The truck, heavy wrecker, 10-ton, 6x6, M1 of the U.S. Army was built by the company Ward LaFrance and by the famous firm Kenworth (Kenworth 570).
Ward LaFrance M1A1 is an evolution of the model M1.
The Ward LaFrance / Kenworth Truck, Heavy Wrecker, 6-ton, 6x6 has two main variants, the Model M1 with a civilian metal cab and curved fenders, followed by the Model M1A1 with a canvas soft top, military flat fenders and other changes. The open cab model was often fitted with a machine gun ring mount. Within the two main models, the Ward La France and Kenworth production had a number of sub-models as explained below, with a total of 4,925 vehicles built.
The Ward LaFrance / Kenworth Heavy Wrecking Truck was a 6x6 chassis with a wrecker rated at 6 tons (10 tons in some documentation). In addition to the winches and crane, the trucks were fitted with outriggers and carried welding equipment plus a variety of recovery tools. The powerful wrecker was very successful in its role and was praised by the troops who used it. The main complaint had to do with the dual rear wheels which tended to pick up debris and were difficult to
The M1 Heavy Wrecking Truck (G116)
was the standard 10-ton 6x6 heavy wrecker of the US Army during World War II. With the exception of one tank transporter the M1 was the heaviest 6x6 truck operated by the Army until 1955. It was replaced in the 1950s by 5-ton wreckers. Over 5000 were built between 1941-1945.
In 1939-1940 the US Army Ordnance Corps was developing tactical trucks that could operate off-road in all weather. Corbitt , a small company who had sold the US Army trucks since 1917, was working on designs for heavy-duty conventional 6x6s trucks. In 1940 their designs for a 6-ton truck and a 10-ton wrecker chassis were standardized. Corbitt would build 6-ton cargo trucks, the wreckers were contracted to Kenworth Motor Truck Corp. and Ward LaFrance Truck Corp. Originally rated as 10-ton, this was lowered to 6-ton after the war. At first the manufactures chassis were similar and used the same components, after the 1943 upgrade to -A1 standard the two chassis were mechanically identical and parts were interchangeable. Ward LaFrance began productions in 1941 and would build 4,925. Kenworth began in 1942 but because of interruptions in manufacturing they only built 840.