Ward LaFrance / Kenworth Heavy Wrecker M1 / M1A1

The Ward LaFrance / Kenworth Truck, Heavy Wrecker, 6-ton, 6x6 has two main variants, the Model M1 with a civilian metal cab and curved fenders, followed by the Model M1A1 with a canvas soft top, military flat fenders and other changes. The open cab model was often fitted with a machine gun ring mount. Within the two main models, the Ward La France and Kenworth production had a number of sub-models as explained below, with a total of 4,925 vehicles built.

The Ward LaFrance / Kenworth Heavy Wrecking Truck was a 6x6 chassis with a wrecker rated at 6 tons (10 tons in some documentation). In addition to the winches and crane, the trucks were fitted with outriggers and carried welding equipment plus a variety of recovery tools. The powerful wrecker was very successful in its role and was praised by the troops who used it. The main complaint had to do with the dual rear wheels which tended to pick up debris and were difficult to service or change.

Kenworth Heavy Wrecker M1A1, with machine gun ring mount
Kenworth Heavy Wrecker M1A1, with machine gun ring mount.

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Ward La France / Kenworth Truck, Heavy Wrecker, 6x6 M1 and M1A1 (G-116)

Production of the Heavy Wrecking Truck M1 and M1A1 was divided between Ward La France and Kenworth, with each producing sub-models during the life cycle of the vehicle. By the end of the model changes, the final two trucks (Ward La France 1000-5 and Kenworth 573) had most parts interchangeable. This table presents the various models and sub-models.

Ward La France Model 1000 Series 1 M1 variant, Closed cab, 11.25-20 tires, dual spares behind cab, front winch only, manual crane (1941)
Ward La France Model 1000 Series 2 M1 variant, Closed cab, 11.00-20 tires, one spare behind cab, one on passenger side of crane, rear winch (1941-1942)
Ward La France Model 1000 Series 3 M1 variant, Eliminated trailer connections, British Lend-Lease only
Ward La France Model 1000 Series 4 M1 variant, Curved boom crane, military instruments on dash, larger fuel filler (Early 1943)
Ward La France Model 1000 Series 5 M1A1 variant, soft top cab, flat fenders, Gar Wood US6A power crane (May 1943 forward)
Kenworth Model 570 Ward La France Model 1000 Series 2 equivalent, with Kenworth design of PTO, transfer case and other parts. (1941)
Kenworth Model 571 Virtually the same as Model 570 with engine filter changes (1942-1943)
Kenworth Model 572 Closed cab with Gar Wood US6A power crane, military instruments (1943)
Kenworth Model 573 Ward La France Model 1000 Series 5 equivalent, Model M1A1 (1943)

Source for model differences is Standard Catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles .

Ward La France / Kenworth Heavy Wrecking Truck M1 and M1A1 Characteristics

Length 26 ft 6 in (7.92m)
Wheelbase 15 ft 1 in (4.57m)
Width 8 ft 3 in (2.51m)
Height 10 ft 2 in (3.10m)
Weight 30,000 lbs
Engine Continental 22R 501cid (8.2L) 6 cyl gasoline, 145hp@2400
Transmission Fuller 5 fwd, 1 rev
Transfer case Timken 2 speed
Max speed 45 mph
Range 250 mi
Winch-front Gar Wood 3U615 20,000 lb
Winch-rear Gar Wood 5M713K 47,500 lb
Crane Gar Wood US6A 9.75 ton lift, 180 traverse

Table based on the Ward La France / Kenworth Heavy Wrecking Truck M1A1.

The technical manuals for the Ward La France / Kenworth series of vehicles include:

  • TM 9-795 Heavy Wrecking Truck M1
  • TM 9-1795A Heavy Wrecking Truck M1, Power train
  • TM 9-1795B Heavy Wrecking Truck M1, Engine
  • TB 9-1795B-2 Fits, Tolerances, and Wear Limits for Continental Model 22R Engine
  • TM 9-1795C Heavy Wrecking Truck M1, Crane and Winches
  • TM 9-1795D Heavy Wrecking Truck M1, Body and Chassis
  • TM 9-796 Heavy Wrecking Truck M1A1
  • TM 9-1796 Heavy Wrecking Truck M1A1, Crane

The Ward La France / Kenworth Heavy Wrecking Truck M1 and M1A1 was superseded by the M62 5 ton wrecker in the 1950s.

Kenworth Heavy Wrecking Truck M1 (Model 570), 1942 photo
Kenworth Heavy Wrecking Truck M1 (Model 570), 1942 photo.

Ward La France Heavy Wrecking Truck M1A1 ready for shipment overseas at Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, VA, 3 August 1943
Ward La France Heavy Wrecking Truck M1A1 ready for shipment overseas at Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, VA, 3 August 1943.

Ward La France/Kenworth Model 1000 Series 5, M1A1 heavy wrecker
Ward La France/Kenworth Model 1000 Series 5, M1A1 heavy wrecker.

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