson/new Hampshire
Great thread here guys! I gotta chime again.....as you and I have chatted some already.....it's your truck, you can set it up the way you want and it will still be right. Unless you are going full bore and making an exact replica truck (and you are not), it won't be wrong. Currently you have some markings on it as an artillery battery truck. As a "gun bunny" I can tell you with plenty of certainty that we def. had lots of rolling stock, some dedicated to the gun line for carrying ammo. and powder and those "projos" had to be trucked in. Our advance party when it went out because we had a "CSMO" was a small "recon" type element used to locate, establish and hold a new position for the battery which would come later, sometimes days later. Those guys were as heavily armed as we could send them as they were going alone in a handful of vehicles. We had a couple of trucks that we mounted a .50 into the bed on a platform kinda like others have mentioned, also a couple of M60's.

Just to stick up for the arty guys, I like the artillery unit story (yes, I am biased), I also wouldn't change the whole hood and bumper numbers, I'd just take off the "04P" and put a "1" where the "P" is and call it good, as that gives you the right sequence of numbers and it still jives with what you found engraved. As far as radio's go, in my trucks I have mostly PRC 77's, again in my world "good enough". My single vehicle mount radio is an earlier version than the ones posted above, but still period correct, especially for Marines who often use old gear. Plus, on a backpack rig, I can hang a 77 on my Mule, looks cool with the long antenna.

Also as I sit here musing.....one thing that keeps entering my brain housing group is that in the "green machine", much of the gear we had was "specific" to a certain job, while a lot of other stuff was used for any and every job you (or maybe a Gunny) could think of. I never remembered thinking that we had too much of anything good, especially not too many vehicles. A big truck not only carried troops, but it also carried ammo., it also was a prime mover for a howitzer, it also made a chow run sometimes, also carried trash and maybe wounded and pulled a variety of trailers. So making something "too dedicated" to a single purpose would limit its overall usefulness for other things it could be used for. (I'm not trying to preach to the choir, just thinking out loud).

Anyway........great truck, great project, looking forward to hearing and seeing what you decide.

Semper Fi !
As always, Sgt Major, you make some very good points. I guess that's why you're a Sgt Major and not an officer...:unsure: Anyways, what you suggested about the hood and bumper numbers is exactly what I planned to do. And of course, your musing is on point and exactly what I was thinking about today while pretending to earn my paycheck. It's good to be the boss sometimes.

I'm not sure I want to turn my truck into a dedicated gun truck. I do want to add guns (who wouldn't), and continue to "spread the word", but you've pointed out that there were many more variations of "gun trucks" than I realized. My original idea was two pedestal mounted .50's toward the forward corners of the bed with armor around the forward corners only. The armor would be outside the bed but secured with posts using the stake pockets. That way I could convert the bed over for troop carrying, or put the bows and cover on for cargo. And occasionally I do haul garbage with it. The employees at the dump love seeing me coming... Maybe I'll expand that vision a little, but keep it as versatile as possible?

Lots to think about and lots more to learn before I make a decision. Adding guns is a given, and at least some armor will be added. A radio is now on the list as well (because everyone likes gadgets with lots of buttons and knobs to play with). The truck will stay USMC green, of course.
 

SgtMajHarper

Well-known member
299
578
93
Location
Falcon, CO
As always, Sgt Major, you make some very good points. I guess that's why you're a Sgt Major and not an officer...:unsure: Anyways, what you suggested about the hood and bumper numbers is exactly what I planned to do. And of course, your musing is on point and exactly what I was thinking about today while pretending to earn my paycheck. It's good to be the boss sometimes.

I'm not sure I want to turn my truck into a dedicated gun truck. I do want to add guns (who wouldn't), and continue to "spread the word", but you've pointed out that there were many more variations of "gun trucks" than I realized. My original idea was two pedestal mounted .50's toward the forward corners of the bed with armor around the forward corners only. The armor would be outside the bed but secured with posts using the stake pockets. That way I could convert the bed over for troop carrying, or put the bows and cover on for cargo. And occasionally I do haul garbage with it. The employees at the dump love seeing me coming... Maybe I'll expand that vision a little, but keep it as versatile as possible?

Lots to think about and lots more to learn before I make a decision. Adding guns is a given, and at least some armor will be added. A radio is now on the list as well (because everyone likes gadgets with lots of buttons and knobs to play with). The truck will stay USMC green, of course.
Oh yeah! It's a good thing we aren't neighbors, I'd be over with a folding chair, coffee and a cigar making a pest out of myself. I like that idea of armor up towards the front end using the stake pockets. I was thinking if you made it "modular" somehow, you could switch back and forth as desired by bolting / unbolting depending on the mission at hand.

I'll defer to your experience as to "being the boss" and "pretending to earn pay", but I gotta say....I do highly recommend the being retired gig!

Almost forgot.....while looking at USMC trucks in VN, I saw something "different". A fuel truck had bows and canvas erected over the tanker portion, it looked just like a regular supply truck.
 
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Sgt C

Well-known member
124
382
63
Location
Hudson/new Hampshire
Two common vehicle-mounted radios during Vietnam were the RT-524 and the RT-246. They are very similar in size and appearance, the -524 has dial tuned frequencies, the -246 has push buttons for pre-selected frequencies. A lot of vehicles (for instance the V100) had a second receiver, the R-442, mounted next to the receive-transmit unit.
All three are pretty easy to find now, and if you are not wanting functioning ones, even easier.

Both big radios use the same mount. If someone doesn't chime in with the designation for the mount and antennae, I'll look those up when I get home this evening.

Cheers

View attachment 887167 View attachment 887168
Oh yeah! It's a good thing we aren't neighbors, I'd be over with a folding chair, coffee and a cigar making a pest out of myself. I like that idea of armor up towards the front end using the stake pockets. I was thinking if you made it "modular" somehow, you could switch back and forth as desired by bolting / unbolting depending on the mission at hand.

I'll defer to your experience as to "being the boss" and "pretending to earn pay", but I gotta say....I do highly recommend the being retired gig!
I would love to retire! Unfortunately, my first wife cleaned me out in the divorce. I got the most important thing, though; my son. My second wife is a keeper. First thing she said when she saw the house was, "You need a garage". How could any man say no to that?!?!?

Modular may be the way to go. This is still new territory for me so I plan to bounce ideas off of you guys before implementing to make sure I'm not venturing into fictional Mad Max land.
 

SgtMajHarper

Well-known member
299
578
93
Location
Falcon, CO
I would love to retire! Unfortunately, my first wife cleaned me out in the divorce. I got the most important thing, though; my son. My second wife is a keeper. First thing she said when she saw the house was, "You need a garage". How could any man say no to that?!?!?

Modular may be the way to go. This is still new territory for me so I plan to bounce ideas off of you guys before implementing to make sure I'm not venturing into fictional Mad Max land.
Don't completely ignore Mad Maxx, a flamethrower is a great accessory item......a bazooka is also a nice touch.
 

Sgt C

Well-known member
124
382
63
Location
Hudson/new Hampshire
Two common vehicle-mounted radios during Vietnam were the RT-524 and the RT-246. They are very similar in size and appearance, the -524 has dial tuned frequencies, the -246 has push buttons for pre-selected frequencies. A lot of vehicles (for instance the V100) had a second receiver, the R-442, mounted next to the receive-transmit unit.
All three are pretty easy to find now, and if you are not wanting functioning ones, even easier.

Both big radios use the same mount. If someone doesn't chime in with the designation for the mount and antennae, I'll look those up when I get home this evening.

Cheers

View attachment 887167 View attachment 887168
Any chance you were able to look up the antenna and mount? Just as you pointed out, the radios seem to be available from multiple sources and non-working units are pretty cheap.
 

jeffhuey1n

SMSgt, USAF (Ret.)
Steel Soldiers Supporter
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jeffhuey1n

SMSgt, USAF (Ret.)
Steel Soldiers Supporter
1,831
1,319
113
Location
Laramie County, Wyoming
Finally got out to the barn. My backpack radio is a PRC 10. Looks like it may have been made in the ‘50’s. The truck mounted radio is a RT 524. The antenna mount, which is important for accuracy, is the MX-2799. The first section of antenna is AT-1096. The second section is fairly common, however mine had the part number scrapped off, presumably by some communist heathen. The mount that attaches to antenna to the truck seems to be fairly common. Wiring is only important if you may want to get everything working at some time in the future. For the intercom, also important, is the VIC-1. I’ve got a four station setup. Two gunners, NCOIC and driver. The driver is listen only. That’s how things were set up in some trucks. My power supply is routed through cables to a MX7777. I haven’t decided how to get past that point. It’ll be either don’t use the 7777 or figure out a cable from the it to the battery. That’s all for now. FYI, most all these parts are available on eBay and other sites.
 

Sgt C

Well-known member
124
382
63
Location
Hudson/new Hampshire
Finally got out to the barn. My backpack radio is a PRC 10. Looks like it may have been made in the ‘50’s. The truck mounted radio is a RT 524. The antenna mount, which is important for accuracy, is the MX-2799. The first section of antenna is AT-1096. The second section is fairly common, however mine had the part number scrapped off, presumably by some communist heathen. The mount that attaches to antenna to the truck seems to be fairly common. Wiring is only important if you may want to get everything working at some time in the future. For the intercom, also important, is the VIC-1. I’ve got a four station setup. Two gunners, NCOIC and driver. The driver is listen only. That’s how things were set up in some trucks. My power supply is routed through cables to a MX7777. I haven’t decided how to get past that point. It’ll be either don’t use the 7777 or figure out a cable from the it to the battery. That’s all for now. FYI, most all these parts are available on eBay and other sites.
I have a lot to think about. I had originally scrapped the idea of the VIC-1 or any radio because I removed the bench seat and added a second springer seat for my wife. I no longer had a place in the cab for the gear. I made a center console/strong box out of 1/8" steel to store valuables when we're not with the truck so that took up all the free space . Now that I'm going down the gun truck path, a radio is now a viable option. Working or non-working is the next decision. Thanks for the antenna info and radio info.
 

SgtMajHarper

Well-known member
299
578
93
Location
Falcon, CO
We had inter
I have a lot to think about. I had originally scrapped the idea of the VIC-1 or any radio because I removed the bench seat and added a second springer seat for my wife. I no longer had a place in the cab for the gear. I made a center console/strong box out of 1/8" steel to store valuables when we're not with the truck so that took up all the free space. Now that I'm going down the gun truck path, a radio is now a viable option. Working or non-working is the next decision. Thanks for the antenna info and radio info.
We had internal comm. on our M107 and M110 self-propelled howitzers, it usually didn't work. The section chief would usually ride on the forward hull near the driver to give him instructions. When we got M109 SP's, the comm. worked "sometimes" but the section chief rode up high on the turret with the .50 cal. I always had a handful of rocks or empty brass to send down to the driver to get his attention.

My point to all of this is that our internal comm. almost never worked, so in a gun-truck I'd visualize smacking the guy next to you, pointing and yelling to "shoot that sum-bitch over there". We used hand and arm signals all the time for comm, between vehicles on the move or even setting up when we "laid the guns".

I still lean towards a PRC-77 or 25 for a radio, it's easier to get in and out of the truck, easier to find, you can still have a tall whip antenna on it that looks cool, but it doesn't mount in a frame unless you get all that other "stuff" so it can.
 

Sgt C

Well-known member
124
382
63
Location
Hudson/new Hampshire
We had inter

We had internal comm. on our M107 and M110 self-propelled howitzers, it usually didn't work. The section chief would usually ride on the forward hull near the driver to give him instructions. When we got M109 SP's, the comm. worked "sometimes" but the section chief rode up high on the turret with the .50 cal. I always had a handful of rocks or empty brass to send down to the driver to get his attention.

My point to all of this is that our internal comm. almost never worked, so in a gun-truck I'd visualize smacking the guy next to you, pointing and yelling to "shoot that sum-bitch over there". We used hand and arm signals all the time for comm, between vehicles on the move or even setting up when we "laid the guns".

I still lean towards a PRC-77 or 25 for a radio, it's easier to get in and out of the truck, easier to find, you can still have a tall whip antenna on it that looks cool, but it doesn't mount in a frame unless you get all that other "stuff" so it can.
See, now you're saving me money! I did find a working (maybe) PRC-25 with vehicle mount. Pricey but the data plate is stamped USMC. I think I'll snag it before someone else does.

I really appreciate all the info. You're giving me first hand knowledge that is invaluable to setting my truck up accurately.
 

Sgt C

Well-known member
124
382
63
Location
Hudson/new Hampshire
UPDATE: Radio (PRC-25/AM2060 in a MT1029 mount, AS-1729 antenna, VIC-1 acquired. Two .50 cal replicas on order for a total of 3 on the truck. Pedestal mounts have been fabricated and are ready for primer once the weather gets back into the 40's. I have two M23 cradles all ready to go as well. The two .50's will be mounted so that the driver's side will be a little to the rear of the gun box mid-point. The passenger side will be forward of the mid-point.

My plan for "armor" will be a double armor setup consisting of 4ft tall sections for the outer, and 40" tall for the inner. That way I may put a few old NDCC's in between along with other accessories. There will be a back wall of armor but far enough forward to allow additional tire storage. A removeable panel in middle of the rear wall will provide access to the gun box. Armor will be 2 layers of 1/16" steel sandwiching 1/2" plywood. Radio will be mounted in the forward driver's side area. Antenna will be on the driver's side as well. I will not line the bed with ammo cans only because that's pricey and I plan on letting lots of folks on board. I want a good walking surface. No door or windshield armor for now. I still need to figure out how to make it removeable/retractable enough to keep the truck street legal.

My thought is to make this sort of a rolling museum piece when I take it to car shows. I will have placards, signs, etc. around to educate people on the gun trucks in general. I'll have plenty of pics of actual gun trucks too. I will advertise my truck as a "fictional" truck but kitted with what was typically found, or could be found on the trucks.

Two questions...
1. Anyone see any issues with this plan so far?
2. Did Marines name their War Wagons? A few people have already asked what I'm naming the truck. So far I've told them that Marines didn't paint their trucks the way the soldiers did theirs.
 

jeffhuey1n

SMSgt, USAF (Ret.)
Steel Soldiers Supporter
1,831
1,319
113
Location
Laramie County, Wyoming
S
UPDATE: Radio (PRC-25/AM2060 in a MT1029 mount, AS-1729 antenna, VIC-1 acquired. Two .50 cal replicas on order for a total of 3 on the truck. Pedestal mounts have been fabricated and are ready for primer once the weather gets back into the 40's. I have two M23 cradles all ready to go as well. The two .50's will be mounted so that the driver's side will be a little to the rear of the gun box mid-point. The passenger side will be forward of the mid-point.

My plan for "armor" will be a double armor setup consisting of 4ft tall sections for the outer, and 40" tall for the inner. That way I may put a few old NDCC's in between along with other accessories. There will be a back wall of armor but far enough forward to allow additional tire storage. A removeable panel in middle of the rear wall will provide access to the gun box. Armor will be 2 layers of 1/16" steel sandwiching 1/2" plywood. Radio will be mounted in the forward driver's side area. Antenna will be on the driver's side as well. I will not line the bed with ammo cans only because that's pricey and I plan on letting lots of folks on board. I want a good walking surface. No door or windshield armor for now. I still need to figure out how to make it removeable/retractable enough to keep the truck street legal.

My thought is to make this sort of a rolling museum piece when I take it to car shows. I will have placards, signs, etc. around to educate people on the gun trucks in general. I'll have plenty of pics of actual gun trucks too. I will advertise my truck as a "fictional" truck but kitted with what was typically found, or could be found on the trucks.

Two questions...
1. Anyone see any issues with this plan so far?
2. Did Marines name their War Wagons? A few people have already asked what I'm naming the truck. So far I've told them that Marines didn't paint their trucks the way the soldiers did theirs.
Sounds like a good plan. One thing that I did was cover the floor with Ammo cans. I got an outstanding deal on .50 cans from the local surplus store (no longer in business 😭). They were all “seconds” and they let me root through the stacks. 144 cans cover the whole floor. I’ve had them pretty much from the start and so far, never had any problems with visitors.

For the general discussion, there’s two types of trucks that I’m familiar with and have studied to help with my truck. Tribute and replica IIRC. Tribute is an exact duplicate of a former truck (Brutus, Untouchable, Psychotic Reaction and others. The replica allows more individuality. Mine’s a little of both. The truck pays tribute to a specific truck assigned to a specific organization. However, I’ve upgraded to reflect how it would have been improved over the course of the war.

Did the individual Marine name their trucks? I haven’t seen any pictorial evidence. My gut feeling is yes, they named them. During my career, I crewed several different helicopters, both Marine and Air Force. Every one of them were named in some way. If there was an individual that was assigned to one specific truck, I’d bet it got named. Artwork, probably not. Every Marine commander I worked for wouldn’t allow it during the time I was in.

I haven’t taken my truck to any shows, just parades and the local base’s open house. I’m interested in showing it at car shows. Just not real sure how to get connected with the local car show folks.

Last thought, you’ve got a great plan by the sound of it. Please take lots of pictures!
 

Sgt C

Well-known member
124
382
63
Location
Hudson/new Hampshire
Don't worry. There will be lots of pictures once I start the build. I appreciate the input. As for car shows... I usually keep my eyes out on Facebook for area events and then contact the organizers to make sure they're ok with us bringing the truck. Do a search for car shows in your area. Schedules are usually posted for an entire year. Usually it's a " hell yeah!" Once invited to one, usually you meet people who invite you to others. I enjoy the car shows more than parades because we get to meet people. We've never had a negative comment. Always smiles and thank you's. The attached picture is from a huge car show that pretty much shuts down Manchester NH for a day. Over 1000 cars on display. My wife and I never left the truck. We had a constant line of people wanting to climb up. 8 solid hours. Exhausting but fun.
 

Attachments

M813rc

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
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Near Austin, Texas
No door or windshield armor for now. I still need to figure out how to make it removeable/retractable enough to keep the truck street legal.
How about hinging it, like the windshield armour on this one? Then you could just fold it down when on the road to/from events.
You could hinge the door armour level with the bottom of the stock window sills.
Maybe use some hood spring-hook thingys to hold them down while driving, look nice and military.

Cheers

PS - this picture is of a gun truck a member on here built many years ago, but I don't remember who, or I'd give credit to them.

M35 Gun Truck 4 - Copy.jpg
 
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Sgt C

Well-known member
124
382
63
Location
Hudson/new Hampshire
How about hinging it, like the windshield armour on this one? Then you could just fold it down when on the road to/from events.
You could hinge the door armour level with the bottom of the stock window sills.
Maybe use some hood spring-hook thingys to hold them down while driving, look nice and military.

Cheers

PS - this picture is of a gun truck a member on here built many years ago, but I don't remember who, or I'd give credit to them.

View attachment 890211
Thank you for the ideas. I like the two piece windshield armor. I have some other ideas for the door armor, but hinging it like you suggest is worth considering. I think, though, that for this year, I'll skip the cab armor and concentrate on getting the gun box set up properly. Trying to do everything is hard on the wallet.
 
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