What They Did
Because engineers performed so many functions, a wide variety of vehicles, both for transporting and carrying out their duties, were assigned to them. Like any regular army unit, their headquarters, supply and service staff and medical detachments were self contained. Engineers operated many types of equipment and vehicles.
Headquarters and Supply VehiclesFor transporting personnel and equipment, the main workhorse was the 1½ ton, 6 x 6 cargo truck. Manufactured by the Fargo Motor Corporation, this 18 foot long, 7 foot high truck could haul 7,500 pounds with a winch. With its six-cylinder engine, the truck could travel at speeds up to 50 mph. For protection, a circular steel turret held a .50 caliber machine gun (known as a M50). The truck chassis and flatbed were contiguous unlike its 2½ ton counterpart.
Medical Detachment VehiclesDuring the European Campaign, Corporal Warren Chancellor was reassigned from his clerk duties to replace a fallen "aid man." To get from place to place and to transport wounded comrades, Cpl. Chancellor used a standard ambulance, a weapons carrier (disarmed) and a standard army jeep. The weapons carrier, according to Chancellor, was ideal for hauling medical supplies and extra personnel.
The ambulance was a ¾ ton, 4 x 4 used to transport wounded and sick personnel. This vehicle, with its wood and steel construction, was equipped to carry four littered patients or eight seated. Heated and insulated with a special shock absorber system, this ambulance supplied its own 6-volt electrical system with a 40-ampere generator. The ambulances were manufactured by the Fargo Motor Corporation. Chancellor's group named their ambulance "Agony Wagon."
Another 4 x 4 weapons carrier truck was used to carry medical equipment and additional medical staff. This model could be adapted to fit other requirements. With an antennae mount, it could be used by reconnaissance groups. It also was produced by the Fargo Motor Corporation.
JeepThe standard "jeep" was one of the outstanding automotive developments of World War II. Developed by the Quartermaster Corps, it was produced, to identical specification, by the Willys-Overland Motors, Inc. and the Ford Motor Co. Like the 4 x 4s, the jeep could be adjusted to carry machine guns (.30 cal. and .50 cal.), radio equipment and could also be adapted for desert conditions.
Bridging VehiclesIn addition to the larger cargo trucks (2 ton 6 x 6's), there were specially designed units to transport pontons, both wooden and inflatable. The 5-6 ton (4 x 4) tractor truck and the 6-ton (6 x 6) chassis were used for carrying bridge parts (Bailey sections) and pontons. The 6-ton truck had a derrick attached so that bridge parts could be lifted directly from the truck's flatbed.
Water TransportAlthough the 300th organized water points and water stations through the use of canvas tubs, they also transported water to points located in dry areas with large trucks and smaller trailers. The 2½ ton, 6 x 6 had a standard 700-gallon elliptical water tank mounted on its chassis. A 1-ton water tank trailer could be attached to other smaller vehicles to provide 250 gallons of water. Both truck and trailer could be camouflaged, by use of tarpaulins, to resemble a cargo vehicle and be less conspicuous to enemy air attack. The trailer was manufactured by the Ben Hur Mfg. Co., the Checker Cab Co., and the Springfield Auto Works.