From: Monroe, LA, USA
ORIGINAL: Mad Russian
While we are on the subject of Headquarters...Anybody know what this is?
Yes, that's right, it's an M577 Command Track. This is vehicle is usually assigned to a US Headquarters of greater than company size. If this HQ is given an order to move it takes longer for it to respond than other units in that side's OOB. HQ's units can't simply jump in a tank and drive off. A HQ unit must pack for travel and once it gets where it's going it must reassemble the HQ.
Beware! If your HQ gets in trouble it won't be able to simply drive away like combat units. It will take time to get ready to move. Losing a HQ will have disruptive effects on every unit that reports to that HQ in the Chain of Command.
Excellent. I was an M577 track driver for the S2, Hqs 2nd Bde, 8th Infantry Division, Baumholder, (West) Germany, 1974-75. That was before I went back and finished college and got my commission, etc. Nice to see the M577 silhouette. And, yes, of course you are correct about the mobility and agility problems of hqs using 577s. At brigade level, we would pull three 577s up back to back, drop the ramps, set up tent extensions, and connect them into a T-shaped setup. Then we would pull out chairs and tables and mapboards, string lights, set up and fire up generators, put up radio antennas, put up camo netting, and finally get the TOC (Tactical Operations Center) functioning. It took a while to get all that set up and torn down. Of course we were still operating out of the 577s while the setup was going on. But when the TOC was moving, it wasn't operating. If we needed to be more flexible, we dispensed with the tent extensions and just operated out of the 577s. We would also sometimes use a 'jump track,' one 577 that would go ahead to a new location with part of the command team, or just set up in an alternate location, so it could be operational while the main TOC was moving. My job was to drive and do the manual labor in helping set up the TOC (though everyone, including officers, pitched in), and then to serve as the S2 radio operator. Into the 80s and early 90s and I guess later this was essentially the way TOCs operated, with individual commanders setting the unit standard for how lean or fat their TOCs were. One brigade commander carried plywood to put down as flooring in the TOC. The general thought among the NCOs I worked for, all Vietnam vets, was that if we went into combat, just about everything including the tent extensions would be left behind the first time the TOC had to displace under fire.