By Nick DeNardo
So, you want to install a 106mm recoilless rifle on your mule? This would have been an easier accomplishment in the 1980s but an almost impossible task in the current marketplace…almost.
Gathering the parts will be an arduous task. In addition to the under bed mount with the proper hardware, you will need the 106mm gun (along with its spotter rifle), traversing and elevating mount, and numerous deck-mounted brackets to hold the auxiliary components associated with the life of a recoilless rifle.
LEFT: A typical torch cut barrel is enough to make a grown man
weep and the weak-of-spirit to abandon the idea of adding firepower
to their Mule. RIGHT: Damage done to the traverse and elevation
mount included broken hand wheels and torch cuts to the internal
bearings in both places.
The muzzle was also cut with a generous gash, destroying
Already having a restored A5 mule with added four-wheel steering, I was looking for a new project. The rising cost of fuel pointed me in the micro military vehicle direction. My plan was to resurrect a basket case mule and mate it with a demilitarized 106mm along with a complete set of brackets and all of the accessories I could find.
A long search produced a pair of 106s along with a spotter rifle. The selected piece was in good torch cut condition with very little rust. The pictures illustrate the extent of the damage inflicted by the “smoke wrench.”
The 106 barrel was cut in half and both pieces end-to- end were short by two inches of the overall length of the finished barrel. In addition, the .50-caliber spotter rifle was cut into three pieces. For good measure, the barrel was also bent!
LEFT: The breech end of the 106 was also cut with the intention
of destroying the breech block and vent bushing. RIGHT: Damage
done to the traverse and elevation mount included broken hand
wheels and torch cuts to the internal bearings in both places.
With a little friendly force and the aid of a hammer and block
of wood, the breech door was forced open.
Along the way, I was able to accumulate and fabricate a complete set of bed mounted brackets. A sight and tripod were also located in addition to ammunition straps. Inert display rounds have also been located.
Weight is also something to consider before undertaking a project like this. The 106mm recoilless rifle, together with its spotter rifle and mount, weighs in at about 380 pounds.
Having the ability to handle and maneuver this piece to work on it will also need to be addressed. To properly align the pieces for welding requires a suitable work table or pipe fabrication stands to support the barrel sections in order to weld them together.
Finally, plan on doing all of the work yourself. The cost to have this work done by a machine shop, in addition to the initial acquisition cost, would derail most hobbyists.
More to come as the project progresses…
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