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Book Review

"U.S. Army Chevrolet Trucks in World War II"

 

By Dr. Chris Lloyd-Staples  - Hemel Hempstead, UK

 

Basic Item Information

Title U.S. Army Chevrolet Trucks In World War Two

Author

Didier Andres

Publisher

Casemate Publishers (Sponsor of WarWheels.Net)

ISBN/Stock Number

978-1-61200-863-9

Media

Hard Cover 

Number of Pages

160

Text Language

English 

Retail Price

$29.99 USD 

Reviewer

Dr. Chris Lloyd-Staples 

Review Date

June 21, 2020

Review Summary

Review Type

Full Read 

Basic Positive Features

A superb coverage of the development and history of the Chevrolet family, clearly explaining the users and the types of vehicle produced.  Lots of very clear photos are used to back up the text and overall this is a very enjoyable read.

Basic Negative Features

Some translations need a slight improvement

Recommendation

A "Must Have"

Photos

                              

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Detailed Review

Background

The Chevrolet 1.5ton truck was ideal for many purposes when first designed, but the weight class rapidly proved to be unsuitable.  The truck was too large to be a battlefield tactical vehicle, and too small to be a useful transport.  These two roles were taken by the Dodge Beep and by the GMC 6x6 trucks, leaving the Chevrolet with no obvious place in the US vehicle fleet.  The Chevrolet was used for a range of specialised roles with the Signal Corps, Engineers, USAAF, and other units, while a large number were sent to the Soviets as part of Lend-Lease.  These latter vehicles were much appreciated because the Russian GAZ-AA trucks in the same weight class were only 4x2 and had less mobility.

The Chevrolet book is divided into the following chapters as shown below:

The book begins with a look at the different series of trucks manufactured by the factories, and the breakdown of the production blocks is very useful. The text describes some of the changes between series, including the early and late dashboard, but doesn’t go into the wood versus metal GS bodies in any detail.  The problems of the GS truck are explained, including the narrow load space resulting from the external support arrangement.   

The cargo trucks then get a full coverage, showing them in service Stateside, in the PTO, and in Europe.  Next we have the panel vans, many of which were set up as radio vehicles, and used by Signal Battalions.  Then dump trucks are described, and these saw a lot of service for repairing roads and airfields.  The tractor trucks had a fifth wheel and were fitted to a semi-trailer, seeing extensive service ferrying supplies from the Normandy beaches and Cherbourg to the advancing armies across Europe. 

Chapter 7 looks at a really specialised vehicle, the Bomb Service Truck M6, which pulled bomb-trolleys out to the USAAF aircraft and hoisted the bombs.  The M6 was a stripped down Chevrolet with a winch and lifting frame.  Another group of specialised vehicles were the telephone trucks, fitted with a soil auger to make holes for telegraph poles.  Indeed, there were several types of vehicle to transport and raise the poles, each described and illustrated in detail.

The last part of the book looks at various unusual types of Chevrolet, including the Turret Trainer, fitted with aircraft turrets and used to get air gunners familiar with the confines of the turret and the sensation of tracking a moving target.

The book gives very fleeting mention of the Lend-lease vehicles, and given that a third of production went to the USSR, these vehicles probably deserved more than the solitary photo, in my opinion.

Chevrolet in Berlin

Editing of Information/ Text Flow

Generally speaking, the French text is translated very well, and is flawless in most of the book.  Occasionally, the wrong words are used, which can be really confusing.  Here is an example, describing the cargo bay: “The technical part of the truck was composed of a metallic plate with three drop sides and five or seven arches to hold the protection canvas.  The two lateral drop-sides were made with a rotating part, which turned into a seat......” .  What this is describing is as follows: “The cargo bed of the truck had low metal sides, on which were mounted removable wooden supports.  The side supports had a section that could swing down to make a bench seat.....”.  The translator used drop-sides, hatchback and lowboy, when the correct terms would be removable supports, tailgate and lowered chassis, I’m guessing.

Aside from this, there are very few confusions, but here are examples.  On page 10 there is reference to a code “MN” when this should say “NM”.   There are references to fitting ‘blackout drive’ which can be worked out to simply mean the blackout driving lights.  There are mentions of a series ‘assimilated’ which I guess means the series of vehicle types, as I haven’t come across this term in my extensive reading of vehicle histories.  These very minor glitches do not really detract from the reading of the book, particularly if the reader is aware that such issues can crop up.

Photograph/Illustration Quality and Selection

The book is stuffed with photos, several on each page, and carefully selected to show details.  The print quality is excellent, and the photos are very crisp and sharp.  The illustrations are mainly black and white, with a few colour photos of preserved vehicles.   

Quality of Print Medium

This edition is a VERY sturdy 8” x 10” hard cover book. The paper is glossy and very good quality throughout, and the book is well-produced in every respect.  The photos are crisp and in focus, the captions are informative, and generally this a lovely book.

Conclusion

This is a brilliant summary of the Chevrolet vehicles produced during WW2, and gives a lot of detail to satisfy a historian, modeller or vehicle enthusiast.  I have already made a Chevy, but had I not, this book would have been really useful!

  

My Chevrolet model


A "Must Have". Very highly recommended for modellers, researchers and enthusiasts.
 
Thanks to Casemate Publishers for the Review Sample.
 
Copyright: Dr. Chris Lloyd-Staples - June 21, 2020