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Fire & Crash Trucks

Military fire and crash trucks are associated with airfields and general fire fighting duty on military bases. Commercial models of fire trucks are used without significant modification as well as specialized vehicles designed for the specific military mission.

Operational tesing of a USAF Oshkosh P-19 4x4 Crash Truck, Moron Air Base, Spain, 25 February 1999
Operational tesing of a USAF Oshkosh P-19 4x4 Crash Truck, Moron Air Base, Spain, 25 February 1999.

Today in WW II: 20 Aug 1939 Battle of Khalkhin Gol: Soviet Gen. Zhukov decisively defeats Japanese Imperial Army forces in the Japanese-Soviet border war in Inner Mongolia [20-31 Aug].  More 
20 Aug 1940 Winston Churchill refers to the valiant RAF pilots defending Britain: 'Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few'.
20 Aug 1944 168 captured allied airmen arrive at Buchenwald concentration camp, accused of being 'terror fliers' rather than legitimate combatants.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

Military Fire & Crash Trucks

The nomenclature of fire fighting trucks describes crash trucks as being used on airstrips in the event of a crash landing while fire trucks are for general purpose firefighting. There are also Rescue Trucks, Pumpers, Ladder Trucks and other special purpose vehicles, generally referred by the all inclusive name fire trucks.

The earliest U.S. Army fire trucks were purchased and organized by the Quartermaster Corps, but that responsibility was transferred to the Corps of Engineers in 1941. During World War II and into the 1950s, fire trucks were described by classes, from Class 100 to Class 700 with trailers in Class 1000. The exact class number was determined by the tank size, pump capacity, hose reels and vehicle mission. Dozens of fire vehicle types were procured within these classes during World War II, as well as before and for a short time afterward. Individual vehicles fell into subclasses such as Class 110 High Pressure CO2 4x4. Very few fire trucks were shipped overseas during WW II and those that did were Class 150 Low Pressure CO2 6x6, arriving in-theater late in the war.

In 1947, the U.S. Air Force was established as an independent service, separating from the U.S. Army. Thereafter, the USAF procured its own fire and crash trucks. Early USAF vehicles in the 1950s included the 530 and 750 series pumpers, By the 1960s trucks for all the services fell into the P-series, ranging from the P-2 ARFF to the P-31 Hazmat truck of post-2000 vintage. (Information in this section compiled from the highly recommended site DodFire.com).

A selection of the most important military fire trucks of the P-series includes:

ModelTypeWeight
kg/lbs
Length
m/ft
Width
m/ft
Height
m/ft
P-10Rescue Truck3,600/8,0009.7/31.72.8/9.32.6/8.5
P-15ARFF59,000/130,86013.8/45.23.1/10.04.2/13.8
P-18Water Tanker25,000/54,0009.6/31.72.8/9.33.3/10.8
P-19ARFF14,700/32,50010.2/33.33.1/10.03.8/12.5
P-20ARFF5,000 10,90010.2/33.33.2/10.72.3/7.5
P-21Ladder Truck31,000/68,70014.7/48.32.8/9.33.7/12.0
P-22Pumper14,600/32,3009.6/31.72.8/9.33.3/10.8
P-23ARFF34,700/77,9009.6/31.72.9/9.63.6/11.8
P-24Pumper16,300/36,7009.6/31.72.8/9.33.3/10.8
P-26Water Tanker31,000/70,00014.5/47.52.8/9.33.7/12.0
P-27Mini Pumper4,900/11,0009.6/31.72.8/9.32.5/8.2
P-28Heavy Rescue16,400/36,0008.6/28.83.0/9.83.1/10.2
ARFF = Airport Rescue Fire Fighting

In addition to the P-series trucks, the services procured others including the MB-5 built by Oshkosh in the late 1960s for the U.S. Navy, 1990s vintage Oshkosh T-3000 (and TI-3000) and the Amertek Military Adaptation of a Commercial Item (MACI) 2500L (fielded early to mid-1980s). The M1142 Tactical Fire Fighting Truck (TFFT) is a modern military fire fighting vehicle, an Oshkosh HEMTT chassis mated with a commercial fire fighting package, fielded in 2007.

Military Fire & Crash Truck Photos

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of Military Fire & Crash Trucks at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup:

"Rags," is a 1941 Ford Fire Truck that served at Hunter Army Airfield during World War II.  The renovated truck arrived at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in Pooler, Georgia, 28 Jan 2011, escorted by emergency vehicles from Fort Stewart and transported courtesy of A-1 Wrecker Service down interstate I-95, then with local police escort down Highway 80 to the Museum. Allen Deloach is driving.  Buck Meeks, the 3rd Infantry Division Museum Curator, was the primary supervisor and caretaker for this fire truck.
Truck, Fire, Holabird Quartermaster Depot, MD, 1941.
USAF Firefighters aboard an Oshkosh P-15 fire truck prepare to spray foam onto a fire caused by the explosion of a 40,000 gallon JP-4 aviation fuel storage tank, Osan Air Base, Korea, 5 April 1986.
Truck, Fire Fighting, Aircraft Crash and Structure Fire, A/S32P-19A.  The Oshkosh A/S32P-19A is primarily designed for aircraft crash and rescue operations. By rapidly discharging fire retardant agents on a crash site, the truck can put out fires within seconds after arrival. This vehicle can also be used to fight other types of fires such as brush and structural fires. The truck contains its own pressure pump and fire fighting equipment. Water, foam and halon are carried in tanks built into the truck body.
49th Civil Engineer Squadron fire and emergency services department at Holloman AFB, NM, restored this 1958 O-6 Cardox fire crash truck. They presented it to the military firefighter heritage museum at Goodfellow Air Force Base, TX, during a dedication ceremony, 18 May 2004.
Personnel of HRPE Fire Department showing use of fire-fighting equipment, Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, Newport News, VA (NNVA), 22 August 1944. Nicholas Flannagan, NNVA; Richard W. Mann, 427 27th Street, NNVA; Samuel G. Beets, 218 26th Street, NNVA; Fred W. Daniels, 2123 Chestnut Avenue, NNVA, and William Edgar, Phoebus, VA, are shown in fire truck in front of Fire House.

Chart of Military Fire & Crash Trucks

In this chart of military fire and crash trucks, click on the photo link to go to the page of photos and information for the specific truck.

Vehicle Description Photo Link
Class 110 Chevrolet Truck, Airfield, Crash, 1-1/2 Ton, 4x4 (Class 110) Chevrolet Truck, Airfield, Crash, 1-1/2 Ton, 4x4 (Class 110)
P-4 Oshkosh P-4 Truck, Airport Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) Oshkosh P-4 Truck, Airport Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF)
P-15 Oshkosh P-15 Truck, Airport Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) Oshkosh P-15 Truck, Airport Rescue Fire Fighting
P-19 P-19 Truck, Airport Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) P-19 Truck, Airport Rescue Fire Fighting
P-23 P-23 Truck, Airport Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) P-23 Truck, Airport Rescue Fire Fighting
M1142 Oshkosh M1142 Tactical Fire Fighting Truck (TFFT) Oshkosh M1142 Tactical Fire Fighting Truck (TFFT)

Find More Information on the Internet

There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.

For good results, try entering this: military fire truck. Then click the Search button.

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