M520 GOER

Retail logistics for the Army is a challenge. Moving commodities such as fuel and ammunition from the US to overseas locations is pretty much like any other industry. Rail, highway, ships, and occasionally cargo aircraft.  It takes planning and attention to detail, but it’s essentially the same as civilian shipping. It’s the transfer of those commodities to the actual units on the front lines that is a challenge. In some theaters of operations, there are existing networks of improved roads that ease this challenge. In other potential theaters, not so much. And one of the Army’s great strengths since World War II has been its off-road mobility. It’s relatively easy to make tanks and armored personnel carriers off road mobile. But the trucks that must be used to support them are something of a different matter.

And so, the Army was always looking for ways to improve the mobility of its cargo trucks. One interesting approach was to use the basic structure of 1950s era earth moving equipment as the basis for a cargo or fuel tanker capable of operating in quite rugged terrain.  As an experiment, a competition was held between several similar vehicles, and a handful of what came to be known as the M520 GOER family were bought, and used in Vietnam. After Vietnam began to wind down, about 1300 more were built in the early 1970s.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nv8Q1xVPBgg]

Pretty nifty, huh?

The problem was, while it had very good off road capability, it had attrocious on road capability, with a very low maximum speed, an unsprung suspension that was brutally jolting, and some unsavory driving characteristics.

The Army also came to realize that most of the time, it only needed decent, not excellent, off road capability. The GOER was replaced in service by the much more conventional Oshkosh HEMTT (Hemmit) 10 ton 8×8 tactical truck.

7 thoughts on “M520 GOER”

  1. Ya, I drove me one way back in the day when I was the Bn Ammo NCO.
    Got a nice pic taken during a river crossing op. the JPEG wont copy. damm this computer stuff.

  2. I read with much interest the “Mishap Reports” from the Army Safety Center at Ft. Rucker, AL. It included all manner of mishaps in any class, involving every kind of activity (I of course was after parachuting mishaps). I was always amazed how many Class A mishaps involved GOER’s. Killer vehicle that one.

    1. One of the BIG issues with the M520 was the (lack of) suspension system. also the steering is ‘interesting’, unlike all other wheeled vehicles, the 520 does not self center the steering. The truck was prone to roll over when turning on a side slope of more than 10 deg if you were not careful. This was also the first tactical wheeled vehicle to come with seat belts standard. The truck was a blast to drive on the tank trails of GTA or BTA empty, and the pucker factor really picks up when you are running a load of 4.2″ WP out to the fireing point.

      Nothing like bouncing from one side of the road to the other.

      Good times. Good times.

    2. The 151 was unstable at speed. I was doing close to 60 on I-20/59 coming home from Shelby back in ’86, and the thing was pretty flaky. I had the Company CO riding shotgun and he insisted on the speed as we had gotten separated from the convoy for some reason I don’t recall. That was a scary ride.

  3. Eric takes me back…getting to Antelope DZ at Ft. Hood, TX. and watching a GOER coming the other way bouncing all over the road like a basketball. You’re right Eric, good times, good times indeed. QM & Xbrad you two brought back ugly memories just mentioning M-151 series vehicles. Got some M-151’s once from the Border Patrol as they had new type 4X4’s. Painted blue and roll bars installed w/shoulder harnesses. I remember thinking why the life of soldiers was less than a BP agent given the extra safety gear in the BP 151’s. Different pot of
    money?!?!

  4. I drove 151s from Richmond, CA to Camp Roberts and back many times. Also drove them all over the outback of Camp Roberts, both cross-country and tank trails. Had a ball. As long as you didn’t brake while turning, no problems. When you brake, the rear wheels tuck in, that’s way they roll over in a turn. I would love to have one today. A great off road ride.

    Paul

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