Armor: December 2, 2003


The Q-Truck in Iraq- Army soldiers in Iraq are modifying their vehicles to carry additional weapons, usually the M2 .50-caliber machine gun (first used prior to World War II), the M249 SAW (a 5.56-millimeter machine gun), and the Mk 19 automatic grenade launcher (firing 40-milimeter grenade rounds). The crew-served weapons are mostly going on the Humvees, (no surprise there), but some are also being placed on the M872 Heavy Equipment Trailer trucks. This might sound unusual, but the trucks are large, can carry a lot of ammunition, and guerillas in Iraq might not suspect they are armed at first.

Such things are not new. In Vietnam, M113 armored personnel carriers were equipped with extra machine guns. Jeeps and trucks were also augmented with extra guns and armor. The major objective in this case is to get the guerillas attacking the supply lines to go for what they thought was a supply truck. Once pulled in, they get more than they bargained for. It is the same principle used by the heavily armed and disguised Q-ships of World Wars I and II, which  operated against submarines. The intention is to deter attacks by creating doubt in the mind of the guerillas as to whether the soft target is really as soft as it appears to be.

How well will it work? Remains to be seen. Some guerillas never adapted, and ended up getting wiped out. Others did adapt, and forced the occupation forces to develop new tactics to adapt to the guerillas adaptation. - Harold C. Hutchison




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