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out with the old, M=52/in with the new, International

Posted 12-24-2010 at 18:21 by Bill Powell
Updated 01-11-2011 at 19:33 by Bill Powell

When we put the Internationals in service and started driving them The adventure began. One thing you had to allow for was that the tractor was straight air brakes, and the trailers were air over hydraulic, so there was a delay between the truck brakes engaging and the trailer brakes engaging. Ass end of the tractor got a little twitchy.

Another little quirk the International had was cutting off guys' legs. Evidently the weld across the top of the windshield was not what it may have been, and in a moderately severe crash the front of the cab would come off and the roof would drop down and whack the driver's leg, usually the left. In the 37th Transcom alone three guys lost legs.

On the plus side it was one high balling son of a gun. We could blow the doors off any tractor trailer, American or German. There was one exception. A fleet southeast of Mannheim bought B-67 Macks, and the made the run from Bremerhaven to Munich. It had a comfortable cab, with good heat and ventillation.

Under snow and ice conditions the International was not our friend. The M-52 was a 6X6 with all wheel drive, and the International was two by barely.

That 100,000 mile month was easier to do with the International. One of the so-called rewards for a 100,000 month was to participate in one of the Berlin convoys. One month the unit next to us did the Berlin and told us about the absolute rash of crap they had to endure from the East German guards at the check points. When we got up to about 97,000 miles one of the guys backed into my truck and insisted the MP write it up. Alas, we did not get to go to Berlin.
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