In today’s post, I’m going to take a few minutes to educate you about the M88A2 Hercules recovery vehicle. I spent three years in the 4th Infantry Division, a mechanized infantry division with M1 tanks and M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles. I was fortunate to serve as a Platoon Leader in the maintenance company, part of a Forward Support Battalion, and our unit had the M88A2 Hercules.
From the first time I saw this beast, I was captivated with it. No, I never got to do any missions with the M88A2 myself, but I was fascinated with what it could do. Any piece of equipment that can tow a M1 Abrams tank is pretty spectacular as I see it. Watching it utilize the A-frame boom to remove engines, transmissions, and lift equipment was pretty awesome as well. The fact that it can travel at speeds up to 30-mph is just icing on the cake! Throw in a 50 CAL machine gun and you are in heaven!
What I want to do in the rest of this post is share a few quick facts about the M88A2, to teach you what it is capable of.
- It is the largest ground recovery vehicle in the Army
- The M88 has been in service since 1961, more than 50 years now
- They cost just more than $2 million brand new
- It can tow up to 70 tons
- The variants are the M88, M88A1 and M88A2
- The M88 was introduced in 1961, the A1 version in 1977 and the A2 version in 1997
- It weighs 140,000 pounds
- The dimensions are 8.27 meters long, 3.43 meters wide, and 3.12 meters high
- It features a M2 50 CAL machine gun system for armament
- It has a crew of 3 Soldiers
- It can be used to refuel M1 tanks in combat
- It features a V-12, air cooled, twin turbo engine with 750 HP
- The ground clearance is 17 inches
- It features a 280 foot cable and 140,000 pull winch
Here are a few YouTube videos with the Hercules in action. I thought you would enjoy them.
The bottom line is that the M88A2 Hercules is an awesome recovery vehicle, designed to recover tanks and large pieces of equipment. They’re big, tough, and pretty fast. You will typically find them in maintenance units that support armor and tank units. They have an important role in maintaining the readiness of the warfighters.
If you have experience working with the M88A2 Hercules, I want to hear from you. Please leave a comment below to tell us about your experience. I look forward to hearing from you.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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