M1 LaFrance Wrecker


  • CREW: 2 - Driver and Assistant Driver
  • DIMENSIONS: Length 29 ft 0 in / Width 8 ft 4 in / Height 10 ft 2 in
  • COMBAT WEIGHT: 35,000 lbs
  • FUEL CAPACITY: 100 gallons
  • PERFORMANCE: Max road speed 45 mph; Range 250 miles

Two Manufacturers, Nearly 6,000 Trucks Beginning in 1941, the Ward LaFrance Truck Corporation produced about 5,000 M1 and M1A1 heavy wrecker trucks for the U.S. Army. A further 840 nearly identical vehicles were built by Kenworth Motor.

Towing, Salvage, Recovery and Repair These large wreckers towed, salvaged, and recovered tanks and other heavy vehicles. They also functioned as remote repair shops on the front lines. The M1 could tow up to 60,000 pounds and pull 20,000 pounds with its front-end winch.

Trailing the Red Ball Express Wreckers like the M1 were often used to quickly repair broken-down trucks along the Red Ball Express, a supply convoy running in Northern France in 1944. The Red Ball operated along two one-way routes, each about 300 miles long. The north route was for the delivery of supplies, the south route for returning trucks. A number of factors--truck shortages, the risk of disabled vehicles due to poor road conditions, exhaustion from round-the-clock driving--made these wreckers crucial to the success of the operation.