On Campaign With Otter

The Otter’s ability to splash through rice paddies and travel over rough ground made it ideal for service in Vietnam bl@words John Teasdale pictures US National Archives

This Otter is on duty at the extensive Khe San Combat Base in January 1968. It is one of six Otters at the camp at this time, together forming a detachment of the 3rd Motor Transport Battalion’s Headquarters & Service Company. The H&S Company also has six Otters on detachment at Quang Tri, three at Dong Ha, six at Cam Lo and seven at Camp Carroll. The Otters are providing marginal terrain transportation for marine regiments stationed at the various bases. The weather during the month of January would prove to be fair, so the Otters would only be lightly committed. In the month, they would drive a total of 578 miles and transport 154 tons of cargo and 922 troops
Operation Saline was a search and destroy mission undertaken by units of the 3rd Marine Division in Quang Tri Province in the early months of 1968. This Otter has armour plate – with a small opening for the driver to see through – over the windscreen and round the machine gun ring mount. Note how the marines sitting on the roof of the Otter are dangling their legs over the side of the vehicle. This practice would be banned when marines were being transported by M113 armoured personnel carrier, as a mine explosion would take off their legs
This Otter is re-supplying marines participating in Operation Meade River, conducted south-west of Da Nang in December 1968. Note that this vehicle is not fitted with a ring mount for a machine gun. Re-supply was also undertaken by marine helicopters

A vital role of the US Marine Corps was, and so remains today, amphibious landings. In the late 1940s, as part of a programme to replace wartime equipment, a new amphibious cargo carrier was designed and tested. In 1952, this was taken into service as the Carrier, Full-Track, Amphibious, M76. The vehicle was also known as the Otter.

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