Wouldn’t it be nice to have an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) for your defense force to fight from? A gun truck does two things; provides an armored platform for fighters to shoot from (on the move, if necessary) and serves as a delivery vehicle for your troops.
What differentiates a gun truck from a technical is that a gun truck is carrying men, who will fight from the truck bed or on foot, using rifles. A technical is generally a vehicle mounted and mobile heavy weapon, like a medium to heavy machine gun. As said earlier, the problem will be sourcing weapons that can be mounted, so we’re using the humans in the gun truck as the gun mounts.
The easiest way of making a gun truck is putting several guys in the bed of a pickup truck. They can shoot from there and then jump out to fight. An unmodified pickup bed will require your men to be seated so they don’t fall out. This limits their arcs of fire and the number of men who can safely fit. Three men should be sufficient to cover both sides and the rear of the vehicle.
With a heavy-duty truck, some steel, and fabricators the possibilities increase. Probably the best vehicle to have to break up an ambush or provide serious fire support against a bad guy’s attack would be an armored vehicle. One of those roaring out of the darkness and opening fire with machine guns, grenade launchers, and even cannons would be a gamechanger. It is a mobile defensive position that can go where help is needed.
Like as a technical is a substitute for a military fighting vehicle, a gun truck is a substitute for an armored personnel carrier. Obtaining an APC is not going to happen for most. What you can do is create a gun truck to not just transport a number of shooters but allow them to fire on the move and with relative safety.
Gun trucks are non-passenger vehicles filled with guns and shooters used to provide a base of fire and increase the firepower available to defenders. Being a truck, it’s mobile and can move from locations quickly while shooters are firing or it can participate in a convoy. Gun trucks are usually flatbed vehicles modified to support shooters in the cargo area. In a civilian context, shooters firing rifles in the truck bed are going to be more common than mounted crew-served weapons.
These really took off in Vietnam when supply convoys were ambushed. Modified 2.5-ton or 5-ton cargo trucks could quickly advance down a convoy column and return fire into the thick of it. These trucks had armored plating added on. Many farm trucks can be similarly modified to provide light armor protection and a good platform for shooting out of the cargo area. Mexican cartels do this to make their own improvised APCs and gun trucks, called “Monstrosos” or monsters.
Dragoons are mounted troops that got off their horses to fight, unlike the cavalry that fought from horseback. Pretty much all your fighters will be on foot. Whether people arrive via auto, ATV, or horseback, they will have to park their cars somewhere. This place should be behind cover and you will need someone to guard the vehicles. For example, cops always have vehicle guards at riots and when breaking up large parties. An unguarded vehicle is theft, vandalism, or sabotage waiting to happen.
If gun trucks or technicals are used in a convoy, deploy them where their firepower makes the most sense. This may be the center, the front, or the rear depending on variable factors. These are the ideal vehicles to stop and provide overwatch at a potential ambush point as the rest pass.
Up close, armored vehicles have poor visibility and weapons traverse. While this is a problem with traditional military vehicles, it is not so much for civilian vehicles unless they are so armored that visibility and firing angles are impaired. Typically, tanks and such are always accompanied by dismounted soldiers who can protect against enemies getting too close and deploying mines, “sticky bombs,” or rocket launchers.
Author Don Shift
Don Shift is a veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office and avid fan of post-apocalyptic literature and film who has pushed a black and white for a mile or two. He is a student of disasters, history, and current events.