M274 (TOW launcher) - The Mechanical Mule with a Missile

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The pack mule was commonly used in the far-eastern jungles of the second world war. Where it was commonly used for transportation by the British, American and Commonwealth armies. While trusty and reliable, the pack mule was resource-intensive and required the armies to feed, lead and care for them accordingly. With the rise of motor vehicles, the need for a small load-bearing vehicle eventually arose to replace the pack mule.

During this time, Willys was trying to improve its medical evacuation litter carrier which was designed for terrain impassable to a standard jeep. These efforts culminated in the jungle burden carrier patent made by Willys Overland Motors on the December of 1944, though it was only issued 4 years later. Soon after, it was tested in Eglin Field, Florida where the prototype proved to be useful either as a supply and men carrier or for other purposes. The US Army then decided to purchase a limited amount to be given to the airborne forces. After many tests and the lessons learned from Korea, in 1954 the US Army decided to fully procure the vehicle and standardized it as the M274 Mule. It was given to both airborne and infantry divisions to replace the 1/4 and the 3/4 short ton trucks. The mule would go on to serve extensively during the Vietnam war.

m274 3 view image

The M274 was designed as a barebones vehicle meant to carry large amounts of storage on cross-country conditions. Because of this, the vehicle was highly modifiable which allowed soldiers to integrate the systems they needed onto it. The mule could be fitted with many different armament combinations, including the M134 minigun, M2HB .40 cal machine gun, M40 105mm recoilless rifle, and even a TOW Anti-tank missile system, which is the variant I am suggesting for. The initial variants of the mule, being the M274 & A1 models, had the 4 cylinder Willys engine which was known to be poorly constructed and had a limited lifespan. Later models would be fitted with a 2 cylinder Continental-Hercules engine to improve the vehicle.

Willys Overland would go onto produce 11240 vehicles from 1956 to 1970 for the US Army. The M274 would eventually be replaced by the HMMWV and M-Gator tractor.

  • Characteristics:
    Crew: 2 (1 Driver, 1 Gunner)
    Width: 1.18m (3’11")
    Height: 0.70m (2’4")
    Steering: four-wheel drive, four-wheel steer. Can be converted to two-wheel drive.
    Ground Clearance: 29.845cm (11.75in)

Screenshot from 2024-05-18 16-22-38

  • Mobility:
    Engine: 1x Continental-Hercules 2 cylinder outputting 17 horsepower
    Top speed, cc: 40km/h (20mph)
    Weight: 408kg (900lbs) presumed to be without the TOW launcher and ammo. Able to carry upto 1000lbs.
    Transmission: Standard with 3 forward, 1 reverse.
    Gear Ratio: Low 2.93:1, Second 1.71:1, High 1.00, Reverse 2.93:1
    Brakes: Mechanical
    Tire size: 7.50 x 10
    Maximum range: 145 - 240km or minimum of 5hrs of cross-country operation
    Minimum turning diameter: Left 13.538m (44ft 5in), Right 11.582m (38ft)

  • Firepower:
    Main Armament: 1x BGM-71 TOW ATGM launcher with 6 reloads (7 rounds total)
    360 deg traverse, though in game the position of the driver and gunner may limit that.
    Includes a thermal vision sight for the gunner.

M274 Mule with TOW being used 2

  • Armor:
    Couldn’t find much on this, help would be greatly appreciated.
    However, it is quite obvious that this is an open top vehicle with minimal protection.
Various videos:



m274 orthographic

M274A5 Mule With TOW (Military Trader Vehicles) 2

Feedback and corrections are very much appreciated! :D


War thunder is not ready for quadbikes yet


It is actually a truck, but aside from that I don’t see why this couldn’t be added. Would be quite a ratty and fun vehicle to play imo.

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About as basic and barebones a TD as you can get, and I love it. The 106mm RCL version would be fun too. +1

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Its essentially a quadbike

I saw a chasse like this at FT hood. At the armor museum there

Hell yeah

I would post photo of a biological mule, but I already used that joke for the M274 with an M40 recoilless rifle on the old forums.

Oh and the armor thickness is “no”.


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We ABSOLUTELY need this for the US tree! It seems like everyone has a “rat vehicle” of some description except the US unless you count the M22!

+1 for ratwagon tank destroyers, MBTs have it too easy (and I need more COAX targets).

but the tires are not what was originally used
here is a photo of what I recall they to appear as.

hopefully this will help with the dev’s imaging of what the otherside or rather angle appears as.