WWII British Orme-Evans

Number 1 Mark I Lightweight 10-cwt Airborne Trailer

 

 

Rear of the Trailer showing the back tow hook for pulling a second trailer or a field piece. The Reflecting "T" was a carry over used before the war on commercial trailers and was retained for some reason in Airborne service.  The rear hook shown on this trailer is a larger and heavier pattern as used on British carriers and trucks. The standard airborne trailer pattern smaller and lighter but is not capable of handling the towed 4.2-Inch mortar I pull in tandem with my jeep.

Likewise the Lunette shown on this trailer is the larger late war pattern when compared with the lightweight style typically seen on airborne trailers. This larger size Lunette is compatible with the larger size British pintle hooks found on Universal Carriers and trucks.

 
Another shot of the front Trailer assembly with the pull arms folded in.

 

Each trailer was supplied with a waterproof canvas tarp. These were usually painted with a disruptive pattern in compliance with Army regulations with procedures laid out in Military Training Pamphlet Number 46 in seven parts, specifically Parts 1, 4 and 4A. Basically the top would be painted black and it needed to overlap onto the sides enough to break up the straight edges. And any disruptive pattern on the vehicle needed to be continued onto the tarp to likewise eliminate it forming a clean straight edge where it covered the vehicle.

At least three patterns or wheels were used on the lightweight airborne trailers. The first type shown at the left has more rounded lightening holes around the perimeter and the center lacks the reinforcement spars that can be seen on the wheel in the center which has more elongated lightening holes around the perimeter. The wheel at the right was produced later in the war and it is a two part split "combat rim" similar to the design used on jeeps beginning in 1942. But the jeep pattern has five lug nuts (rim bolts) which prevented them from being interchangeable with the trailers. This solid pattern wheel was stronger and allowed the trailers to carry heavier loads such as mortar ammunition.

 

The white metal square on the axle is used with a flood lamp for blackout convoy purposes in the same way as the Airborne Jeeps rear differential was painted white. The flood lamp and right side rear running light are turned on by the black bakelite switch beneath the trailer. A second connector is also on the rear to allow power to be supplied to another trailer if needed. Power is passed from the towing vehicle down the cable in the center which runs to a Bakelite junction block. It then goes to the Bakelite lamp switch which has two positions. One to supply power to the blackout axle flood lamp and one to provide power to the running lamps at the sides. In this case, only one running lamp is installed but a second could be fitted to the bracket on the opposite rear corner.

The power cable that runs to the towing vehicle could be plugged into a receptacle on the side of the front tow beam when not being used. This secured it until needed and protected it from becoming damaged. The handle seen in the center above the tow beam is the hand brake lever.

The trailer had hand-operated wheel brakes which were used when the trailer was unlimbered and parked. When the handle is pulled towards the body of the trailer, it levers a pair of rods forward and activates the brakes.

Tools that were issued with the trailers included a puncture repair kit (yellow tin made by Dunlop in this case), a Tubular Socket Wrench in 3/8 British Standard Whitworth along with a Tommy Bar for removing the rim nuts (white metal pair of tools), a Tyre Inflator with Valve Stem Hose, and a Grease Gun (Tecalemit brass hand pressed type).

Overhead view of the cargo bed of the Trailer. The long board is a troop seat. The floor boards are above the central frame beam which runs the length of the trailer. The floor boards usually installed in wartime airborne trailers were a simple pallet design and not a continuous plank floor shown above. The tyre repair kit can be seen under the edge of the upper wall behind the bench seat. A toggle rope is stowed at each end to assist troops if needed for dragging the trailer by hand. These would fasten to the curved hooks at each lower outside corner of the trailer body. The three pairs of straps spanning the center are to secure cargo.

As this trailer is being used to support a towed 4.2-Inch mortar, the shot above shows the typical load. Each of the mortar bomb carriers holds a pair of 4.2-inch bombs which each has a weight of thirty pounds. Five carriers lay on their sides on the floor. And twelve more carriers sit upright on top of them just beneath the troop bench. A single strap runs lengthwise though all of the mortar carrier handles and the trailer cargo straps pass through this to help secure the entire load which has a weight of 1020 pounds. The open space seen on the floor would be used for camouflage nets used with the mortar, along with pioneer tools and other required equipment. Mortarmen can sit comfortably on the bench with their feet on the floor across from the mortar carriers. Examples of the 4.2-inch H.E. and Smoke bombs are shown laying on the bench.

 

Jeep, trailer with ammunition and 4.2-Inch mortar with towed base plate in caravan.  

Click Here To See More of the British Airborne Jeep

Click Here To See More of the British 4.2-Inch Towed Mortar

Click Here To See Photos of a British WWII BSA Folding Bike

Click Here To See Features of the Early Slat Grill Jeep

Click Here To See Photos of a British WWII T-16 Universal Carrier

Click Here To See Photos of the U.S. WWII Airborne Converto Trailer

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