Re: [MV] Civilain Vehicle targets

Jim Rice (
Wed, 06 Jan 1999 21:16:43 -0600

Several years ago, Ft Sill used junk civilian vehicles for targets. The
problem now is safely using them. Since we use laser rangefinders many
times to range targets, all reflective surfaces are problematic. While
knocking out the glass and lights isn't too difficult, removing all chrome
creates difficulties. Bumpers and chrome/polished wheels is time
consuming and therefore expensive.

I also have to agree about firing at realistic appearing targets. Having
been a forward observer, firing at a piece of plywood or some such target
is not very realistic. When you get a direct hit on a vehicle, you see it
in the bright flash of the explosion. With a near hit, you see parts
flying, even at long ranges. It gives you an appreciation of the
firepower you are controling. A lowly PFC forward observer potentially
controls more firepower than does a Armor Task Force (sorry Joe Baker! :)
). He controls his direct support artillery and possibly much more
reinforcing artillery if he has a really lucrative target.

Also, vehicles are much more easy to identify than the typical soft target
used in an impact area. Additionally, it trains observers how to pick
camoflaged vehicles out of the vegatation. A few years ago, the post
experimented with some very large DARTS for targets. They were cheap to
produce and emplace as they were nothing more than a large pipe with some
sheetmetal fins. They were airdropped from CH-47 Chinook helicopters.
The problems were, they were hard to see at much range and they didn't
hold up well to even 105mm arty, much less 155mm and 8 inch arty.

While I am very interested in preserving old military vehicles, I
understand the economy of using the M151s. Even if I didn't it would make
no difference. I have the mission and I have to execute it.

BTW, when I received the mission, it was prefaced by, "You are going to
hate this, but..........

My commander owns two restored 1955 Chevys and a 1972 Ford Mustang.

As for what a MUTT looks like after taking a round...... Well, we had
some shot up by the 120mm Smoothbore maingun of M1A1 tanks a few years
back. Most of the vehicles were hardly recognizable as M151s. A few
however were remarkably intact. One was sitting on its wheels and look
absolutely normal with the exception of the hole in the floor where the
tranny tunnel once was. The entire engine, transmission and transfer were
laying about 25-30 feet away, still intact. It was obvious it had been
ripped from the jeep, but it was otherwise in good condition. Really

Sorry for being so long winded.

Jim Rice

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