The US Military M274 Truck, Platform, Utility, 1⁄2 Ton, 4X4 or “Carrier, Light Weapons, Infantry, 1⁄2 ton, 4x4”, also known as the “Mule”, “Military Mule”, or “Mechanical Mule”, is a 4-wheel drive, gasoline-powered truck/tractor type vehicle that can carry up to 1⁄2 short ton (0.45 tonnes) 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-short-ton (0.23-tonne) trucks (“Jeeps”) and 3⁄4-short-ton (0.68-tonne) trucks (Weapons Carrier Series and M37 series) in airborne and infantry battalions. The M274 evolved from improvements to a vehicle designed at the end of World War Two by Willys-Overland as a medical evacuation litter carrier from areas and terrain that would be a problem for the standard light vehicle of the period (the Jeep) to access.
A total of 11,240 Mules produced between 1956 and 1970 when production ceased. They were used throughout as platforms for various weapons systems and for carrying men, supplies, and weaponry/ammunition during the Vietnam War and in other US military operations until the 1980s. As a completely open and exposed vehicle, 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 tactical vehicles.
The driver’s seat could be removed and the steering column moved forward and the vehicle driven in reverse to accommodate more cargo. If under fire the steering column could be moved further forward and down, so the operator could operate the vehicle while crawling behind it. They were phased out from military usage in the 1980s with the introduction of the HMMWV series vehicles. The HMMWV was, however, unable to fulfill the role of the Mule, so the M-Gator, a military variant of the popular John Deere Gator vehicle, was introduced.
The M274 Mules were often outfitted with a wide array of weaponry, especially in the Vietnam War. They could be modified to carry virtually any type of conventional weapon that could be mounted on a truck. Most commonly, the M274 was outfitted with M60 7.62mm NATO light machine guns, M2HB .50 Caliber machine guns, M40 106mm recoilless rifles, and TOW anti-tank missile systems.
- Wood crates, ammo can & tubes, and ration container included
- Optional M2HB HMG and M60 LMG included
- M40 106mm recoilless rifle optional (not included)
- Driver included
Product Code: 280131
Number of Parts: 59 pieces / 1 sprue