M88s
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Thread: M88s

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    Saw several trains loaded with armor at the Marine logistics center at Yermo CA today. I don't think these are Marine equipment as there were Bradleys on some of the flat cars. I would have thought by now they'd have one based on the M1 chassis.


    Attachment 2036722Attachment 2036730Attachment 2036738
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails recovery tracks 5.jpg   recovery tracks 2.jpg  

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    No expert on this by any means but maybe the cost of developing a recovery vehicle
    on the M1 chassis was not supportable.
    Correct me if I am mistaken but it is my understanding that the M88 uses the same chassis
    as the M1 but is radically different as to engine, drive chain, etc,etc.
    Not to mention all the other specialized stuff that makes it a TRV.
    Perhaps there was just no money or maybe it's a pork barrel thing, certain politicians didn't
    want to lose the industries from their states.
    Of course, it could be an effort to preserve the capability also, I don't imagine that there are
    too many places left that can still make large scale steel castings, I.E. tank hulls and if presented
    with a conflict that truly stressed the military supply chain it might be handy to have such on
    a "back burner", if you will.
    Last edited by BobM1919; 03-12-2017 at 06:44 AM. Reason: typo's

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    M88 uses the running gear of the M48/M60 (track, road wheels, suspension, engine). It has been up-graded over the years, with the AV-1790 boosted to an AVSI-1790, and now a AVDS-1790.

    AV-1790 means air-cooled, V-type (12 cylinder as it happens), 1790 c.i. engine. AVSI means air-cooled, Vee-type, Supercharged (actually a turbo), fuel-injected. Those were gas engines. AVDS means air-cooled, Vee-type 9once again, a 12), Diesel, supercharged (once again by a turbo), 1790 c.i.. I think the current issue is an M88A1 or A2, and cranks out around 1000 h.p..

    Why an M1-based VTR (Vehicle, tracked, recovery) wasn't developed - dunno. Expect (1) the M88s worked fine and (2) expense.

    Spent a fair amount of time around M88s back when I wore Ordnance Bombs (Flaming Pi$$pots) in the bad old Vietnam War days. All gassers then, with AVSI-1790s. Burned lots of mo-gas, but sure enough did the job when called on.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    All ways fun to drive the old gas M88's at night and punch it going through a turn.

    I shall always remember the M88's with a smile.

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    I had a recovery section in my platoon in Germany, two M88A1s and two 5 ton wreckers. We pulled many a mired M60 out with the 88s, sometimes it took both of them to get the M60A3 out of the winter mud.

    I've read that even the M88A2 is marginal for extracting a mired M1 series tank.

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    Time to bring out a sky crane.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smle-man View Post
    We pulled many a mired M60 out with the 88s, sometimes it took both of them to get the M60A3 out of the winter mud.
    I've seen that during one the uteen hundreds of field exercises when I was in Germany in the 70s. kinda comical to see one 88 hooked up to a M60 then another 88 hooked up to that 88

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    The Wikipedia M-1 tank entry says the M-1 Recovery Vehicle was developed as a prototype only and never produced.

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    Quote Originally Posted by erikpolcrack View Post
    The Wikipedia M-1 tank entry says the M-1 Recovery Vehicle was developed as a prototype only and never produced.

    Where is it now?

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    One interesting thing I read was one of the last vehicles to be authorized with the M3 grease gun was the M88. Which is kind of funny when you realize by 1994 the M3 grease guns and M1911 were out of the regular tank forces, but for some reason they left them on the table of equipment for the M88 for some years past that, or they simply did not get around to replacing the ones in the reserve units until after the year 2000.

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    Aug 1967, riding in the back of a 3/4 ton truck heading North from Pleiku to Kontum on Highway 14, road crowned, rainy, mud on the road and knowing you are riding on about 2 actual inches of tire, when we come up over a crest and there are two M48 tanks heading South at a high rate of speed. Our driver crabs over as far as he can to the right, but slowly so as not to lose control, and those M48's pass by so closely it feels like they will suck me out of the back to the 3/4. We go down the hill, start back up again and I am just starting to catch my breath, hit the crest and see what 60 ton (?) M888 screaming down the road trying to catch up to the M48's. Here we go again, realizing we would be hardly a speed bump if the M88 hits us. Luckily he did not, did not even have to change my under pants, oh that's right, did not wear any. John
    Last edited by John A. Larsen; 04-01-2017 at 12:20 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A. Larsen View Post
    Aug 1967, riding in the back of a 3/4 ton truck heading North from Pleiku to Kontum on Highway 14, road crowned, rainy, mud on the road and knowing you are riding on about 2 actual inches of tire, when we come up over a crest and there are two M48 tanks heading South at a high rate of speed. Our driver crabs over as far as he can to the right, but slowly so as not to lose control, and those M48's pass by so closely it feels like they will suck me out of the back to the 3/4. We go down the hill, start back up again and I am just starting to catch my breath, hit the crest and see what 60 ton (?) M888 screaming down the road trying to catch up to the M48's. Here we go again, realizing we would be hardly a speed bump if the M888 hits us. Luckily he did not, did not even have to change my under pants, oh that's right, did not wear any. John
    M88 in the Vietnam days would have been 112,000 pounds "officially" (Ordnance School ST9-159), so "only" 56 tons. Had fuel (445 gallons) for 222 miles - can't recall one managing that range on internal fuel only...
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde View Post
    M88 in the Vietnam days would have been 112,000 pounds "officially" (Ordnance School ST9-159), so "only" 56 tons. Had fuel (445 gallons) for 222 miles - can't recall one managing that range on internal fuel only...
    always glad to see one of those magnificent monsters when I took my 60A1 into places I should not have tried to go.
    STAY ON THE TANK

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    Owed them a case of beer a time or 2 myself...
    That was their going rate to get pulled out.
    Never trust a Private with a loaded weapon, or an Officer with a map.

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    An item to note, the tracks on an m88 are pretty much the same height as a 113s deck. With the horizontal radiator. A tow home on muddy tank trails meant a long session with a fire hose to wash the mud out of it. Also, CEV crews were still being issued grease guns into the nineties too. Google says Yermo is 13 miles from Barstow, that's an Army unit heading out to NTC

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    Quote Originally Posted by izzytok46 View Post
    An item to note, the tracks on an m88 are pretty much the same height as a 113s deck. With the horizontal radiator. A tow home on muddy tank trails meant a long session with a fire hose to wash the mud out of it. Also, CEV crews were still being issued grease guns into the nineties too. Google says Yermo is 13 miles from Barstow, that's an Army unit heading out to NTC
    45 grease gun - fantastic weapon - M88 magnifigent monster I relied on many a time
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    Quote Originally Posted by hard stripe View Post
    45 grease gun - fantastic weapon - M88 magnifigent monster I relied on many a time
    Well, the grease guns in 90's service were 9mm. Still a popular curiosity to pass around when everyone is just in from the field cleaning weapons. So I got to handle one but never tried it out

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    Quote Originally Posted by izzytok46 View Post
    Well, the grease guns in 90's service were 9mm. Still a popular curiosity to pass around when everyone is just in from the field cleaning weapons. So I got to handle one but never tried it out
    sorry to hear the grease gun went to 9mm. 45 ACP would stop any one coming at you... ( fun to shoot too)
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    Was S2/S3 of 198th Maint. Bn. at Fort Knox 1969/70. Was reviewing training records and discovered that the M-88 crews had never familiarized with 3.5" RLs or Grease Guns (what a surprise). Not wanting to catch a deficiency next IG, I scheduled a couple of ranges and suitable issue of ammo and away we went. Somehow there was left-over ammo when all the troops had their shots, so the officers shot it all up instead of trying to turn it in. The 3.5" in cold weather is an interesting critter.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde View Post
    Was S2/S3 of 198th Maint. Bn. at Fort Knox 1969/70. Was reviewing training records and discovered that the M-88 crews had never familiarized with 3.5" RLs or Grease Guns (what a surprise). Not wanting to catch a deficiency next IG, I scheduled a couple of ranges and suitable issue of ammo and away we went. Somehow there was left-over ammo when all the troops had their shots, so the officers shot it all up instead of trying to turn it in. The 3.5" in cold weather is an interesting critter.
    help me out here clyde. are talking about the .45 cal machine gun or what ?
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    At Graf in 1974 we had an M-60 A1 that was parked on a tank trail. It was struck by an M-88. The blade on the 88 sheared off the left idler wheel and split the hull on the M-60. No one was in the tank at the time. I dont recall if anyone on the 88 was hurt but i am glad i wasnt on it. It has been a long time but I could still drive an M-60 with no problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hard stripe View Post
    help me out here clyde. are talking about the .45 cal machine gun or what ?
    Grease gun = Gun, Submachine, Cal .45, M3A1. FSN1005-672-1771. Eight pounds of 350-400 rounds per minute 230 grain GI ball at 820 fps. Except I don't think any of ours in the Dollar-98's M88 OVM package were A1s, they didn't have flash-hiders. Fun to shoot.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    At APG for Ordnance officer basic course winter of 1977 (record snow fall that year) the M88s assigned to the recovery course were used to plow snow with the spade blade. One of the instructors said it was strictly prohibited because the blade didn't float and if it hit a lifted section of pavement bad things would happen and stuff would break. Of course they did it anyway. The instructors seemed to be having a ball plowing the hardstand with them!

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    Quote Originally Posted by smle-man View Post
    At APG for Ordnance officer basic course winter of 1977 (record snow fall that year) the M88s assigned to the recovery course were used to plow snow with the spade blade. One of the instructors said it was strictly prohibited because the blade didn't float and if it hit a lifted section of pavement bad things would happen and stuff would break. Of course they did it anyway. The instructors seemed to be having a ball plowing the hardstand with them!
    We were at APG about 11 years apart for OBC. I was there again in the early 70s for Advanced Course as a reservist. Two weeks in August each year.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    I retired in 1991, but had lunch today with two men who retired much later. One is currently an armorer for a Army unit, and has been down range 15 times with that unit, blown up twice. The other man has been in the defense firearms business for the past 13 years. Neither one of them had ever heard of the tank M3A1's being issued in 9mm. I know they were capable of being converted during WWII, but wonder if anyone else besides izztok46 saw 9mm M3's being issued to tank units? We had a suppressed M3A1 in my last camp, were there were only 4 Americans, later 3. It was intended for us to use to go out thru the wire if overrun and the point man would carry it. Glued part of a surgical glove to the face of the bolt (stopped the clang of the bolt), and had a Striker carry it on one patrol. The Strikers wanted a monkey for lunch, my Senior Advisor took the M3A1, shot up at a pretty step angle, and I thought it had not fired until it ejected. Clyde, got to fire the 3.5 at Camp Drum in the Winter, not fun as those rounds were a heat sink for your hands even with trigger finger mittens on. Strange to watch the rocket slowly fly down range. John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde View Post
    We were at APG about 11 years apart for OBC. I was there again in the early 70s for Advanced Course as a reservist. Two weeks in August each year.
    I did the advance course on active duty in 1981 and then headed to the 4th ID/704th Maint Bn. at Ft. Carson. My advance course had a bunch of foreign officers: Kuwait, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Philippines. The Kuwaiti was totally lost, the Tunisians partied all night, showed up late and smoked French cigarettes. The Egyptians, Turk, and Philippine officers were very professional.

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    I enjoy this thread very much - a bunch of thread heads (like myself) trading pasted times. GREAT
    STAY ON THE TANK

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    I doubt a "crane" could lift it.
    Collectors can't spend too much....only buy too early!

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A. Larsen View Post
    I retired in 1991, but had lunch today with two men who retired much later. One is currently an armorer for a Army unit, and has been down range 15 times with that unit, blown up twice. The other man has been in the defense firearms business for the past 13 years. Neither one of them had ever heard of the tank M3A1's being issued in 9mm. I know they were capable of being converted during WWII, but wonder if anyone else besides izztok46 saw 9mm M3's being issued to tank units? We had a suppressed M3A1 in my last camp, were there were only 4 Americans, later 3. It was intended for us to use to go out thru the wire if overrun and the point man would carry it. Glued part of a surgical glove to the face of the bolt (stopped the clang of the bolt), and had a Striker carry it on one patrol. The Strikers wanted a monkey for lunch, my Senior Advisor took the M3A1, shot up at a pretty step angle, and I thought it had not fired until it ejected. Clyde, got to fire the 3.5 at Camp Drum in the Winter, not fun as those rounds were a heat sink for your hands even with trigger finger mittens on. Strange to watch the rocket slowly fly down range. John
    It was January or February, 1970 when we were shooting the 3.5". Cold at Fort Knox just then. Adverse affect on the rocket motors, reduced performance, so they were sort of slow. Got some bits of unburned propellant coming back at us, too. Was surprised at the recoil (suppose friction against the inside of the tube), and the noise, more a "Bang!" than I expected. Would hate to have to depend on that for anti-tank defense. Or any other sort of hand-held device...
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    My son was on M88's when he was a 63-Delta with the 1-5 FA attached to the First Division at Fort Riley in the 90's (he got out in 98).

    They had just replaced all the M3's when he got there in late 94.

    The biggest complaint they had about the M88 at the time was it definitely took more than one of them to do anything really useful, like trying to get an M1 out of the mud. They were fine with M113's and Bradleys, but that M1 was just too much of a load to pull.

    Yes, SOMETHING needs to be done about replacing the M88's with something capable of performing the jobs they are asked to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronbo6 View Post
    My son was on M88's when he was a 63-Delta with the 1-5 FA attached to the First Division at Fort Riley in the 90's (he got out in 98).

    They had just replaced all the M3's when he got there in late 94.

    The biggest complaint they had about the M88 at the time was it definitely took more than one of them to do anything really useful, like trying to get an M1 out of the mud. They were fine with M113's and Bradleys, but that M1 was just too much of a load to pull.

    Yes, SOMETHING needs to be done about replacing the M88's with something capable of performing the jobs they are asked to do.
    Well, the 88 was designed to be companion for the M-48 and the PIP M-48 known as the M-60, and did/does the job intended for them. Now - the M-578 was supposed to be equivalent for the M-107-M110 SP artillery pieces and things of similar weight. Never felt it was near as good as the M-88, even for the lighter vehicles it was designed for. An -88 is usually over-kill for SP artillery or smaller (including an M-551), but will sure enough haul them out of any sort of a mud-hole they get in.

    That said, yes, they do need to break down and design and adopt a recovery vehicle that can get an Abe out of a mud-hole by itself. Actually, probably could avoid that (I don't say this is the optimum answer) by putting an up-rated spade and a more powerful winch on them. Maybe reinforce the A-frame and a more powerful winch for that, to allow lifting a turret out of an Abe with confidence. All of that could be done on the existing hull I think.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde View Post
    It was January or February, 1970 when we were shooting the 3.5". Cold at Fort Knox just then. Adverse affect on the rocket motors, reduced performance, so they were sort of slow. Got some bits of unburned propellant coming back at us, too. Was surprised at the recoil (suppose friction against the inside of the tube), and the noise, more a "Bang!" than I expected. Would hate to have to depend on that for anti-tank defense. Or any other sort of hand-held device...
    Clyde. I was there with you . that very cold week or two was rough , we had arms training in the barracks for a while, I almost hit a D.I. in the nose with the butt of my M-16. He paused & in a sigh of relief just went on with the drill.
    STAY ON THE TANK

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    Quote Originally Posted by hard stripe View Post
    Clyde. I was there with you . that very cold week or two was rough , we had arms training in the barracks for a while, I almost hit a D.I. in the nose with the butt of my M-16. He paused & in a sigh of relief just went on with the drill.
    As I recall, over a week when the high was below zero F, and all outdoor training suspended. We had a couple of adventures, one when training resumed and they got some tanks sliding on either Misery or Agony. Platoon of tanks all stuck, up against each other, partially off road, and road with skin of ice/packed snow. Our recovery people got the call to sort things out, and we did. Cold, some careful and imaginative rigging and several hours saw it done. Should not have taken trainees out without making sure road wasn't slippery in my somewhat biased view.

    Other one was some tanks, artillery ammo (boxcar with palletized 155mm HE, no fuzes), and commissary supplies all consigned to Knox derailed west of E-town. Still cold, but not below zero any longer. For some reason, railroad couldn't get things back up (nearly derailed a big hook trying to do a straight lift on one of the tanks - my thought is they did it wrong because they didn't want to work in the cold) and we got called to go get things. Transportation supplied some S&Ps, we took M-88s and Dragon Wagons, somebody (Post engineer?) turned up R/T forklifts and we took a convoy with a couple of MPs for escort (I had to do the weight calculations, don't know any longer why Post Transportation couldn't - maybe the guy who knew how was on vacation) to the derailment site and cleared the ammo - railroad people freaked when they saw the 155s, but as we told them, perfectly harmless unless they built a fire under it. Little bit awkward because while all the cars were upright, they were on a fill so at odd angles. Getting the tanks (M-48s) off the flats was fun. Not. But with three M-88s and good crews, we did it, nobody and nothing hurt. Hauled everuything back to post and left the railroad the final clean up, since the cars and ROW belonged to them. Nobody ever told us if the railroad was billed for the fuel and time. I have a box of slides showing the stuff that went on somewhere.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    never took my 60 up agony or misery. climbed both of them in basic with the help of SGT WAY in basic , I thought a lot of that man, he came to my aid more than once.
    STAY ON THE TANK

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    Quote Originally Posted by hard stripe View Post
    never took my 60 up agony or misery. climbed both of them in basic with the help of SGT WAY in basic , I thought a lot of that man, he came to my aid more than once.
    Both too damp steep to be much fun, especially on foot and being pushed. Find out what sort of determiantion you could muster, i expect (as an O-3 in a non-training unt, never rad to try and run up either one, which suited me just fine). Tanks and other tracks went up just fine in dry weather. One snow or ice, well shouldn't have trinees trying. JMO, nobody asked me. Going down in a tank would be a little un-nerving, I'd say, and if slippry, I don't want to be involved.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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