Mil News Versatile truck takes on role of tank in Iraq



Versatile truck takes on role of tank in Iraq

Not since the Army replaced horseshoes with tires has a vehicle proven to be as versatile, reliable and multitasked as the humble Humvee.

Though it was never designed to be a front-line vehicle, the Humvee has found itself increasingly in the crossfire in Iraq because it's speedy -- 65 mph on a straightaway is well within the reach of the 2 1/2-ton ultimate muscle machine -- and easily adapted to patrol and convoy security duties.

Since the fall of Baghdad in 2003, Humvees have been the primary defender of the convoys supplying coalition forces in Iraq, both a high-profile and risky role for the vehicles.

Combat units including infantry or artillery routinely ran armored Humvees. But transportation companies -- such as the Charlotte-based 812th Transportation Battalion, which administers the movement of the supply lines from a base on the Kuwait-Iraq border -- were assigned Humvees with canvas sides because their use was expected to be largely administrative.

As those unprotected vehicles swung into the role of guarding convoys roaring across Iraq, they became priority targets for insurgents' bullets and bombs.

Turrets were cut into the Humvee roofs so machine gunners could poke out and provide better defensive coverage against attackers. After improvised roadside bombs began to take a toll on the escorts and the soldiers, sandbags were added to the floorboards of the vehicles to cushion blasts.

Creature comforts are sparse in the Humvee, which locomotes like a skateboard on gravel. Spc. Andrew Burquest of Charlotte, an Army reservist on duty with the 812th, took the machine gun turret for his first convoy escort in March, standing for most of the 340-mile mission, bugs pelting his face mask at 60 mph.

"There's a slight breeze," Burquest reported with a touch of sarcasm from his perch as the convoy took a pit stop. "Still, it's better than sitting in the cramped jump seat."

As attacks on convoys -- and consequently on the Humvees -- increased this spring, field commanders intensified requests for conversion kits to add steel side doors to protect soldiers on escort duty.

In March, a broad program was ordered to replace canvas sides with steel doors in the transportation units and the conversions began at once.

The Humvee joined the military in 1985, replacing the quarter-ton Jeep as the workhorse transport and established itself as a mobile jack-of-all-trades. Humvees were soon adapted as ambulances, missile carriers, scout vehicles and troop carriers.

At Camp Carolina Crossroads, where the 812th is based, Humvees even serve as fire trucks. Luxury models have entered the civilian market at price tags reaching upwards of $100,000.

Hail the Humvee

At 7 feet wide and 15 feet long, the military's diesel-powered, V-8 Humvees have a three-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive and disc brakes. They have a range of about 350 miles on a tank of fuel. They are technically known as HMMWVs (High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles), but the affectionate Humvee title has stuck.

Welcome to our site serurier. :mrgreen:

Yes the Humvee is truly a remarkable vehicle and I liken its uses and versatility to the British Armies Landrover. Since the british took on the rover it has seen modifications too numerous to mention, one of the more obvious ones is the addition of light armour for use in the Northern ireland troubles. The Humvee is definately a good all round platform and versatile enough to take virtually any modifiactions that can be imagined. I dont profess to be an expert on the HUMVEE but I have seen some civilian models creeping into the market at extortionate prices, and they do not seem to be the same, perhaps they have been heavily modified for civilian use and the width reduced. I dont know.

Good post and once again welcome :p