The business of having an M60 mounted on a Gama Goat in the proscribed fashion is really an exercise in trying to make the best of a bad situation, as we shall soon see. So little is published about it in any great detail so, I thought well, why not do it here?
Why am I pursuing it at all? Well, there is ample evidence that my Gama Goat did indeed have a weapon mounted to it. God bless 'em, the USMC really loves their guns. This will NOT be a wonderful arrangement in terms of gun-mounting but it will
be a wonderful opportunity to discuss the growing pains that the M561 had to endure.
I'm going to open this particular bag of worms with a couple of photos to provide you with a sense of this whacky mount and how it all comes together on the Goat. Along the way, I'll be providing applicable part numbers as well, just in case some stray Goat herders happen to find their way to this article, looking for a little help.
Take note of the plate that appears beneath the Base in the diagram. This plate lives under the aluminum plating that forms the top of the fender. As a reenforcing plate it is really just miserably thin. Installation kits came with a far thicker plate, constructed of 3/16" steel (thank you 12Bravo for that info) that tied the Base to the bolts that attach the fender to the side wall of the carrier.
This arrangement would have been far better than using just the upper plate for the Base. We'll go a little bit deeper into the issue of reenforcing the whole thing later on.
Corresponding part numbers from the -20P follow...
Oaky, now that you've had a peek, let's get to the major components of the machine gun mount installation.
The Base (that bit that bolts to to the fender), consists of Base, 7.62 Machine Gun (11595560) which is little more than a 4"x6" flat plate with holes for four mounting bolts and a piece of heavy gauge pipe welded to it, which is all constructed of steel. Later, I'll be going into this particular piece a bit more in-depth because, as simple as the part looks....there is (or should be
) a lot more to it, IMHO.
Now is as good a time as any to point out that every bit of the gun mount assembly is steel and much of it is being mated to the Gama Goat which is..aluminum! At this point, does anyone see any trouble on the horizon?
I'm making my own Base, which will incorporate some small changes & minor improvements, basically because there are some problems I want to address and, I don't want mine to be mistaken for the real thing just in case somebody decides they want to shoot off of it at a later date
. My kit is for display only. I have a very nice Airsoft M60 supplied by one of our longtime members (you know who you are and Thank You, again!). I am constructing my mount components of mild steel and truthfully, I have no idea what the metallurgy of the original piece is. Probably far better than mild steel.
, the average observer probably won't know the difference if my kit is a bit different. Why not go with original stuff? Well first, I'm not inclined to shell out the kind of money certain suppliers think they can get for their original parts. Those prices may be what the market will bear but they certainly aren't in line with the limitations of my
wallet! Second, original parts only represent the direction the whole gun mount assembly was taking as problems were discovered, addressed and corrections were made.
Mounted to the Base is the Mount (11595560) which is essentially an arm constructed of pipe with two sockets at either end; one socket for the Base and the other socket for the gun mount. In order to avoid confusion I will hereinafter refer to the "Mount" as the "Arm
" so as to distinguish it from the "Gun Mount".
The smaller of the two sockets fits over the Base and pins in place in only two positions; deployed
(outboard at 90 degrees to direction of vehicle travel), or stowed
(somewhat in line with direction of travel but in actuality it is just a bit tighter toward the centerline of the vehicle. This stowed position creates some difficulties in terms of its spacial relationship to all the other things mounted to the carrier. The main thing I want you to understand here is that the Arm doesn't swing at all, other than moving from one position to the other.
Stowed, or deployed, it is always pinned in place and not permitted to swing which, if allowed to happen, would reduce the weapon's accuracy to just about nothing. You'd end up with a beaten zone about the length of a city block, I reckon. If you have no actual experience with firing a machine gun, allow me to provide you with an illustration that will help you gain a better understanding. Take a sleeping wildcat, sew it up in a burlap bag, put it to your shoulder, Then wade into the water up to your chin. The gyrations of that animal in the bag as it tries to escape are rather close to that of having taken up a machine gun and firing it, unsupported. There you have it. Not an easy thing to do with accuracy.
I will try to solve some of these space and support issues in the way that I build my Base but, I will make no changes to the vehicle itself. With the changes to the Base, it won't be "original" but I think it will be an interesting exercise in 'what might have been' if the Gama Goat had continued to remain in service. I know. It sounds weird but once I start getting into it (and bringing you along for the ride) it will make more sense so try to bear with me.
The second difficulty is that the traverse of the gun mounted in this position is extremely limited; limited primarily by the cowling of the Gama Goat which is of course, immovable and always present. All the other bits that interfere with the movement of the gun are things that any good gunner would take steps to remove beforehand, such as the right side mirror supports, cab and windshield components and so on.
As I begin to put this all together I will get some good photos of where the problems are so you can get a better sense of it. The comments I've heard or read about the gun being rather useless with the cab installed and things like that are made by people who have no real experience with vehicle-mounted weapons. Either you have your weapon mounted with an ability to put it into immediate action or you don't mount the the weapon at all (unless that just happens to be the best place to stow it). If you are in 'Indian Country
', an area where having a M60 mounted and ready to go is necessary, you surely don't want a cab or a windshield up. Simple as that.
At the present time I think the fellow sitting in a Gama Goat with the M60 would have done far better with no mount at all and perhaps just a few sandbags or an Alice pack to shoot off of. I'm guessing the military eventually came to the same conclusion. Alas, I have yet to find photographic evidence of it. Either way, the right front seat is surprisingly generous in terms of space to work (shoot) from but, as has been said so many times, the Gama Goat, being constructed of aluminum, affords absolutely NO protection from small arms. It is really not
the best place to fight a war from.
I know someone will observe that it would be better then, to shoot it out with the enemy from outside
the vehicle. That idea does have merit but, the reality is, that isn't such a good idea when the rest of your mates are doing their level best to drive out of the ambush and get over the next hill or around the next bend in the road....which would mean leaving you and your little pop gun behind! EVERYTHING in life is based on compromise, so having a weapon mounted (whatever the limitations of that mount might be) is more for the purpose of shooting AND
scooting than anything else. It's just as simple as that.
The photo above happens to be a still shot, taken from the following video. Do watch the video because the owner makes some interesting observations about his mount. He explains that he doesn't have the reenforcing panel in place below the mount. He also observes that his mount has a tendency to sway which of course means his mount doesn't have adequate support and definitely
not the sort of platform you'd want to fight for your life from.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbNODnp ... e=youtu.be
Several other takeaways from the video are that his Arm differs from mine in a few very important ways. First, is his claim that his base is 2 1/4" diameter which is smaller than mine, which is 2 5/16". The sidewall thickness appears to be proportionately the same but his is cast. (Iron? Aluminum?) Very hard to say. Keep in mind that his Arm is also entirely different so hopefully his measurement is legitimate. I measured mine with calipers and I can say mine is an absolutely correct measurement for my particular style of Arm.
I cannot say with any certainty that his Mount is an earlier or later model, although the diagram in the -20P of the 1970 publication shows an exact drawing of the style of Arm I have. The largest, most visible difference between his Arm and mine is that his is designed to accept the long-post M142 Gun Mount and mine, the short post. (Author's note: I will discover, later, that statement is factually incorrect. Mine is a long post as well) Longer post means more weight, of course...and right where you wouldn't want it so it may well be his predates mine and somebody finally wised up and decided to make a lighter, more compact set-up.
And this brings us to the matter of M142 Gun Mounts themselves. I won't go into great detail about the M142s. I will just say that I have found a large number of variations of this particular mount, some more spartan than others but all are a variation of the same design. They all have one thing in common and that is they are an unusually HEAVY mount (for their size) and to put one on an extended Arm is an invitation for trouble as we shall soon see.
"This is my Gama Goat. There are many like it, but this one is mine."
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