Book Review: U.S. Army Signal Corps Vehicles Vehicles 1941-45

October 11, 2023

U.S. Army Signal Corps Vehicles Vehicles 1941-45

(ISBN 978-1636240640) Hardcover, 2021, 160 pages,fully illustrated, $37.95
Casemate Publishers,  1950 Lawrence Road Havertown PA 19083  (610) 853-9131;

Belgian author Didier Andres has written extensively on US military vehicles in WWII including US Chevrolet trucks and ambulances and medical vehicles. In this latest work, he examines US Army Signal Corps vehicles in an illustrated review of various types and functions. 

During WWII, the Signal Corps was at the forefront of the technological development of communications. Tasked with coordinating all American military activities, the Signal Corps initially had to rely on a communications landline network covering some 1,300,000 km. This network, together with radio communications, provided President Roosevelt with a global overview of military operations down to battalion level updated hourly for nearly five years.

Technological evolution was so rapid that radio communications soon took over from the landline network. However,
adaptation remained a priority within the US Army Signal Corps for times when landline networks were unavailable or radio silence had to be observed. Signallers also maintained older communications methods, including homing pigeons.

Almost every large piece of Signal Corps equipment required wheeled transport. Early in the war, the Model “K” vehicles designed for the Signal Corps’ needs, quickly proliferated with 84 variants being produced. After that, the K-designation was abandoned. The Signal Corps would catalogue a further 62 models of vehicles and trailers, most of them associated with a particular radio or radar installation. 

In nine chapters, Andres explains the evolution of the Model K and goes on to identify and explain radar trucks; radio trucks; multi-purpose vehicles; specialized one-off vehicles; trailers; vehicles specific to establishing, connecting, and maintaining phone lines; and specialized vehicles such as those for the transport of pigeons or shelters. 

Throughout the book, the photos have been sufficiently enlarged to see the details called out in the lengthy and informative captions. Charts provide specifications and production numbers for many — but not all — of the vehicles discussed. 

US Army Signal Corps Vehicles is an excellent introduction to and survey of these very specialized US WWII vehicles. Any collector, restorer, or modeler will benefit from the knowledgable explanations of the rare wartime photos that fill this volume. — JAG