Images of various Artifacts of the Month's

September 2023

Artifact of the Month

ARTFT-6 Forklift, Rough Terrain, 4x4, Three Ton

With the growing use of palletized and containerized cargo, the Army in the 1950’s began to invest in rough terrain forklifts. Purchased in several sizes the forklifts helped to move supplies in remote areas.

The ARTFT-6 was first produced in 1968. Produced by Athey Company, and based on a civilian design, it was designated the Model MHE-222. It is nearly identical to the Chrysler MHE 202 (MLT-6CH) and the Anthony Cooper MHE 200 (MLT-6) also purchased by the Army at the same time. Considered medium lifting equipment, they served alongside both lighter two ton and heavier five-ton models.

The MHE-200 series used a twenty-four-inch load center and expanding tube hydraulic brakes to cover ground in muddy, snowy, sandy, and steep conditions. Both the body and the forks could be independently tilted or moved to allow for payload stability, even for off center loads. Combined front and rear axle steering not only gave the ARTFT a small turning radius but allowed it to move sideways at twenty-degree angles, a feat not easily mimicked by other military vehicles. All three forklifts were capable of fording into shoreline swells to retrieve supplies, being capable of continuing to operate amid five-foot waves. This versatility allowed for the MHE-200 series to see service for several decades until replaced by the Atlas five-ton rough terrain forklift.