Heavy Recovery Vehicle M51.

The M51 certainly offered an imposing presence. The front stabilizing spade is immediately obvious in its raised stowed position. The large bolt-ringed plate in the center of the vehicle above the spade is main winch access plate, and the smaller door to our left in this view is the auxiliary winch opening cover. Directly above this is the auxiliary winch cable anchor lug, and arrached to the roof is the auxiliary winch front cable roller. The brush guard mounted in front of the commander's cupola would have protected a siren and flasher light, but both of these appear to be absent. The mount for the .50cal AAMG on the commander's cupola is facing towards the front. The bracket in front of the driver's position on the vehicle's left was for mounting spare track blocks. The large square plate below the spade is the main winch front opening cover. The large door in the left side of the vehicle was for access to the driver's position, and the square recess in front of this door was for a fire extinguisher remote control handle. Just below the door can be seen two attachments for a stepladder to ease mounting of the vehicle. The bracket just behind the driver's door on the fender was for stowing two water or fuel cans, and the door behind this bracket was for acces to the air cleaners. A towing bar is stowed on the rear fender. (Photo by Richard S. Eshleman.)

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Heavy Recovery Vehicle M51.

A stepladder can be seen mounted below the crane operator's door, and another towing bar is stowed on the right rear fender. Fire extinguishers in protective covers are positioned on the front fender and between the towing bar and the bracket for the fuel or water cans. A vise can be seen mounted above the rear fire extinguisher, and a snatch block is stowed in the front spade. (Picture from Standard Military Vehicle Characteristic Data Sheets.)

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Heavy Recovery Vehicle M51 belonging to the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor.

This rear 3/4 view of an M51 recovery vehicle shows the large crane boom and rear stabilizing spade. The running gear is one place to view the vehicle's lineage from the 120mm gun tank M103. A snatch block is resting on the vehicle's rear spade, and visible along the bottom of the crane boom are hooks for stowage of a towing cable. Beside the rear fender stowage box are mounts for stowing a towing bar. Oxygen bottles were placed horizontally in front of this stowage box, and an acetylene bottle was normally stored on the cab's left rear face. Engine access grille doors are visible below the crane boom, and heat deflectors protect the crane boom from damage from engine exhaust. The mount for the commander's .50cal machine gun can be seen in the center of the cab roof.

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Heavy Recovery Vehicle M51 in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Stowage details can be gleaned from this in-service vehicle. (Picture taken 1 December 1967; available from the National Archives.)

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Heavy Recovery Vehicle M51 belonging to the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor.

Although covered by a tarp, much of this M51 is still visible. A towing bar and a snatch block are resting in this vehicle's front spade. A towing pintle is visible beneath the spade, and an empty tool rack is attached to the cab front above the spade.

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Heavy Recovery Vehicle M51 belonging to the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor.

This view beneath the front spade shows the connections of the spade itself as well as the large square main winch front opening cover. The vehicle has a single towing pintle on the front, and towing hooks are placed above the pintle just inside the spade supports and below the main winch front opening cover. The small round plate below the towing pintle is the main winch oil drain access cover.

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Heavy Recovery Vehicle M51 belonging to the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor.

This image slows the front stabilizing spade in its stowed position. Lifting eyes are welded to each front corner of the vehicle's cab.

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Heavy Recovery Vehicle M51 belonging to the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor.

This side of the cab is home to the large door for the driver. The two protuberances just below the driver's door are the mounts for a ladder to assist entry and exit. A closer look is provided of fire extinguisher remote control handles. On the opposite side of the cab, the crane operator had a door and ladder similar to the driver's.

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Heavy Recovery Vehicle M51 belonging to the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor.

The T107 track, with its longer pitch, required a new sprocket hub for the M51 and M103A2 tank. The older sprocket design was similar in appearance to that on the M48 tank.

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Last updated 9 Jul 2017.
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© Copyright 2002-17 Chris Conners