Autocar Model U8144T with Ponton Trailer

One of the most predominant classes of heavy 4x4 trucks of the second World War, was the 5 to 6-ton 4x4. Produced by Autocar, FWD and Mack. They were found in every corner of the world by the end of the war. Autocar's design was almost identical to the 4 to 5-ton 4x4s built by both Autocar and White. Both types however used the same Hercules RXC gasoline engine, a six cylinder model which produced 112 horsepower from 529 cubic inches. The tractor shown here, known as U8144T is pulling a pontoon bridge section, and carries bridging equipment and tools in the box behind the cab. Six 12,00x20 tires were used on the 5-6 tonner, and the wheelbase was 163,5 inches. A GarWood Model 3165 U front winch of 15,000 pounds capacity was fitted ta all U8144T's. A total of 2711 of these were built by Autocar between 1941 mid 1945.

TM 9-2800 dated 1943 shows the following information. It's specific Purpose: To tow the semitrailer with the ponton bridge equipment. Shown here with the open cab version and canvas covers in place. The drawing showing the closed cab version.

As was mentioned this vehicle, supplied to the Corps of Engineers, was used to tow a semi-trailer with ponton bridge equipment. A 48-inch tool chest was mounted on the vehicle and this could be opened from both sides. A tread plate platform was provided across the top of the frame. The earlier described winch of 15,000-pound capacity was mounted at the front of the vehicle. It was supported between the two side-frame rails. Power for operating the winch was transmitted from the main transmission through the power take-off unit and driveshaft unit to the worm shaft of the winch. It was controlled by a power take-off shift lever in the cab.

The Autocar prominently showing its armament. This is the Ring Gun Mount M36 as it was the standard mount for this vehicle with the .50 cal. Machine Gun.

Here the same vehicle is shown with full canvas covers installed. These were intended to shield the driver and passenger from bad weather. However the covers when installed, did resrict access to the .50 cal. Machibe Gun.

The M36 Ring Gun Mount as it was intended for installation on the Autocar. Below some more detailed pictures of the open cabbed version of this vehicle with all canvas covers in place but without the Gun Mount.

Below anice vieuw of the top showing the general layout of the open cabbed version.

View of the left side with canvas covers removed.

The Hercules Model RXC Engine.

The Ponton Trailer

Again back to the TM 9-2800 dated 1943. It shows the following information. It's specific Purpose: Used by Corps of Engineers to transport ponton bridge equipment.Different Ponton Trailers are known.

SEMITRAILER, SPECIAL, DROP-FRAME, 25 TON PONTON, MODEL 1040. MFRs: Dart Truck Company, Kansas City, Missouri and Trailer Company of America, Cincinnati, Ohio. MODEL: 1040. The Model 1040 Special ponton bridge semitrailer was an all-welded unit of structural steel without platform or body, designed to carry one 25-ton aluminum ponton and ponton equipment. The drop frame and upper fifth wheel were mounted on a trailer axle. The semitrailer was suitable for use with the fifth wheel of either a tractor or dolly. Two main load-carrying members, heavily trussed, ran the entire length of the unit. Two structural steel ponton rests were mounted above the main frame. Steel hooks and lashing rings were welded to the main rails. Eight load binders and eight outriggers were used, An extra heavy upper fifth wheel (or pick-up plate) was welded up under the front end of the frame for the full width. A winch-type tire carrier was mounted under the main frame. Semitrailer rear wheels turned “inside’' the turning circle of the truck. Towing speed, as a four-wheeler, was 30 miles per hour; as a semitrailer up to 50 miles per hour.

SEMITRAILER. SPECIAL, DROP-FRAME, 25-TON PONTON, FRUEHAUF. MFR; The Freuhauf Trailer Co., STOCK NO.: 78-7485.250-400. Detroit, Michigan. This Model, the DF-231 Special Semitrailers were designed to carry one 25-ton ponton and ponton equipment. It could be pulled behind almost any type of heavy-duty prime mover. It could be operated as a tractor semitrailer combination or be pulled behind a straight truck through the use of a dolly, The frame had structural steel sides, rails, and rossmembers, outriggers, clamping devices and a cable type tire carrier was provided.

Different loads for the trailer.

Where to find information on this vehicle

- Technical Manual TM 9-817 April 1944.
- Technical Manual TM 9-1817 April 1944.
- Technical Manual TM 5-273 July 1942 including C1 May 1943 and C2 July 1943.
- Parts List ORD 9 SNL G-511 October 1945.
- Technical Manual TM 9-2016 February 1957 Describing the standard Gun Ring Mounts from WW 2 and later.
- Technical Bulletin TB 5-9720-15 April 1945 Trailer Data.
- Tankograd Technical Manual series 6005 by Michael Franz.


In 1/35 th scale there are only two models known to me of the truck and the Ponton Traler. Both are from DES kit from France. From experience I can say these models in resin are very accurate representations of the subject. The Tractor Truck is available in both versions with te closed and open cab.