A Brief Outline History

It was 1951 when the US Army awarded Ford Motor Company the contract to design and produce a 1/4 ton Multi-Utility Tactical Truck (quickly known as the MUTT) to replace the M38 and M38 A1 Light Utility Trucks used in the Korean War.

The design of the M151 took place over most of the 1950's, with the jeep first seeing service in Vietnam. Its popularity and versatility resulted in there being a number of improvements and variants produced until the Humvee replaced in during the 1980's. These changes and adaptions are discussed and illustrated further under their own variant names, very briefly described on the home page, and listed in the links to the left of every page of this site.

Although the Humvee came into service in the '80s, the smaller size, lighter weight and greater versatility of the MUTT ensured that it would remain in action for at least another ten years. It fitted into a C-130 cargo plane and the CH-53 heavy transport helecopter - just one reason why the US Marine Corps were still favouring the M151 FAV (Fast Attack Vehicle)in places like Kosovo right through until 1999. Below, to give a better idea of size, is a photograph of an M151 A2 alongside a Defender 90 land rover, with back bumpers level.

Landrover Defender 90 and MUTT size comparison

Despite the (frequently exaggerated?) tendency of earlier models to roll over when cornered too quickly, the MUTT series was used in service for around forty years - longer than the M38, M38 A1, and WW2 MB/GPW jeeps combined!

Unfortunately though, those early roll-over problems returned to haunt the MUTTs when they were released from service.
In an attempt to keep the jeep out of less experienced civilian hands, the US Army ordered them to be cut in half when taken out of service. Because people managed to find two matching halves and weld them back together, they were later quartered or crushed. A relatively small number (including the one above which served with the Portuguese Army) have managed to survive whole.

Whilst numbers might now be low, the popularity of this little jeep helped it to spread wings. It can still be found in over a hundred countries, after various models saw successful military service  in fifteen different NATO countries. They were also sold to many other countries, including Canada, UK and Denmark and countries outside of NATO such as Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, and Pakistan.






The UH1 "Huey" Helecopter


 

Bell UH1 "Huey" on exhibit at The Army Air Museum, Middle Wallop, Hampshire


Working alongside the M151's during the Vietnam War, the Huey helicopter became known as the Jeep of the Skies, rapidly transporting troops into combat, equipment and evacuating the wounded.






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