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M872 Semitrailer, Tactical, Dual Purpose Breakbulk / Container Transporter, 34 Ton

M915 Tractor with M872 semitrailer, 58th Transportation Battalion, Fort Leonard Wood, MO
M915 Tractor with M872 semitrailer, 58th Transportation Battalion, Fort Leonard Wood, MO.

The M872-series 40-foot, 34-ton flatbed semitrailers can carry a wide variety of cargo with its large cargo bed on a three axle, twelve wheel suspension. All model variants can carry containers, bulk cargo, and general cargo. The M872A1, A2, and A3 also have tiedown fittings for securing two M113s or similar vehicles. These semitrailers are 96 inches wide and 490 inches in overall length. The M872 and M872A2 deck height is 58 inches, while the M872A1 and M872A3 deck height is 58 inches. Units/shippers must arrange for container handling equipment (CHE), materials handling equipment (MHE), and/or loading ramps to load their cargo onto the M872-series semitrailers. Two retractable supports at the front of the trailer are used when it is not attached to a tractor.

The operator's manual -- TM 9-2330-359-14&P or TM 9-2330-331-14&P for the -A4 variant -- shows how to use container locks and cargo rings on these semitrailers. You can secure one 40-foot container using the in-place retractable twistlocks. When securing two 20-foot containers or other containers shorter than 40 feet, you must also use removable container locks. You can use T-hooks to secure general cargo with straps.

The semitrailer is designed to be towed over smooth, hard-surfaced roads with loads up to 34 tons (68,000 lbs payload) at speeds as high as 55 mph (88 km/h). It can also be towed over unimproved roads, trails and open rolling terrain with the same load limit, but at a sustained speed of no more than 10 mph (16 km/h).

The M872 semitrailer is designed to be towed by the M915 Series 6x4 Truck, Tractor. Certain driving situations can cause instability in the M915-series tractor combined with the M872-series semitrailer. FMTV 5-ton tractors are not authorized for towing the M872 series semitrailers. Use of the M818 and M931/M932 5-ton tractors are limited to towing a non-payloaded M872 for yard use only and at a reduced speed of 5 mph. The M878 yard tractor is authorized for movement in a port area. These restrictions are spelled out in warnings in the Operator's Manual which should be consulted before operating the equipment.

The M872 semitrailers have two storage lockers beneath the cargo bed, used primarily for the storage of minor tools and the materials necessary to lash down cargoes. Lockdown points are provided for NATO-standard ISO containers, pallets, and shelter bodies. The M872 trailers may be fitted with side and rear boards for the transport of loose cargoes. A headboard is standard on these trailers and non-removable. The side panels added may be fixed or hinged, and the rear panel may be fixed or used as a tailgate.

The M872 semitrailer was standardized in 1979, replacing the M127 series semitrailers.

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the M872 Semitrailer, Dual Purpose at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup.

Model Variants of the M872 Semitrailer, Tactical, Dual Purpose Breakbulk / Container Transporter, 34 Ton

Model variants of the M872 Semitrailer include:

Variant NSN Manufacturers
M872 2330-01-039-8095 Theurer Greenville Corp. and Southwest Truck Body Co.
M872A1 2330-01-109-8006 Theurer Greenville Corp. and Heller Corp.
M872A2 2330-01-119-5837 Theurer Greenville Corp. and Heller Corp.
M872A3 2330-01-142-1385 Southwest Truck Body Co.
M872A4 2330-01-497-0706 Talbert Manufacturing, Inc.
M872A5 ??? ???

The technical manual TM 9-2330-359-14&P covers M872 to M872A3 variants. For the M872A4 variant, the manual is TM 9-2330-331-14&P.

Difference between models include:

  • M872A1 is lower in height than the M872 and M872A2, and is capable of hauling two Ml13-type armored personnel carriers and missile-type ammunition as necessary
  • M872A2 has a special horizontal kingpin saddle added under the tapered gooseneck
  • M872A2 cannot clear 13.2 ft (4 m) underpasses with 8 1/2 ft (2.6 m) containers
  • M872A3 has a different suspension, axle, brake system, and landing gear assembly
  • M872A4 and M872A5 have many upgrades and changes based on experience with the earlier variants


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