30.11.2022 The BEML Tatra family of military trucks, mostly 8WD models are used for a variety of roles, such as the Pinaka MRL, Akash, B05, QRSAM MVL and Shaurya among others. This article is about the Prithvi ballistic missile TEL.
FIAT SPA TL.37 (1938)
15.11.2022 The TL.37 was an Italian artillery tractor manufactured by Società Piemontese Automobili (SPA), a subsidiary of Fiat. They were praised (even by the Aussies that captured them!) for their good off-road performances due to a torky Fiat engine and very large wheels, customary of Italian artillery tractors since WW1. The SPA TL 37 soldiered in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia and Russia, many captured by Germany after September 1943. It was used by the Italian Army until 1948 with a total production averaging 3,500 vehicles, conversions included, which were many.
GAZ AAA (1934)
02.11.2022 The GAZ AAA was a 6x4 derivative of the "polutorkha", the famous GAZ AA derived from the Ford AA in 1929. Only produced to 37,000 vehicles, it was however declined into more specialized vehicles and production went on until 1943. It also gave birth to the SU-12 SPG, BA-6, BA-10 armored cars and BA-20 APC among others.
Bedford MK (1959)
18.10.2022 The Bedford MK was the military 4x4 austere variant of the civilian Bedford TK, replacement for the previous Bedford S. It was to be replaced by the Bedford TL in 1981, but production went on until 1992 (military 4x4 Bedford MK and later MJ) after the Dunstable factory was sold in 1987. It was the rival of the Ford D series trucks.
Praga V3S (1952)
06.10.2022 The Praga V3S was an amazing Czechoslovakian truck, planned to be the replacement for several models, ranging from captured ones to Soviet and US trucks. It was thought to make a fusion of these and find the best mass production setup. Altough a bit underpowered, the Praga V3S was produced for the entire diration of the cold war and many still runs today in various roles, although discarded from the Czech army. This post is a complement to the M53/59 SPAAG based on its chassis, and covers also the Vz 51 rocket launcher.
Diamond T (1940)
23.09.2022 The Diamond T was a well known truck model of the company produced under that name since pre-WWI. Based on the 1935 model, a wartime 6x6 truck called Model 969 became the new standard US Cargo truck of the US Army. It was declined into the T 970, T 968 Wrecker, 972 Dump Truck and the Canadian T 975. Another 6x4 became the M20, tractor part of the standard allied truck transporter M19 during WW2. The 6x6 was produced to an extent of 30,000 vehicles until 1945.
Wanshan WS 2500/DF 17 TEL (2000)
03.09.2022 The Wanshan WS 2500 was a Chinese PLA 20-ton 10x8/10x10 heavy truck, principal mobility platforms as a TEL for medium-range ballistic missiles and other conventional missile. Usable as a general purpose heavy duty truck derived from the 8x8 WS2400 built by Wanshan Special Vehicle it is also declined into the WS2600 to carry the DF 16 missile, and the smaller 6x6 WS 2300 used a mobile command center. But the medias are more accustomed to the WS 2500 as it was specially tailored to carry the Chinese hypersonic DF 17.
5P85 TEL (S-300 SAM, SA-10 Grumble) (1978)
10.08.2022 The 5P85 missile system is the mobile truck variant of the S-300 missile system family, declined into multiple variants, the 5P85-1, 5P85D and S, DU and TE1 among others. The first was based on the MAZ-543 and the next on the modernized MAZ-7910 TEL 8x8 truck. With more than 3,000 missiles systems built, most being of the TEL variant, it was also widely used from the 1980s and exported to 19 operators, most still in their inventory, including 350 in Russia alone.
Kfz.15 Horch 901 (1934)
13.07.2022 The KFz. 15 was an off-road staff and utility car of the Wehrmacht produced from 1936 to 1944 by various manufacturers insde Auto-Union (better known as the Horch 901). Simplfied in 1940 as the typ 40, its production was discontinued from 1943. It was very popular, roomy and powerful, but costly compared to the VW Wolksvagen. The 20,000 delivered served on all fronts ablend it was organic to almost all Wehrmacht units.
Rába 38M Botond (1938)
23.06.2022 The Rába 38M Botond was WW2 main military truck of the Royal Hungarian Army from 1939 to 1948. It was designed by Rába Magyar Vagon, in Győr, to fill an army request for a 1.5 ton lorry with superior off-road caracteristics, but also simple and cheap for large production. The 1937 prototype designed by Dezső Winkler was adopted as a 6x4 vehicle, capable of carrying 14 troops, 2 tons of supply and a trailer or various artillery pieces; It had an unditching roller and was produced in the A and B variants to around 2500 vehicles by several Hungarian manufacturers, seeing heavy action on the eastern front until 1944.
Dodge T110 (1940)
04.06.2022 The Dodge T110, also called Dodge Dodge G60L 3-ton 4x2 CMP, was a civilian truck derived into a military model, of which very large quantities (more than 180,000) were built and standardized, in the US but also Canada as the D60. Rhey were used on all fronts, starting with North Africa in 1941 as well as the Soviet Army under lend-lease until 1945. It was called at the beginning the "streamined wonder" and led to many derived models like the Air Portable T-236 and the T-234 "China/Burma" truck at the end of the war, or the short wheelbase D15 also built in Canada. One interesting armored car derived was the French Tanaké.
Bianchi Miles (1938)
11.05.2022 The Bianchi Miles was a medium pure military truck built in very large quantity as the sole Milanese company model from 1939 to 1943. It derived from the 1935 Bianchi Mediolanum, and had a differently shaped cab. A turdy and popular model, it was largely used in Tunisia, Italy, and Russia, since it used a battery-driven starter. 10,000 were produced until production was taken over by Germany until late 1944. The Bianchi Civis was its peacetime, postwar variant produced in to the late 1950s.
Steyr-Puch Pinzgauer (1969)
27.04.2022 One of the 4x4 milestone trucks of post-war Europe was found in Austria. Designed much later than the German Mercedes Unimog, this vehicle proceeded of a different path: Not simple a rugged off-road light utility truck mostly intended for agricultural work, but a replacement for the already existing Haflinger 700 AP 4×4 vehicle, from Steyr-Daimler-Puch in Graz. The name was of an Austrian breed of cattle (Austrian cow). It was produced to an extent of 18,350 until 2007, passed on BAE Systems Land & Armaments under licence in 2000, but production ceased in 2009.
Polaris Dagor (2014)
08.04.2022 The light tactical utility vehicle was developed by Polaris in 2012-2014 to answer the Joint Light Tactical vehicle Program of the USMC/US army. It was adopted for SOCOM and international SOF teams (Allied spec ops teams). Its basic 4x4, high speed, COTS maintenance/reliability, 48 points armament ring-mount, and helicopter-compatible tactical mobility is compounded by a nine passenger capability and modularity.
25.03.2022 The Taian HTF5680 is a basic 12x12 multipurpose truck mostly designed to carry a variety of payloads, and is powered by a 500 hp licence-built Deutz diesel engine. The HFT5680A1 was a variant with a modified cab, tailored to carry larger missiles with the tip protruding through the cab, which in that case is the notorious DF-26 "carrier-killer" ballistic missile.
09.03.2022 The Sd.Kfz. 11 Leichtes Zugkraftwagen 3 ton was a German half-track in heavy use during World War II. Second "light" prime mover of the Wehrmacht, towing light to medium guns and howitzers or FLAK ordnance, Nebelwerfer Rockets, or troops and supplies with a trailer. The base model H kl 6 was built by Hanomag, and declined into five specialized versions plus the derived Sd.Kfz.250 and a 2cm FLAK armored carrier. With 9,000 delivered until 1945, it saw action with many units on all battlefields in WW2, especially the eastern front.
Peugeot P4 (1981)
The Peugeot P4 was for four decades (and still is), the main French Army off-road scout and staff car. Today available as an SUV on the civilian market as it was replaced from 2016 by the Technamm Masstech T4 VLTP as an interim before 3700 Ford Everest/Ranger (Aussie built, customized by Arquus Defence). The P4 was declined into multiple versions -included armored ones- was also exported, saw and will see plenty of action still in the future as modified as a special force vehicle by Panhard.
GMC 506 series (1940)
The GMC 506 series were the Chevrolet's (major)contribution to the standard US 1-1/2 ton 4x4 Light Truck, and became one of the most common lorries used by the allies in WW2. It was produced to an extent of 154,204 vehicles from 1940 to 1945 (by Pontiac West Assembly, Yellow Coach/GM Truck and Coach) and served long after the war as standard cargo, or through multitude of specialized bodies.
Unimog 404 (1955)
The Unimog 404 was one stunning successes of post-war Germany for 4x4 vehicles. From the 1950 401 prototype defined as an agricultural tractor and utility off-road truck, the 404 was developed in 1955 as a more versatile vehicle, soon built for the French Army from 1956, then adopted by the Bundeswehr and other militaries in Europe, as well as massively exported, notably to South Africa. With more than 65,000 produced it was used in countless civil wars and conflicts in Africa and it's story its not over yet.
MAZ 543 (1965)
The MAZ 543 was one of the two more common Soviet era missile TEL (Transporter Launcher Erector), massive export success mirorring the Scud missile itself, and wide wartime use. But as a vehicle, it started as a dump truck and is still used that way. This post will cover only for Part I, the SCUD missile TEL. Other versions are coming.
Albion CX22 (1941)
30.09.2021 The Albion CX22 was a British WW2 heavy truck, used for towing Britush heavy artillery, like the appeared in late 1943 to supplement the Scammell Pioneer heavy artillery tractor which production was too slow. In service, the CX22S provided the British Army prime mover for the US-lend lease 155mm Long Tom and British BL 7.2-inch howitzer. Albion would deliver 532 CX22S artillery tractors, starting in November 1943 and until June 1945 and they stayed in service in the 1950s as well.
23.09.2021 The light truck ZIS-6 was the 6x4 version of the ZIS-5 of WW2 fame. These 21,000 vehicles had the advantage of better off-road performances and to carry heavier loads. It became a base for two armored cars, at least six specialized vehicles and three Katyusha platorms and most popular platform for the infamous "Stalin's organs".
The Sd.Kfz.10 was the smallest German half-track prime mover of WW2 (apart the kettenkrad), the Sd.Kfz.10 revealed itself the most affordable and suitable for mass production, and also able to carry most light to medium weaponry. During the war it proved also capable to carry these weapons directly on its flatbed, creating a very efficient self-propelled fast-firing dual purpose artillery. The chassis was such as success that Demag's vehicle was also reused for the production of the fully armored Sd.Kfz 250 and 251, standard APCs of the Panzergrenadiers and specialists on the frontline. The vehicle was produced until the end of the war and was seen on all fronts.
Willys CJ series (1944-86)
The Willys CJ series (Willys Auverland and then Kaiser Willys, AMC-Willys, etc.) started as "tamed" version of the military "stock" Willys GP of WW2 fame, the acronym standing for "Civilian Jeep". From the experimental J-1 and 2 to the mass-produced CJ-3 to CJ-10, the serie evolved into multiple iterations, each time adapted to, or inspired from, a military one, like the M38 & M38A1, M606, M170, but in some cases used by many armies in stock condition, remilitarized and under licence from Turkey to Japan, Switzerland to Sweden, Brazil, India or South Africa.
Laffly V15T/V15R (1938)
The Laffly V15T was a common off-road 4x4 light tractor for the 25 mm Hotchkiss antitank gun as VT15T, and VT15R reconnaissance vehicle of the French Army in 1940. Closely related to the W15 family caracterised by its front rollers and towing capabilities, it could reach 58 kph of around 200 were produced by Laffly and Corre La Licorne before the fall of France. Many were also reused by the Germans in WW2.
Dodge WC 62/63 (1943)
The Dodge 62 was the stretched-out version of the ubiquitous WC-51/52/55 weapons and troop carrier. The change was requested when US Army doctrine changed in 1942, now asking for twelve men platoon instead of eight. Dodge was asked to add an extra axle aft, and added 1,20 m of chassis to carry out the transformation. About 40,000 of these WC-62 and 63 (the winch-equipped version) rolled out of Dodge plant in Detroit until the end of the war, with around 6,000 also delivered by lend-lease to the French and British.
18.08.2021 Bedford RL (1953)
The Bedford RL was designed to replace in the 1950s the venerable QL series of WW2 fame. The task was done with a larger and sturdier medium truck which became the bedrock of the british army during the cold war, with a production of no less than 73,000 vehicles, many of which were exported or licence-built in Australia and New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore, South Africa and Pakistan and withing NATO Belgium, Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands. Many were still in use in the mid to late 1990s around the world.
13.08.2021 Toyota 4x4 Su-Ki (1943)
The Toyota Type 2 Su-Ki was an attempt by the Imperial Japanese Army to replicate the allied General Motors DUKW, standard amphibian truck during WW2. It was smaller as a two-tonner, based on the Toyota 4x4 truck To-Ki with a steel "boat shaped" hull and 2-wheel/4-wheel drive. However production was nothing close the allied vehicle, with a mere 198 delivered from November 1943, sent into the Pacific islands, before production stopped by August 1944, and later from there, the "Toyota LVT" emerged, too late.
06.08.2021: GAZ/UAZ 69 (1953)
The "Kozlik", GAZ-69 was the main cold war utility military car of the Soviet Army, it's much beloved "Jeep" for two decades. Derived from WW2 models, and the postwar 1949 GAZ-67B, it was influenced by the lend-lease Jeep and took the same concept forward in terms of off-road handling caracteristics.
The GAZ-69 became the most common Warsaw Pact light 4x4 softskin vehicle to that point, produced from 1949 to 1972 for a staggering total of 600,000, inundating the export market and seeing action aplenty throughout the world. Although replaced by the UAZ 469 in the 1970s, this story is not over yet, as many are still in use in many countries, and it makes the delight of private owners and collectioners.
21.07.2021 Ford BB (1929)
The Ford BB was one of the world's main production truck of the interwar. Using the same mass-production techniques he pioneered, Henry Ford procured the United States, Europe and the rest of the world with the truck equivalent of the Ford T: A simple, rugged, dependable utility truck, that became an integral part of the civilian life in the US. Having no 4x4 capabilities as designed, the vehicle was not adopted by the US Army. However soon he was adopted in many countries and also found its way in the military. The Ford BB was also the main inspiration for the GAZ AA, the legendary soviet "polutorka", and continued to soldier on in south america or asia well into the late 1950s. It was built in France (Matford), Germany (Modell 1932) and Sweden as well.
12.07.2021 Opel Blitz (1937)
The Opel Blitz was the most famous product from the Opel Company, which logo was basically the "blitz". The military truck proper, called Kfz.305 was adopted in 1937 in several types and sub-types and became the standard, largest production of any Military truck in Germany (130,000 since 1934, 82,000 for the all-wheel drive Model 1937). Production ran also during wartime, in several facilities, notably the Blitz 2.5. produced in Rüsselsheim. Albert Speer reorganized the production around this model in 1943, while allied bombing severely disrupted it, notably swapping the Mercedes L3000 for the Blitz at Mannheim plant. The Opel Blitz really fought with the wehrmacht on all fronts until 1945 and was declined into a multitude of variants, including the famous half-track Sd.Kfz.2 Maultier.
Wanshan WS-2600 (2006)
The Wanshan WS-2600 has been dubbed by western analysts as China's "carrier-killer", a TEL carrying the high precision SLBM DF-21D. It is one of the Wanshan heavy trucks family developed in the 1970s from Soviet models like the MAZ-543.
IFA G5 (1959)
The IFA G5 was an East-German truck from IFA (Industrieverband Fahrzeugbau), a conglomerate created in 1948 from Vomag and other east german manufacturers under Soviet supervison. This large company delivered any kind of vehicles, including army trucks, until the reunification of East Germany. The G5 was not the most successful of the medium trucks delivered. It was adopted in marginal quantities by the NVA (East German Army) as dump truck, airfield cleaner truck by the air force, the Alert police and People's Police (Volkspolizei or "vopo"). Its most iconic version remained the Wasserwerfer SK5 deployed during the events of the Berlin crisis of 1961.
GAZ AA (1931)
The GAZ AA, nicknamed the "Polutorka" was the most common truck in service in the Red army when the war started with about 155,000 for one million produced, used by the civilian services of USSR. It was a licence-production version of the famous Ford AA, and in 1938 was declined into the simplified GAZ MM and 6x6 GAZ AAA. They were also the base for numerous utility vehicles and gained fame during the siege of Leningrad.
AEC Matador (1938)
AEC was a British specialist of trucks and buses before the war. In 1938, it introduced a 10 tons 4x4 medium truck answering an army specification for towing the three common howitzers of the British army, the 4-in, 4.5 in and 6 in. Nearly 10,000 were manufactured until the end of the war and its sturdy chassis was declined into three armored vehicle, the AEC Armored Car, heaviest in service in the British army, the Mark I gun carrier and the AEC Dorchester armoured command car. A truly legendary British truck of WW2.
Laffly W15T, 6x6 (1939)
The Laffly W15T is one of the most interesting light vehicles of the French Army in 1940. It was a 6x6 designed by Laffly with additional rollers for dealing with rough terrain, built by Hotchkiss in 1939-40. About 500 were ordered by only a fraction were delivered before France fell. It was designed for towing the standard 47 mm APX 37 French antitank gun, as well as lighter AT and AA guns or mortars. A significant numbers fell into German hands and some were later fully armored to meet the demands of Schnelle brigade West in 1943-44.
Dodge WC-series Part II
The Dodge G-502, WC series, Part II: WC 56-64. With 255,000 delivered to US Forces and via lend-lease, This was a tremendously important vehicle during WW2 for the US Army and the allies, second after the legendary Jeep.
Dodge WC-series Part I
The Dodge G-502, WC series, Part I: WC 50-55. Best known for the weapons carrier WC-51/52 which formed the bulk of the production, nicknamed the "beep", the Dodge G-502 fought all on all fronts until 1945, Korea, and many years after in several cold war armies. It was a dependable beast of burden also declined into ambulance, radio and reconnaissance vehicles and even a tank hunter, the M6.
The Sd.Kfz.8 ("Sonderkraftfahrzeug 8") was the first heavy utilitarian half-track in service with the Wehrmacht. Powered by a large Maybach engine, it derived from a serie of prototypes by Daimler Benz in 1931, until Wa Prüf 6 ordered to combine the features of its DB.7 with the ZD.5. The resulting DB.8 was adopted in 1937, followed by the DB.9 in 1938, the main production version, and the wartime DB.10. In all, about 4,000 of these vehicles were used for towing the heaviest artillery pieces in the German arsenal until 1945. Two were modified for frontline offensive roles, the armored tank hunter "bunkerflak" and the DB.10 gepanzert for towing a 88 mm gun.
The Lancia 3Ro, or Autocarro Pesante Unificato Lancia 3Ro was an attempt to equip the Italian Army with a single, universal heavy truck to take on any purposes, including carrying tanks. It became by its mass production indeed the standard heavy truck of the Regio Esercito and took on other roles as self propelled guns as well or command vehicles. Production was also continued by the Germans after September 1943, and the vehicle was still used by the Italian Army until 1963.
The ZiS-5 was the second most common Soviet Truck of WW2, after the GAZ-AA family. This 4x4 lorry was built to around 500,000 in various plants, and declined into a multitude of variants. It emerged in 1934 and production stopped in 1948, while it never was really replaced before or during WW2. From late 1941, industrial priorities urged its mass production and in partular the simplifed model V, whereas parallel developments were terminated. Some variants like the 6x4 ZiS-6 never really enjoyed the same success. Many were also captured and served in the German Army and axis allies on the eastern front.
GMC CCKW 353
The GMC (General Motors Corp.) CCKW was the most produced truck of WW2 with some 572,000 vehicles and the second most prolific after the Ford GP (The Jeep). It was declined in many types, including the amphibious DUKW, but the most common version by far was the GMC 353. Reliable and dependable beast of burden known also as the 2-1/2 ton 6x6 truck was the classic offroad-capable multi-use medium truck of WW2, the cornerstone of the red ball express which supplied allied armies from Normandy to Bavaria, and was still active in the US national guard in the 1980s.
Land Rover (1946)
The Land Rover is one of the most iconic British vehicle of the post-war period, created at first to save Rover from banckrupcy in very difficult context, and met such a success it became its own brand in time. The military was quick to be interested in this rugged 4x4 vehicle able to carry seven men in a short space. The vehicle and all its series and variants were widely exported through a production spanning from 1948 to the 1980s, before the Defender took over. It was also produced in Australia, Belgium (Minerva), Spain (Santana) and declined into the armoured Shorland, also widely exported as a security vehicle.
Ford Marmon-Herrington HT
The Ford Marmon Herrington half track was an artillery towing vehicle developed by Ford and Marmon Herrington for the Canadian army buit was also tested and use din the USA as the T9. It is one of the forerunners of the M3 Half Track Car of WW2 fame.
The URAL 4320 6x6 Truck was one of the main Soviet cold war modern off-road tactical utility truck. Around 10,000 were built from 1976. It was declined into many versions, including the BM-21 rocket launcher vehicle.
Isuzu Type 94 Truck
The Isuzu Type 94 military truck initially developed in 1933 as part of the IJA program to sponsor independent motor companies and provide the army with a reliable truck platform. Isuzu showed its design, a prototype was tested and eventually accepted in 1934. The sturdy 6x6 truck was widely produced and used on many fronts from 1937 to 1945.