M-520 GOER 4x4 Truck

The M520 GOER was an 8-Ton cargo carrier, an all-terrain, all-weather amphibious cargo vehicle designed and built by the Caterpillar Tractor Company. Developed in the 1950s, GOER test vehicles were delivered during 1961 to 1963, but production quantities were not manufactured until 1971-1976, a total of about 1,300 vehicles.

The M-520 GOER 8-ton 4x4 has cross-country mobility greater than that of other wheeled vehicles, a high payload-to-curb-weight ratio, amphibious capability, low maintenance requirements, and a long cruising range. It was used for general cargo, for artillery ammunition resupply and as prime movers for towed artillery. The GOER was particularly suited for high-density loads.

GOER was used in Vietnam where it performed well in that country's terrain and tropical conditions.

XM520E1 GOER 8-ton, 4x4 prototype of the M520 GOER
XM520E1 GOER 8-ton, 4x4 prototype of the M520 GOER.

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GOER Family of Vehicles (G-861)

The Caterpillar GOER (Go-ability with Overall Economy and Reliability) was a family of four vehicles, all built on the same pattern. There was a front section with cab for driver and passenger with the engine behind the seats. The front section was connected by an articulated joint to the rear cargo or payload section. Two wheels with 18.00x33 tires were centered under the front section while a second set of wheels with the same size tires were at the rear of the back section. Planetary drives in each wheel were all engaged in first or second gear, but the rear wheels were optionally disconnected in higher gears.

The GOER family consisted of four vehicles:

GOER M520 Truck, Cargo, 8 ton 4x4 NSN 2320-00-191-1310 W/O Winch
NSN 2320-00-873-5422 W/Winch
GOER M553 Truck, Wrecker, 10-ton 4x4 NSN 2320-00-873-5426 W/Winch
GOER M559 Truck, Fuel Servicing, 2500 gal 4x4 NSN 2320-00-445-7250 W/O Winch
NSN 2320-00-873-5420 W/Winch
GOER M877 Truck, Cargo, 8 ton 4x4 W/Crane NSN 2320-01-010-4957 W/O Winch
NSN 2320-01-010-4956 W/Winch

The M877 was the same as the M520, but with the addition of a cargo handling crane. M520E1 was a different vehicle, the Carrier, Cargo, Full-Track, 8-ton.

The corrugated cargo box rear section of the M520 and M877 GOER had drop sides and a rear door to make loading and unloading easy. The cargo box was large enough for six pallets, 25 fuel drums, or a CONEX container with room to spare. Watertight seals enabled the entire vehicle to float and be propelled by its spinning tires. Winch equipped vehicles had a front mounted military Gar Wood 10,000 pound winch at the base of the cab face.

The M553 GOER Wrecker was equipped with a 6 to 16 ft. boom hydraulic crane that could lift five to ten tons, plus the Gar Wood winch. Other recovery equipment was carried in the cargo area. The M559 Fuel Servicing truck had a 2,500 gallon fuel tank instead of the cargo bed, with a 300 gal. per minute transfer pump and three discharge hoses plus a gravity feed bulk outlet.

Manuals for the GOER family of vehicles are numbered TM 9-2320-233-xx where the xx represents the maintenance level.

GOER Vehicle Family Characteristics

Length M520 380 in, M553 402 in, M559 376 in
Width 108 in
Height M520, M559 134 in, M553 140 in; 96 in with windshield folded
Curb Weight M520 25,430 lbs, M553 37,870 lbs, M559 28,100 lbs
Payload M520 16,000 lbs, M553 7,900 lbs, M559 18,500 lbs
Max Speed Land 30 mph
Max Speed Water M553, M559 2.6 mph, M520 2.8 mph
Fuel Capacity 106 gal
Range 300 mi
Engine Caterpillar diesel D33T 6 cyl, 638 cid, 213hp
Transmission 6 speed

M-520 GOER Truck In Military Service

In September 1966, the GOER vehicles were introduced into Vietnam. The 1st Transportation Company (GOER), with a total of nineteen vehicles, was the only unit which utilized to GOER. The GOERs were quite versatile, having excellent cross country and sand mobility, plus amphibious capability. The GOER vehicles were used extensively, but especially during the monsoon period when their ability to traverse deep mud was invaluable. The GOERs were particularly limited on hard surface roads so did not contribute to line haul requirements, and maintenance was difficult as repair parts had to come directly from CONUS. Nonetheless, the service they performed was noteworthy in its positive effect on the transportation system in Vietnam.

During its service life, the GOER was the basis of a number of experimental innovations, based on its high capacity and off-road capabilities. For example, the GOER vehicle was set up as a transporter-launcher for the NIKE-Hercules missile. The system had successful demonstration firings for military personnel at White Sands, NM, but was not adopted as an operational weapon system.

Few GOER vehicles have survived due to the low number manufactured and a demilitarization policy of destruction before sale to civilians when rendered surplus. The GOER was superseded by the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) series of 10-Ton, 8x8 Vehicles in 1982.

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the M-520 GOER at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup.

M-520 GOER Truck Photo Gallery

M-520 GOER
M-520 Goer photographed in Vietnam.

M553 GOER Wrecker with M520 GOER Cargo in tow
M553 GOER Wrecker with M520 GOER Cargo in tow.

M-520 GOER. Photo: Courtesy Woody's Surplus Sales
M-520 GOER. Photo: Courtesy Woody's Surplus Sales.

M-520 GOER. Photo: Courtesy Woody's Surplus Sales
M-520 GOER. Photo: Courtesy Woody's Surplus Sales.

M-520 GOER. Photo: Courtesy Woody's Surplus Sales
M-520 GOER. Photo: Courtesy Woody's Surplus Sales.

M-520 GOER. Photo: Courtesy Woody's Surplus Sales
M-520 GOER. Photo: Courtesy Woody's Surplus Sales.

M-520 GOER. Photo: Courtesy Woody's Surplus Sales
M-520 GOER. Photo: Courtesy Woody's Surplus Sales.

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