If drum brakes, leave the tire on the hub and take the whole thing off as one piece.
A smooth sheet of steel and some gear oil under the tire, lifted 1/2", will let it easily slide off the axle hub. Remember to back off the slack adjusters.
Disk brakes require the tire to be removed, to take the caliper off.
As far as socket size, see if your local auto parts lends/rents the axle nut kit for large trucks.