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M104 Wolverine at Ft Hood...
The AFV ASSOCIATION was formed in 1964 to support the thoughts and research of all those interested in Armored Fighting Vehicles and related topics, such as AFV drawings. The emphasis has always been on sharing information and communicating with other members of similar interests; e.g. German armor, Japanese AFVs, or whatever.
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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 2:51 am
Post subject: M104 Wolverine at Ft Hood...

I dont just post rare old armor, I post rare "new" armor as well! Per the article below, there are only 44 of these in the U.S. inventory. There were these 6 in the 36th ENG BDE, 4th ID motor pool and 6 more in a motorpool next door. When I was here in 2000 with 3-66th Armor, 4th ID, civilians brought one to our motor pool as a "demo" and it was pretty neat. Now they are actually stationed here. I haven't seen any in the 1st Cav area motor pools but I'd bet they have some too. I was in this motor pool to photograph an M4A3 that I cant seem to find a serial number for. I purchased some sandpaper this afternoon however and that serial wont be hidden long! Below is some info on the Wolverine.

The M104 Wolverine Heavy Assault Bridge is an armored combat engineering vehicle designed to provide deployable bridge capability for units engaged in military operations.

For over a quarter of a century the US Army has made use of armored bridgelaying vehicles based on the M60/M48 Patton series of tanks. In recent years, however, the Army discovered that the aging M60 AVLB (Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge) was too slow to keep up with the M1 Abrams during field maneuvers. Additionally, the M1 was so heavy that it could safely cross the AVLB's bridge only at a very slow speed.

Program development for a new armored bridgelaying vehicle began in 1983, and by 1994 General Dynamics Land Systems had been awarded a contract. The first prototype vehicles were being tested by 1996, and the first production models were delivered to the Army by 2003.

Because the Wolverine is essentially an M1A2 SEP tank with bridgelaying gear instead of a turret it shares virtually all of the parent vehicle's speed, mobility, survivability, and automotive components. This commonality was a key design factor in the Wolverine's development. The Wolverine also features an advanced communication package designed to keep it in contact with local field commanders. However, the vehicle itself is completely unarmed.

The Wolverine is operated by two crewmen who sit within the hull. Both crewmen have access to the bridging controls, while the bridge itself is carried in two sections above the hull. Once a bridging site is chosen the vehicle securely anchors itself in place with a spade. The two sections of the bridge are joined together, and then the entire bridge is extended across the obstacle and dropped into place. During launch the crewmen have the ability to make minor corrections if needed. Once operations are complete the Wolverine drives across the bridge and retrieves it from the other side simply by reversing the process. The bridge can be launched in under 5 minutes or retrieved in less than 10, all without the crewmen ever leaving the safety of their vehicle.

Once launched, the 26 meter bridge can support a 70 ton vehicle moving at 16 km/h. The Wolverine allows even the heaviest of vehicles to cross craters, ditches, and even partially damaged bridges at combat speed. This mobility is a decisive advantage for armored units.

To date the U.S. Army has received 44 Wolverines, which have been distributed to a few select engineer units. The Army had originally intended to purchase 465 vehicles, however budget cuts and the recent shift in philosophy toward a lighter fighting force have cast the future of the Wolverine program in doubt. Currently the Army does not plan to purchase any more Wolverines, but it has reserved the right to restart production in the future if necessary.

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Maple_Leaf_Eh
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:50 am
Post subject: Re: M104 Wolverine at Ft Hood...

"The M104 Wolverine Heavy Assault Bridge is an armored combat engineering vehicle designed to provide deployable bridge capability for units engaged in military operations.
...
However, the vehicle itself is completely unarmed."

Yikes!! That's got to change. If this is such a rare bird, the opposing forces are going to know it too. Their troops will do what they can to harass or attack it. Even a .50 in a protected remote controlled weapons pod would be an improvement over nothing.
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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 3:54 am
Post subject: Re: M104 Wolverine at Ft Hood...

I agree, I was surprised to see that it wasn't armed at all. Especially since its such a high-dollar vehicle. I wouldn't want to crew this.

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JimWeb
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:32 am
Post subject: Re: M104 Wolverine at Ft Hood...

Lets face it the M9 ACE is the same. I was amused to read in a combat report the following description of it 'one man, alone, unarmed'

Cool

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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:57 am
Post subject: Re: M104 Wolverine at Ft Hood...

Hi Folks!

The proto-type M-48 AVLB had two cuplo mounted M2 50 cal machine guns. The production versions didn't have them. The M-60 AVLB were also unarmed.

That vehicle should never be sent out by its self. There should be more than enough firepower around it to ensure the crew only has to work on getting the bridge down in the right spot so over vehicles can cross ASAP.

Jeff, super thanks for this set of photos. I have hopes of some day trying to scratch build a Wolverine sense none of the model companies will most likly never do one.

It is my understand that in place of buying more Wolverines, the Army funded a program to upgrade the MLC 60 bridges on the M-48/60 AVLBs to a MLC of 70. Much cheaper to buy upgraded folding bridges than rebuild a M-1 into a Wolverine.

Spot Report!
Sgt, Scouts Out!

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bsmart
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:14 am
Post subject: Re: M104 Wolverine at Ft Hood...

- Roy_A_Lingle
Hi Folks!

It is my understand that in place of buying more Wolverines, the Army funded a program to upgrade the MLC 60 bridges on the M-48/60 AVLBs to a MLC of 70. Much cheaper to buy upgraded folding bridges than rebuild a M-1 into a Wolverine.

Spot Report!
Sgt, Scouts Out!


But you loose the advantage of commonality and have to continue stocking parts in the system for the older vehicles that you would not otherwise have to have.

I can see and advantage to modifying the older AVLBs in the short term but as there are extra M1 chassis in the inventory I would think that converting some to support vehicles such as AVLBs, recovery vehicles and engineering vehicles would make sense.

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Joe_D
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:28 am
Post subject: Re: M104 Wolverine at Ft Hood...

But there is commonality with the old AVLB's, it's called the Hercules M88A2 and they have a very good track record. We also have plenty of M88A1's too. If you look closely at the M60 AVLB/AVLM systems they are now using M88 components when rebuilt. Much cheaper than converting old M1 hulls, Also cheaper to operate. BTW, the Wolverine uses the old M1 hull, just like the SEP's. One automotive difference is the the hydraulic pump is driven off the angle drive of the transmission and the generator was moved to the Auxillary Gear Box from what I saw in 98. What the Wolverine has is speed, but with the current fight we are in it's a moot point.

Joe D
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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:57 am
Post subject: Re: M104 Wolverine at Ft Hood...

Hi Bob! Hi Folks!

- bsmart

I can see and advantage to modifying the older AVLBs in the short term but as there are extra M1 chassis in the inventory I would think that converting some to support vehicles such as AVLBs, recovery vehicles and engineering vehicles would make sense.


I have to agree with that Bob. However the problem is a lack of funds. The Wolverine and the Grizzle are programs that were cut to free up funding for the Stryker FOVs and has yet to be restored.

It's like Joe D said, their are just not needed in the current fight. Look at the M1117 ASV. It was also one of those programs that was cut to free up funding for the Stryker FOVs. If's fund has been restored some because they are needed.

This is another one of those things where funding is the controlling factor and not common sense.
Sgt, Scouts out!

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bsmart
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:05 am
Post subject: Re: M104 Wolverine at Ft Hood...

- Roy_A_Lingle
Hi Bob! Hi Folks!

- bsmart

I can see and advantage to modifying the older AVLBs in the short term but as there are extra M1 chassis in the inventory I would think that converting some to support vehicles such as AVLBs, recovery vehicles and engineering vehicles would make sense.


I have to agree with that Bob. However the problem is a lack of funds. The Wolverine and the Grizzle are programs that were cut to free up funding for the Stryker FOVs and has yet to be restored.

It's like Joe D said, their are just not needed in the current fight. Look at the M1117 ASV. It was also one of those programs that was cut to free up funding for the Stryker FOVs. If's fund has been restored some because they are needed.

This is another one of those things where funding is the controlling factor and not common sense.
Sgt, Scouts out!


I think there is very little that is not controlled by short term funding issues.

I'm noticing a trend that we saw in the 60s where long term programs are being sacrificed to pay for growing operational costs while trying to stay within lower 'acceptable' budgets. Crying or Very sad I remember living in the aftermath of that on the flightline in the mid 70s with not enough parts because although they bought a new fighter ( the F-15) they scimped on the supporting kit to hold the cost of the program down.

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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:19 am
Post subject: Re: M104 Wolverine at Ft Hood...

Hi Bob! Hi Folks!

- bsmart

I think there is very little that is not controlled by short term funding issues.

I'm noticing a trend that we saw in the 60s where long term programs are being sacrificed to pay for growing operational costs while trying to stay within lower 'acceptable' budgets. Crying or Very sad I remember living in the aftermath of that on the flightline in the mid 70s with not enough parts because although they bought a new fighter ( the F-15) they scimped on the supporting kit to hold the cost of the program down.


The 1970s! The last half was hard on all of DOD. I remember reading about new F-16s coming off the production line in Ft. Worth. The Air Force would install an engine, send the aircraft up for a test flight and then remove the engine so it could installed in the next aircraft. The Army was putting a lot of it's available funding into the new Abrams/Bradley vehicles and there was very little funds for very much of any thing else. God help the AFV Crewman who lost a tool needed to work on his vehicle because the supply room didn't have any funds to buy replacement tools.

Hell, costs and the need from funds for other programs is the only reason the Navy has retired the F-14 Tomcats. I have heard, but I have not confired it, that the S-3 Vikings have been or are being retired, or there is a plan to retire them for the same reason.

All this is an outstanding example of why the DOD doesn't always buy good things at the right time. Sad
Sgt, Scouts Out!

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