The title of this paper fully indicates its scope. The author presents an intimate picture of conditions prevailing at the war front which affect the operation and maintenance of war trucks, and these two factors in turn indicate the trend that design should take. The training of the mechanical transport personnel of the Army is also gone into at some length.
The English and American trucks used earlier in the war consisted of about nineteen different makes and forty-two totally different models, resulting in a very serious problem of providing spare parts and maintenance in general. In the British Army transportation comes under an Army Service Corps officer called the Director of Transport and Supplies. At the outbreak of the war these officers had had little mechanical experience, horses being employed principally. In the French Army motor vehicles were used to a greater extent before the war, under the artillery command. European and American designs are compared, and the interchangeability of the latter is referred to particularly. The stocking of repair parts in the field is next referred to and percentages of the different spares mentioned.
The paper then takes up, in the order enumerated, such subjects as: standardization of military trucks, advantages of unit design of the principal parts of a truck, enclosed construction, speed and road requirements, road clearance, engine details, valve mechanisms, crankshafts, lubrication systems, carburetors, ignition systems, water pumps, mufflers, gasoline supply systems, cooling systems, starting and lighting, frame design, steering gears, gearshift positions, body design and camouflaging, clutch and transmission parts, clutch-pedal movement, universal-joints, trucks with and without differentials, design of axle parts, brakes, tires, cast and pressed steel wheels, spring construction, spring shackles and bumpers, types of final drive, maintenance methods, tools and accessories. The paper concludes with brief references to the first aid and relief trucks that accompany all truck convoys and to ambulances and special vehicles.