Diamond T Vehicles 1940-1945


Probably one of the most appealing vehicles of the Second World War is the diamond T in all its varieties. With their slick lines, these were also one of the more ecstatically shaped military vehicles of that period, at least in my opinion. These vehicles were supposed to be the best trucks put into action during the second world war.

A Short History:

The Diamond T Motor Car Company was founded in 1905 by Charles Arthur Tilt. His father owned a footwear company. This factory had a line of shoes called Diamond T. Being the top line of this company. Diamond stood for quality and T for Tilt. The logo for this line was a big T in a diamond. See the top of this article. This logo was later adopted by Charles Arthur Tilt as he began producing cars in his factory in Chicago Ill. In 1911. During the 1940-1945 period the Diamond T company produced well over 50,000 vehicles in various models which were supplied to the US. and other armies. The description of these models will be the subject of this article. In the post-war publications, the models of the Diamond T were often quoted with the T as a prefix before the model numbers, thus becoming the Model T980 or T969. This is incorrect. According to the Technical manuals, the T was not part of the model description, so the correct way to quote the model numbers is without the T. This mistake is simply explained. People must have thought that the T of Tilt, as I described before was part of the model designation. In the next part of this article, I have separated the various allied armed forces and describe the Diamond T models used by these forces. The half-track vehicles are not covered in this article. I will cover these in another article.

The various models of the Diamond T:

The following model numbers are known to me. I have tried to be as complete as possible. I could not find any explanation in any wartime and/or postwar publications regarding the A and B numbers behind the model designations, but as I kept looking and searching, I found an article by Panzerserra on the web. In this article, he describes the build of an M1 Howitzer with a Diamond T prime mover. In the same article, some possible explanations regarding these A and B types and supplementary info regarding my info can be found. (link to the article)

Model No:





Description :

Early version of the Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Cargo.
Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Cargo
Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Cargo s.w.b.
Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Cargo s.w.b.
Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Wrecker
Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Wrecker
Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Wrecker
Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Ponton
Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Ponton
Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Map Reproduction Equipment
(These basic vehicles were also used with other equipments as: Camera section; Press section 20"x22½”; Press section 22"x29".)
Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Dump
Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Cargo l.w.b.
Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Cargo l.w.b.
(It should be stated that these vehicles, the Models 975 and 975A, were exclusively produced for the Canadian Army and were fitted with different domestic bodies.
Truck, 12-ton, 6x4, Prime Mover, M20
Truck, 12-ton, 6x4, Prime Mover, M20 (same as 980 but with front rollers for winch cable)

Differences between s.w.b. and l.w.b. meaning short and long wheelbase. There also were extra long 201" wheelbase vehicles. These were exclusivly built for the Canadian Army.
Long wheelbase  
Short wheelbase  

United States Army:

In 1941 the then standard 4-ton 6x6 cargo and prime-mover trucks (Autocar and White) were replaced by the Diamond T, which was to become the new standard for the U.S. Army until the end of the war. In TM9-2800 dated 1 September 1943 the following Diamond T types classified as standard were listed:

1.   Truck-Trailer, 45-ton, Tank Transporter, M19 (limited standard)  

2.   Truck, 12-ton, 6x4, M20 (limited standard)
3.   Truck, Cargo, l.w.b., 4-ton, 6x6
4.   Truck, Cargo, s.w.b., 4-ton, 6x6  
5.   Truck, Crane, Swinging boom, with winch, 4-ton, 6x6, M1
6.   Truck, Distributor, Water, 1000 gal, 4-ton, 6x6  
7.   Truck, Dump, 4-ton. 6x6  
8.   Truck, Map Reproduction Equipment, 4-ton,6x6  
9.   Truck, Wrecker, 4-ton, 6x6  
10.   Truck, Tank, Bituminous Supply, 800 gal, 4-ton, 6x6  
The later issued TM9-2800 dated October 1947 listed the same vehicles (Exception numbers 16 and 20 which were new), but with a slightly altered nomenclature. The following Diamond T’s were listed:
11.   Truck, 12-ton, 6x4, M20 (Part of Truck-Trailer, 45-ton, Tank Transporter M19) (substitute standard)  

12.   Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Cargo  
13.   Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Crane, Swinging Boom, M1  
14.   Distributor, Water, Truck mounted, 1,000 gal. (Truck, 4-ton, 6x6)  
15.   Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Dump  
16.   Truck, Flat bed, 4-ton, 6x6, 4DT, 172-inch Wheelbase, with “A” frame, Cab Protector and Winch, rear mounted  
17.   Tank, Asphalt, Steel, Truck mounted, w/Heating Flues, 800 gal. (Truck, 4-ton, 6x6)  
18.   Reproduction Equipment, Press Section, 22"x29", Motorized (Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Van type Body)  
19.   Truck, 4-ton, 6x6, Wrecker  
20.   Truck-Tractor, 4-ton, 6x6 (4DT), 172" wheelbase, with “A” frame, cab protector and front mounted winch  
21.   Distributor, Bituminous Material, Truck Mounted, 800 Gal.  
In the TM 9-2800 dated 1953 another interesting version appears:
22.   Truck. Chassis, 4-Ton, 6 x 6, W/ and W/O winch  

The wheel base of the long version (l.w.b.) was 172" and the short version (s.w.b.) being 151". There also were models with a 201" wheel base. These were especially built for the canadian army. There were some differences in cabs being the open and closed cab versions. About 25 percent of these open cabbed vehicles were equipped with armament. This were the M36 truck Mounts for the antiaircraft machine gun. The various basic s.w.b. models are all built on the same basic chassis, which is the 4-ton, 6x6, powered with a conventional six-cylinder gasoline engine. A five-speed overdrive transmission and a direct and underdrive transfer are used on all models. All three axels are driving axels of conventional double-reduction design. Rear axels are dual wheeled. Maximum speed on normal roads is 40 mph.

Vehicle descriptions:

1., 2. and 11. Models 980 and 981. The purpose of these Models 980 and 981 was to recover and transport (damaged) tanks and other materiel weighing up to 90,000 pounds in connection with the 45-ton, 12 wheeled trailer M9. The combination of the Model 980 or 981 and Trailer M9 was better known as Truck-Trailer, 45-ton, Tank transporter M19. The differences between the Models 980 and 981 were the winchcable and roller assemblies. The 980 models had a 300 foot (92m) winch cable and two winch cable roller sheaves at the rear. The 981 models had a 500 foot (153m) winch cable and 3 cable roller sheaves at the rear. In addition there was a front mounted roller assembly in the bumper of the model 981, visible on some photographs. This is the main visible difference between these models. These Tank Transporters were originally designed for the British army, but saw for the most part service under US. flag. They were put into action in North Africa an Europe and saw limited service in other theaters of war. See also this article on the M19 Tank Transporter. For the modeller I added another page with pictures of the M19. And last but not least see also building project 14d on the site.

3. And 12. Models 968A, 968B and 970A Cargo and Ponton. The Cargo Truck was built on the standard 4- ton, 6x6 chassis. It was equipped with a standard wooden cargo body with a tapaulin that had to be mounted on five hoops over the body. The body also had two troop seats mounted on the left and right side. These seats were the standard troop seats with lazy backs. The vehicle had a power driven winch which was mounted in the front. The equipment also consisted of two spare tires mounted between the body and the cab. A power take off was mounted on the transmission. This vehicle was produced with open and closed cabs. Its also listed in Tm 9-23 00 as the prime mover for the Howitzer, 155-mm M1 in combination with the howitzer carriage M1A1 and/or M1A2. The second vehicle mentioned as the prime mover was the 18 High-speed Tractor M4. Photograph number RA PD 63203 shows the M1 in marching order being towed by a truck. The caption mentiones the Truck 4-ton 6x6. The towing vehicle is actually the Prime Mover, 12-ton, 6x4, M20. Though both vehicles could evidently be used, probably only the 4-ton vehicle was the one used for this role because the M20 had its primary role as prime mover for the M19 combination Tank recovery vehicle. Difference between Cargo an Ponton Bodies Is explained as followes. The Cargo body is made up of wooden sections and timbers bolted together. It is equipped with bows and tarpaulin, troop seats, a conventional type tail gate, and two tire mounting brackets, which make it possible to mount two spare tires inside the body at the foreward end. The Ponton body is very similar to the Cargo body except that it is longer, has four sections of troop seats instead of two, has a front stake assembly, and has the spare tires mounted on the outside of the body.

4. Models 975 and 975A Cargo l.w.b. These vehicles were very similar to the models with the s.w.b. and also had troop seats with backs. In accondance with the s.w.b. 25 percent of these vehicles also had the M36 Truck Mount for antiaircraft machine gun. All vehicles were built with an open topped cab after July 1943.

5. And 13. These vehicles, with swinging boom are all built on the standard 151“ chassis. They were used by the Chemical Warfare Service to lift and transport heavy chemical containers. Maximum load , 9,000 lb, could be hauled within an 8 foot raduis. Normal load, 5,500 lb, was possible within a 13 foot radius. It was equipped with a front mounted winch. Except for the mentioning of this vehicle in the TM9-2800, no other related info was found.

6. And 14. This vehicle was used by the Corps of Engineers as a water-distributing unit. Externally this vehicle has a strong resemblance to the vehicle mentioned under 10 and 17, the Distributor, Bituminous Material. The only external recognisable difference was the fact that this vehicle had a waterpump on the rear side of the vehicle and the DBM had a LeRoi Engine.

The water distributor was used for soil stabilization, soil cement, or any other type of road, airport or other surfaoe construction when it was desirable to bring the soil up to its optimum moisture content by accurate distribution of measured quantities of water over large areas. This machine also has been used for applying water under low pressure for settling dust and for applying a measured quantity of dust laying oil not requiring heat for application. As an all-purpose power pumping unit, the machine could be used for unloading and transferring water or various liquids from one outside source to another, for transporting water, and for auxiliary fire fighting. In this latter service, it was equipped with a multiple discharge manifold to aooomodate several lines-of hose, (it was not recommended for the transport of water intended for drinking purposes.) The distributor and tank were mounted on a Diamond T truck chassis, 4-ton, 6x6, Model 968A.

7. And 15. Models 972 were used by the Corps of Engineers, to haul and dump earth, sand, gravel and similar materials. Most were built with a closed cab, but after september 1943 these vehicles were produced with an open cab. The dump body was operated from within the cab and was equipped with power-driven hydraulic hoist. The power take-off for the hoist was mounted on the transfer case. The inside dimensions of the dump body were approximately 80” x 120". The cab was protected from heavy objects by means of a steel shield mounted on the body. Closed cabs seemed to have no winch, although the later open topped cabs did have winches. For more information see building project 14a.

Although the TM 9-2800 only shows the closed cab versions. There were also the open cabbed vehicles as can be seen in the pictures above, showing these vehicles in action. Note the slightly atered cab protectors on the tipper body. The open cabs were developed to give the drivers a better visabillity while operating the vehicle.

8. And 18. These vehicles, with the 172" wheelbase, were used by the Corps of Engineers to transport equipment for map reproduction units. Bodies were manufactured by the McGabe-Powers Autobody Co. and by Peter Wendel and Sons. The same basic vehicles also had different equipment and were used as Camera Section 24"x24", Press Section 20"x221/2” and the Camera Section 24"x30". The last vehicle had a 2 foot longer Van type body. Total length of this vehicle was 318". Of these vehicles also very little is known.

9. And 19. Models 969, 969A and 969B. These typical wreckers were well known and loved because of their reliability. A lot has been written about these vehicles and therefore I will try to give a short description. These vehicles were also built on the standard 4-ton, 6x6 chassis. Special equipment consisted of a steel wrecker body, twin boom power-driven wrecker equipment, welding tanks and equipment, a gasoline-driven air compressor unit, a power-driven front-mounted winch and two spare tires. The wrecker body is of an all-steel construction, with two large tool boxes and a conventional-type tail gate. The wrecker winch equipment was driven by the power take-off mounted on the transfer. And the power take-off for the front mounted winch was mounted on the transmission. See also these walkaround pictures of a closed cab version.

A closed cab wrecker in action,

10. 17. And 21. TM 5-1134 states the full name as Distributor, Bituminous Material, Truck-Mounted, 800-Gal., Etnyre, Model MX-D6, Style RE, with LeRoi Engine, Model D-140. The Etnyre bituminous distributer consisted of two primary units. The distributor itself and the heavy-duty LeRoi engine. The equipment was designed to handle all grades of asphalt, road-oil, tar, cutbacks or emulsion with equal facility. The distributer consisted in general of the tank which was insulated and of a heating system, for carrying and heating of the material to be sprayed; a circulating and distributing system for efficiently spraying the bituminous material; and a Vacu-Flo cleaning system for draining and cleaning material in the circulating and distributing system. This Vacu-Flo avoided wasting of material and dripping after spraying. It was supplied complete with all necessary accessoiries such as a hand spray gun, a portable burner, thermometer, bitumeter, tachometer and other related equipment. The LeRoi engine model D140 was a 4-cylinder, water-cooled, valve-in-head engine. It provided 26 hp at a rotation of 1500 rmet supplied motive power for the distributing pump, the blower and the fuel pump in the heating system. The difference with the Water Distributor is evident in the following pictures.

16. 20. Used by Corps of Engineers for transporting and handling heavy equipent. No other info available on this vehicle. The only noticable difference is that one had a front mounted winch and the other a rear mounted one.

22. This vehicle was to be used as a component of general-purpose or a special-equipment truck. No other info available on this vehicle.

British and Canadian Armies

In the Databook of wheeled vehicles dated 1945 the only Diamond T’s listed were the models 980, 981, and the 969 wreckers. But the British forces also made extensive use of Diamond T’s. There was the 30-ton Semi-Trailer recovery tank transporter. This was a standard model 980 with its ballast body removed and a turntable installed to comfort the semi-trailer manufactured by Shelvoke and Drewry, the Databook of wheeled vehicles listing it as Shelvoke and Drury. Also, the standard U.S. Tank Transporter Truck M19 was used. The British army used well over 1000 Diamond T tractors for various trailers. For recovery of vehicles, the standard wrecker was used and some standard 4-ton 6x6 Cargo (G.S.) trucks were modified during the Italian campaign. To meet the need for heavy recovery vehicles some of the standard gun tractors were modified by removing part of the cargo body and placing, and yes even welding, an a-frame on the back of the chassis of the truck. These were known as 4-ton, 6x6, heavy breakdown. Some of the Canadian built Machinery-trucks and other specialized vehicles were also used. These were the F.B.E., Pontoon Machinery M, Machinery H, and the RE25KW. A complete description of these will be given later in this article. These latter vehicles were all on a 201" wheelbase. Some conversions were made, at least a few of them utilized a breakdown body on a Diamond T G.S., see picture below. These were designated as Diamond T 4-ton 6x6 Heavy Breakdown. Also, a few Diamond T’s with the Bay City Crane were used by the Royal Air Force.

The Diamond T M20 Tank Transporter was also as descibed earlier, widely used by the British Army during World War II as the pictures below show some of these vehicles in the (presumed) CBI Theatre of Operations. These pictures are from late 1945 or very early 1946 and show some examples of these vehicles. The most interesring being the one loaded on a flat car for transport.

Description of British vehicles:

For a further description of these vehicles, I want to relate to the descriptions given under the Canadian vehicles, because these were in fact similar vehicles.

Canadian Army

War production of Canadian military vehicles was restricted to a middle-sized range, read 3-ton range, of models. This was the reason for the purchase of other vehicles by the Canadian Department of National Defence outside of Canada. Examples were the jeep and the Diamond T. Being the smaller sized en larger sized range of vehicles. The Canadians lovingly knicknamed their Diamonds the “Dizzy T”.

Vehicle Name:   Vehicle Code:    

Lorry, 4-ton, 6-wh, Crane, Mark VI (4-ton, 6x6, 201 wb) (Coles Crane)   80661-C-CRANE-1

Lorry, 4-ton, 6-wh, Crane, Mark VII (4-ton, 6x6, 201 wb) (Bay City Crane)   80661-C-CRANE-2

Lorry, 4-ton, 6-wh, F.B.E. (4-ton, 6x6, 201 wb)   80661-C-FBE  
Lorry, 4-ton, 6-wh, G.S. (4-ton, 6x6, 201 wb)   80661—C-GS  
Lorry, 4-ton, 6-wh, Machinery “H” (4-ton, 6x6, 201 wb)   8066I-C—MACH-H  
Lorry, 4-ton, 6-wh, Machinery “M” (4-ton, 6x6, 201 wb)   80661-C-MACH-M  
Lorry, 4-ton, 6-wh, Machinery “RE 25-KW”(4-ton, 6x6, 201 wb)   80661-C-MACH-E25  
Lorry, 4-ton, 6-wh, Pontoon (4-ton, 6x6, 201 wb)   80661-C-PONT  
Tractor, Breakdown, Medium (4-ton, 6x6, 151 wb)   80661-C-BRKD  
Transporter, Recovery, 30-ton (Tractor) (12-ton, 6x4, 179 wb)   - - -  
Transporter, Recovery, 40-ton (Tractor) (12-ton, 6x4, 179 wb)   80649-C  

Small Box Girder Lorry (4-ton, 6x6, 201 wb)


The number in the vehicle code id explained as follows: 80 for 80-cwt, 66 for 6x6, 64 for 6x4 and the closing number being the body code.

Of the model 980 there were at least 676 trucks, serial numbers 9801709 to 9802385, delivered to the Canadian army. These were according to the contract numbers C.D. LV-332, C.D. LV-464, C.D. LV-493 and CD. LV-509. Under contract number CD. LV-587 models 969A, 969B, 975 and 975A, serial numbers 969A0555, 969B0205 to 969BO606, 9750001 to 9750307 and 975A0001 to 975AO811 were delivered to the Canadians. Of the other models I could not recover any other information. All trucks were paid for C.O.D.

One other notable difference between canadian and other Diamonds is the fact that the majority of the Canadian Diamonds were equipped with only one headlight. Below shows a Canadian Diamond T towing a Churchill Tank somewhere in Normandy in late 1944..

Description of Canadian vehicles:

Crane, Mark VI (Coles Crane)
(Coles Crane, 4-ton, 6 x 6, 201 wb)
These Coles Cranes were mounted in Great Britain. They were used in the same role as the vehicles equipped with the Bay City Crane. The Coles crane was of special british design with an all steel body. It was mounted on a turntable at the rear of the chassis. The crane was powered by electric motors, which on their turn were powered by a separate generator. It’s maximum lifting capacity was 3 tons and the maximum radius was 17 feet. The motions of the crane were prohibited by automatic electro-magnetic brakes.

Details of the Crane

Layout of the Crane body. Both drawings from the Maintenace Manual.

After the war a lot of the Canadian Diamond T's were obtained by the Dutch Army right out of the large dumps where these vehicles were stored. Below are two views of one of these vehicles with the Coles Crane. These show some detail for the model builder.

Below two in action pictures of a Canadian Diamond T with Coles Crane handling Pontoons of a CMP Pontoon Truck during the operations in the Scheldt estuary the Netherlands, during October 1944. Although not very clear, I show them because in action pictures of these vehicles are very rare.

Crane Mk VII (Bay Citv Crane).
(Bay City Crane, 4-ton, 6 x 6, 201 wb)
This Diamond T on a 201 “ chassis with the Bay City Crane was also known as the Lorry Type “Derrick”. More precise it mounted the Bay City Crane model 10. It was designed to assist engineers to perform bridge building operations, for the moving of heavy timbers and for the general lifting of heavy materials. The body was of a steel construction. The cab of the crane was mounted on a turntable which was directly connected to the rear of the chassis. The cab enclosed the engine and three operating levers of the crane and seating accommodation for the operator. The operator was shielded from bad weather by means of semi-circular sliding doors to the rear of the cab. Visibility for the operator was provided through upper en lower windows on the right front and right side of the cab. The windows were made of socalled safety glass. The Crane could handle a maximum load of 4480 lbs. at an 8 foot raduis and 2240 lbs. at a 13 foot radius and was powered by its own 46 hp. gasoline engine. It was capable of a complete 360° traverse. It was designed to be operated by one man. See also article on the Diamond T with Bay City Crane.

F.B.E. (Folding Boat Equipment)
(4-ton, 6 x 6, 201 wb)
This vehicle was used in the folding boat eqiupment platoonof the R.C.A.S.C. bridging companies. It was designed to carry 3 folding boats. It was also possible to transport landing stage eqiupment. The body was all steel and special designed for this purpose. It was fitted with lockers for tools and spare parts. Loading and unloading of the vehicle was done by raising and lowering the boats by means of the hand winches in the 4 corner stanchions.

As with the Coles Crane above the F.B.E. vehicles were also obtained by the Dutch Army. The pictures below show training situations during 1946 with the F.B.E. trucks and show some extra details.

Below a rare picure of a Canadian F.B.E. truck in action near Balkburg the Netherlands 11th April 1945.

(4-ton, 6 x 6, 201 wb)
The operational role for this vehicle was to be used by R.C.A.S.C. bridge companies to transport girders and bridging equipment includig rafts equipment and Bailey bridge equipment. It was also intendes for use by RC Sigs railway sigs units in line maintenance sections. The vehicle being well adapted to the latter roles because of its long body. This body was all steel, welded. It was a 15 foot long flat platform and was fitted with a hinged tailgate. It could be covered by a tarpaulin. The body was fitted with rifle racks in te cab, pick-axe and shovel holders, P.O.W. carriers, 2 spare wheels mounted between de cab and body, tool boxes, a tow rope, pintle hook and a log book. These vehicles were also fitted with open cabs.

Below a G.S. Diamond T During the Rhine Crossings in Germany.

Machinery “H”
(4-ton, 6 x 6, 201 wb)
Used by R.C.E.M.E. Workshops in the rear echelons for metal turning, scrw cutting and allied operations done on heavy duty lathe. The body is similar to the GS. body. It was open and could be covered by means of a tarpaulin. The sides could be dropped and used as wokbenches. The equipment included a heavy duty gap bed hollow spindle lathe with accessories, a bench grinder, several vices and other hand tools. The power for the lathe and other tools was supplied by cable connected to a power trailer.

Machinery “M”
(4-ton, 6 x 6, 201 wb)
This vehicle was used by both the R.C.A.S.C. and R.C.E.M.E. workshops for mechanical reapairs of automotive components and parts thereof, including battery charching and paint spraying. The body was a socalled “house type” all closed steel, 15 foot long body. The entrance door was on the rear. It also had drop sides on the sides of the superstructure that could be used as workbenches. The equipment included a bench lathe, paint sprayer, valve grinder and refacer, pinhole grinder, bench grinder and brake re-liner and a battery charger with petrol engine. Power was supplied by an engine driven generator. See also article on the Machinery M vehicle.

Machinery “RE 25-KW”
(4-ton, 6 x 6, 201 wb)
Used by R.C.E. for the repair of equipment held by engineer units. Metal working, wood sawing and pipe tools were installed on the vehicle. Power was supplied by a separate trailer on which the welder was also installed. This was the “Trailer, Generator, RE, 25-KW (15-cwt, 2-wh)”. Purpose of the trailer was the use by R.C.E. field park squadrons and companies and E and M sections for supplying power to RE machinery lorries and for light welding. The power supplied was 110 Volt direct current. The trailer had a power generator as well as a welding generator. Maximum power was 115 volts. For welding it was 35 volts. Both generators were driven by the same V-8 engine. On board equipmen 0 trailer included a power control panel, welding generator controls, welder equipment and electrodes. The body of the truck was the 15 foot G.S.open body with dropsides. It was equipped with a monorail and chain block. Machinery included lathe, drill, grinder and circular saw. The circular saw was lowerd to the ground for ground operations by aid of the monorail and chain block.

(4-ton, 6 x 6, 201 wb)
Intended for use in pontoon platoon of the R.C.A.S.C. bridging company to carry either two bow pontoons or two centre pontoons. These pontoons being part of a Bailey bridge or Bailey rafts. The body was of specialised design all steel with lockers for tools and spare parts. Loading and unloading was done by raising or lowering the pontoons by hand winch. These ware placed at all four corner stanchions.

This picture shows Diamond T Pontoon Lorries ready for demobilisation at the end of WW II.
Below the layout of the vehicle. As is evident in these pictures, both open and closed cab versions were used.

Above an interesting picture taken presumably in Normandy shortly after the invasion. It shows two interesting types of the Diamond T. The Pontoon Lorry in the front and in the back the Coles Crane unloading the pontoons and assisting in building a river crossing. Again a rare sight.

Tractor. Breakdown, Medium
(4-ton, 6 x 6, 151 wb)
This vehicle was used for the recovery and towing of vehicles and equipment to servicing and repair areas. Which was done mainly by RCEME and RCASC units. Its capacity was 5 tons on one boom and 10 tons when both booms were in use together with double lines and a snatch block. These vehicles were equipped with two telescoping brace legs, two swivel booms, two power winches, snatch blocks, anchors and welding equipment. The power winches each had 200 foot of cable.

A Canadian Diamond T Tractor. Breakdown, Medium recovering a Car, Light Reconnaissamce (Otter I, 4 x 4. 101 wb) near Bruges, Belgium in September 1944.

Transporter, Recovery, 30-ton (Tractor)
(l2-ton, 6 x 4, 179 wb)
Used by RCASC and British tank transporter units and by recovery companies for towing 30-ton articulated semi-trailer. This was the Shelvoke and Drewry trailer. These vehicles were formed by modifying standard Model 980 Diamond T tractors removing the ballast body and replacing them with semi-trailer turntables. It was loaded with tanks or other heavy equipment. The cab was all steel with two seats. Equipment included rifle raks in cab, Petrol- Oil- and Water carriers, several tools, lashing tackle, and other specific tools for recovery and towing duties. Just behind the cab a 20-ton winch was mounted. It was driven from the power take-off and had a 250 foot cable. On the frame a turntable, especially modified to take the Shelvoke and Drewry produced trailer, was attached, on which the trailer could pivot. It was an all steel welded construction. Equipped with air brakes on all wheels, chock bloks, and long spring balanced ramps. These were constructed with springs for easy manhandling. It could carry any tank up to a weight of 30 tons and had 8 running tires. In an emergency it was able to handle the churchull tank which had a weight of 381/2 tons laden. The trailer had an overall length of 408 inches and a wheelbase of 268 inches. The turntable was similar in design as the ones mounted on the Scammell Pioneer tank-transporter.

As is obvious by the pictures shown above, the Shelvoke and Drewry trailer was used or at least tested with both the open and closed cab versions of the Diamond T Tractor. Shelvoke & Drewry was better known for the manufacture of municipal dustcarts. Of interest is. that this company gained an award for the design of the spring-balanced ramp shown in photographs above and below.

Transporter, Recovery. 40-ton (Tractor)
(12-ton, 6 x 4, 179 wb)
This was basically the same vehicle as described under the US. vehicles Diamond T model 980. The trailer had 24 running tires and an overall length of 356 inches and a wheelbase of 187 inches. Below the Tractor without the trailer.

Small Box Girder Lorry
(4-ton, 6x6, 201 wb)
This was a special steel platform body, code 8H1, designed for carrying Small Box Girder Bridging components. Part of the steel frame forms an open top box at the front of body. Two tool boxes were mounted at the front of body, one on each side. Two POW carriers were mounted on each side of the rear of body. A dual spare tire carrier was mounted between the cab and body. This body was designed for mounting on a Diamond T 6x6-201-in wheelbase chassis. Later in the war this body was rendered obsolete because the same load could be carried in a G.S. Truck.

Besides these vehicles mentioned above, one other type is known to exist, the TSB (Trestle and Sliding Bay). Type designation unknown. These configurations were mounted on the Diamond T 975. But because this equipment turned out to be obsolete by 1944 these chassis were refitted with the Coles crane in the UK and were never used. These vehicles were supposed to carry trestle equipment for the Mk V pontoon bridge. The sliding bay was a length of roadway to accompany trestle equipment. This equipment was replaced by the Bailey pontoon bridge.

The open and closed Cab Interiors

Other related eqiupment

Machine Gun Mounts:

Typical Ring Mount

According to technical manual number TM 9-224 the M36 Truck Mount was used on the following Diamond T vehicles:

4-ton, 6x6 (Diamond-T), open cab truck.
4-ton, 6x6 (Diamond-T), l.w.b., open cab truck.
4-ton, 6x6 (Diamond-T), open cab wrecker.

According to TM 9-2800 only about 25 % of the vehicles were equipped with these mounts. These mounts were so called ring mounts supported by posts and braces which on their turn were mounted onto the vehicle. The TM 9-224 Cl also listed the truck, 12-ton 6x4 M20 Diamond T with open cab on which the M36 gun Mount could be mounted.

Ring Mount M36 (left) M36 mounted on vehicle (here mounted on a GMC) (right)

But also the closed cab Diamonds could be fitted with a ring gun mount. According to the last mentioned manual the Truck Mount M56 was to be mounted on the 4-ton 6x6 cargo s.w.b. and l.w.b. closed cab Diamond T and Wrecker closed cab Diamond T. With the restriction that these mounts are installed on one in every four vehicles.

The final development of the 968 series trucks is shown in this photograph from May 1944 . The truck features a wooden body, with an open cab and the M36 machine gun ring mount. A standard pioneer tool rack is mounted beneath the driver's position.

Above are two photographs of the Diamond T wrecker on which the M36 ring gun mount is visible.

The M56 Truck Mount on a Diamond T, Upper photograph from Manual, Lower in action photograph of closed cabin with Ring Gun Mount. Below another picture during trials.

The M56 Truck Mount Assembly showing the parts of the mount.

The 12 ton 6x4 Truck M20 could also be fitted with the Truck mount M61. The exception here was that every one of these vehicles had to be fitted with this Truck mount.

The M61 Truck Mount Assembly

Pictures of the M20 with the M61 Ring Mount are very rare. The pictures below show a restored M20 with the Ring Mount.

Below a picture of an open topped Diamond T M19 Tank Transporter unit that shows the M20 with the M61 Ring Mount in the field while collecting a German Panther from the field in 1944 somewhere in Normandy.

Pioneer Tool fittings:

The war department technical bulletin number TB ORD FE25 contains specific information on mounting of the pioneer tool bracket with Federal Stock number 4l-B-1925. In detail, it shows the positions of these brackets on various vehicles including the Diamond T. This pioneer toolset consisted of an ax, a handle with a pick mattock, and a shovel. Some vehicles received such tool brackets in production. Where not mounted during production, these brackets could be requested on the trucks, 4-ton Cargo and Ponton, the pioneer tools should be mounted on the front left side of the body.

On the Trucks, 4-ton, 6x6, wrecker the brackets should be mounted on the left rear tool box.

The technical buletin states further, that the brackets should be mounted on the same positions on similar vehicles. All other pioneer tool brackets mounted on tailgates had to be removed and relocated as shown in this technical bulletin by order of the Secretary of war.

Power Plants:

Almost all models were powered by the Hercules Model RXC 6 cylinder gasoline-engine.

Engine Data
Make   Hercules
Model   RXC
Number of cylinders   6
Bore   4 5/8 in.
Stroke   5 1/4 in.
Displacement   529 cu in.
Brake horsepower at 1,600 rpm   131
Governed speed   2,300 rpm
Crankcase capacity   16 qt
Cooling system capacity   48 qt
Fuel   gasoline
Serial number location   Right-hand side of cylinder block at rear of generator

The models 980 and 981 were powered by the Hercules Model DFXE 6 cylinder diesel-engine. All vehicles had a 6 volts electrical system.

Engine Data
Make   Hercules
Model   DFXE
Number of cylinders   6
Bore   5 5/8 in.
Stroke   6 in.
Displacement   893 cu in.
Net   178
Brake horsepower at 1,600 rpm   201
Governed speed   1,600 rpm
Crankcase capacity   26 qt
Cooling system capacity   61 qt
Fuel   45 ocetene Diesel fuel oil
Serial number location   Right-hand side of cylinder block at rear of generator

Preparation for Deep Water Fording

As an extra here are some nice illustrations of the Diamond T that show how these vehicles look after they are prepared to go into the deep. First the complete standard kit to prepare the vehicle.

Here are views of the engine preparation.

And here is how the vehicle looks when ready for action.

Although this picture is not very clear, it shows a Truck, Cargo, s.w.b., 4-ton, 6x6 equiped with deep wading kit and towing an M10 Ammunition trailer. It's just disembarking from an LST somewhere in the neighbourhood of Cherbourg France shortly after D-Day.

Glossary of used terms and abbreviations:

Folding Boat Equipment
General Service
Horse Power
Long Wheel Base
Royal Canadian Army Service Corps
Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
Royal Canadian Engineers
Short Wheel Base
Standard Nomenclature List
Technical Manual
Wheel Base

Technical manuals and Parts lists:

The description of the technical manuals of the vehicles themselves and also the maintenance of these vehicles could fill an entire article. Furthermore, there are parts lists in which the models are completely stripped down by their parts, neatly sorted into groups. One or more of these manuals and parts lists should be checked before an attempt to restore or maintain a Diamond T. These also give a wealth of information for the serious model builder. Some of these Technical Manuals can be found on this website.


To write this article I used the next publications as refence:
- ORD 7-8-9 SNL G-159, Ordnance Supply Catalog, Truck, Trailer, 45-Ton. Tank Transporter, MI9, 20 August 1944.
- TB 0RD FE25, Ordnance Wheeled Vehicles: Installation of Pioneer Tool Bracket, 6 February 1945.
- TB 5-9720-4, Distributor, Water, Truck-Mounted, 1000 Gal., Rosco Model MME.
- TM 5-1134, Distributor, Bitumunous Material, Truck-Mounted, 800-Gal., 11 April 1944.
- TM 5-1150, Distributor, Water, Truck-Mounted, 1000 Gal., Rosco Model NME, 27 November 1943.
- TM 9-2300, Artillery Materiel and associated equipment, May 1949.
- TM 9-2800, Standard Military Motor Vehicles, 1 September 1943.
- TM 9-2800, Military Vehicles, October 1947.
- TM 9-2800 Military Vehicles, February 1953.
- TM 9-224, Machine Gun Mounts for Trucks, 22 April 1943.
- TM 9-224 C1, Machine Gun Mounts for Trucks, 8 October 1945.
- TM 9-768, 45-ton Tank Transporter Truck-Trailer M19, 25 October 1944.
- TM 9-1768C, 45-ton, 12-wheel (12dt) Trailer M9, Component of 45-ton Tank Transporter Truck-Trailer M19, 25 May 1945.
- TM 9-811, 4-ton, 6x6 Trucks (Diamond T Models 968A Cargo, 969A Wrecker, 970A Ponton and 972 Dump), 25 January 1944.
- TM 9-2853, Preparation of Ordnance Matériel for Deep Water Fording, 7 July 1945.
- W.O. Code No. 1628, Manual of Recovery - Tank Transporters 40-Ton 1946.
- Maintenance Manual 6x6 Transporter Diamond T Motor Car Co. Model 980, July 1942.
- Parts List 4-ton, 6x6 Diamond T Motor Car Co. models 969B, 975 & 975A, June 1942.
- Parts and Instruction Manual Machinery Lorry Equipment Type “Derrick” Chrysler Corp. Of Canada Ltd, April 1943.
- Databook of wheeled vehicles 1945.
- Vehicle Data Book Canadian Army Overseas, March 1944.
- Wheels and Tracks No. 24 - Canadian Diamonds article.
- The Observer’s Fighting Vehicles Directory of World War II by Bart H. Vanderveen.
- Standard Guide to U. S. World War II Tanks and Artillery by Konrad F. Schreier Jr.
- Tankograd no. 6011 - U.S. WW II Diamond T 4-Ton 6x6 Trucks by Michael Franz.
- Tankograd no, 6018 - U.S. WW II M19 Tank Transporter - Der amerikanische Panzertransporter M19 by Michael Franz.
- Squadron-Signal no. 27031 - Diamond T 4-Ton Truck Walk Around by David Doyle.
- Diamond T Heavy Wrecker article from Army Motors by Bryce J. Sunderlin.

After completion of this article, a new publication came out with the title "U.S. Army Diamond T Vehicles in WW II" by Didier Andres from Casemate Publishing. It shows a few interesting Diamond T vehicles not shown in this article. These are vehicles as the Models 968 & 968A Chassis with a Rotary Drill and the Modified Models 968 & 968A with a 950-gallon Gasoline Tank among others as shown below. For Diamond T enthusiasts this is a very good publication with more new material to view and also good new information on the Diamond T vehicles. See also the cover of this book below.

And again, there is new information about the Diamond T vehicles. While doing some research, I came across model 982, a development or enhancement of model 981. This model was presumably from 1945 or 1946. In these pictures, a spare wheel is seen on the right side of the vehicle. A fifth wheel is mounted possably to attach more regular trailers. No further information on this vehicle is known. Maybe it is a one-time test. But if someone has more information, please use the contact form. The pictures are obtained courtesy of David D. Jackson of the American Automobile Industry in World War Two website and were placed, with permission of the R.E. Olds Museum.


Diamond T 1/35th Scale Models:

At the moment I wrote this article, there are some very nice model kits on the market from Mirror Models from Ireland. Besides, there are also models from Real Models and Royal models. These are complete resin kits. And last but certainly not least the Merit models. Also, IBG has put models of the Diamond T on the market but they are not on the website anymore. The kits shown here are with a closed cab on the left and an open cab on the right.

Merit Models

Mirror Models

Some of these models will be the subject of other building projects. You can find these on the projects page 14. On these pages some more detailed pictures of the Diamond T are presented. I'm closing this article with some nice World War 2 Advertisements of the Diamond T.