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Carrier, Cargo, Full-Tracked, 6 Ton, M-548

The M-548 was used in Vietnam as an ammo carrier in support of armored units or artillery. It is still in use (2005) as a cargo vehicle or troop carrier. It also serves as a platform for the Volcano mine dispensing kit and other weapons platform purposes. The M-548 is based on the unarmored M-113 APC chassis and has been produced in variants M548A1 and M548A3.

Incorporation of the RISE powerpack in the M548 was initiated on the depot rebuilt line in 1994 as M548A1s were converted to M548A3s. The M-548A3 is powered by a turbocharged 6V53T Detroit Diesel engine with 275 hp, coupled to a 4-speed X200-4 Allison hydrostatic steer transmission.

The ring mount rail on the cab roof will accomodate a Mk19 40mm Grenade Launcher, or machine gun, 7.62mm or .50 cal.

More about the M548 Cargo Carrier in Vietnam

Supply vehicles carrying fuel and ammo for American armored and artillery units in Vietnam were generally unsuited for Vietnam's poor secondary road system. It was necessary to replace wheeled trucks with a full-tracked cargo vehicle, the M548, which was essential to the operations of armored units in wide areas along the borders. For example, the Cambodian expedition could not have been undertaken without them. They were not, however, provided in sufficient numbers in Vietnam and their maintenance reliability was suspect.

After the American withdrawal in 1972, South Vietnam's III Armor Brigade and III Corps Assault Force found innovative uses for their M548s. Their 105mm towed artillery battalion was converted to "self-propelled" by mounting the howitzers on M548 tracked cargo carriers. Each M548 was modified by adding two removable ramps for the 105s to mount and dismount. Each 105 crew was trained to mount and dismount its howitzer and fire as quickly as possible. The result was a unit almost as effective as a truly self-propelled battalion.

Carrier, Cargo, Full-Tracked, 6 Ton, M-548 Specifications

Vehicle Weight17,566 lbs
Vehicle Weight, Combat Loaded29,556 lbs
Length232 in
Width105.75 in
Height110.75 in
Height, Minimum Reducible77 in
Acceleration 0 - 20 mph10.7 sec
Acceleration 0 - 35 mph43.0 sec
Max Speed37 mph
Fording Capability40 inches, still water
Range300 Miles
Ground Pressure9.4 psi
Vertical Obstacle24 in
Slope60%
Side Slope30%
Fuel Capacity105 gal
Crew/Passengers1/3
Engine275 hp
TransmissionHydrostatic
Air TransportableC5, C130, C141

Pfc. O'Neal refuels an M-548 belonging to 1st Battalion, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment as Spc. Henderson stands by. Operation Desert Shield, 1 April 1992.
Pfc. O'Neal refuels an M-548 belonging to 1st Battalion, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment as Spc. Henderson stands by. Operation Desert Shield, 1 April 1992.

M-548 equipped with a tactical radar threat generator. This vehicle was used by the 177th Armored Brigade in their role as OPFOR during exercises at the National Training Center, Ft. Irwin, CA, 31 March 1988.
M-548 equipped with a tactical radar threat generator. This vehicle was used by the 177th Armored Brigade in their role as OPFOR during exercises at the National Training Center, Ft. Irwin, CA, 31 March 1988.

An M-578 light armored recovery vehicle tows an M-548 during Operation Desert Shield, April 1992.
An M-578 light armored recovery vehicle tows an M-548 during Operation Desert Shield, April 1992.

Carrier, Cargo, Full-Tracked, 6 TON, M-548 with Volcano. Photo:  Courtesy of Tom Innes
M-548 with Volcano Mine Dispensing Kit. 105th Engineer Battalion (Combat), North Carolina National Guard. Photo: Courtesy of Tom Innes.

M-548 Cargo Carrier belonging to the engineers of 1st ID 1st BDE 1st EN BN A CO 2nd PLT, Iraq, during the unit's deployment, 17 Jan 2004. Thanks to Bob Pettit for finding this Army photo and to Jeremy Babson, who was there, for correcting the date
M-548 Cargo Carrier belonging to the engineers of 1st ID 1st BDE 1st EN BN A CO 2nd PLT, Iraq, during the unit's deployment, 17 Jan 2004. Thanks to Bob Pettit for finding this Army photo and to Jeremy Babson, who was there, for correcting the date.

M-548 Cargo Carrier.  Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Symanski of Tactical Truck
M-548 Cargo Carrier. Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Symanski of Tactical Truck.

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