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M289, 6 x 6, (Side view, left side)

 
 

Side view, left side

Picture courtesy of Uffe Smistrup, Svogerslev


Danish Army Specific: The Honest John rocket-launcher was received as part of the MDAP program in the late 1950s. The launcher system was used as Division- and Corps-artillery from 1959 to approx. 1973.
Historical
: Development of the Honest John Rocket system, which was a simple, free-flight rocket capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, took place from May 1950 and the system was deployed as an interim system in spring 1954. The use of off-the shelf hardware reduced time of development to slightly more that 2 years.
Honest John was the first US tactical nuclear weapon. The system was highly mobile and designed to fire like conventional artillery in battlefield areas. It remained in production jointly by Douglas Aircraft Corporation and Emerson Electric Manufacturing for 12 years during which time more than 14.500 of the M31 and the improved M50 rocket were produced.
In May 1961 the improved Honest John first reached the field as a complete tactical unit. By the end of 1962, Army Artillery battalions in the United States and overseas were equipped with the improved Honest John and were fully operational.
The conversion of the Honest John system from active to reserve status began with the M33 CHOPPER JOHN (helicopter transportable launcher) units in 1964. When the LANCE system became operational, all available Honest John equipment would be converted to National Guard status.
On the 9th of July 1982 MICOM Commander approved a type classification of obsolete for all Honest John rocket motors, launchers, and related ground equipment items.
The M289 and M386 tactical launchers and the below mentioned trucks are all member of the G-744 (or M39), 6 x 6, 5-tons truck series. The series was developed shortly after WW II to replace trucks in the 4-, 5-, 6-, and 7-ton class. First production models were completed by Diamond T and International Harvester with later production being undertaken by Kaiser Jeep (now AM General) and Mack.
Later models were powered by a diesel-engine and later on a turbo-charged version of the LD 465 were used. The latter was no success as it overheated.
The LD was then replaced by a commercial engine by AM General and the series then became known as the M809 range.
Length (M289): 12.9 m (508 inches).
Length (M386): 9.88 m (389 inches).
Width (M289): 3.05 m (120 inches).
Width (M386): 2.89 m (114 inches).
Height (M289): 3.87 m (152 inches).
Height (M386): 4.16 m (164 inches).
Weight
(M289): 21.585 kg (47.595 lb.).
Weight
(M386): 18.218 kg (40.170 lb.).
Engine
: 6-cylinder (Continental R6602), 9.866 cm3 (602 cubic inches) displacement, liquid cooled.
Horsepower: 196 at 2.800 rpm.
Transmission: 5-speed gearbox.
Transfer case: 2 speed.
Electrical system: 12 volt.
Brakes: Air-over-hydraulic.
Tyres: 14.00 - 20.
Fording depth:
without preparation: 1.98 m (78 inches).
with deep water fording kit: N/A.
Fuel type: Petrol.
Fuel capacity: 500 liter (110 gallons).
Range: N/A.
Crew: N/A.
Armament: The fin-stabilised rocket was 762 mm, used against ground targets, and could be armed with a conventional (HE), atomic or chemical warhead. Max. range approx. 34 km.
Additional: Two different models were delivered; the M289 based on the 5 ton M139C chassis (shown), and the
M386 (121 kb) based on the 5 ton M139F chassis, both produced by International. The main difference between the M289 and the M386 was the the length of the ramp which had been reduced by 2 meters and made collapsible. The latter was standardised in September 1957.
The launcher was equipped with a 115V generator-set, generating power for heating of the rocket. Approx. weight of the launcher was 19 ton without rocket and 21.5 ton with the rocket mounted.
The system was also used by Britain, Belgium, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey and West Germany.
The French systems were organised in 3 artillery groups, all based in the southern parts of West Germany.

Other members of the launcher-system were:
- Cargo truck, 5 ton, 6 x 6,
M55 (212 kb) and
- Medium wrecker
M62 (87 kb).


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