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A Brief History of Military Vehicles

Military vehicles have been the crucial determinants of many military victories and often the armies with the best equipment have had an advantage in war. International conflicts that took place on the land, on the sea, and in the air depended on modernized vehicles, and nations encouraged military vehicle production to power their domestic economies during times of war. Researchers were pushed to optimize military vehicle designs for increased durability and longevity. The importance of military vehicles was first emphasized in World War II. Though there hasn't yet been a World War III, military vehicles continue to play an important role in global conflicts such as the War in Afghanistan, the Syrian Civil War, and international anti-terrorist operations.

Military Cars

One of the most notable military vehicles is one you might see in the parking lots and on the roads still today; the Jeep has a storied military history, having been originally designed for military use. Before World War II, European countries were transporting supplies with horse drawn wagons. It was difficult to get essential items to men on the front lines. The U.S. army contracted with private auto manufacturing companies through a bidding process to get efficient reconnaissance vehicles and move supplies around Europe much more efficiently.

  • The Military History of Jeeps - The U.S. military started using Jeeps in the 1940s to transport armed services personnel and continued using the vehicles until the beginning of the Korean War.
  • The Dodge WC-54 - The U.S. army used the Dodge WC-54 as an ambulance during World War II.
  • The 1945 Willys MB - The Willys Jeep was the most common World War II military car.
  • The Advantages of Bullet Proof Cars - Cars with bulletproof glass protect the driver and passengers from attacks.
  • The First Military Cars - Compared to the advanced military vehicles of today, military cars in the past were slow and primitive. However, they were faster than horses and gave the Allies an advantage over Germany.

Military Trucks

Military trucks are a favorite of armed groups and organized military forces alike. The all-terrain vehicles are appropriate for desert sands and jungle terrain. Military trucks can be upgraded to be blast proof or fitted with special tires. During World War II, the army used trucks to transport troops from place to place. GMC and Jeep were the top suppliers of military trucks. Now, Toyota has gained a reputation for indirectly supplying trucks to insurgent groups. The only disadvantage of military trucks is that they run out of gas over long distances, which forces troops to stop and refuel and exposes them to attack.

  • Ford Trucks in Iraq - The U.S. military commissioned an upgraded version of the Ford F-series truck for use in Iraq.
  • Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle - Chevrolet and General Motors started producing CUCVs in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Gun Trucks in the Vietnam War - The Vietnam War was characterized by the innovation of single-gun trucks, which were trucks fitted with a gun to allow soldiers to protect themselves from attacks while traveling over rough terrain.
  • Armed Pickup Trucks - Insurgent organizations without the cash for advanced military vehicles purchase armed pickup trucks from Toyota instead.
  • The Infantry Squad Vehicles of the Future - The ISV has long been an essential component of the US Army's land operations. Now, GM is creating a lighter, faster ISV.

Military Tanks

Military tanks first appeared during the Great War. The advantage of tanks is that their tracks can handle terrain that would be impenetrable for military cars or trucks. Military tanks are heavily armored vehicles. The Sherman tank became famous during World War II. Modern versions of tanks include the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) Vehicle.

  • The Importance of Tanks in World War II - Sherman and Pershing tanks came into use in the middle of World War II and were a determining factor in several major battles.
  • Common Korean War Tanks - Here's a list of all the tanks that were used by the military during the Korean War.
  • What is a Tank? - Tanks are heavy military vehicles that move on tracks instead of wheels and are mounted with weapons such as machine guns, missiles, or flamethrowers.
  • The M-48 Patton Tank - The Patton Tank weighed almost 50 tons and was used by the military during the Vietnam War.
  • Tanks vs. IEDs - The U.S. army created a tank with an improved hull that was able to withstand attacks from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Military Aircraft

The image of bombers and fighter jets swooping through the air is classic in World War II history. Taking advantage of a new aerial perspective, combat pilots were able to engage military targets from above. Military planes are becoming faster and more silent, so the Air Force can participate in stealth missions at night.

  • Air Force One - Although Air Force One has never seen combat, it is any plane maintained by the White House Military Office and designated for the U.S. president's travel.
  • F-35 Fighter Jet - Lockheed Martin has supplied the U.S. Army with fighter jets for decades. The F-35 Lightning II is its latest contribution to the military's aircraft supply system.
  • Black Hawk Helicopter - The iconic Black Hawk helicopter is the army's premier utility chopper for reconnaissance and combat missions.
  • 25 World War II Airplanes - Many of the most important World War II battles were fought in the air with these planes.
  • Drones - Drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, are advantageous in warfare because they allow the army to strike targets without putting pilots' lives in danger.
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