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Question for the motor pool

Discussion in 'Military Vehicle Restoration' started by Jim932, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. Jim932

    Jim932 Member

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    On my father's Army Qualification Record it states that he drove a tractor and 40 foot flat semi-trailer hauling airplane motors, cracked up planes and various other materials around the airfield.

    My question is what type of tractor, with a 40 foot trailer, was typical for the US Army in the Mediterranean Theater?
     
  2. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Hi Jim,
    There are several possibilities, assuming it was a US truck.
    Federal 94X43,
    Autocar U5044(or the almost identical White 444T), U7144T, U4144T, U8144T
    International H-542-9 & H-542-11 (M425 & M426 respectively),
    Mack NJU1,
    Corbitt 50SD6 F1 (could be a good candidate as the AAC used them),
    Biederman F1 (As above, supplied to the air force as wreckers and tractors),

    It could as likely have been any big White or Diamond T, whether designed for, or just pressed into flatbed service.

    I see he was AAC. Where, specifically, was he stationed? Have you any photos at all?
    I've a feeling that 'Wheels and Tracks' magazine did a feature or two on US aircraft recovery.
    The Corbitt & Biederman are perhaps the most likely 'official' candidates.

    ~A
     
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  3. Jim932

    Jim932 Member

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    As to specifics I only have a little. He was with the 12th AAC then the 15th AAC. 83rd Air Mat Squadron and the 793rd Air Mat Squadron as part of the 543rd Air Services Group. He landed in Morrocco and moved through Algeria and Tunisia. He told me stories about going to the battlefield of Hill 609. Then he went on to Italy as far north as Naples. I know he supported the 325th Fighter Group because he always talked about the checkerboard tails. I have found a hand drawn map of the Lesina airfield in the Foggia area of Italy and it shows the 325th FG and the 83rd's camp sites. It seems difficult to find a lot of information on Air Services Groups most of what I have found is on fighter and bomber groups.
     
  4. Stitchy

    Stitchy Member

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    Didn't the 325th fly P-38's? I know there was a wing of P-38's stationed at Foggia during the last half of the War, but I don't know which one it was.
     
  5. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Brief mention of the 325th FG and the 543 Air Services based at Mondolfo in 1945 on this Wiki page:
    Mondolfo Airfield - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Which links to a history of that airfield (In Italian) :
    www.mondolfoinguerra.com

    Google translation of the above - They seem to have lots of photos, maybe worth an email?

    The Wiki article also links to war diary references for the 543rd here:
    Air Force History Index -- Search
    'Contains photographs'... 6 months in 1945 (presumably more is kept elsewhere?) Sounds like it may be worth trying to get a copy of that?
    Air Force History Index Index -- Obtaining Documents


    I'm trawling what references I have on Air recovery trailers, but the (usually) best source I have has a legendarily poor index as it's a magazine spread out over 75 issues.

    Lots of heavy US Airfield vehicles on this HMVF thread, but mostly tankers & bridgers:
    Some real USAAF heavy weight vehicles!!!!
    I thought I knew a page somewhere on airfield recovery stuff... but can't seem to find the damned thing...

    Hmmm.
    That War Diary sounds like a good start to me, but they can be hit & miss. I don't know about US ones, but the British version rarely mentions individuals.

    ~A
     
  6. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Fine page on Federal, Biederman & Corbitt Wreckers working for the Air Forces:
    Army Air Forces Federal C2 wrecker
    Has to be a strong candidate for your dad's machine.
     
  7. Jim932

    Jim932 Member

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    Throughout the war, what my dad told me, he worked with P-38s, P-40s, P-48s and P-51s. I have some pictures that he brought back and will have my son help me get them on the computer.
     
  8. Jim932

    Jim932 Member

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    Thanks for all the web addresses Von Poop, they sure look like they will help in my research.
     
  9. mondolfo

    mondolfo recruit

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    The 543rd Air Service Group, was turned out of Mondolfo (Italy), May 26, 1945, in support of the 31st Fighter Group consisted of:
    -Headquarters & Base Service Squadron (Mondolfo)
    -Air Material Squadron 793rd (Fano)
    -969th Air Engineering Squadron (Mondolfo)
    Was also the 325th Fighter Group (April), along with 31st FG (from March), based in large airport Mondolfo,I have some photos of these groups, and I'm looking for evidence of Mondolfo airport activity.
    In the picture you see a camp of the 543rd ASGroup in Mondolfo (Maxwell Air Force Archive, USA)


    [​IMG]
     

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  10. Jim932

    Jim932 Member

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    Thank you Mondolfo, I appreciate the information. I was unaware that they supported the 31st FG.
     

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