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M20 (G-176)

Six-Wheeled Light Armored Reconnaissance Utility Car [ 1943 ]

The M20 Armored Utility Car saw production reach 3,791 units from July 1943 to June 1945.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/13/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The M20 (U.S. Army identifier of G-176) was a reconnaissance/general purpose utility car adopted by the United States Army during World War 2 (1939-1945). Development produced a vehicle with a 6x6 wheel arrangement capable of cross-country travel through use of large road wheels, a capable powerpack and running gear, and suitable suspension system. Similar in form to the famous M8 "Greyhound" line of 6x6 armored cars also used by the Army, the M20 differed in its indirect combat role - usually outfitted with just a single machine gun for self-defense, personal defense weapons carried by the crew, and communications equipment including support for several radio sets. Manufacture was handled by Ford Motor Company from its St. Paul, Minnesota plant where 3,791 vehicles were eventually produced- this from July of 1943 to June of 1945.

The M20 was primarily to serve as a commander's vehicle for in-the-field work and lacked the cannon-armed turret of its M8 sister. Instead, an open-topped hull was used to provide unfettered access for the commander and crew to the goings on outside of the vehicle - whether observing maneuvers or artillery fire or other battlefield-related work. The M20 was simply armed through a single 0.50 M2 Browning heavy machine gun for defense against low-flying aircraft, light-armored vehicles, or infantry. This could be replaced with a single 0.30 caliber Browning M1919 machine gun which fired the smaller cartridge and therefore was allowed more ammunition boxes. The gun was fitted to trolley-and-cradle arrangement to make it trainable and this setup sat within a M49 series ring mount. Beginning in August of 1944, the mount was upgraded to the M66 standard.

A typical operating crew number six personnel. In addition to the provided main armament, it was strongly recommended that the crew personally arm themselves on any journey as insurance should they come under fire from the enemy or be separated from the main fighting force. As such, operators stocked their vehicles with manner of small arms including carbines, service rifles, submachine guns, pistols, hand grenades, and anti-tank mines.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Ford Motor Company St. Paul - USA
United States
Operators National flag of the United States
Service Year
United States
National Origin

Design, of typically lightweight nature, providing onroad/offroad capabilities for the scouting or general security roles.
Can conduct reconnaissance / scout missions to assess threat levels, enemy strength, et al - typically through lightweight design.
General utility-minded design to accomplish a variety of battlefield tasks, typically in a non-direct-combat fashion.
Special purpose design developed to accomplish an equally-special battlefield role or roles.

16.4 ft
(5 meters)
8.2 ft
(2.5 meters)
7.5 ft
(2.3 meters)
12,249 lb
(5,556 kg)
6.1 tons

1 x Hercules JXD gasoline engine developing 86 horsepower at 2,800rpm.
Drive System
56 mph
(90 kph)
Road Speed
249 miles
(400 km)
Road Range

1 x 0.50 M2 Browning heavy machine gun OR 1 x 0.30 caliber M1919 Browning machine gun in upper gun ring.
1,050 x 0.50 caliber ammunition OR 2,000 x 0.30 caliber ammunition

M20 - Base Series designation

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Image of the M20 (G-176)
Image from the United States Army image archives.

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