The Chevrolet Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan was founded in November 1911 by Louis Chevrolet and William C. Durant who was ousted founder of General Motors. In 1918 Durant was able to regain control over General Motors and the Chevrolet Motor Car Company was absorbed into GM as a separate division. In 1933 Chevrolet was renamed Chevrolet Motor Division, General Motors Corporation.
In the mid-to late 1920s Chevrolet started to supply the U.S. Army with the ½ ton, ¾ and 1-ton 4x2 light trucks, from 1931 on also in the 1 ½-ton 4x2 range. These were commercial models, slightly militarised to suit the U.S. Armies needs. Production of the first Chevrolet 1 ½ ton 4x4 trucks started in August 1940 with cargo and dump trucks with or without a winch, panel trucks and the Bomb Service Truck M6.
The first chapter of the book is mostly written text but does give you insight into the history and technical specs of the various Chevrolet truck that were made and put into military service.
There is a technical section with all the differences between models along with a table which has the production figures 1940-1945. A huge amount of detail here for the harden enthusiast with a whole page dedicated just to the 1 ½-ton 4x4 trucks.
The book then goes into its photo heavy sections with clear black and white photos showing the different trucks that were made for the Army. The first of which is for the Chevrolet cargo truck various photos cover the pages with a short text description some of the pictures look like they have come out of a Chevrolet new product magazine, while others are pictures in the field. One of the pictures that stands out on the first two pages is one of the dump trucks assigned to the so called “Suicide Squad” at Fort Benning, Georgia in 1941. It was there job to ride out on the artillery range and look for faulty and unexploded shells. It is one for the diorama buff, it is also interesting to see how the commercial panel delivery truck was set up to become the K51 radio truck. Receiving antenna mast sections MS-49,50,51 Transmitting antenna with a duffle cabinet fitted on to the left hand side of the truck tow bar and trailer reel DR-4 with wire.
One of the most known of Chevrolet varieties in production was the M6 Bomb service truck, an open chassis back (flat bed) with installed large winch on a frame with three passenger seats on the near side of the flat bed facing out, open cab with driver and drivers mate seats and towing an M5 trailer. One nice picture captures the aircraft armourment team from the 98th Bombardment Group, 9th US Air Force A B-24 Liberator unit at Fayid Egypt
The Chevrolet G-4103 C.O.E. (cab over engine) combination stake and platform truck a much larger truck than the smaller ones seen so far was originally assigned to the Signal Corps. A number of G-7153 C.O.E. Fire trucks were done for the U.S. Navy sadly no pictures of this particular fire truck.
The smaller Chevrolet G-4112 telephone maintenance truck designated K-42 with out centre mounted winch. Only 67 Vehicles were built some of which became the K-43 telephone maintenance and construction truck, also the K-44 this is a telephone earth borer truck, one fantastic picture of the K-44 powering its way through deep mud in Western Europe equipped with dual front wheels and tire chains.
Chevrolet G-7153 is a C.O.E. fire truck 103 of these vehicles were built for the U.S. Navy in 1942 most of these fire trucks serve at Naval Air stations, there were several different types of these fire trucks. The G-7133 Chevrolet truck was used as airfield crash trucks most of these were the normal Chevrolet truck and not the cab over engine. Several pictures of the different fire trucks including some photographs make for good ideas for the scratch builder amongst us.
Further fire engine pictures follow on with the class 325, the class 325 fire truck is used by the Corps of Engineers to fight structural fires and also for deployment over seas. This fire truck is much more like what we are used to seeing as and what today would be called a pump escape, there is some technical information on the pumps themselves and equipment carried.
The following chapters carry a lot of photographs and pictures of the Chevrolet being used during the Second World War, some fantastic diorama ideas can be found in the book one of them a Chevrolet dump truck going past destroyed panzers in Tunisia 1943. Another being a huge heavy pontoon bridge across the Rogue River in Oregon during stateside training exercises. The book continues in this vain showing the Chevrolet in various guise from flatbeds to the M6 bomb services, all of this in a photographic history giving plenty of ideas and factual information to be able to achieve a nice build.
Towards the back of this Tankograd publication and in keeping with all their technical books it starts looking at the close up shots and technical information, starting with Cab Interior, Controls and Instruments shows us the gauges and different switches, several pictures gives you a complete guide to the interior of the Chevrolet before moving on to the Engine, Power Train and Chassis. If for instance like me sometimes you like to put into to a kit some extra detail without having to buy lots of aftermarket then these sections are very valuable showing detail of the engine and where wires and pipes are connected along the chassis
Cab, Body and Equipment, shows us further parts of the cab interior such as seating handles on the interior of the doors and body protections like grilles across the head lights and radiator. Also the different bodies on the back of the truck like cargo versions and dumper versions, again this will help with showing albeit small detail but the likes of a tool compartment at the rear of the truck just above the chassis. Radio trucks radio equipment showing just how much was carried by this versatile vehicle, various winch and hoists with technical pictures showing how these worked. More of the telecom trucks like the Chevrolet G-4112 Telephone maintenance truck K-44 with earth borer equipment, this goes into some detail to explain and give technical information of the whole workings of this truck.
It is without question just how well written these technical manuals are, and the information that can be gleamed from reading these books. On a modelling front with all the pictures that Tankograd seem to manage to fit inside their books for factual or for scratch building parts / accessories you would have to go a long way to find anything better. For the enthusiast in military vehicles from this period there is a lot of information including technical information and of course the outstanding number of photographs dating back from World War 2.
I have been lucky enough to be review a number of the Tankograd publications and have found them to be very useful to me as a modeller. Being an avid reader of books and magazines I have found myself collecting more and more of their titles, I believe that says all as for what I think of their publications.
Highs: It is hard not to find useful the amount of photographs that are in this title, they keep the text formal and informative. Lows: As a modeller, it is hard to find fault in this title Verdict: There is no doubting the amount of information that Tankograd manage to source and put into their books to do anything other than recommend it.