The Quartermaster Corps & Motor Transport for the Army
GMC 6x6 Cargo Army Truck in WW
Quartermaster Corps (United States Army) created In 1912 Established in June 1775 when the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution providing for a Quartermaster General and a deputy, and responsible for procuring, storing, and transporting supplies to troops. In 1912, Congress the Quartermaster Corps by merging the former Subsistence, Pay, and Quartermaster Departments. The Corps is completely militarized and has its own officers, soldiers, and units that are trained to carry out many supply and service functions on the battlefield.
Production of the Standard B Liberty truck began in April 1918, and did not stop until the end of the war.
You raise a very interesting possibility. I do know that Col. Arthur William Sidney Herrington (1891-1970) oversaw field tests of a Coleman truck on 9 Feb 1925, and then again in comparative evaluations against FWD and the Militor on 1 Apr 1925, both at Aberdeen Proving Grounds (Detroit Arsenal) , while in his various roles at Camp Holabird, Baltimore, MD.
At various times, he is described as "Chief Engineer of the Engineering Section; Consulting Engineer for the Motor Transport Division of the US Army Quartermaster Corps; Chief Engineer of the Motor Transport Division of the US War Department; and as Director Engineering & Development (1921-1928). Perhaps the most accurate title that he used himself when writing up the official report on the 1 Apr 1925 comparative tests at Aberdeen Proving Ground was "Consulting Engineer for the Motor Transport Division of the US Army Quartermaster Corps." I take this to mean that he appears to have been a "consultant," or at the very least, loaned from one military branch to the other. On a side note, the title "Colonel" was purely honorific, Art had only risen to the rank of Captain during WW-1, and then Major in the Army Reserve. Regardless, Art Herrington was so very impressed with the Coleman test results, he then made fairly frequent visits to Coleman Motors in Littleton, Colorado to consult with Harleigh R. Holmes, inventor and patent-holder of the "Holmes Drive System" (aka "Holmes Front Drive"), the proprietary 4x4 axle of a Coleman truck. I had understood this relationship to become more formalized by 1926, and we know for certain that by early 1928, Art Herrington was the General Manager of the Coleman Motors Corporation "Eastern Branch" located at 314-316 Eye Street, NE, Washington, DC, and I actually have a "letterhead" piece of correspondence with the US Army Air Corps signed "Coleman Motors Corporation, A. W. Herrington, General Manager," dated 2 Feb 1928, with the above Washington DC address at the top.
The ubiquitous Coleman "C-25" light cargo truck; troop transport, light (TTL), and light semi-tractor (introduced in 1925) even became nicknamed the "Herrington Models," due to Arts very strong influence in adjusting the Coleman truck product line to directly satisfy emerging military requirements from 1925 through about 1930.
Yes, Art Herrington did later patent his own 4x4 axle on May 15 1930, as you correctly note, and he then moved on in 1931 to enter into a partnership with car-makers Walter Marmon (1872-1940) and brother Howard Carpenter Marmon (1876-1943) to co-found the (re-organized) Marmon-Herrington Company (MH), also then entering the 4x4 axle and differential business, as well as specializing in both the military and heavy commercial truck-building markets.
However, Jeff, you do raise an excellent point. As Art Herrington had done in his various civilian engineer roles with Camp Holabird, et al, perhaps he did not enter into an "exclusive" relationship after all with Coleman as general manager of their Washington, DC branch Perhaps he considered himself more of a consultant, and actually consulted for other commercial or military organizations as the very same time. Regardless, he was absolutely a key figure at Coleman and had a simply huge influence their emerging truck design considerations during the 1925-1930 time frame.
Your comment that he consulted with the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps from at least 1928-31 helping to design the "standardized" QMC trucks built at Fort Holabird from 1928-32 certainly suggests he kept multiple hats on his hat rack at the very same time. This obviously overlaps with his fully documented tenure as General Manager of the Coleman Motors Corporation "Eastern Branch" from at least 1928 through about 1930. Looks like Art was "burning the candle from both ends," working for Coleman , while also directly helping QMC design the "standardized" military trucks that would ultimately beat out Coleman in the 1930s for virtually all future Army truck orders until 1941 with the coming of the initial orders for the G-55A "Quick-Way" Crane.
GMC 6x6 Cargo Army Truck in WW2
When the US Army Quartermaster Corps began developing its so-called Standard Fleet around 1928, the 60 or so vehicles included were broken into five groups numbered I to 5, each roughly corresponding to a weight class.
Among the new designs in group I, the lightest weight class, there were two 2.5 -ton 6?6 vehicles. When they were subsequently rolled out of the shops of the Hoiabird Quartermasters Depot in 1932, one, W3228, was powered by a Duesenberg J engine, while the other, W3229, was powered by a Lycoming. In time, a Franklin air-cooled V12 was also trialled in one of the vehicles.
It is worth noting that during this time, a certain AW Herrington was employed by the Motor Transport Division of the Quartermaster Corps. While the Standard Fleet did not enter mass production, the vehicles created were instrumental in defining future generations of US Army tactical vehicles. The Standard Fleet had been created with the purpose of crafting vehicles built to wholly military specifications using standardised components, as opposed to the previous process of buying commercial vehicles from a variety of manufacturers vehicles that might have closely fitted military needs, but were rarely exactly what the US Army wanted. Ultimately however, Congress and the Comptroller General of the United States decreed that the Army could not produce its own vehicles as it had with the Standard Fleet, but rather had to rely on private enterprise for its future needs.
Although those with dual rear wheels faired better, the off-road shortcomings of two-axle vehicles, even 4x4s, were obvious. Accordingly, consideration was given to 6?6 trucks, and in 1933 the Army procured a commercial 2.5-ton 6?6. Designated the TL29-6, this truck was manufactured by the Indianapolis-based Marmon-Herrington Company, which had AW Herrington, no longer in the service of the Army, as one of its principals.
The TL29-6 was not without competition, as Corbitt offered the Army its 168-FD8.
Between 1928 and 1932 The U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps began building several different models of trucks in their Ft Holabird, Maryland shops. These trucks were known as the QMC Standard Fleet, and trucks ranging from 1-1/4 to 12 ton were built, including 4x4 and 6x6 models. One of the primary figures in the development of these trucks was Arthur W. Herrington, who would start Marmon-Herrington in 1931. It was no co-incidence that the early Marmon Herrington trucks were very similar to some of the QMC models. Our WAI truck appears to be one of the Group IV 6 to 7 ton 4x4 QMC models, a pretty heavy truck for a 4x4. If you look closely in the side view photos you can see the unique winged QMC logo in the hub of the spare tire. Don MacKenzie had this 1st. The photos are from the Life Magazine Collection; the last one is from Fred Crismon's "U.S. Military Wheled Vehicles". Fort Holabird was a U.S. Army post in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, from 1918-1973.
1918 or after: Became home to the Holabird Quartermaster Depot.
1920: by 1920 a center for the research and development of military vehicles was established at Holabird. Here the now famous Jeep was tested and refined.
1942: Renamed as Holabird Ordnance Depot.
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