Chevrolet G-506, 1 ½ ton 4 x 4 Development, Production, and Variants in WWII

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
David Doyle
Other Publication Information
448 pages, softbound with over 600 high-resolution pictures.
Provided by: Portrayal Press
Front Cover

Another publication by the prolific author is the “Chevrolet G-506” second printing in softbound printing. The first printing took seven years according to the author with help from colleagues and friends. This American author is known for his writings, especially on military armor, aircraft, hardware, and warships. Having started writing in 1999 with articles appearing in publications in the US, England, France, and Poland. According to his website, he has over 200 books to his credit published worldwide by various publishers.

The book is printed in A4 size (8.5” x 11”) with a colorful front showing the G-506 Chevrolet truck with six images of variants. This all-in-one reference to the Chevrolet G-506 contains 488 pages with over 600 high-resolution pictures many have never seen before. The text and images are all on glossy paper. Most images are either full pages or half pages with excellent captions. As an added benefit to this reference book, the author includes a 50-page appendix/table section.

The book is divided into 15 chapters with acknowledgment, preface, and introduction sections. Rounding out is the appendix/table section.


The author starts with a 7-page summary of the history of the Chevrolet G-506 series with an explanation of the Army’s SNL (Standard Nomenclature List), plant numbers included in the vehicle’s serial numbering, a brief section on the different manufacturing plants, with excellent B/W images of a few of the plants.

Chapter 1 The 145-Inch Wheelbase Cargo Trucks

In this chapter, which is one of the largest, the author summarizes the basic cargo truck and the Army’s Quarter Master contracts. Excellent black and white images are depicted on full-page arrangements with a high level of detail as seen on page 3.

Further on in the chapter are images of the interior, bed with canvas covering and without showing the rails. With respect to the interior, a high level of detail is shown which would be most helpful for the modeler who wants to add detail to the interior of his model. All images include captions describing what the reader is seeing. A few of the pages include exploded view or double exposure of the chassis and engine compartment. Although the images are in black and white, they do show an enormous amount of detail helpful to the modeler. Included are numerous images of stake side cargo areas showing the inside. The Army star is shown in detail with placement on the doors of the vehicle. Battery boxes, and radiator grills, covered and uncovered with canvas, as well as the engine detail. As an added benefit to this book are numerous images of the production line showing the steps needed to complete the truck. I’m sure these would be a source for the modeler’s next vignette or diorama. Another inspiring image is on page 65 showing the disassembled G-506 Chevrolet on a wooden base secured for shipping.

Chapter 2 Long Wheelbase Cargo Trucks

In addition to the short wheel-based trucks, numerous 175-inch long wheel-based trucks were produced. As in chapter 1, the author describes briefly the vehicles produced under the Quarter Master’s Contract numbers.

Chapter 3 Dump Trucks

This chapter deals with the dump trucks purchased by the Quartermaster Corp. Many detailed images are incorporated with views of most every angle and including the cab’s layout with captions describing each item. Another example is on page 87 showing a detailed image of the hydraulic hoist. For the modeler, these images are excellent resources specially used to add a greater level of detail.

Chapter 4 Telephone Line Maintenance and Telephone Body with Earth Borer

The author describes the use of one of the most important versions used in WWII due to all the communication was by wire. Noting there were 3 versions used including line maintenance without a winch, line maintenance, and earth boring all having designations starting with K. (K-42, K-43, K-44). Included in this chapter are tables listing the registration numbers, serial numbers, date of delivery, and interesting the assignment to the vehicle to was sent to. Each version has similar tables included in this chapter. All the images are black and white and show an amazing level of detail given the time frame. On page 91 we see a front view of the K-42 Line Maintenance truck.

Chapter 5 Truck Tractor

Important to the war effort was the use of the truck tractor. Numerous images are represented in this chapter such as the one on page 140 showing the side view and a rather interesting vintage advertisement in color.

Chapter 6 Cab Over Engine

Due to the Signal Corp’s requirement for a longer bed to transport long antenna poles, etc., Chevrolet produced the Cab Over Engine Series based on the 1-1/2 ton light truck. These were designated K-33. An excellent example is depicted on page 143 having a 16-foot-long cargo body. This is one of the shortest chapters comprising only 4 pages.

Chapter 7 Cab and Chassis

The plain cab and chassis versions were purchased by the Army to be used for the installation of various body types. Some of the body types were the E-5 Aerial Gunnery Trainer Assembly, the Aerial Gunnery E-9, and adapting the E-5 as a power unit for the B-29 while on the tarmac. An excellent example for the use of the cab and chassis platform by the Air Force was the installation of top and ball turrets from B17s for training purposes. This interesting color image is shown on page 155. Numerous color and black and white pictures on included in this chapter on either whole page or half pages. As before the author includes a detailed caption.

Chapter 8 Bomb Service Truck

Another important use the G-506 provided was for transporting bombs up to 1000 pounds to awaiting aircraft. On page 186 a detailed view of the M6 Bomb Service Truck’s instrument and foot cluster. Various images are displayed on this chapter’s pages including the use of an M5 Bomb Trailer hitched to the M6. All these are excellent references to use whether building models or reviewing historical literature.

Chapter 9 Fire and Trash Trucks

Of interest in this chapter is that the author writes in detail an explanation of the Class system of numbers used by the Corps of Engineers. Classes included are 110, 135, 300, 325, 525 all used by the Army and G-7153 for the Navy. Anyone with an interest in early firetrucks would find this chapter an excellent resource due to the level of detail in the images and the captions included. Page 224 is captured Cab Over Chassis firetruck used by the Navy in 1942.

Chapter 10 Panel Trucks

Moving on in the book is another excellent chapter on the production and use of panel trucks in WWII using the 1-1/2 ton chassis. More widely known for their use by the Signal Corps carrying radio equipment, but they also were used as repair vehicles. An excellent example is shown on page 235 showing the placement of the SCR-299 radio set in the rear. The bottom images include the names of the parts of the setup in the radio layout. This detailed picture should be of particular interest to the scale modeler wishing to have a detailed reference to use.

Chapter 11 Airfield Lighting

This short 10-page chapter gives the reader another use for the Chevrolet G-506 during WWII with excellent images either full or half-page arrangements of the use for airfield lighting. Described as the first or one of the first versions to use the 1-1/2 ton chassis by the author. Air Corps contracts are included in the text as before in other chapters. One noteworthy color image is shown on page 257 where crewmen are performing maintenance on the floodlights.

Chapter 12 Low-Silhouette Trucks

Another version proposed and tested in 1941-1942 was the low-silhouette vehicle believed to be requiring less shipping space and providing a lower targeting area. On 24 April 1943, the program was “killed” off due to being impractical to build. On page 265 is an image of the G-7129 front area.

Chapter 13 Airborne Trucks

In this chapter Mr. Doyle writes of how the Chevrolet 1-1/2 ton during WWII was made ready for transport by the C-47s including very detailed images. Page 284 shows the arrangement already loaded. As you see, the chassis has been cut into two halves. An interesting chapter to read as I knew little about this subject.

Chapter 14 Auto-Railer Conversions

Another approach the Ordnance Department wanted to implement was the auto-railer conversion of military vehicles to be used on narrower gauge rail lines. The Chevrolet 1-1/2 ton truck was one vehicle to be used. However, after evaluation the program was discontinued due to unsatisfactory results. Page 287 shows examples of the converted auto-railer.

Chapter 15 The Chevrolet in the Field

The largest chapter containing 101 pages contain numerous images of the Chevrolet 4 x 4 1-1/2 ton used in the field performing various duties. Most images are black and white, but the author has included a few in color. Most images are two to a page with others one to a page. The level of detail is excellent, and the diverse settings convey to the reader in what manner the allies used the vehicle. Page 351 gives the reader an excellent view of a K-44 being unloaded from a Liberty ship in 1944 and the bottom image gives the reader a view of a Chevrolet Truck-Tractor being used on a beach at Cherbourg, France, 1944.

Appendix Tables

The last section in this amazing reference book are numerous data tables, production distribution by contract and plant, monthly deliveries by year, productions by contract, and last, but certainly not least a table describing the serial number prefix decoding. In addition, the author includes a listing of reference and publication manuals. An example can be seen by the reader on page 393.


The introduction section is a must-read due to the author’s explanation of the Army’s serial numbering system and an excellent background to the different manufacturing facilities.

The level of detail in the images is certainly a benefit to the modeler or military historian.

The array of diverse imagery settings add to this books value not only as an excellent research book for the detail driven modeler, but for the military historian who wishes to have another resource for the Chevrolet G-506.

Again, the diverse settings included in the book provides a vast number of ideas for the modeler.

The author’s writings are clear and concise with the captions allowing the reader to know exactly what he is seeing.

The tables provide another resource for the historian.

This book will make an excellent addition to any modeler or military historian’s library. For all the above reasons, I highly recommended a copy be obtained. And a big thanks to David Doyle for an autographed copy.

Thanks go out to Casemate Publishers and Portrayal Press for this review sample.


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