Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

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Tom from Cornwall
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Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 12 Mar 2010 15:02

Thanks to a kind steer from Rich :) , I have discovered the following information in "The Administrative History of 21st Army Group" for the period 26 July - 26 Sep 44:

"(c) vehicle maintenance
During this intense period of activity the maintenance of vehicles inevitably had to be reduced, but partly due to the majority of vehicles being new no serious ill effects ensued. A major fault occurred in the engines of K-5 4x4, three-ton Austins, 1,400 of which, as well as all the replacement engines, were found to be defective and to have piston trouble."

Can anyone tell me what an Austin K-5 4x4, three-ton looked like, and if they were issued to specific units? I guess to find out more, I would have to delve into REME records of the time? Anyone got any other hints?

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Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Andy H » 12 Mar 2010 15:05

Picture here:-
http://ccmv.fotopic.net/p59685133.html

Not sure what the Anchor indicated, maybe a Beachmaster vehicle maybe

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Andy H

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 12 Mar 2010 16:05

Andy,

Thanks for the quick answer - what an ugly vehicle - a real British classic and now we hear that it had the engine to match!!

I suppose the interesting questions are:

1. When did the engine problems begin to appear?
2. how many vehicles were off the road at one time?
3. Given that there were at least 1700 'B' vehicles in 21 Army group's GHQ reserve on 1 Sep 44, has the significance of these defective vehicles been blown out of proportion.
4. If they were not defective, would they have, in fact, added to 21 Army Group transportation resources - i.e. were there units and personnel available to drive them, maintain them, load and unload them, etc.
5. More research required I think.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 12 Mar 2010 16:27

1,400 three tonners. Assuming that is the actual cargo capacity, & assuming it is not necessary to set aside any to carry fuel, thats 4,200 tons of cargo delivered on a one or two day round trip. A ordinary short run from a theatre supply depots to the division or corps forward dumps. The Allied rule for supply in 1944 was between 900 & 950 tons per division HQ in a army. That includes the allocation for the entire army including corps and army cntroled units outside the divisions. So, the 1,400 trucks in theory could supply a five division slice in France. Of course the reality was probablly something less even under normal circumstances. Post Normandy the necessity to substitute the trucks for railroad transport lowered the effcienty greatly. The extended road time, the need to set aside increasing numbers of trucks to carry fuel for the supply convoys, increasing breakdowns, crew exhaustion, ect... meant that actual delivery to the battle zone was down around one ton per vehical per day. Perhaps even less.

What proportion of 21st Army Groups transport pool the 1,400 vehicals represented should not be difficult to find.

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 12 Mar 2010 16:33

Carl,

What proportion of 21st Army Groups transport pool the 1,400 vehicals represented should not be difficult to find.


As I said,

3. Given that there were at least 1700 'B' vehicles in 21 Army group's GHQ reserve on 1 Sep 44, has the significance of these defective vehicles been blown out of proportion.


GHQ Reserve means spare lorries, not issued to units but held in depots in Normandy; but I guess we should wait until we've checked all the figures - it is much more complicated than just saying:

thats 4,200 tons of cargo delivered on a one or two day round trip... So, the 1,400 trucks in theory could supply a five division slice in France.


See other points I made! :D

Regards

Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Ostkatze » 13 Mar 2010 18:55

Thanks muchly for the info on the Austin K5 Screamer, named for the differential noise. I had about given up searching for the culprit.
Did find a few photos that pointed to weaknesses in British supply efficiency.....
Somebody should have pointed out to novice mechanic Dorothy ( obviously a mate of our future and current Queen ) that if she lay on her BACK she'd have a better view of the engine! Besides, something about a learner plate on an ambulance is a tad troubling....
The lads helping hold the sand channels being welded onto the tank transporter might have been replaced by clamps or sticks. Must have been a union shop job, waiting for the next tea break....
And remembering Delta's remark about the need to supply Paris in part for infrastructure damage - maybe that handsome load of drain pipes was to bring the joys of indoor plumbing to the French - not that they had much use for it....np.
Drains.jpg
Tank Transporter.jpg
Learner.jpg
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Jon G.
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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Jon G. » 13 Mar 2010 19:03

Also see this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=114&t=122517

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by The_Enigma » 15 Mar 2010 01:06

Andy H wrote:Picture here:-
http://ccmv.fotopic.net/p59685133.html

Not sure what the Anchor indicated, maybe a Beachmaster vehicle maybe

Regards

Andy H


Looks kinda like a Bedford, which would beg the question was there anything different between the two. :?

At any rate isnt this thread a job for the ...
Image

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Jon G. » 15 Mar 2010 03:50

Thanks a lot for the pictures, Ostkatze,

Ostkatze wrote:... Did find a few photos that pointed to weaknesses in British supply efficiency...


Actually, that remark isn't entirely fair considering the shambles that German logistics frequently were in. And the Japanese logistics services might have had problems all of their own if their lorry of choice was built by Toyota.

Somebody should have pointed out to novice mechanic Dorothy ( obviously a mate of our future and current Queen ) that if she lay on her BACK she'd have a better view of the engine!


I think she's simply been caught napping! Or maybe she was run over by the trainee driver...

Besides, something about a learner plate on an ambulance is a tad troubling...


It might be sort of convenient, though. But still just as unnerving as the motorcyklist I once saw in a ferry-queue. He was wearing a yellow armband with three polka dots - which, in these parts, means that you're visually impaired.

Silliness aside, do you know if the cracked piston rings pertained specificlaly to Austin three-tonners or if it was more of an endemic problem experienced in several different truck models?

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Ostkatze » 15 Mar 2010 18:05

French bathing habits aside, about all I've been able to find on the Austin D Series 4 litre OHV straight 6 petrol is that it was a new unit; based on the Bedford - Chevrolet, went on to a long life but was plagued by reliability problems of the first few months' units produced. Apparently another case of bad timing and a true story, limited to those early Austin D's? Neil.

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by phylo_roadking » 16 Mar 2010 01:48

From Richard Farrant of HMVF, Historic Military Vehicle Forum...

The K5 had a new 4 litre engine, an enlarged version of the 3.5 litre used in the K2, K3 and K4. The 4 litre was also fitted to the K6 6x4, it might be possible that a different piston ( or supplier of ) was fitted in engines built for the K5. According to the K5 workshop manual (dated Feb 1946), the pistons were made of "cast iron alloy". I think this materiel might have also been used for the pistons on the 3.5 litre as well, so perhaps there was a problem with expansion rate on the 4 litre pistons and they were siezing.


I.E. the "cast iron alloy" pistons mentioned in the 1946 manual might have been part of the CURE for any problems!

Richard is proprietor of F.V. Restorations & Repairs, Ashford, Kent http://www.milweb.net/dealers/trader/fvrestorations/index.htm
Last edited by phylo_roadking on 16 Mar 2010 02:24, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by phylo_roadking » 16 Mar 2010 02:16

so perhaps there was a problem with expansion rate on the 4 litre pistons and they were siezing.


Something ELSE happened over the summer of 1944 that might have led to heating issues on particular motors...

The octane rating of Pool Petrol rose! 8O :wink: During the war the octane rating of "Pool" went down as low as 67 octane, but in the summer of 1944 what would have been coming out of the pump at PLUTO in Normandy apparently rose to around 80 octane.

The legendary (and sadly now deceased) Bert Vanderveen of 'Wheels and Tracks' noted in issue 7 of the magazine many years ago now in answer to an earlier reader's query...

a few years ago Mr Colvin had read about this 'alleged truck scandal' in Ladislas Farago's biography of Patton and bought it to our attention.The nearest we were able to get to a breakdown of such magnitude was the engine failure of countless British Trucks following the introduction of Higher octane MT80 fuel, British Engines were not designed for operation on 80 octane petrol and as a result those of certain makes and types (we do not know which) developed severe burning of the valves. Changes were made to exhaust valves and guides for operation on leaded fuel and new engines were provided with valves made from an alloy steel containing 20 (Vs, 8) percent of chromium to lengthen engine life between overhauls


If valves were burning - pistons certainly couldn't have had an easy time either! 8O Burnt valves mess up combustion severely. They're also a sign OF messed-up combustion in the cylinder head...

A higher octane rating DOES prevent pre-detonation - "pinking" - that damages pistons itself....BUT valves will burn out and other overheating issues arise if a higher octane rating fuel is used in an engine with the ignition retarded for lower octane petrol :wink: OR in an engine simply not designed for it. IF the ignition had been retarded for low octane and not advanced again, the engine was going to run much hotter, leading to the various overheating issues.

If drivers/REME engineers didn't know that the octane rating of "Pool" was changing, varying UPWARDS - they wouldn't know to advance the ignition timing to suit! 8O Until....it was too late.

In fact...it's entirely possible that in an engine designed for very low octane "Pool"....the range of adjustment in its magneto ignition system (it was WWII...) MAY simply not have allowed the ignition timing in the K5's new engine to actually be advanced enough to cope with what was - after all - a 20% rise in octane rating...and the heating problems that caused - within the design parameters of the original engine 8O ...

...hence perhaps the need for uprated valves and pistons to FULLY cure the problem???

***What FIRST made me go hunting was the fact that spare UNRUN engines were ALL affected by "the same problem". If they weren't run, they couldn't have wear/overheating problems!!! 8O ....BUT they WOULD have been assembled with the same pistons and valves as the damaged engines I..E. the items designed initially for LOWER rated "Pool"...***

One thing to bear in mind is THIS -
I have discovered the following information in "The Administrative History of 21st Army Group" for the period 26 July - 26 Sep 44:
During this intense period of activity the maintenance of vehicles inevitably had to be reduced, but partly due to the majority of vehicles being new no serious ill effects ensued. A major fault occurred in the engines of K-5 4x4, three-ton Austins...


Don't forget these faults appeared once the trucks were being asked to motor on "overload" - carrying a ton heavier than maximum rated load - day in, day out from Normandy to the Belgian/Dutch border!!! OF COURSE they were going to start encountering problems with excessive wear and "normal" overheating etc. ANYWAY....
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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 16 Mar 2010 21:47

Pyhlo wrote:

During the war the octane rating of "Pool" went down as low as 67 octane, but in the summer of 1944 what would have been coming out of the pump at PLUTO in Normandy apparently rose to around 80 octane.


Just some questions:

Do you mean the PLUTO line at Boulogne? Or do you mean the short lines from tankers going into Port-en-Bessin?

Why in heaven's name would the British War Office change the octane level of the fuel?

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Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by phylo_roadking » 16 Mar 2010 22:31

Do you mean the PLUTO line at Boulogne? Or do you mean the short lines from tankers going into Port-en-Bessin?


Tom, I wasn't being specific at all....which was exactly the point; the lack of specificity - how many drivers would know what was coming out of the pump had changed? :wink:

Why in heaven's name would the British War Office change the octane level of the fuel?


Becuase they could??? 8O "Pool" was truly awful stuff, even the military grades; civilian "Pool" was amazingly bad, scarely more combustible than parafin. Take a look at THIS http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2507&dat=19400311&id=Vis1AAAAIBAJ&sjid=paULAAAAIBAJ&pg=6343,6562315 for some of the difficulties with it. The quality of "Pool" actually plummeted again AFTER the war - http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1946/nov/21/pool-petrol

To cut a remarkably technical story short - "raw" petrol has (had!) a range of anti-knock agents - but at THAT time principally tetra-ethyl lead :wink: (Ah, the good old days! I can still SMELL it in my nostrils!) - added to bring it up to a tested octane rating. It's a complicated and expensive process when reckoned in millions of gallons a year...and required the supply of a whole range of strategically-vital chemicals ensured....or the finished product bought direct from the U.S. :wink:

Now - add something to a given amount of petrol to increase one particular property of it....and it's diluted, basically it is made less volatile by %per volume of what's been added! So THEN various extra volatiles were added to ensure it BOTH hada high octane rating AND went bang! :lol: Obviously - this is what you want :wink:

But if you DON'T add anti-knock agents, or rather the absolute minimum :wink: you don't have to add extra volatiles...but it ALSO means that the petrol in your tank isn't quite as inflammable as the high-octane stuff with it's added volatiles.

Ever tried lighting a small amount of Unleaded with a naked flame? (SAFELY :wink: ) You'll find it's VERY poxy stuff to actually make burn! 8O

Now - if you can alter the carburetor settings and ignition timing to suit in a given engine...it allows you to run high compression pistons and thus get more power, because the the lead anti-knock agent stops PRE-detonation....or the mixture going bang under compression WITHOUT a spark...

...like DIESEL engines do :wink:

But it means that engines running with the ignition retarded to handle low-octane fuel - DON'T MAKE AS MUCH POWER AS THEY OTHERWISE WOULD.

BUT....if you have an engine DESIGNED to run it's best on low-octane fuel...and you can't alter all the settings to compensate for when "hi-test" fuel is used - said engine will experience problems because of the higher temperature of combustion in the combustion chamber - hi-octane fuel ONLY gets you more power in an engine DESIGNED for hi-octane fuel 8O Remember how in Ye Goode Olde Days, engines designed to run on Four-Star would run poorly on Two-Star? (Regular vs. Premium for American readers!)

Now....the thing to remember is - that in even just the British Army alone, ALL its vehicles lumped together were running DOZENS of different types of engines - but the majority of them were still holdovers from the late 1930's MANY types of vehicles were running tuned versions of pre-war "civilian" motors had been overtuned for performance or strengthened for reliability....then DE-tuned to run on "Pool"! For instance - you only need to look at the history of British TANK design to see THREE main streams...

1/ a range of designs using various existing bus or lorry engines cobbled together in various ways 8O

2/ a range of over-tuned versions of the Liberty that needed a decent octane rating to ensure they could handle the extra power teased out of them without "pinking"!

3/ The Meteor family when it arrived - a DE-tuned....but still powerful! version of the Merlin!!!

To the British - the chance to raise the octane level of "Pool" and thus get full power out of a whole range of their vehicles ....while at the same time starting to reduce the maintenance issues they had from using "Pool"...would have made perfect sense. With the winning of the Battle of the Atlantic mid-war, supplies of hi-octane fuel from the States was virtually assured, the supply of British-"owned" POLs coming from holdings in Venezuela was assured (we actually got more from there than the U.S. during the war :wink: It's why Aruba etc. was so valuable....and why u-boats shelling it was so dangerous!) we had assured supplies of everything we needed to improve "Pool" petrol....why NOT do so??? 8O

:lol:
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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 17 Mar 2010 21:25

Phylo,

Thanks for the technical explanation and the links to the Glasgow Herald and Hansard - you've certainly opened my eyes to a brand new subject of research - if only there were more hours in the day... :D

we had assured supplies of everything we needed to improve "Pool" petrol....why NOT do so???


Sorry, I didn't make myself clear, what I meant was:

Why in heaven's name would the British War Office change the octane level of the fuel without understanding the implications for the huge range of engines that their forces were using??? Cock-up in the War Office - that sounds rather familiar. :lol:

I found the following information in the War Diary of 21 Army Group Q (Maint) Branch, Rear HQ for 8 Sep 44:

"(c) Bulk Petrol Intake Plan
According to an appreciation made by the DST, with the existing method of distribution present stocks will be exhausted in 21 days. After 1 Oct the whole intake would have to be in bulk except for a very small contribution as jerrican wastage; this figure approaches 5,000 tons MT 80 daily. It is also appreciated that the use of ANTWERP will be denied to us until after 1 Oct and it is, therefore, necessary to revise other means of intake and/or distribution."

Now I understand the reference to MT 80 - 80 octane Pool Petrol. Many thanks for solving another mystery. :)

I shall see if I can find any reference to the effects of this MT80 fuel in 21 AG REME war diaries when next up at Kew - I would imagine that there would be some discussion in correspondence between 21 AG and the War Office and am a little surprised that if there were in actual fact 1400 lorries off the road at once Montgomery didn't complain directly to Brooke. More files to look through, sigh... :D

Regards

Tom

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