VINTAGE MILITARY TRUCKS

M274 Mechanical 4x4 Mule

M274 Truck, Platform, Utility 1/2 Ton, 4X4

 

Mule For Sale

None available at this time

 

Mules Sold!

1968 M274A5 Serial No. 325461 "Amarillo"

1969 M274A5 US ARMY 02A-57568

 

 

 

The U.S. Military M274 Truck, Platform, Utility 1/2 Ton, 4X4 or "Carrier, Light Weapons, Infantry, 1/2 ton, 4x4" aka "Mule," "Military Mule," or "Mechanical Mule" is a 4-wheel drive, gas powered truck/tractor type vehicle that can carry up to 1/2 ton off-road. It was introduced in 1956 and used until the 1980s.

The M274 Mule was introduced in 1956 to supplement both the 1/4 ton trucks ("Jeeps") and 3/4 ton trucks (Weapons Carrier Series and M37 series) in airborne and infantry battalions. 11,240 Mules were produced between their introduction and 1970 when production ceased. They were used throughout the Vietnam Conflict and other U.S. military operations until the 1980s as platforms for various weapons and for carrying men, supplies, and weaponry/ammunition. They offered absolutely no protection to the driver yet that was relatively unimportant as they were mainly used as cargo carriers and medium-range infantry support vehicles rather than close-combat anti-infantry vehicles. They were phased out from military usage in the 1980s.

Armament

The M274 Mules were often outfitted with a wide array of weaponry, especially in the Vietnamese Conflict. They could be modified to carry pretty much any type of conventional weapon that could be mounted on a truck. They were most commonly outfitted with:

M274 1/2 ton, 4x4 Mechanical Mule Variants

All M274 variants are 4x4 with the same size platform, a transmission with 3 forward speeds and one reverse, and a two speed transfer case. The full-time four wheel drive is further enhanced by locked differentials -- the Mule will move even when only one wheel has traction.

Variant Engine Steering Notes
M-274 4 cyl air-cooled Willys gas 4 wheel Magnesium alloy platform
M-274A1 4 cyl air-cooled Willys gas 4 wheel Magnesium alloy platform
M-274A2 2 cyl, 4 cycle Continental-Hercules air-cooled gas 4 wheel Magnesium alloy platform
M-274A3 2 cyl, 4 cycle Continental-Hercules air-cooled gas 4 wheel Magnesium alloy platform
M-274A4 2 cyl, 4 cycle Continental-Hercules air-cooled gas 4 wheel Magnesium alloy platform
M-274A5 2 cyl, 4 cycle Continental Hercules air-cooled gas 2 wheel Aluminum platform, electronic ignition

M274 models were prototyped and manufactured by Willys (1950s), then later variants produced by Bowen-McLaughlin-York, Baifield Industries (1965) and Brunswick Corp. (1970).

All Mules had 3 speed manual, non-synchromesh transmissions with 2 speed transfer cases, and were 4-wheel drive. All Mules except the A5 variants had 4-wheel steering. Only the A5 variants had Electric Ignition as standard. They had no suspension aside from the low-pressure tires and the seat cushions.

The lower speeds and high horsepower (17hp) of the Mule make it a versatile vehicle off road. It can climb over logs, go up steep slopes, and cross rivers in 1st gear.

Low Range 1st-1mph 2nd-4mph 3rd-9mph

High Range 1st-7mph 2nd-18mph 3rd-25mph

 

The M274 family could be fitted for many infantry tasks including transport of personnel or cargo (slowly--keeping up with foot soldiers), for stringing wire with a cable reel, for carrying patients on stretchers, and as a weapons platform for a recoilless rifle or anti-tank missile.  Each wheel had shackles for lifting by helicopter or parachute airdrop. The seat and the foot basket can be detached and stored underneath the platform which can then be rigged as a steerable trailer. The steering column could be set in multiple positions so the driver could operate the vehicle from almost any position, including crouching down.

M274 Mechanical Mule Specifications and Performance

Length 118.25 inches
Width 46.6 inches
Platform height 27.5 inches
Weight 870 lbs
Payload 1000 lbs
Ground clearance 12 inches
Fording depth 18 inches
Max Speed 25 mph
Range 90-150 miles

 

M274 Models

     - 11,240 mules were made and approximately 5,000 were destroyed or left in Vietnam.

     - M274 Willys-2,452 built 1956 to 1960 A04-53 engine (4 cyl)

     - M274-A1 Willys-1,905 built 1962 to 1964 A04-53 engine (4 cyl)

     - M274-A2 Bowen McLaughlin/York-3,609 built 1964 to 1967 A0-42 engine (2 cyl)

     - M274-A3 Result of installation of A0-42 engine into M274

     - M274-A4 Result of installation of A0-42 engine into M274-A1 A

     - M274-A5* Baifield Industries-2,400 built 1965 to 1969 A0-42 engine (2 cyl)

     - M274-A5* Brunswick Corp. 874 of these were built from 1968 to 1970 A0-42 engine (2 cyl)* Two wheel steering

 

 

Specifications:

M-274 Mechanical Mule: Truck, Platform, Utility -ton, 4x4

 Six varieties of Mules were made by Willys, Bowen-McLaughlin-York, Baifield Industries & Brunswick Corp.

 

 

jepcolwell@aol.com

John Colwell     Member # 9884

 

                                                             

Waxahachie, Texas

 

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