All the (off)road going amphibious vehicles of the world. (work in progress) All the (off)road going amphibious vehicles of the world. (work in progress)

Last update on 14 -Apr - 2010

BARC - (LARC 60) General Info.

BARC on coming BARC stands for Barge Amphibious Resupply Cargo.
It is 6500 mm high and 21000 mm long.
On land the driver has no vision from the control cabin on the back of the vehicle so he/she must rely on hand signals from the person on the bow.

The earlier versions of the BARC Hull no. 6 to 20 have the control cabin on the front see the pictures with the DUCW and the rail road picture.

The reason the cab was moved aft was for better control on the water, mostly when entering the surf, then you could see what the boat was doing.

With the cab in front you had to look over your shoulder and even then you see much sea.

Thanks to R.J.Vargovcik for the info.
BARCno 10 or 12 This picture taken by Hugh W. Gillett shows BARC 10 or 12.

He writes:
I was stationed at Ft. Story from 1959 -- 1962 with the 554 trans, Plat,(BARC).
As you can see neither of these BARCs have the cabin forward.

BARC no 9 to 13 This picture taken by Hugh W. Gillett shows BARC 9 to 13.

They al have the cabin in the back.
So the control cabins must have been moved at some point earlier in time.

BARC no 25 It was used in the Vietnam war by the U.S army.
159th, the 545th, the 544th and the 540th BARC Company have used the BARC
(That I know of).

Bob Rose who was in the 305th transportation co. has send in much info and many pictures.

Tom Moon, a Vietnam veteran, with two years experience on BARC's in Vietnam was the first to contribute info to this page:

Clarence L. Rush, he was also in the 38, brought in a point about the steering.

Steve Luety has a great website at
There are good pictures of the bay in which they loaded the Barc's, but no Barc pictures.

BARC engine bay It has 4 diesel engines (yes, four - one on each wheel!!)
2 on each side.
These are mostly (other engines have been used) General Motors 2 stroke, 71 series diesel engines, each with a 7 litre capacity and a power of 165 hp at 2100 rpm. From those engines the power goes trough a torque converter then to an automatic 3 speed transmission to end in each wheel. For water propulsion is has two 1200 mm diameter propellers.

The total system includes 12 gearboxes, 2 air compressors and 8 hydraulic pumps and 2 dynamos. All engine controls are air operated and the steering is hydraulic.

BARC expl. view

BARC and DUKW The little car on the right of the BARC is a DUKW.
I only can imagine what it is to drive the beast, it has the size of a house. but I can not imagine driving a house down the street.

Some of the BARC's Tom worked on in Vietnam were, the 18, 17, 23, and later the 54. he also remembers the 38 being in Vietnam. It seems the 19 was there, but he can't remember for sure.

BARC rail road The BARC's were build by the Treadwell Construction Co Midland, PA, Great lakes Engineering works of River Rouge Michigan and the Transval Electronic Corporation in the USA.

BARC big wheel A wheel is 3200 mm (high and al 4 can steer independently. The BARC can crab to the right or left at about 30 degrees.

A problem with the wheels was the swelling of the wheel to the hub, a normal problem with amphibians, but sins the wheels on the BARC are larger the problem is larger to.
The use of many hydraulic jacks and a cargo net hooked to the fuel truck to get a wheel off was more or less normal.

Three Barc's were lost in Vietnam that Tom knows of, all because of mechanical failure, once they were broached on the beach, they could not be saved. They tried everything, including bulldozers and crane helicopters, once the sand had it's suction it would not release the heavy Barc's.

BARC steering cabin Everything on the BARC can be controlled from the cabin with exception of the front ramp that is operated with controls at the front of the vehicle

The greatest weakness of the BARC's were it's air compressors. They were located way down in the engine room next to the marine gear. Engineers had a hard time there with their engine checks. The whole system dependent on air pressure, and once the 2 air compressors were down, there was serious trouble.

With the run from Vung Ro to Tuy Hoa, that was about ten miles, they would always travel in pairs. This was a long run for a Barc that was designed for short ship to shore runs. They always had a 50' air hose on each BARC to use in case of an emergency.

BARC at see

A recording of a BARC starting his 4 engines can be heard at that museum.

A small MP3 recording of that tape can be found here.

Right click to down load!

BARC enters water Tom Moon wrote:
I arrived in Vietnam in May 1968 and was assigned to the BARC detachment at Wunder Beach. We were made up of three platoons, the 540th, 545th, and the 544th. The three platoons were stationed at Wunder Beach until September 1968. The 545th and 544th were assigned to Cam Rahn Bay. The 540th was transported by US Navy LSD to Vung Ro Bay were we became the 540th Barc company. We had three BARC's at that time, later three more would arrive from the states to Qui Nhon. I was there at Qui Nhon to move them from the ship to the beach. The 540th was deactivated in April 1970, the BARC's were sent back to CONUS and the rest of us assigned to the 1098th in Da Nang. I loved the BARC's they always got me to were I was going.
BARC + Rene On the left is Rene Pohl in front of the left propeller and rudder.
And on the right that is me when I had more hair. ;-)

The BARC stood indoors in the General George C. Marshall - Ground Transportation Museum in Zwijndrecht Holland.
The Wheel and me

On the right:
The coffee corner there I started to see the things in perspective. ;-)
BARC in coffee corner
BARC loading a big crane It can load officially load 60 tons but it is known to carry 130 tons.
BARC at sea

Official US army photo

Russ has wrote me:

I was stationed at Ft. Story Va. in 1964.
There were a few BARC's there.
I went to Qui Nhon in 1965 and saw some of them there.
They made an unforgettable sound.

I looked at some military books about Vietnam that listed all the army equipment that was used there, they had no mention of the BARC's.

I was an engineer equipment mechanic at Ft. Story and was interested in them as a mechanic, and had an opportunity to load my cranes and bulldozers on one but did not know much else about them.

I do know its possible to burn up a clutch on a 20 ton truck mounted crane getting it on and off a BARC. Our motor officer wasn't happy to see our TD-24 towing the crane off the BARC while the commander of Ft. Eustis (Ft. Story was under the command of Ft. Eustis) was there to observe our proficiency.

BARC with a full load

Official US army photo

Ronald Sheetz wrote:

They were really fun to drive.
I can remember having drag races on the beach at Fort Story on a slow day. Also made many trips out to ward eastern shore fishing when the blues' were running. We had an old Colonel who liked to fish so we accommodated him any time he wanted.

BARC delivering a LARC 01

Official US army photo

BARC giving birth to a LARC V. :)

In 1999 the last active BARC was at old Fort Story, but even then it hasn't moved for a while.

So it is safe to conclude that the BARC is no longer active in the US army.

BARC delivering a LARC 02

Official US army photo
Wheel house door
The steering house is relative small and very hot in the sun.
Wheel house out side
Wheel house controles
These are the controls of the restored older BARC
Controles close up
Controles old
On the left the OLD incomplete unrestored controls and on the right the NEW and much more modern controls.

As you can see:
You can't see what is in front of the BARC for the next 400 meters (1/4 mile(.
The trick is to lower the ramp, that also works when leaving the water when you need to see the beach.
Controles new
Looking up to the wheel house
On left the relative small wheel house from the load bay.

On the right the Gage board. Not al the engine instruments fit in the wheel house.
So on both sides there is a Gage board for oil pressure oil temp. e.t.c.
Readout on deck
Engine bay
Engine bay Engine bay
Gatering box
On the left the box for the propeller there is one on each side.
Here two engines are coupled and the power goes down to the marine gear and then to the propeller.
 Water tranmision system
Engine bay The rudder steering mechanism seen from both sides.

On the older BARC's the rudder steering power was taken of the wheel steering system through a contraption of steel cables.

Here we see hydraulics so she is a more modern girl.
Engine bay
Steering 1 How to steer a BARC in two easy lessons.

When you have most switches and buttons in the right position. The BARC is controlled with one gas peddle and one break peddle.

Gear change is automatic but 3 th is a bit to fast for novice drivers

And if you have missed a few buttons there is always the 4 levers that control each engine individual.
Steering 2

The official US army photos on this page where send in by Bob Rose.

Other B&W Photos on this page where send in by Rene Pohl the author of the book "Mit dem Auto baden gehen", (sold out).

Instruction pictures come from the 1340 page manual

The colour pictures are taken in the General G.C. Marshall museum in Zwyndrecht, Netherlands. Except for the two rudder mechanic photo's, the origin of those is unknown.

That Museum was moved almost entirely in 2006 to the Liberty Park Overloon Netherlands.