Skip to comments.Humvee Crashes Perplex Army
Posted on 03/18/2005 7:26:14 AM PST by Pendragon_6
The Army is baffled by a recent spate of vehicle accidents in Iraq - many of them rollovers involving armored Humvees - that have claimed more than a dozen lives this year.
One key concern: Soldiers lack the skills to handle the heavier Humvees and are losing control as they speed through ambush areas before insurgents detonate roadside bombs.
"An individual feels that if he goes faster he can avoid that threat," says Lt. Col. Michael Tarutani, an Army official tracking the accidents. "But now he's exceeded, first, maybe his capabilities, and then maybe the speed for those conditions."
In the past four full months, the numbers of serious vehicle accidents and fatalities in Iraq have more than doubled from the previous four months, records provided by the Army show. In the first 10 weeks of this year, 14 soldiers were killed in accidents involving Humvees or trucks. All but one died in rollovers. If that rate continues, the number of soldiers killed in such accidents this year would be almost double the 39 soldiers killed in 2004. Detailed records involving Marines were not available.
The Army is trying to determine whether the dramatic increase in the number of Humvees in use in Iraq - or an increase in the amount of miles they are being driven - might explain the higher number of accidents. It also is questioning whether the handling and center of gravity in Humvees may have been altered by armor plating bolted on in Iraq or shields added around gun turrets.
it's the malicious SUV's at it again. what have we created?!
That would be my guess. I've never driven an armored Humvee but I have driven an ambulance and it handles much differently than a van or truck.
Probably has a lot to do with driving when you are really scared...
And could it be that, with the added weight alone (apart from any CG effects), the humvee isn't quite as responsive to the controls as it was without it?
Nah! Couldn't be that! That would mean that putting armor on the humvees wasn't a free lunch, even from a casualty-count-in-humvees perspective. And we all know that that isn't true!
If you want on the list, FReepmail me. This IS a high-volume PING list...
19 year old men behind the wheel of a V8. What is to wonder?
It's because soldiers
can't marry their Humvees. That
would solve everything!
I wonder if they modify the suspension for the extra weight? If not, maybe they should.
The hummer was never designed to be an armored vehicle. If the army needs armored vehicles there, they should use purpose built armor.
During the first Gulf War, another Marine and I "borrowed" a CUCV Ambulance and on a turn actually got that bad boy on two wheels. Yeah, heavy vehicles handle differently.
what have we created?!
"It also is questioning whether the handling and center of gravity in Humvees may have been altered by armor plating bolted on in Iraq or shields added around gun turrets."
This I can say from experience in driveing these things is the most likely cause of the rollovers.
I raced without beer when I was 19 all the time. 1970 Olds F85 with a 350.
Did you crash?
If you raise the center of gravity by mounting armor plating up high, it makes a vehicle prone to rollovers at speeds over 35 mph.
A few bumps.
Either this is just a media scare or it has something to do with a change to the vehicle's stability involving the modifications.
I just watched a History Channel program on the Jeep. They tried to modify the Jeep replacing the solid axles, in the late '50s, I think. They ended up with a situation where if the Jeep became even the slightest bit airborne (hit a bump), the wheels would curl toward the center of the vehicle. If you landed even the slightest bit cockeyed, voila! - even the most experienced drivers would roll over.
Took a few deaths for them to figure it out.
Only what fit in the trunk.
"If you raise the center of gravity by mounting armor plating up high, it makes a vehicle prone to rollovers at speeds over 35 mph."
It most Certainly does.
My guess is that as the war dies down, battle hardened 19 year olds have a lot more time to play with these indestructible toys.
It seems that by inserting a blank as compensating weight it would help in realigning the center of gravity. Any reduction in acceleration, top speed, or storage/passenger capacity would likely be an acceptable trade off. Sounds like these vehicles were 'redesigned' in the field and need some more tweaking.
Also, fear leads to over-correction in steering. Happens all the time around here stateside. Someone (usually a young driver) comes upon some debris on the interstate (usually a re-tread from a semi tire that they could drive over anyway) and they drastically yank the wheel one way, then back the other way and there you have it - roll over w/ tragic deaths.
Duh! Ya think?
You cannot add thousands of pounds of armor plate to the upper surfaces of any vehicle without effecting the handling characteristics. The Humvee is s fine vehicle, as designed, but it is not a Stryker. Dressing them up like Strykers is going to increase the rate of rollovers.
Hopefully the lives saved by the armor will more than make up for the accidental deaths. The Army needs to train the drivers that these up-armored Humvees are not the same animal they trained on back in the States.
No brainer. Take a vehicle with relitively low CG, bolt on 4500 pounds of armour plate above its CG and you get an underpowered overweight POS that rolls over if you pass gas next to it.
The up-armored HMMWV weighs just over 10,000 lbs without ammo, armament, etc.
Both have four tires, either bias or radial.
Nah, that wouldn't have a thing to do with the additional accidnets. </sarcasm>
The media attacks against the Pentagon and Rumsfield are directly responsible for these deaths. If it wasn't for their repeated screams for Armor, the soldiers wouldn't be driving vehicles they are not familiar with!
They are diesels.
Ok they still go fairly fast over ruff roads.
" They tried to modify the Jeep replacing the solid axles, in the late '50s, I think. They ended up with a situation where if the Jeep became even the slightest bit airborne (hit a bump), the wheels would curl toward the center of the vehicle. If you landed even the slightest bit cockeyed, voila! - even the most experienced drivers would roll over."
That's when the M-38A1 Jeep was replaced by the M-151 which was a totally different vehicle. The M-151 had unit-body construction and, as you noted, had independent rear suspension that allowed the rear wheels to tuck under during heavy braking and when turning. It was particulary tricky when you got into a turn at excessive speed and tried to brake in the turn. I was fortunate to have covered several thousand miles in an M-151 without incident - it was a great little vehicle.
If surrounding air bags and the panic button on the new civilian hummers would be added onto all hummers in Iraq, maybe it would have contributed to less casualties.
A key missing element leaves this issue impossible to analyze; what are the topographies of the accident locations?
We need a lot more information about what is happening in Iraq before we can jump to conclusions. As with 'Nam, are there factors being withheld for PR reasons? Or more likely, are the factors ignored because people in the government tend to have a blind spot and not consider unintended consequences.
Yes, the same government that would muck up a socialized health care system can muck up a military operation also.
Topography, the inclines, valleys, lumps, bumps in the road.
I used to get into lots of discussions about this. Check out the keywords if you're interested.
Military vehicles are meant to traverse rough terrain, not corner like a Porsche racing car or NASCAR stocker or Indy car on a smooth banked racing track.
They are not driving on a 6-lane concrete thruway either.
The suspensions are designed for maximum wheel travel and the chassis and body must be high enough to clear obstacles.
Stiffer spring rates and massive roll control bars do not work on rough surfaces -
Armored Humvees are being manufactured with beefed up suspensions now and retro-fit kits are being installed on many in service but they can never have the speed and handling of unarmored Humvees.
Recall the massive Super-Tigers Hitler had built near the end of WWII.
It big, to heavy, too slow - it was a flop in the field.
My old Jeep has zero armor when I was on active duty in the US Army yet I knew well if I took a red clay or sand road at higher (in a Jeep? LOL!)
speeds that the narrow track (center of tires width between wheels) and height and stiff suspension was going to get me on my head if I did not drive with skill and caution.
Same on the streets with my sports cars - I actually really learned to drive my Triumph fast on curves on the red clay back roads at Fort Benning, Georgia -
That is why you see so many top Indy and NASCAR drivers that were once dirt-track race drivers - AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, on up to todays drivers.
Using your brain and slowly learning how to "toss" a vehicle in a "drift" (really a "controlled" 4-wheel "slide"!) on dirt or clay can teach you how to apply those lessons on hardtop roads and stay safe and alive.
This is something that takes time and talent and instinct.
The US military cannot reteach every soldier how to drive overweight modified Humvees like a Corvette or an Indy Car.
I never have seen comparisons of our US troops killed in rollovers in combat areas to civilians killed in modern street vehicles that are lower, lighter, handle much better than older street cars.
My suspicions are that the %/100,000 drivers killed in civilian accidents far exceeds out %/100,000 of military accidents in combat zones.
What are the numbers of deaths per 10,000 vehicles :
USA on the hardtop roads :
US troops in combat rough terrain :
I could be wrong.
I doubt that I am wrong.
A Humvee is not a tank
A Humvee is not a sports car
The stupid thing had a high center of gravity to begin with. Then they added armor it wasn't designed to have, adding additional weight it wasn't designed to support as well as raising the CG. The rollovers surprise them? Now I'm surprised.
If that rate continues, the number of soldiers killed in such accidents this year would be almost double the 39 soldiers killed in 2004. Detailed records involving Marines were not available. Um, clearly the difference between Army types and Marines
Just exactly it. Nice driving!
I knew that somebody here would actually be familiar with the modification. That makes two of you guys so far. Check Ben Hecks' post. He actually drove the darn things well enough to be here to tell the tale.
What a body of knowledge we have here!
Me too, but you had to drive the thing like you knew it was out to kill you.
"Me too, but you had to drive the thing like you knew it was out to kill you."
As you probably remember, the M-151 speedometer read from 0 to 60 in an arc approximating 240 degrees; at the bottom of the gauge, it said "miles per hour". My Jeep in 'Nam would do "per" which was about 15 mph past the 60 mark. I'll have to admit that I pushed it a few times driving between Long Binh and Saigon but that was a nice smooth highway with only a few gentle curves. But that was a long time ago when I was young........
Found On Road, Dead. Fix Or Repair Daily.
I buy Toyota, now. At least they ACT like they're interested if you've got a problem - unlike the Wilkinson Double Sword Bird that you get from Ford.