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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: 26 Nov 1942 Battle of Brisbane: American and Australian soldiers fight in Brisbane, Australia with multiple fatalities [26-27 Nov].   

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:

John Deere M-Gator-based 14 gpm First Response Expeditionary (FRE) firefighting vehicle with optional equipment, the only air droppable firefighting asset in the United States Air Force (USAF) inventory, circa 2004.
USAF 55th Civil Engineering Squadron P-23 Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Vehicle sprays Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) fire retardant over simulated aircraft wreckage during a Major Accident Response Exercise (MARE), Offutt AFB, NE, 11 Aug 2001.
Airfield crash truck, Class110.  From TM9-2800 page 192.
Class 530 fire truck based on GM CCKW, 2 1/2 ton, 6x6, chassis with body  manufactured by McCabe-Powers.
Firefighters from the 2034th Engineer Aviation Fire Fighting Platoon at Framlington Airfield, England. The trucks: Left, 1943 Ford 4x2 - Oren, Class 135, USA 506165 and Right, WC-18 Truck, 1/2 ton, 4x4 Dodge Ambulance.
M-series (probably M35/M44 2 1/2-ton 6x6) trucks equipped with fire apparatus, Fire Station No. 1, Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, AL, July 1958.

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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