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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: 21 Sep 1943 In the most bitter combat of the New Georgia campaign [Central Solomons], Japanese lose 600 men in an unsuccessful defense of Arundel Island, withdraw on 22 Sep.   

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:

Workers at the Maintenance Center, Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, CA, began assembling armor kits for the Oshkosh P-19 Truck, Airport Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF), 29 April 2005.  Though the kits weigh in excess of one ton, there are essentially no effects on the vehicle's abilities to handle, drive or operate properly.
M1142 Tactical Fire Fighting Truck (TFFT), a variant of the HEMTT truck.
US Navy International Harvester FFN-3 Class Fire and Crash truck built on the M-3L-4 chassis, 1 1/2-ton 4x4, circa 1941-42.
U.S. Marine Corps Logistics Vehicle System with MK-16 Semitrailer Adapter hauling an M-870 semitrailer with a P-19 Airport Rescue Fire Fighting Truck, K-9 Village, Yuma Proving Ground, AZ, 4 Oct 2010.
U.S. Marines Corps crash fire rescue personnel assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, AZ, standby an M997 Humvee ambulance and a P-19 fire truck during Assault Support Training 3, a noncombatant evacuation exercise, at West Wetlands Park, Yuma, AZ, 7 May 2010.
Capt. Morrison Clay leads the 546th Engineer Fire Fighting Company to fight a fire in Pusan, Korea, 1950s.

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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