Modern Support Vehicles:
1992 M934A2 BMY Expansible Van/Truck, 5‑ton, 6×6 – “CHEZ RECON” & “FORT AWESOME”
Beginning in the 1970s the US military sought a replacement for the M39 and M809 truck families. The accepted design was titled the 5-ton 6×6 M939, though there are multiple model numbers. The initial trucks were based on the M809 chassis, and were built by AM General. Beginning the the A2 (e.g. M934A2) line, the trucks were built by BMY (Bowen-McLaughlin-York). The trucks have been in service since 1982, and continue in service today. They are 6×6 with a powered front axle in low range. They are powered by the Cummins 6CTA8.3 turbocharged inline 6 cylinder diesel engine and an Allison five speed automatic transmission. It has air brakes, and the brakes are overpowered for the truck. It takes some acclimation to learn to brake without introducing the passenger to the dash. The M934 was designed to be a mobile communication center. They have power receptacles throughout the rear compartment.
CHEZ RECON & FORT AWESOME are 30.5 feet long and weigh 28,035 pounds empty.
When expanded the rear compartment provides 14’W and 17’L of space. It can support upwards of 5,000 pounds, which is enough to support all of us if we don’t eat too much dessert. It is roomy and comfortable in all climates, thanks to the military heat and A/C unit installed in the rear compartment.
The trucks can do 60MPH, though they doesn’t have great acceleration. They handle much better than the equivalent deuce and a half, and have a smoother ride as well. There is no discernible difference when towing the generator on its heavy-duty tandem axle.
It’s important to note that these trucks can roll, and won’t stop smoothly. Ours has the upgraded anti-lock brakes, and we wouldn’t want to drive without them. They require a wide turning radius, as well as an alert driver and co-driver. We always drive with a crew of at least two, and have a chase vehicle as an admittedly paranoid precaution.
We have painted CHEZ RECON and FORT AWESOME in the livery of the WWII US 2nd Armored Division. We went with WWII paint standards so that CHEZ RECON and FORT AWESOME blends into the camps and displays well, and because that’s our style.
If you’re looking for a rugged truck that is easily maintained, can go through anything, and can carry a heavy load, this is the truck for you. We love CHEZ RECON and FORT AWESOME, and bring them to all of our Florida events. They are our home away from home. When connected to the external, towed generator, it allows us to have fresh coffee and start the day with a caffeinated smile.
Stewart & Stevenson LMTV M1079 command vehicle – “CAFE RECON”
The LMTV (Light Medium Tactical Vehicle) is a 2.5 ton 4×4 truck. It is part of the FMTV (Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles) family of vehicles, which includes the 5 ton 6×6 truck. All of these models were based on the Steyr 12 M 18 Austrian military truck, though the design was modified significantly to meet US military requirements.
The LMTV is powered by a Caterpillar C7 diesel engine, producing 275 HP. It has fantastic off-road capabilities; we’ve tested that extensively in Florida sand, dirt, mud, and swamp.
CAFE RECON has an automatic transmission and air brakes, and the brakes are very effective. The transmission shifts smoothly, with a lot of acceleration coming online once the truck shifts into second gear. It has full time four wheel drive, as well as the CTIS (Central Tire Inflation System) for almost any road condition.
Side note: The CTIS can be problematic. On some of our trucks it works without issues, and on others it seems to provide random results. Your mileage may vary. Test your CTIS early and often.
It has a comfortable cab with heat and A/C, plus room for three. Even with three riders, there is still plentiful room for storage in the cab.
It handles highway speeds without issue.
CAFE RECON is a model M1079, the 2.5 ton van. The compartment is powered by an external power source (we use military generators), and provides power, light, heat, and A/C. This provides us a reliable transport for equipment, as well as a well-suited shelter for maintenance work, watch standing, and sleeping.
It has the towing capacity to tow the larger military generators, as well as our military and civilian trailers.
We’ve had to repair the cab lift mechanism, but have found it to be an otherwise flawless and easily maintained truck.
We have painted CAFE RECON in WWII colors so that it blends better at events, though we don’t always park it alongside our armor depending on event restrictions. It wears the livery of the WWII US 82nd Reconnaissance Battalion of the 2nd Armored Division.
If you’re looking for a reliable truck that can take a beating and deliver in adverse conditions, we recommend the LMTV. It doesn’t require a CDL in most states, and handles well for a large truck.
M1038 HUMVEE Two-Seat Truck
Beginning in 1979, the US Army sought a replacement for the venerable Jeep and Jeep-like vehicles it had used for decades. The specification for a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, or HMMWV, or HUMVEE sought to replace all tactical vehicles up to 1.25 tons (notably the M151 quarter ton jeep and the M561 Gamma Goat). Top priorities included improved off-road performance, ability to carry a large payload, and improved survivability against indirect (not direct) fire. In JUL 1979, AM General, a subsidiary of the American Motors Corporation, began design work. Prototypes were delivered by JUN 1981, with the original M998 A0 series prototype weighing in at 5,200 lbs., able to carry a payload of 2,500 lbs., all driven by a 6.2 litre V-8 diesel engine and a three speed automatic transmission. By 1983 the HUMVEE was in production. It first saw combat during Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989.
The HUMVEE, was designed for light personnel and light equipment hauling, not as a front-line combat vehicle. Attempts to make it a front-line combat vehicle have met with, at best, mixed results. The USMC, for example, pushed the HUMVEE aside for the MRAP in 2007, and the US Army in 2012 stated that the HUMVEE wasn’t suitable for combat. We suspect that our fellow veterans from 1983 onward wouldn’t disagree with the US Army’s characterization. Note that such misapplication is often made necessary by the factors on the ground. The Willys MB Jeep and the Ford GPW Jeep in WWII were hardly combat-worthy, and yet were regularly engaged at the front lines for reconnaissance, the movement of the wounded, and as mobile machine gun platforms. The same is true of WWII armor, where tank destroyers on both the US and the German side were more often employed as infantry support weapons. In war, the intended purpose of a vehicle is often trumped by the combination of the needs of the moment and the gear at hand.
The HUMVEE is a great vehicle for its designed purpose! It hauls our gear in the worst of road conditions without complaint or concern. While it isn’t a comfortable ride, it is highway safe and capable of 65MPH. It can also navigate the impressive tank and tank destroyer tracks we dig at our facility, and our HUMVEE can go into mud and muck that would likely capture any of our other modern or WWII vehicles. It is fun to drive, at least as fun as driving our WWII Ford GPW Jeeps! It is one of the vehicles that never lacks for volunteers to drive it, either across the facility or down the street.
The engine is a V8 6.2L diesel, producing 190HP at 3,400RPM. With the three speed automatic transmission, it will reach 65MPH without issue. It is a four wheel drive vehicle with a very high clearance, making it ideal for our off-road use.
Our first HUMVEE is a M1038 model, which is designed as a troop and cargo carrier and has a front-mounted winch. We do not have a cover over the rear bed, preferring to keep it open for ease of loading and mounting and dismounting. It has a soft top and doors for the two-man crew compartment. It came with a key start, and we will soon add additional lighting and other features. It will be used to haul gear at the farm, pick up needed supplies and equipment at local suppliers, and occasionally drive to and from events in Florida.
2017 Ford Transit Van
The WW2 Armor team is excited about our latest addition: A new 2017 Ford Transit van! It has the largest available cargo space, dual rear wheels, and the Power Stroke Turbo Diesel engine. Once outfitted with the shelves, work surfaces, and racks, this will become our mobile toolbox and workshop. You will see it at our events far and wide, providing us with the tools necessary to make minor and significant repairs to the weapons and vehicles of WW2 Armor. It is configured to be able to carry a heavy payload and tow our enclosed trailer. It will be able to tow some of our lighter vehicles, such as our Ford GPW Jeeps or our Dodge WC63.