Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Dave55, Apr 20, 2017.
Jeep train - Wikipedia
The enduring image of the Jeep for those of us of a certain vintage.
Do you know the rough dates that Chindits were being evacuated by jeep train, bamboo? I'm wondering if they were using the service put into action by 236 Field Coy RE (36 Division) from August 1944, but not sure how the dates line up. I've done a fair bit of research into 36 Division but I'm still not entirely clear if it was relieving/evacuating the Chindits as its war diaries barely mention them. It reached the White City area around the end of October.
Loads of references to jeep trains in 36 Div diaries as they pushed down the 'Railway Corridor' running from Myitkyina, through Mogaung and Mawlu, and on to Naba and Indaw. First mentioned in mid-August:
[236 Field Coy] Sahmaw, 13th August
Rail wheels were put on a Jeep and two six ton flats taken from the sidings at SAHMAW, a train service between SAHMAW and the Crater at 435224 was put into operation. The craters were 80 ft.in diameter, 18 ft. deep, and 46 ft. in diameter, 14 ft. deep respectively.
[236 Field Coy] Sahmaw, 14th August
Turntables for the rail Jeep were constructed at SAHMAW and at the Crater.
[236 Field Coy] Sahmaw, 18th August
An ‘International’ petrol engine with chain drive for driving a railway truck was dismantled and installed in a six ton flat to act as a locomotive. One British Mk. V A/Tk mine was discovered under the railway line between SAHMAW and LOILAW and was removed.
[130 Field Regiment, RA] Shillong, 24th August
0600 2 B.O.Rs. from 494 Bty left by air for the forward area to act as drivers on the jeep train operating between MYITKYINA and TAUNGNI.
[36 Division HQ, 'G' Branch] 12th September
First accident on the rly line operated by this formation. An AMERICAN Engr Jeep met the 1100hrs train from MOGAUNG to LOILAW head on. None hurt. Both Jeeps badly damaged.
From the divisional booklet, 36th Division – The Campaign in North Burma 1944-45 by Geoffry Foster:
The stretch of country known as the Railway Corridor extends from Myitkyina in the north to Katha, on the Irrawaddy, in the south and covers approximately 145 miles. At its beginning it includes the Mu Valley, long, wide and bounded by ranges of hills on either side. Most of this country is fairly open and cultivated but further south it becomes increasingly wooded, finally ending up in very thick jungle and it continues like this for the remainder of the journey.A road and railroad traverse it throughout; but the road, which at one time must have been well kept up, has been allowed to go into complete disrepair by the Japanese and fades out completely in many places. Except for numerous demolitions at vantage points the line might be described as being moderately intact. There were, of course, no trains and what engines remained had been rendered quite useless. But so long as the line could be repaired lack of engines did not affect our advance as jeeps could be made to serve the purpose.
By the Grace of God we were able to attach specially designed railway wheels to our own jeeps which, of course, saved no end of trouble. Had it not been so, the difficulty could no doubt have been overcome, but it might have meant structural alterations to the jeeps and, consequently, waste of time which we could ill afford. As it turned out, all that was required was to jack up the jeep, remove its wheels and attach these specially made railway wheels. At the end of the journey, the procedure was reversed and the road wheels replaced.
To the uninitiated in the peculiarities of jeeps, and the art of driving them, and there is an art, it would seem impossible that a jeep weighing only one ton could draw three full-sized, fully loaded railway trucks at a speed of 30 miles per hour, but this, in fact, is the case...
All jeeps on arrival at the railhead were fitted with railway wheels and then travelled down the line under their own steam drawing three trucks filled either with men, equipment, or both.
Major-General Frank Festing, commanding 36 Division, on a Jeep Train near Hopin, October 1944 (front seat passenger, holding the American carbine that never left his side)
Very similar times indeed Packrat. Calvert and the remnants of 77 Brigade were finishing up late July and many were transported up to Shaduzup via the railway. The West African Chindits were last out, roughly second week in August, so it does all match up. Railway corridor refers to the area of Chindit influence during Operation Thursday and Sahmaw ended up being the temporary burial site for Chindit casualties and others.
Looks like some type of field mod hardtop on this jeep
pic9 | WW2Talk
I clearly remember seeing one of these in the wild parked at my dad's friend's gas station in the early sixties. 81 inch wheelbase
Jeep Forward Control - Wikipedia
Germans Discover Military Jeep Hoods Used To Repair A Ceiling After World War II
Just had a random remembrance of summer DDT jeeps from childhood. The ones in our area were always WWII surplus.
Running Behind the DDT Truck ~ Colorado Springs Real Estate
This seems like too big a job even for a Jeep. The kits that converted Model T Fords into tractors included a larger radiator and fan to try to prevent overheating.
Bit of Googling:
Described as one of some fire break ploughs briefly used by the Texas A&M Forestry service here:
Texas A&M Forest Service | 1915 - 2015
TFS conducted experiments and tests to develop a firefighting unit from surplus military Jeeps—the first in the South. Especially adapted to conditions of terrain, soil and underbrush peculiar to Texas, the equipment included a specifically designed middle buster type plow which folded up into the bed of the Jeep, a front grill, belly plates, a winch and a hydraulic lift, oversize mud tires, and a two-way radio. Each unit was operated by a two-man crew, one to drive and plow a fireline about three-feet wide, the other to follow and set backfires. By 1947, TFS was operating 21 of these units."
Given that this jeep is running on rails why is someone holding a steering wheel?
First driving lesson?
Great thread, especially like the plough-jeep... and the learner driver...
Just wanted to add the dropping of Jeeps by parachute: my uncle Don dropped one, and its 2-man crew, from a 148 Sqdn Halifax in support of the SAS Operation TOMBOLA in northern Italy, 1945. He'd had a go previously but had to turn back; I have no idea how he landed with the thing strapped underneath the aircraft. No sign in the records that it was jettisoned, though, so I guess he must have done.
On my phone, so can't post a pic but there are several out there (not of 148 Sqdn, though, I think).
Edit: found this on t'internet of the loading process:
Unusual spare tire mounting position.
A few mods on that vehicle including the wire cutter which looks very like the one fitted to some WW1 Italian armoured cars
Wonder if Radio & MG might have just meant it was too rear heavy. Certainly looks well-laden.
Jeff/Slipdigit might possibly have some insight as it's captioned as an Old Hickory vehicle in Belgium, & he wrote a book in consultation with 30th veterans.
(Guessing they'd laugh at us peering at these details. 'That's just where we put it' etc.)
The spare wheel bracket could be moved to the near side rear or the front of the jeep as needed and this would be done if the position at the rear would impede other equipment such as towing gear. Given that this Jeep has a substantial rope coiled round the wire cutter I would suspect that this was the case in this instance.
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