War Wagon

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jeffhuey1n

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I've finally got the truck resembling War Wagon up and running. Not sure how to gather all the various threads, ie Vietnam tribute truck, etc. My War Wagon is the 1970 M35A2 W/W. 2 gun positions (for now, more planned), radio, intercom, and the rest of the stuff is being added as I get time, weather. It's external armor layer is currently plywood and once I've saved up my pennies, steel plates are planned. The inner layer is PSP. The floor is covered with 144 .50 ammo cans, I got a real good deal from the local surplus store. I have the sand bags standing by. The plan is to fill the with mulch, 'cause sand is too heavy.
 

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jeffhuey1n

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It's sitting out front waiting for me to get to it. I've got to finish up with the M35's, cleaning them up and getting them in the barn. Last couple of weeks I've been to a car show for Toys for Tots, the base open house and 4 parades. Hope to get into the shop by next week so I can get started.
 

jeffhuey1n

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I got to meet a Vietnam Vet who was involved in convoy protection. He was a crew member on a M-113 APC. Between the APC's and the gun trucks, they protected the convoys. The 555th Transportation Company was whom he referred as the unit that provided the Gun Trucks. He gave me some pointers on the layout of the box. He recommended moving the guns to the forward right corner and rear left corner. Also, he suggested getting some light sheet metal to cover the wood currently in place. The final recommendation is to tape (training) claymore mines to the outside on the bed. Anybody got some inexpensive training/simulated claymores for sale or trade?
 

jeffhuey1n

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Found a source for my armor, a lot less than I figured. Not near as pricey as I thought. 1/16 in thick in 4 foot by 3 foot is what was originally used. Will post pics when I get it delivered.
 

sigo

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I haven't seen any photos of GTs with claymores strapped to the outside. Seems to me that blast would knock out the truck it was strapped to. Any Vietvets here witness that method in action?

If you've never seen a live claymore detonation, it's substantial to say the least. Yes it's directional, but it makes a HE!! of a boom and takes out stuff behind the mine. I would not want to only have a thin sheet of armor between me and that mine.
 

jeffhuey1n

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According to the Vet, the armor of the GT was welded to the outside of the bed. It was the armor kit or something similar. He spoke of mounting the mines to the outside oh the M-113 with duck tape. He also stated it was applied to the GT armor in the same way. I don't know what the details were on the armor used but if it was the kit, I'll need to double check to be sure, it was 1/2 inch armor steel. The time frame was '66-'68. I never had the opportunity to fire a claymore, we didn't use them on our helicopters.
 

jasonjc

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Found a source for my armor, a lot less than I figured. Not near as pricey as I thought. 1/16 in thick in 4 foot by 3 foot is what was originally used. Will post pics when I get it delivered.

1/16" seems thin to me.

But your truck does look good thought.
 

jeffhuey1n

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The metal will be backed up by the current plywood sheets. Once the metal is in place, I'll put the wood back to its original position. Then I'll install the PSP as the second layer of armor. 1/16 is thin but I don't need the real stuff to tell the GT story. Instead of using sandbags with real sand, I'll go down to the yard waste recycler and get a load of compost. Much lighter and easier to fill the bags with. I'll also place a couple spare tires, ammo cans, cots, litters and any other equipment and/or supplies they carried.
 

jeffhuey1n

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The armor kit in Vietnam was 3/8 ths thick that were 3x4' panels. I have had the kit replicated but in 5/16"
I looked at doing the same thing. I don't have access to a laser cutter, unfortunately. Some of the later armor was welded together without the rifle ports or bolt holes. I have a welder that can handle the 1/16 thickness. After looking at all the sources, both on and off line, I think I can create an accurate replica. It won't match War Wagon (M35A1) to a "T". maybe it'll become War Wagon II. That happened when one truck was lost, destroyed, whatever. The name was reused, a roman number II meant it had its own identity.
i have my steel plates and when I get a few more honey dues done, I'll get to go to work on it.
 

vtdeucedriver

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I looked at doing the same thing. I don't have access to a laser cutter, unfortunately. Some of the later armor was welded together without the rifle ports or bolt holes. I have a welder that can handle the 1/16 thickness. After looking at all the sources, both on and off line, I think I can create an accurate replica. It won't match War Wagon (M35A1) to a "T". maybe it'll become War Wagon II. That happened when one truck was lost, destroyed, whatever. The name was reused, a roman number II meant it had its own identity.
i have my steel plates and when I get a few more honey dues done, I'll get to go to work on it.
I did not have access either but I found a company that does it and hired them to make the kit. The armor kit in VN was actually hardened armor plate. This was the panels that had the gun ports and they were not bolted together either but stitch welded. Some boxes held up better than others just because of design. If you do enough research, you can see changes where reinforcements were added because of constant cracking. The Boxes that used "Plate Steel" were exactly that of steel quality. This is why usually in the double wall armor designed boxes, the Plate kit was on the outside. Send me a IM, I can put you intouch with a couple of the crew.
 

jeffhuey1n

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War Wagon Update

It's been a while since I posted anything on War Wagon, figured it was quiet enough I can jot down some things. The steel plate is working really good. It wouldn't work with out plywood backing though. Three sides (drivers, pax and front) are installed. I've also used 2x12 timbers at the top of each side (see Timothy J. Kutta's "Gun Trucks" book, page 56, Eve of Destruction) both for something less painful to lean on and to provide added strength and rigidity. I can't imagine what it would be like using heavier steel... Yes I can and I wouldn't be able to do this on my own. I've got 90% of my radio build ready for install. Just have to beef up the panel so the radio mount doesn't break loose. I'm repositioning both gun mounts. They'll be placed outboard on the front of the bed. I plan on having them sit about 2-3 feet back and inboard about 2 feet or so. Here's some pics:
note: I corrected my reference. It wasn't Lyles book it was a Squadron/Signal Publication. There are some good pics in it that weren't in James Lyles' books.
 

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Nice build and tribute!. I live just south of Laramie Wyoming by about 20 miles. Not sure where in Laramie County you live but would like to see your truck when your done. Maybe next parade or event you go to.
 
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