U.S. Diamond T 969 Wrecker Open Cab Version

The Models and Materials needed
As I allready talked about in my article on the Diamond T trucks, these vehicles are most appealing to the modeller. As these are iconic in World War 2 transport, recovery and appearance. For this project my subject is the Diamond T 969 Wrecker open cabbed version. During the past years a handfull of resin kits of this model were on the market. But fortunately Mirror brought us the first plastic kit in 1/35th scale. It's a very nice detailed kit. Very crisp parts. For the 1/72th scale fans there is a model produced by IBG Models and for 1/48th scale builders see the website of Wespe Models. I want to build a very simple vignette with this vehicle just to show the model itself. So nothing fancy. It's a beauty in itself. But first a small correction on the Mirror Model box the model is called Diamond T696. This is not correct. It's the Diamond T Model 696. This mistake is often made.
As a primary source I used the TM 9-811 from 1944. It states:"Wrecker Truck (Model 969A). The wrecker truck is built on the standard 4-ton, 6x6 chassis. Special equipment consists 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 power take-off which drives the wrecker equipment is mounted on the transfer, and the power take-off which drives the winch is on the transmission." These vehicles were 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."


Where to find information

Publications found
on the Diamond T 972 Wrecker Truck

Tankograd No 6011 - U.S. WW II Diamond T 4-Ton 6x6 - Michael Franz

Squadron Signal Publications No 27031 - Diamond T 4-Ton Truck Walk Around - David Doyle

Building The Model
While building the wrecker, some details should be considered. TM 9-811 states : "When the wrecker equipment is not in use, the ends of the cables should be hooked to the safety rings on the rear bolster of the body. These rings are designed so that if an excess tension is placed on the cables, the safety ring strap will open up and release the ring before damaging the body bolster."
Another detail that would be visible on the completed model is the standard compressor unit that is present on the wrecker. Again TM 9-811 states : " An independent air compressor unit is mounted on the wrecker body for use in tire inflation. The unit consists of a belt-driven compressor, a gasoline engine, an air reservoir, an automatic cut-off switch, a check valve, a safety valve and a pressure gage. The cut-off switch automatically shuts off the engine when the reservoir pressure reaches 150 pounds per square inch. The check valve pre vents air in the reservoir from flowing back when the compressor stops." In the manual two different compressors are shown, the Kellogg and the DeVilbiss.
As I already described in the Diamond T article, part of the Diamond T vehicles produced during the war, were equiped with the M36 Ring Gun Mount. For me this would be a nice addition to the model so I purchased the after market kit from LZ Models.

For clarity I added pictures of the real thing below.

Top view of the Diamond T 969 wrecker with the M36 ring Gun Mount

During the war a lot of practical experiences were made in the field that would be put into practice. Two examples shown in the last wartime edition of Army Motors September 1945 you can find below.This could be nice additions to this model.

"UPSIDE-DOWN BUMPER - Here’s an idea that one shop had to sell the Old Man for three months before he’d let hem do it. Now he wouldn’t be without it. It consists of welding another bumper upside down on the present bumper of the 4-ton wrecker. The idea is a real time- and work-saver around the shop. It enables the wrecker to push all vehicles from the jeep on up in and around the bays, and it’s fine for short pushes to start any vehicles with a dead battery or busted starter. It saves the pieces, too if you’ve ever tried to push a GMC with the wrecker, you know how the wrecker bumper slides right up over the Jimmy’s bumper, smashing the grill and the radiator. If the GMC has a front winch and the Diamond T bumper slides over the winch and tow hooks, it’s really hell to pull them apart. The upside-down bumper saves all this and also puts up an extra guard for the winch gear-box on the wrecker. The extra bumper is easy to put on lay a bead along the seams where the two bumpers meet and brace it on each side, from the frame to the lower half of the extra bumper, with 1/2* by 2” flat stock. Like everything else in this deal, the double bumper is good according to your needs, time, and facilities and what the Old Man will let you get away with."

Below shows a restored example of ths construction.

"REAR-END SHIELD - How badly beat up is the rear end of your wrecker? Notice we don’t ask is it beat up. Practically every 4-ton wrecker in Germany and Czechoslovakia has a rumpled rump. This comes from towed vehicles swinging, swaying, and banging up against the rear of the wrecker. Out in the Pacific, your scrap iron and armor plate situation may be different, but in the ETO, a number of outfits have fortified the rear ends of their wreckers by covering the whole rear end with a sheet of scrounged armor plate. The plate is cut out so it doesn’t hide the rear bumperette and pintle, and a couple of holes are cut for the trailer-cable connection and for the tail lights to show through. A couple more holes are cut, one- on each side, for holding the hooks on the ends of the boom cables when not in use."


The Final Result