Help ID M100 USAF rear panel markings

Quarter-ton trailer series, Wanted, USED PARTS FOR SALE NO EBAY or COMMERCIAL SALES., and Knowledge Base
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Help ID M100 USAF rear panel markings

Post by signsup » Mon Oct 28, 2019 4:24 pm

1953 Capital Dunbar M100, acquired from NC DNR. Fantastic original shape, lightly sanded the rear panel prior to sandblasting and found the following:

U.S.A.F.
K-25916
no stars or other unit marking on panel or rer crossmember

I'm used to seeing much longer number on WWII trailers and the K before the number is a curve ball to me. Any thoughts or comments on the accuracy of this number and is it a registration number used by the USAF in the cold war era?

And, I am restoring this trailer as it is the most original military vehicle I have come across from the 24v tail unbilical cord to the rubber drain plugs. If I were restoring this trailer for resale I do not have anything USAF blue
Robert Brough
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Re: Help ID M100 USAF rear panel markings

Post by signsup » Mon Oct 28, 2019 4:24 pm

Here is pic.
numbers 1.jpg
numbers 1.jpg (34.19 KiB) Viewed 383 times
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Re: Help ID M100 USAF rear panel markings

Post by muttguru » Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:56 pm

Hello again signsup /Robert.....

1. I can't see any markings on that picture you posted. I even downloaded it and enlarged it....but still nothing.
Can you post a better picture of the markings, please?

2. I think you will find that the manufacturer is actually called "Dunbar-Kapple" and not "Capital Dunbar".

Kind regards....
Ken
Last edited by muttguru on Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help ID M100 USAF rear panel markings

Post by Joe Gopan » Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:28 pm

The Post War USAF went to a numbering system that incorporated the year of their vehicles using a 2 digit prefix followed by a letter. Your registration. The 2 digits represented the year of he vehicle. Yours is probably 51 K- XXXX or 52K-XXXX. Many of the USAF WWII Vehicles were renumbered in this manner.
Don't be surprised if is manufactured by Strick, there was more than one manufacturer of the M-100.
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Re: Help ID M100 USAF rear panel markings

Post by signsup » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:36 am

Don't know if these will help. My understanding one or two digit number in front of K designates year. but, no such digits appear on this rear panel.
numbers 2.jpg
numbers 2.jpg (111.38 KiB) Viewed 325 times
numbers 3.jpg
numbers 3.jpg (96.99 KiB) Viewed 325 times
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Re: Help ID M100 USAF rear panel markings

Post by Joe Gopan » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:41 am

Don't know what to say. Are the letters vinyl? Perhaps they got peeled off. Note that the lines are centered. My guess is that for whatever reason, the two digit year was omitted.
Any sign of yellow USAF Lettering?
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LIFE MEMBER AM LEGION-40/8-DAV
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Re: Help ID M100 USAF rear panel markings

Post by signsup » Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:53 am

Yes, USAF lettering above numbers, centered on rear panel. Not vinyl, painted on in yellow. Undercoating on fender bottoms and side of tub under fenders which I understand was a USAF and NACY thing. I have contacted the North Carolina DNR to see what USAF facility might have been in the area that they might have acquired surplus vehicles from.

Apoligize for photos, I don't take them, just post them.
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Re: Help ID M100 USAF rear panel markings

Post by 48Cj2a » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:53 pm

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base has been around since 1942
Pope Air Force Base (Pope Field) since 1919
NC Air National Guard (Charlotte) since 1948

But Govt agencies can requisition surplus vehicles from anywhere - they just has to submit a request even today and have first choice before it eventually is available to the public.

The numbering mentioned is still used today the "K" designation is all tactical vehicles and a "L" is used on the commercial "Blue Fleet" on base use vehicles but we are moving more and more to GSA Lease Vehicles.

Sept will be my 40th year in the USAF.
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Re: Help ID M100 USAF rear panel markings

Post by Walter » Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:52 pm

Good Evening 48CJ2A:

I spent 4 years in the USAF from 71-75. My AFSC was 47250 -- General Purpose Vehicle Repairman. I spent two years in a tactical unit based out of Shaw AFB -- the 681st DASC, 68th TASGP and another year at Koon-Ni Air to Ground Gunnery Range that were all but exclusively equipped with tactical vehicles painted OD Green. Vehicles at both places included M-35A2's M-37's, M-151A1's and its 718 cousin, M-715's, M-543's, M-51 and an M-52. The trailers were 416, 101's and 105's. We also had an aboration trailer that consisted of 4 jeep wheels that could be bolted on to a duce and a half size com van. I don't recall their official M-Series numbers, we refered to them simply as Mobile-izers.

As I recall you are correct on the "K" designating the General Purpose class of tactical vehicle. The "L" back then was also a designator for the Special Purpose class of tactical vehicle. Each of our squadrons had an M-543A2, Wrecker assigned to it. They carried the "L" designation, where as the duces, Weapons Carriers and M-151A1's and all of the trailers carried the "K" designation. At Koon-Ni our M-51 also carried the "L" designation, but the Civilian, International 5 ton dump was a "B"

With the exception of the above noted 5 ton dump, Of the 4 years in the Air Force, I only spent about 9 months working consistently on the typical Strata Blue commercial vehicles.

I recently found out that the USAF did away with their AFSC classification for job classifications. My question is, did they also change the vehicle designation as well? If so when?

Thanks.

Regards,

Walter

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Re: Help ID M100 USAF rear panel markings

Post by 48Cj2a » Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:38 am

Walter,

Its a small world! I joined in 1980 with the 182nd CEM Communications Electronic Maintenance Sqn which was the MX half of the 182nd DASC. in the 90s we combined the two units to the 182nd ASOC Air Support Operations Center a renaming of the Direct Air Support Center (DASC). I've been to Shaw many times in the past to visit what your unit may have became the 682nd ASOC. I worked on Teletypes and Crypto equip in the TSQ-93 commonly called the Bubble and TRC-97 Tropo Microwave in the back of M880 Dodges. Don't know if they had that equipment back then but it was very old technology. Drove M35, M49/50 Duces Water & Fuel Trucks, and the M151s with the MRC-108 Radio Systems in the back towing M416s with MEP 26 Gensets for the radios. We had the Dodge M8XX 5/4 pickups and transitioned to M10XX Chevy 5/4 tons and M988s replaced the M151s in the early mid 80s. Everything was part of the 407L Tactical Equipment Systems.

Everything we owned was a K series vehicle including the trailers and mobilizers.

All the on base commercial stuff was the L Series but not coming from a Vehicle Maintenance AFSC I don't know when the change may have occurred.

I left the ASOC in 2007 and moved to the 264th Combat Communications Sqn and still there today (currently deployed). Sep this year will be my 40th year.
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Re: Help ID M100 USAF rear panel markings

Post by muttguru » Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:57 pm

1. The US Air Force was constituted as a separate entity in September 1947.
I think it is likely that the USAF would have inherited the vehicles they were using at the time of separation from the US Army. It would not make sense for the Army to keep all the vehicles and leave the newly-formed USAF to buy-in a new fleet of trucks, ambulances etc.

2. If that is correct, then the vehicles that the USAF inherited would still have US Army registrations (hood numbers) which the USAF would then have decided to re-number the vehicles to fit in with their own system of vehicle types/groupings.

3. According to Tech Order 36-1-3 of September 1958 (revised August 1959), examples of vehicles and their appropriate registrations are shown and it is clear that the USAF re-numbered their fleet using a system of YEAR/TYPE/NUMBER. Examples are given in the T.O. showing an M38A1 registration as 50K 22. Unfortunately for the T.O., M38A1s were not in use in 1950. This could be a mistake by the compiler of this T.O. There's another example showing a 3/4-ton ambulance with a registration of 42K 21, which could be correct. There are several more examples, but it would seem to me that the USAF re-numbered EVERY vehicle that was inherited from the Army....presumably researching/confirming the vehicle's date-of-delivery so as to define the year-code of each vehicle.

4. Was the USAF's re-numbering of ex-US Army vehicles done right at the start of separation or was it done as and when a vehicle needed repainting? I would guess that Carl Spaatz and Hoyt Vandenberg as USAF Chiefs of Staff would want to complete the independence of the newly- created US Air Force by expediting the re-numbering of vehicles using this new distinctive system of registration numbering.

5. Unfortunately, the T.O.36-1-3 does not go into greater detail about the numbering of USAF trailers, other than to show a drawing of a 1/4-ton trailer with the registration 50B 38. So why use the designation "B" when "K" would have been more appropriate?

6. According to the T.O., there are EIGHT letters used as vehicle type-designators, not just the "B" and "K" and "L" mentioned in the above posting. The letters used are B, C, D, E, K, L, M and N. So what do these letters actually signify? Can anyone confirm what these letters mean?

7. The M100 trailer owned by Robert (signsup) shows the registration number as "K 25916". In theory, it should have a year-designation such as 50 but Robert says there is no trace of any such prefix.
Could it be that the "Year" designation was not introduced at the time of separation and was not implemented until much later.....maybe between 1953 and 1958?. That would explain why Robert's trailer (a 1950-to-1952 M100) has no year prefix.

8. To throw one more query into the works, I have details of a US Air Force M38A1 picture dated to 1964, with a registration number clearly shown as USAF 2D 5691....which is a US Army hood number, not a USAF number.

I'm open to any and all comments, information and suggestions. And if anyone has access to earlier copies of Tech Order T.O. 36-1-3, I'd love to hear from you.

Kind regards....
Ken
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Re: Help ID M100 USAF rear panel markings

Post by Walter » Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:26 pm

Good Evening Ken:

My ancient memory recalled some of teh letter designators that you mentioned. I found some additional information on Steel Soldiers, for what ever it may be worth, but it was very similar to to what the 'ole memory recalled. Here is the link to their thread -- https://www.steelsoldiers.com/threads/u ... ers.76870/

Here are also some of the excerpts -- They all seem to come from Ranger Bob on the Steel Soldiers site:

“B” Commercial, general purpose. This category may include transport vehicles such as cars, pick ups, buses, and trucks. Generally, they are identical to the commercial version, with little or no changes for military service.

“C” Commercial, special purpose. This category may include special or unusual vehicles such as SNOWCATS, dump trucks, drill rigs, concrete pumpers, etc. Generally, they are identical to the commercial version, with little or no changes for military service.

“D” Commercial construction/base maintenance. This category may include graders, front-end loaders, runway sweepers, etc. Generally, they are identical to the commercial version, with little or no changes for military service.

“E” Materials handling equipment. This category may include aircraft loaders, 'jammers', tugs, forklifts, etc. Some of this equipment may be similar to commercial equipment while some, like weapons loaders/jammers, should have no commercial equivalent!

“K” Military, general purpose. This category may include security vehicles, trailers, etc. While this category contains vehicles that may be classified as general purpose, they are usually custom built for the military.

“L” Military, special purpose. This category may include fire trucks, aircraft refuellers, aircraft tractors, etc. These are usually custom built for the military.

“M” Military construction/base maintenance. This category is apparently the same as the "D" category, but military-specific. While it's listed in the TO, darned if I can find any examples or even a complete description of what may be included in this category. If anyone spots an "M", grab me a picture, will ya?

“W” Vehicular type AGE. This category may include aircraft steps, de-icers, waste ('honey') trucks, etc. The description of this category excludes things like APUs and lighting carts that one might normally consider AGE because they are not self-propelled.

“X” Nonreportable. This category is for special purpose vehicles that do not fall into any of the other categories. In other words, the USAF shrugged. Vehicles that might be included in this category are golf carts and....and... and.... I dunno. ADDED 7/1/17 it appears that motorcycles fit in the X class also.


Regards,

Walter

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Re: Help ID M100 USAF rear panel markings

Post by Walter » Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:03 pm

Good Evening Art:

Wow! It is a small world! There were four Squadrons in the 68th Tactical Air Support Group (TASGP) The 681st and the 682nd were both DASC's and essentially identical sister squadrons. It also had two flying Squadrons, the 703rd and the 704th. One flew Jolly Green CH-53's (703) and the other (704) was a FAC Squadron and flew Cessna O-2's. I had heard that a year or two after I left the 681st either went away or was rolled into the 682nd.

When I first got to the 68th, neither the 681st nor the 682nd were full Squadrons. They were designated as Detachments. Obviously the 681st was Det 1, and the 682 was Det 2.

Some of the guys who had been there for a couple of years prior to my arrival told me that the small crypto and small slip on com vans, were hauled by M-37's. The 3/4 ton M-37's were replaced by the Kaiser Jeep, 5/4 ton M-715's. We did not have any of the CUCV's One of the more fun things we got to due in vehicle Maintenance was to take the M-543 Wrecker's done to the com section and lift one of those small com vans on or off of the bed's of the 715's. They were placed on the ground to allow for easier maintenance when more extensive work was needed. Not being a com guy, I am not sure what the com equipment actually was. But given they were still operating the MK 108, M-151's, it would not surprise me if it was not the same equipment.

We had both the MK 107 and Mk108 FAC com pallets, all mounted on M-151A1's. The center of the DASC was what we called The Rubber Duck which was an inflatable rubber shelter that pulled out of a duce-n-a-half size van towed by a mobilizer. All of the com equipment was then scattered around the Rubber Duck and hooked into it for operations.

It is a small world!!!

Regards,

Walter

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Re: Help ID M100 USAF rear panel markings

Post by 48Cj2a » Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:19 pm

This is a historical archive photo from my current unit taken at Chicago Area Camp around 1954 but probably no longer exists.

You can clearly see the Army number on the hoods and Air Force on the windshields.

Ben Hur Trailers in the background.

Image
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