In 1941 after examining the British use of the Diamond-T tank transporter in Africa, the U.S. military decided it needed a heavier and more stable means of transporting disabled tanks from the battlefield. With the need issued, the Fruehauf Trailer Company proposed a 6x6 tractor with a fifth wheel designed to pull a heavy trailer as a solution. The U.S. military accepted the idea, drew up specifications, and submitted them to several heavy truck manufactures. Dart Motor Company, and Knuckey Truck Company, both submitted their designs, the T13 and T25 respectively. Both trucks were to be coupled with Fruehauf's T28 trailer. Thorough evaluations of both vehicles led to the decision to use the Knuckey submittal because of superior design and ease of maintenance.
Although the Knuckey design impressed the Army, their facilities did not. The Army figured Knuckey was not up to the task of producing the numbers they required, and awarded a contract to Pacific Car and Foundry to further refine it's design and begin mass production.
The final production design received the designation of Truck-Trailer; 40-ton, Tank Recovery, M25, which consisted of components Truck, 12-ton, 6x6, Tractor M26 and the semi-trailer, Transporter; 40-ton, 8-wheel, M15 - which was built by Fruehauf Trailer Company.
With it's massive size and terrific power, it soon gained the official nickname "Dragon Wagon".
Authored by Dave Doyle and Pat Stansell and published by Ampersand Publishing.
Table of Contents:
Pacific M26 Tractor Development
Pacific M26 Tractor Details and Specifications
Fruehauf M15 Trailer Development
The M25 Tank Transporter and M26 Tractor in Service
Pacific M26A1 Tractor Development
Pacific M26A1 and Fruehauf M15A1 in Service
Epilogue: The Mack M123
its all in the title
"Dragon Wagon: A Visual History of the U.S. Army's Heavy Tank Transporter 1941 - 1955"
As the title suggests, this book does an excellent job of covering the Dragon Wagon's design, development, and deployment with over 100 pages and over 150 clean (and in focus) B&W photos.
Nearly every angle and aspect of the vehicles are covered. With close up on the exterior details and well laid-out interior detail shots, you're sure not to miss a thing. Both the M25/M26
- armored cab and the M26a1
-unarmored cab along with the M15
trailers are very well covered. Each with it's own section, and as combined vehicles throughout
If you are familiar with Ampersand's series "Allied-Axis: The Photo Journal of the Second World War", you're sure to feel right at home with this book. And speaking of which, if you have issues 3
of "Allied-Axis" which cover the 'DW' this one book far out-weighs both in many ways.
If you have any interest in this beast of vehicle, or have Tamiya's excellent 1/35th model in your stash or on your shelf, this book is invaluable. Some of the images have been published before and there are plenty of new ones (at least to me)
It offers ample images of details, and a plethora of diorama ideas. I certainly recommend this book.
for those looking for the M123
I would like to mention that if the M123 is your interest, you may be a bit disappointed with this book's offerings. Only five pages at the back of the book are used to cover this vehicle. Although they too offer some nice detail shots, though not enough for those looking for an in-depth.
I received my copy via The VLS Corporation