Original MV Manuals

The "Holy Grail" for military vehicle owners is to have a full set of original, as issued manuals for the vehicle. Actually you should have two copies of the manuals you regularly use for maintenance. One for the greasy fingerprints and a pristine copy for show. This page will help you locate and evaluate the manuals that you need.

Original of TM 9-8031-2, the Power Train, Body and Frame manual for the M-37 series 3/4 ton trucks.  Rubber stamps from the military unit library are on the cover and back of this manual
Original of TM 9-8031-2, the Power Train, Body and Frame manual for the M-37 series 3/4 ton trucks. Rubber stamps from the military unit library are on the cover and back of this manual.

Today in WW II: 15 Jan 1943 Pentagon building completed as US War Department headquarters after only 16 months of construction, costing approx $83 million.   

Original Military Vehicle Manuals

The Olive-Drab.com guide to the numbering system for military vehicle manuals will help give you an idea of what manuals to look for. Manuals change through the life cycle of vehicles. Since many vehicles are in the service inventory for decades, there may be many editions of the same manual as the equipment evolves and as training/maintenance doctrine evolves with it. Each manual will have a number as well as a date of publication right on it. If you are striving for authentic restoration of your vehicle, you should try to get a set of books with consistent dates which were current when your vehicle was manufactured. If the vehicle you buy comes with a set of books, you are lucky. If not, this page has some ideas on how to fill the gaps.

In addition to the manuals, you should be aware of PS Magazine, The Preventive Maintenance Monthly, issued by the U.S. Army. As explained in detail at the linked page, PS includes a lot of supplemental information and practical advice about vehicle maintenance. If you have an M-151 jeep, M-715 truck or other vehicles that fall within the range of dates covered by PS, you should try to get copies of articles that pertain to your vehicle.

Sources of Original Military Vehicle Manuals

A prime source of manuals is the many dealers and individual collectors who have spent years accumulating original manuals and now have them for sale. These people advertise in the MV periodicals such as Military Vehicles Magazine and the MVPA periodicals so scan them to look for ads which apply to your needs. Availability tends to change all the time so act quickly if you see something you need.

On the Internet, eBay has emerged as the largest marketplace of Militaria, including original military vehicle manuals. You can also find reproductions and CD collections on eBay as well.

An often overlooked source of military publications is libraries. Your city library or any nearby college may have a cache of TMs and FMs which contain just what you need. A visit to the copy machine to grab the crucial pages and you are in business. For example, Buzz writes from Reno, Nevada:

There is one source of manuals that I found that is FREE! It is the main library at the University of Nevada Reno, Government document section. They have 100's of shelves of TM's, FM's etc. and the manuals can be checked out. So you might want to add a tip to your page to check out collage libraries.

Your local Reserve Center or National Guard Armory has its own library. If you check in with the CO's office and are polite they will usually let you browse around. Also talk to the Motor Sergeant who probably has his own stash of manuals. They tend to purge out anything which does not relate to current equipment so no use asking the Sarge for anything on an MB or M-37. For any vehicles still in service, the National Guard or Reserve troops are often willing to pass along a spare copy of a book from their library (or from the trash bin because of overstock or obsolesence). Get to know these people in your area -- they can be a lot of help.

Olive-Drab.com has its own small but growing collection of downloadable reference material. This includes camo painting, electrical wiring, and other topics. Click here to go to the Military Vehicle Technical References page. There are also a few digital downloads in the Olive-Drab.com Gallery available for a small download fee.

As the Internet expands, more and more on-line sources of manuals appear. You can try entering the manual number into your favorite search engine and see what comes up. You many be delighted to find a free download. Some websites have assembled collections of these for little or no fee. A few examples:

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has voluminous files of documents and photos which can be obtained through their web site. NARA has ambitious plans to make more and more material available on line through various research tools. You can also visit their building and obtain documents on-site. Some services involve fees.

The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) offers access to many US Government databases of publications and information through this web page. This vast resource includes a lot of information relevant to military vehicles, but it may take a lot of searching to find what you are looking for in a specific case. Information here is almost all related to current issue equipment, not historical. This page explains how the NTIS distributes Army technical manuals (TM's), field manuals (FM's), Army regulations (AR's), technical bulletins (TB), and other similar publications to the general public under arrangement with the U.S. Army Publishing Agency.

If you are serving now in the military or have military access status as a contracto etc. here is a link to the U. S. Army Training Support Center (ATSC) at Fort Eustis, VA. Among the other attractions at this site is a large collection of Army documents on-line including some military vehicle related publications. Go to the Army Doctrine and Training Digital Library (ADTDL) to search and download this vast resource. You will have to be authorized to set up an account. When you have an account, you will also have access to the Army Publishing Directorate website with downloadable (PDF) copies of many manuals.

Some military FM and TM pubs are on file, in digital form, with the Internet Archive. Try searching by the publication number or by something unique in the title.

The social publishing site Scribd.com has accumulated many military publications such as TMs and FMs, uploaded by members. You can join for free, then download PDF files containing the manuals. Search is provided so you can find manuals by the document number or keywords. Another such source is Archive.org which has many PDFs of original manuals for free download, just search by title or TM number.

If you want/need to go deeper into specifications for current procurement items, the Defense Supply Center, Columbus has this page of specification documents that you can download.

Mil+ Military Vehicles has a small library of military manuals available for free download, primarily for the M-151 series vehicles.

Brooke's Military Information includes this page of information about military manuals and other publications with lots of suggestions on where to get them.

Finally, manuals turn up all the time at MVPA club meets, gun shows, flea markets, garage sales and other "buying opportunities" like that. Keep a list of manual numbers you need in your wallet all the time because you never know.

Military Manuals -- Dealers

If you use Google or other search engine you can find many on-line dealers who offer military manuals. For example, Walter Miller's Autolit.com is called "the largest source of automobile literature anywhere in the world." In addition to Lincoln Zephyr catalogs and Cord sales brochures they have quite a few military manuals.

The Olive-Drab.com Database of Military Suppliers has many book dealers who provide manuals, original or reproductions. The parts dealers often have manuals too, covering the vehicles they stock parts for. Use the Supplier Search to get a list of dealers to contact.

If you are looking for a specific manual, try entering the number into Google or another search engine. Many current publications are posted online in PDF format and can be downloaded.

The Military Book Suppliers page in the Olive-Drab.com Military Books section lists many other sources of original manuals. on paper, on CD, or downloadable.

Find More Information on the Internet

There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.

For good results, try entering this: manuals military or army. Then click the Search button.