M35 2-1/2 ton cargo truck

Infobox Weapon
name=Truck, Cargo, 2 1/2 Ton, 6x6, M35

caption=A parked M35 2-1/2 ton cargo truck
origin=Flagicon|United States United States
type=Medium Truck
used_by= US Armed Forces and various Allies
manufacturer=REO, Kaiser, AM General
variants=See text
weight=13,050 lbs (w/o winch); 13,550 lbs (w/winch)
engine=OA-331 Continental Gas I-6; LDS-427 Turbo Multifuel I-6; LDS-465 Multifuel I-6; Caterpillar 3116 Diesel I-6
engine_power=127 to 170 hp
vehicle_range=400-500 miles
speed=55 mph
The M35 family of trucks is a long-lived vehicle initially deployed by the United States Army, and subsequently utilized by many nations around the world. A truck in the 2 1/2 ton weight class, it was one of many vehicles in US military service to have been referred to as the "deuce and a half." The basic M35 cargo truck can carry 5000 pounds across country or 10,000 pounds over roads. Trucks in this weight class are considered medium duty by the military and Department of Transportation. The M35 series formed the basis for a wide range of specialized vehicles.

Design and Development

The M35 started out in 1949 as a design by the REO Motor Car Company. The first vehicle in the family, the M34, was quickly superseded in military usage by the M35, the major difference being the M35's 10-tire configuration versus the M34's 6-tire "super-singles" configuration.

An M35A2 cargo truck with winch is 112" tall, 96" wide and 277" long, and 13,550 pounds empty (13,050 pounds empty without winch). The standard wheelbase cargo bed is 8'x12'. The M35A2 was available with a canvas soft top, as pictured, or a metal hard top. Metal hard-top configurations are most often found on vehicles that have been equipped with cold-weather gear, including additional insulation in the cab, as well as engine coolant or multifuel-fired cab personnel heaters.

The M35A2 are Continental or Hercules LDT-465, in-line 6 cylinder, turbocharged multifuel engines with Auto bhp|134|0 and Auto ft.lbf|330|0 of torque. This is coupled with a 5-speed manual transmission and divorced 2-speed transfer case (Either a sprague-operated transfer case (Rockwell 136-21) or air-operated selectable transfer case (Rockwell 136-27). Multifuel engines are designed to reliably operate on a wide variety of fuels, to include diesel fuel, jet fuel, kerosene, heating oil or gasoline. Gasoline should only be used in an emergency because it does not properly lubricate the injector pump. While using gasoline, common practice calls for the addition of at least 1 quart of clean motor oil per 15 gallons of gasoline for proper pump lubrication where available.

Although the -A2 version is by far the most common, there were four different iterations: standard, A1, A2 or A3 iteration. These changes mainly had to do with the engine and transmission components. A1s replaced the original REO/Continental OA331 gasoline engines with LDS-427-2 Multifuel, and added an additional forward gear and overdrive to the transmission. A2 trucks received the LDS-465 engine (with or without a turbocharger), keeping the transmission of the A1s. In 1994 the A3 variant was introduced as part of Extended Service Program, and between then and 1999, all series vehicles received the Caterpillar 3116 Diesel engine and had their manual transmissions replaced with automatic ones, as well as receiving numerous other improvements. No new A3 standard vehicles were produced, all vehicles being upgraded from previous configurations.

The curb weight of an M35 is between 13,000 and 16,000 pounds empty, depending on configuration (cargo, wrecker, tractor, etc.). Its top speed is convert|56|mi/h|km/h|0|abbr=on, though maximum cruising speed is approximately convert|48|mi/h|km/h|0|abbr=on. Fuel economy is 11 MPG highway and 8 MPG city, giving the deuce a 400-500 mile range on its 50 US gallon single fuel tank. On average, most operators experience tank averages of 8-10 mpg for an unladen vehicle.

Brake system is air-over-hydraulic six wheel drum with a driveline parking brake, although gladhands exist on the rear of the vehicle for connection to trailers with full air service and emergency brakes. Braking performance of the truck is similar to other power drum brake vehicles of this size. Each drum was designed with maximum efficiency in mind, and individual drums can dissipate up to 12 kW of braking heat. Due to this brake system and GVWR under 26,001 pounds, the big deuce can be driven without a commercial driver's license in most states. California requires a CDL to operate an M35 on public roads.

The electrical system is 24 volt, using two 12 volt batteries run in series.

Many deuces are equipped with a 10,000 pound PTO driven front winch manufactured by Garwood.

Operational History

The M35 family was introduced into the US military to replace the GMC CCKW and M135 families cargo trucks still in service at the time. The M35 would not completely replace the M135 family until the middle of the 1960s. However, the M35 would quickly become the dominant truck in its class in the US military, serving with all the services in various capacities.

The M35 series was to be replaced by the Light Medium Tactical Vehicle. However, many United States National Guard and United States Army Reserve units continued to use them as the new family of vehicles was phased in. The M35 series was used by United States in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Canadian Forces Land Force Command adopted license built versions of the M35 (and M36 variant) in 1982, built in Canada by Bombardier. As of 2008, the trucks, designated MLVW (Medium Logistics Vehicle, Wheeled) were still in service. Canadian vehicles featured an automatic transmission, six wheels instead of ten (but still with dual rear axles), and an ether-start for winter operations. Canada had been investigating a replacement under the Medium Support Vehicle System Project, but no vehicle had been selected. The MLVW's were initially not deployed with Canadian Forces in Afghanistan because of their lack of armor protection. An armor kit was subsequently developed leading to a limited deployment of the vehicles. [Priestly, Stephen. "Canadian American Strategic Review". June 2006. [http://www.sfu.ca/casr/id-msvs-trucks-1.htm Of Muddles and Medium Trucks – MLVWs and the Perils of Being Out-of-Step] . Access Date: 26 April 2008.]


The M34/M35 series of trucks came in wide array of variants and subvariants. As noted engine differences could be noted by the A1, A2, or A3 suffix, but additional suffix letters were also sometimes added. These letters had different meanings depending on what variant to which they were applied.

Cargo variants

As noted the original basic gasoline-powered truck variants were first the M34, and then the M35. A long wheel-base variant, designated the M36, was also developed (featuring a 16-foot cargo bed). Variants with a C suffix (such as M35A2C or M36A2C) featured a straight drop-side cargo bed. The M44 and M45 were simply the chassis designation for the 2-1/2 ton series, and this cab/chassis would serve as the basis for many more specialized variants.

Tank truck variants

The M49 fuel tanker and M50 water tanker variants were initially based on the M44 chassis. The M49C series, however, were vehicles converted from C series drop-side cargo variants. The M50 had a 1000 gallon water tank, of which later variants had internal baffles to combat weight transfer during motion.

Van variants

A number of variants with van bodies, primarily for use as maintenance shop vans, were also created. The basic model was the M109, with a variant that could not mount the PTO winch was designated M185. An expandable van variant with hydraulic lift gate was designated M292. Two variants of the M109 were specifically developed as service vehicles for the MGM-18 Lacrosse missile system, the XM411 for the Ground Guidance Electronic Equipment, and the XM412 with special tools and test equipment for the electronic guidance and control system. A medical van variant was designated M132.

Wrecker and Tractor variants

A wrecker based on the M35 truck was designated the M60. Two tractor variants for towing semi-trailers were developed, the M48 and M275. The M48 featured a full-length wheelbase (identical to the M35 cargo), while the M275 featured a shorter wheelbase for reduced weight and greater maneuverability. However, due to the smaller size and lower power of the 2-1/2 ton trucks, most heavier loads were handled by their respective 5-ton counterparts. As a result few were produced.

Construction variants

A number of specialized construction variants were developed. The M47 and M59 dump trucks were developed, based on the M44 chassis and M35 cargo truck respectively. An improved dump truck, again based on the M44 and designated the M342 was designed to replace both the M47 and the M59, as well as the M135-based M215.

The M108, based on the M44 chassis, carried a crane. The M756 was a specialized pipeline repair vehicle, the M763 was designed for telephone line repair, and the M764 was a specialized earth-boring and pole-setting variant.

Gun trucks

The versatility of the pattern was perhaps shown best in its usage as an armored "gun truck" for patrol duties and convoy escort.

The first conversions of the pattern were performed by the US military in Vietnam. US Army Artillery Battalions (Automatic Weapons, Self-Propelled) were often assigned Artillery Batteries (.50 Caliber), units equipped with M35 trucks and M55 machine gun systems mounting four M2 Browning machine guns. Units were also authorized a single M60 machine gun and M79 grenade launcher. [Rottman, 2002. p. 8] While the M35 was designed to act as the prime mover for the M55 system, which included a towed trailer, the M45 mount was often removed or the wheels removed from the trailer, and the system mounted on the bed of the truck. The M55 system was also mounted on the M54 truck. [Lyles, 2003. p. 10]

More simplified armoring projects were conducted as well, adding armored walls of various thicknesses to standard cargo variants. A smaller bed-mounted multi-angle "box" was also tried. [Lyles, 2003. p. 21-2] US Army gun trucks used a wide variety of weapons including the M2 Browning machine gun, M60 machine gun, and even the M134 Minigun.

At the end of the Vietnam War most of these vehicles were returned to their standard configuration, except for a single original example shipped to the US Army Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis, Virginia in 1971. [Lyles, 2003.]

The concept lived on well after the Vietnam War. El Salvador converted a number of M35 type vehicles into armored trucks in the 1980s, after successful conversions of Magirus Deutz trucks. These vehicles were nicknamed "Mazingers" in reference to the Japanese cartoon Mazinger Z. [Montes, 2001. p. 30] [Spencer, 1995. p. 13]

The Philippine Marine Corps also began converting M35 type trucks to an armored configuration by 2004. The first vehicle, dubbed "Talisman," utilized armor fabricated from derelict LVTP5 amphibious personnel carriers. Later gun trucks were built using more standard components and bear some resemblance to US military vehicles of the Vietnam era. [Cruz, M. "Manoski's Orbat" 7 December 2004. [http://www.hueybravo.net/Marinepages/PMCguntrucks.htm Philippine Marine Gun Trucks] . Access Date: 26 April 2008] The Philippine Marine Corps had also begun the creation of an anti-aircraft element by 2006, utilizing M35 based vehicles. Two types of vehicles have been seen so far. One utilizes the Mk 56 Mod 0 mount from the Patrol Boat, River, with two M2 Browning machine guns, while the other features another former naval mount with a single Oerlikon 20 mm cannon. [Cruz, M. "Manoski's Orbat" 10 June 2006. [http://www.hueybravo.net/Marinepages/arty.htm#Air_Defense_Artillery Marine Artillery] . Access Date: 26 April 2008]




* Lyles, James. "The Hard Ride; Vietnam Gun Trucks (Vol II)". Quezon City, Philippines: Planet Art, 2003
* Montes, Julio. "Mexican and Central American Armor". Darlington, MD: Darlington Publications, 2001
* Rottman, Gordon and Donald Spaulding. "Vietnam Armor in Action". Hong Kong, China: Concord Publications, 2002
* Spencer, David. "Armored Fighting Vehicles of El Salvador". Darlington, MD: Darlington Publications, 1995

ee also

* Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles


* [http://www.olive-drab.com/od_mvg_www_deuce_m35.php M35 at Olive-Drab.com]

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