When the US Army needed a heavy duty tractor for hauling materials and men during WWII, Autocar was called upon to produce a 4-5 ton tractor truck. There is little information about these vehicles available, and this publication from Tankograd goes a long way in filling a large gap for US/ Allied modelers and researchers.
US WWII Autocar U-7144-T & U-8144-T Tractor Trucks is a 48 page book published by Tankograd Publishing. The book, edited by Michael Franz, is a combination of technical manual reproductions and period photos from private collections. It includes text in both English and German throughout the book. As the title suggests, the book covers two tractor units manufactured by Autocar during the war.
The book begins with a history and development of Autocar Tractors. The history begins as Autocar being the Pittsburg Motor Car Company and continues in great detail through postwar manufacturing and even about Autocar today.
The next section is about the U-7144 T tractor. The book gives a description and a table containing technical data. Many official photos of the closed and open top tractors are present along with two complete sets of detailed line drawings.
The next section is on the U-8144 T tractor. This section follows the same format of the previous one. A detailed description followed by a table containing technical data. Official photos are present along with two complete sets of line drawings of both the open topped and closed cab versions.
The section following this describes the controls and instruments in the cab. Again, detailed copies of the technical manuals and captions are the main points of this 2 page section. All of the copies are reproduced extremely clear and would be a great reference for super detailing kits.
The following section describes the Engine, Power Train and Suspension. This is a very comprehensive section covering 8 ½ pages. Everything from axle units, steering columns, engine and tires are covered in detail in this section.
The next section is on the frame, body and equipment. An 8 page section this covers the two different body styles, closed and open cabs, along with winch mounts, machine gun mounts, tool box locations and detailed 5th wheel diagrams. It also goes into detail about the frame construction.
A brief section on the U-8144 van body truck follows the last section. It gives a detailed description followed by a table containing technical data. A set of 4 view technical drawings are present and would be helpful for someone attempting to scratch build one. The Autocar U-8144-T Wrecker is also mentioned at the end of this section with just one picture and no details on its use.
The final section of this book describes the famous Red Ball Express and Express Routes. It goes into detail on the use of the Red Ball Express and Express routes and gives a chart of the dates of operation for the various routes. It is accompanied by a picture of the Red Ball Express in action.
This book is an extremely good reference on a subject where reference is hard to come by. The detail included within gives a real good source for the modeler and historian alike. In my opinion this book is a must have for anyone interested in US soft skins and Autocar tractors alike.
My thanks to Tankograd Publishing for the review sample.
An ideal and useful reference for anybody interesed in these vehicles.
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