"I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer."
The isolated mountain road was bordered in some places by wide-open fields and in other places, heavy woods, making ideal ambush sites. In some areas the grade was very steep with winding hairpin turns, causing the heavily laden trucks to drive even slower. There were two major mountain passes - An Khe and Mang Giang - which quickly became known as "Ambush Alley."
The only preserved Vietnam guntruck is Eve of Destruction, that can be seen at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum (Fort Eustis, Virginia)
In the event of an ambush, their role was to drive into the kill zone during the first few minutes of the attack, and saturate the attackers with their firepower.
Early designs proved flawed, as the sandbag protections quickly became waterlogged in the frequent rains, weighing down the whole vehicle. They were later replaced with ad hoc steel armor plating, salvaged from scrap yards.
The crew consisted of a driver, two gunners, a non-commissioned officer, and sometimes a grenadier armed with an M79 grenade launcher.
On November 24, 1967, during an engagement in "Ambush Alley", a group of gun trucks managed to thwart an ambush. The convoy lost six transport trucks and four gun trucks damaged or destroyed, and several drivers were killed and wounded, but the Viet Cong lost 41 KIA and were forced to withdraw. ...
In all, an estimated 300 to 400 trucks were transformed in this way.
[Some of the other names given them were: Steppin Wolf, The Abortion, The Baby Sitters, The Boss, The Creeper, The Hawk, The Mercenary, The Misfits, The Pallbearers, The Protector, The Rebel, The Saint, The Smiling Death]
They were intended as a temporary solution, but the Transportation Corps never received enough of their proposed replacement, the V-100 armoured car, so the gun trucks continued to serve until the end of the American involvement in Vietnam, in 1973.
With the end of the Vietnam War, the need for such vehicles disappeared and most were either scrapped or returned to cargo carrying. One truck, an M54 named by its crew "Eve of Destruction," has been restored and is on display at the Army Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis, Virginia.But then..... they came back!
"Necessity is a mother."
A gun truck damaged by an IED in Iraq. All the crew members survived.