Gamma Goat

Military vehicles other than M-151s that might be of interest to our members

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m3a1
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Re: Gamma Goat

Post by m3a1 » October 22nd, 2020, 1:05 pm

I took receipt of four used Gama Goat wheels and tires, of which (it appears) only three will be serviceable. The fourth tire is a bit of a hot mess, having gone without air while having the weight of the vehicle upon it for ages. Its wheel is in good shape. The retaining ring for that wheel...not so much, as it has been compromised by rust pitting which has created one heck of a section reduction but, it'll make a very nice dinner bell or some other artsy thing. So, I'm in the market for another split ring, if one can be found. Luckily, with three others as spares, I have no immediate need of it and absolutely no inclination to 'make it work'.
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If I found myself in a situation where my life absolutely depended upon having to reuse this ring, I think I would risk using it. But, since I have a surplus of wheels and tires, there really is no good reason. In its current condition, the real risk is that it might decide to break at the area where the cross section of the ring has been whittled away by rust. Split rings can only hold if they are formed into a ring...not two halves.

These Gama Goat wheels were manufactured by Sankey, in England. Sankey lays claim to having developed and patented (1908) the first pressed and welded, detachable motor car wheel, known as the ‘All Steel Wheel’. I would love to know the story about how a company based in England ended up with the contract (or subcontract?) to produce wheels for a U.S. military vehicle. Interesting, to say the least.

Breaking the tire/wheel down was very straightforward and having the correct tools for that job made it downright easy. After cutting the valve stem (these tires do not use tubes and new valve stems are really quite inexpensive) and allowing for the full deflation of the tire I simply put the thing under the front bumper of the Burma Ford, and used a rock jack to depress the tire's front sidewall/bead downward toward the center of the rim pressing it off the bead seat of the rim. Yes, that mating surface of the rim is actually called a bead seat.

As for proper names, over the years I have heard these jacks called Rock Jacks, High Lift Jacks, Farm Jacks, even Walking Beam Jacks. Maybe some smart cookie would care to tell us what they are properly called. Anyway, with that bead separated from the wheel, it was a simple matter to prise the split ring out of the groove and work it off the rim. Then, after flipping the whole thing over and depressing the bead off the other side, it comes fully apart.

Now, the ease of this whole process is predicated on having at least most of the components in reasonably good condition and I have shown, in previous postings, just how bad things can actually get (recall the Firestone two-piece "combat wheel"? Wow...what a job that was!). But I will go so far as to say that breaking down a split ring wheel/tire that is in fairly good condition is extremely easy and I would almost rather have to work breaking down split rings wheels than two-piece rims.

One of the major variables in this process that should not be ignored is the tire itself. The Gama Goat tires are BIG 6 ply tires with a monumental amount of sidewall and they are designed to be run at lower pressures...ergo, they are somewhat flexible. Compared to, say, a 9x20 or a 8.25x20, these 11x18 tires are exceptionally flexible. This is not the kind of flexibility you can make happen bare-handed but when they're under a truck, or under a device like the rock jack, the difference is readily apparent. For a DIY-er, working with a tire that is stiff makes for extra labor and you better have had your Wheaties for breakfast before making the attempt.

But so far, my comments have been only about dismounting these tires.

Alas, there is the matter of re-inflation which is where things can go terribly wrong. My present circumstance is, I have some new-ish tires that need to be mounted. Tires that are new and that have never been mounted and are 'at rest" have a very nasty tendency to have their beads situated very close together. That presents problems when one is talking about getting them to seat on rims that are 11" wide but we'll get back to that...

Anytime the topic of split ring wheels comes up, the specter of imminent disaster comes to our minds. We have all seen the the spectacular videos of a split ring separating from the wheel at the speed of light while the room fills with a fog from rapidly decompressing air. What the camera often fails to capture is what the split ring is doing when it comes off. Sometimes they not only come off but come apart with pieces going wherever they go...also at the speed of light.

These visions are legendary but the truth is, disaster is not imminent with split ring wheels. These were the premium wheels of the their era...to be respected, yes, but to be feared? No. Ensure the kit is in good shape, take the necessary care (and that includes protective measures) do the job correctly and all will be well. Make bad decisions, try to use wheels that are not in good shape and be sloppy about how you're doing things, well...you get what you get. This is really the same axiom we all work under in this hobby. Nothing has changed.

So, since I have some of this work ahead of me, I will take the time to document the process for all to see. I think everyone will find it interesting so, stay tuned for that. It's coming.

Cheers,
TJ
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Re: Gamma Goat

Post by lpcoating » October 22nd, 2020, 1:55 pm

In the late 80's I worked at a truck stop after school and on weekends and changed many truck tires that had the split ring. I was 17 years old when I started. We used a cage while inflating the tires for the obvious safety reasons. Looking back I laugh to myself as I think of today's video playing generation performing such duties at that age. While I'm sure there are still mechanical minded farm kids today, I think the average population of 16 - 25 year old's would not have a clue. However, I'm sure their computer skills are impressive... :lol:

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Re: Gamma Goat

Post by m3a1 » October 27th, 2020, 10:19 am

Well, well, well....we had a big turn in the weather, precisely when a buddy and I were out by the Goat preparing for a ride around town. Cold front came in and suddenly, it felt like someone had just opened a refrigerator door. This morning it's about 46 and breezy with drizzle. It may be time to sit down with a cuppa, hit the books (just to ensure I don't miss anything) to figure out the business of putting up windshields and canvas for the cab. But, at least for the moment, I'm staying high and dry inside. In Texas, if you don't like the weather all ya have to do is wait five or ten minutes and it will change..

Speaking of change - It never fails to amaze me how quickly the value of certain things change over time. Consider what the value of a Tiger Tank was during WWII. It was valued chiefly for its usefulness, rather than a monetary value. Then consider what its value was immediately after the war... (obviously they cut this one up!) and finally, consider what a Tiger Tank is worth today. For us, as MV collectors, that is something worth thinking about.
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Cheers,
TJ
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Re: Gamma Goat

Post by rickf » October 27th, 2020, 4:45 pm

Consider the value of that Tiger tank to the people that were inside of it when that round hit it!!!!! Next question was............................ Do we stay or do we go?
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Re: Gamma Goat

Post by m3a1 » October 27th, 2020, 10:37 pm

Were there ANY risk of fire, the WWII Germans tank crews would exit the tank. That was protocol. That doesn't mean they wouldn't wait around to see if it would brew up or not (as we might imagine, hanging around to see if they could reoccupy the tank certainly wouldn't be usual) but what we are looking at here is a nice square hit at generally right angles to the plate which kind of makes me wonder if this photo was meant to record the results of a carefully laid test shot.

In any event, there is a tremendous amount of spall associated with any hit like that. Whether the projectile penetrated or not, delamination and fracturing of the armor place could send a tremendous amount of white hot shrapnel into the crew space, damaging necessary kit, wounding the crew and creating a substantial risk of fire.

There are written accounts from Tiger crews who received hits from rounds that did not penetrate and what they would see on the inside of the tank would be their armor glowing from the energy imparted by the offending shell. Pucker Factor: 100%! Read anything you can about Michael Wittmann, Germany's tank ace. A lot of his experiences are recounted in great detail.

The 17 pounder's shell is impressive in size but shaped charges do the same with a lot less projectile and I can tell you from personal experience, an RPG-7, as small as it is, does a LOT of damage. One cannot judge the amount of damage from the size of the hole.

Anyhoo...neat photo and a sad end to another tank.

Cheers,
TJ
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Re: Gamma Goat

Post by Surveyor » October 28th, 2020, 4:39 pm

O - It's a mother beautiful tank!
M - It's a piece of junk.
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Re: Gamma Goat

Post by lpcoating » October 28th, 2020, 8:35 pm

This is probably a dumb question but it's either ask or put dishes away so here goes: Is the picture supposed to be legit? As in that is the actual round that penetrated that plate? If so, I can't believe that it would be in that good of shape after impact.

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Re: Gamma Goat

Post by m3a1 » October 29th, 2020, 10:10 am

Excellent observation and an equally excellent question. After receiving your post I did some digging and came up with this -

https://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/ ... ger_tanks/

...all of which may simply be more conjecture of course but, I think they're also headed to the truth of the matter... Their thread kind of devolves into all sorts of commentary but much of it supports Guy's observations and also supports my suggestion that this was a 'test shot' (whether the target was an actual tank, or not). My guess is, post war, there were far more tanks left to that purpose than large chunks of extraordinarily thick flat steel plate.

As we all know, there is always a lot of testing going on where armor is concerned and you can bet the guys doing it were and still are doing it with great zeal. It's always fun to shoot the big stuff (cleaning up the gun afterwards, no so much) and bonus points if one gets to take home a trophy.

As a sidebar comment, when our group was doing OpFor for the Army at Camp Bullis (most of the camp was a firing range at one time or another) we had to first receive our Red Cards before being turned loose on an unsuspecting camp and that meant going through a school put on by Range Control. All the dos and don'ts of proper behavior and all the attendant warnings about the dangers of being out there with the flora and fauna of Texas...

...and unexploded ordinance.

It is not uncommon to find some UXOs out there and during the time we spent skulking around we located, marked and called in several when we came across them. If you have any doubt that UXOs aren't very real threats just google this = "Large World War II-Era Bomb Explodes in Polish River." This is a bomb that sat, submerged for....ahh....well you do the math. BOOM!

But more to the point, we also found a lot of exploded shells which come apart in an interesting variety of ways. There seems to be no actual predictability to how they self destruct but the evidence left behind always stokes the imagination.

I have a fat 50 ammo box around here somewhere filled with shrapnel...big and little. The largest is a nightmarish, tortured piece of metal that reminds me of a torqued boomerang and the edges...EVERY ONE, are still razor sharp to this day. It only fits in the box diagonally so that is...um, something like 12" long. Whipsawing through the air it would easily cut a man in half. Add that to the list of things I'd love to share a picture of, here. If I stumble upon it, I'll take a pic.

Now, if you are good little boys and girls, maybe at some point I'll share with you one of my epic near misses with death as a youth. Dad was a Civil War buff and he once brought home a real Civil War UXO...never dreaming that his first born son would get his grubby little hands on it and do something really, REALLY stupid...

Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Gamma Goat

Post by acudanut » November 1st, 2020, 11:17 am

Speaking of armor. Have you seen the Movie called T-34. Great movie. All in Russian, but has English in subtitle. I can't hear worth a damn anyway, so I don't mind reading.

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Re: Gamma Goat

Post by m3a1 » November 1st, 2020, 1:27 pm

I did see that movie. It was great fun to watch.

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Re: Gamma Goat

Post by m3a1 » November 16th, 2020, 1:47 pm

Not much going on with the Gama Goat. I am totally mired in a complete reshuffle around here which amounts to clearing the deck in order to bring my rather ill half track around to the front of the garage and out from under the carport alongside the garage. It's a big job involving carving into a lot of stupid stuff that has been clogging up my life and my available space. The Gama Goat has done yeoman service helping me haul a great many things off to the donation sites. It's my other pickup truck!

Happily, peeling back these layers has had one surprising bonus. I'm finding out I have more parts squirreled away than I thought I did. In the early stages of this effort I began to think I was going to have to let go of my 42 GPW (which is totally apart at the moment). Now I'm finding that the small mountain of parts I have put away will get me a LONG way into the build-back so, it stays with me. But in order to maintain balance in the universe things don't quite always go as planned.

By way of example, I found a container with all the bits necessary to hang the leaf springs on the new frame (yes, I said NEW) but now I cannot find the leaf springs. I bought those ages ago and they are around here somewhere! I'm not happy about having to endure that mystery any longer than I have to because having a chassis up on its wheels is really the first step in putting the whole thing back together. I do have another complete set but they would have to go down to the spring shop and be completely refurbished which is an additional expense I'm not keen to have to endure.

Meanwhile, the Gama Goat continues to be there for me and people around town continue to smile and wave and point it out to their dull-witted friends who go through life with their noses buried in their smart phone. Alas, in the current political climate, tooling around town with Dirty Gertie all gunned up would tend to make folks unduly nervous (yes, even in Texas)....so I'll be a good citizen and keep certain things 'behind the curtains.'

On another happy note, I found some gun mount goodies whilst pawing through the boxes and now, after some careful machine work, I finally have my high quality Airsoft M240B (which is the heavy hitter from my war) fitted to a soft mount. Even the very best Airsoft guns seem to always be just a smidge off plumb when it comes to getting them to mate with real mounts and so, with a nip and a tuck on the gun, and some careful line-boring of the mounting holes, it fits. A word of advice. NEVER make changes to an original mount. May come the day when having a legitimate mount will mean life or death to someone. Always make your adjustments to the replica weapon..

What does this new mating of replica weapon and mount mean? Well, now the Gama Goat may make an appearance with an M60 or it may appear with the M240B...both of which are extremely convincing replicas. What will TJ bring us today? SURPRISE! M240B! Woo HOO! Has a Gama Goat ever seen service with the M240B? Time-wise, this is entirely possible though I have no pictures to provide as evidence.
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This soft mount was a total wreck when I got it and I picked it up for very little money because of that. I spent some 'quality time' with it in the evenings, whilst resting up from the back-breaking work I've been facing during the day. The pintle and the T&E mount were both disgusting, rusty messes. But, being constructed of top quality steel, they came around after a careful buffing with steel wool, some time spent in white vinegar, another detailed buffing and finished with Birchwood Casey Perma Blue Liquid Gun Blue and a light coat of oil. All done by hand. I'm very pleased with the result. Nice, eh?
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Some interesting speculation goes on, on the internet, about the purpose of soft mounts, most of which is very much misunderstood. Simply put, soft mounts are not constructed to provide comfort for the user but rather, to prolong the service life of the weapon.

We know that the M240B is big and heavy but it is, first and foremost, a man-portable weapon as evidenced by the bipod provided. It becomes even more deadly when mounted on a tripod and coupled with an appropriate mount and a traverse and elevation mechanism.

Owing to its weight and with some careful consideration about how to best keep the M240 in the hands of the poor bloody infantry, at some point some smart cookie came up with the M240L which was introduced as a somewhat truncated weapon, with shorter barrel and much of the overall weight trimmed away.

Weight, of course, does much to counteract recoil and sooner or later the M240Ls began to find their way into hard mounts (which I suspect was largely due to the ACav boys) which was a place the M240L definitely did NOT belong. The result of that was the guns began shaking themselves apart because a lighter weapon locked in a hard mount designed for a heavier weapon is not a good combination; a hard mount being far more unyielding than an infantryman...even one correctly snuggled up behind that weapon.

Even the best machine gun cannot go forever without a rebuild. Take a lightweight weapon with a strenuous recoil, lock it down in an unyielding mount, put 10,000 rounds through it and... watch it fall apart. So the obvious and most effective solution was to create a soft mount to absorb some of that recoil and prolong the service life of the M240B and the its variants such as the M240L between regularly scheduled trips back to the Ordnance Maintenance guys.

Cheers,
TJ
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Re: Gamma Goat

Post by 1SGCAV77 » November 16th, 2020, 7:40 pm

You should be pleased. Nothing works better than a little elbow grease and attention to detail. Very nice job.
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