1945 Ward LaFrance M1A1 6-ton truck 6x6 (Heavy Wrecker)

This wrecker built by Ward La France of Elmira, NY, was the largest wrecker used by the armed forces in all theaters of war in WWII and in the Korean conflict.

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Originally classified as a 10-ton wrecker, it was later standardized as a 6 ton wrecker. The model shown here, the M1A1, was the last and most refined version. A total of 3,800 were built by Ward La France with 600 more by Kenworth. Its maximum towed load was 70,000 lbs, allowing it to salvage any wheeled vehicle in the US Army inventory as well as light and medium tanks, downed airplanes and bridging pontoons. The truck carried one of the largest on-vehicle inventories of tools and equipment during WWII.

The wrecker shown here was built in January of 1945 and saw service in Europe. It was rebuilt in 1955 by the US Army Ordnance shop in Aachen, West Germany and then handed over to the Austrian army where it remained for more than 30 years. Finally, it was sold surplus to an Austrian collector and in 1986 purchased by its present owner who returned it to California for a cosmetic restoration after participating in the 45th Anniversay of the Allied landingss in Normandy in 1989.

GENERAL DATA
Crew 2
Weight Net (lb) 30,000
  Payload (lb) 8,000
  Gross (lb) 38,000
Axle load (lb:)
  Empty front: 8,400 rear (each) 10,800
  Loaded frong: 10,640 rear (each) 13,680
Tires Ply 12 Size 11.00x20 psi 70
  Tread, center to center front 73 in.
Shipping Dimensions uncrated 1,900 cf 195 sf
Vehicle Dimensions ground clearance inches 11
  Loading height inches 56
  Pintle height, loaded inches 36
Tires Ply 8 Size 11.00-20
Shipping dimensions (cu ft) (sq ft)  
Tires Ply 8 Size 11.00-20
Pintle Height (in) Loaded 30 1/2 Unloaded  
Electrical system volts 12
  Batteries number 1
  Type of ground positive
Capacities Fuel, 70 octane gasoline (gal) 100
  Cooling System (qts) 35
  Crankcase (refill) (qts) 68
Transmission (qts) 12
Transfer (qts) 2.5
Axles (front) (qts) 8
Rear (each wheel) (qts) 7
 Winch Oil Capacity (front) (qts) 1.5
Rear (qts) 4
Rear winch transmission (qts) 3
Load capacity front (lbs) 20,000
Load capacity rear (lbs) 47,500
 Crane Oil capacity (qts) 3.5
Lift cqapacity (lbs) 16,000
 Brakes Manufacturer Bendix- Westinghouse Air
 Parking Brake   Type Transfer
PERFORMANCE
Maximum gradability (%) 54
Turning Radius (ft) Right 35 Left 35
Fording Depth   (in) 40
Angle of approach (deg) with winch without  
Angle of departure (deg)  
Fuel Capacity Average conditions gal 100
Cruising Range Average conditions (miles) 250
Maximum allowable speed (mph) 45
Number of speeds forward 5
Transfer Speeds 2
Engine
Manufacturer Continental 22R
Type valve in head In-line, 4 cycle Cylinders 6
Displacement (cu in) 501
Bore (inch) 4.5
Stroke (inch) 5.25
Governed speed (rpm) 2,400
Horsepower 145 @ 2400 rpm
Torque 372lb ft @1200 rpm
Maximum recommended toward load gross (lbs) 60,000
ADDITIONAL DATA
Height with gun mount (in) 119.5
Live axles, type double-reduction full-floating
Transmission Type constant-mesh

Nobody knows how many of these beasts are surviving today - some knowledgeable sources put their number at around 100. Mut most were scrapped when more modern replacements were introduced after WWII

All specifications noted on the info pages for each vehicle are shown "as known." If you have corrections or input concerning any of the vehicles we would love to hear from you! Please contact us via the "Contact Us" menu item at the top of the page.