News Bulletins

A Brief History of Jeep Trailers Through the Wars

The Jeep wasn’t the only form of technology manufactured during the war periods, but it was a significant starting point. Trailers, which are extremely popular for civilian usage nowadays, were first designed in tandem to the Jeep during World War II.

World War II

When the U.S. Army approached 135 automotive manufacturers with a catalog of detailed specifications for building new military vehicles, one of the requirements listed was a versatile ¼ ton wheeled trailer. Thus was born the first trailer, an attachment meant to follow the Willy MB Jeeps with necessary cargo, supplies, ammunition, and other essentials. Aptly named “Trailer, ¼ Ton, 2-Wheel, Cargo, Amphibian,” or MBT for short, this specially designed trailer could haul up to 800 pounds of ammunitions or other supplies.

While Willys was the company famous for producing the Jeep, they couldn’t manage to score the exclusive rights for trailer production as well. Both Willys (MBT)and Bantam (T3) manufactured thousands of quarter-ton Jeep trailers; 60,000 and 73,689, respectively.

Korean War

As the Jeep military vehicles were redesigned to be more advanced and powerful than previous models, so were the trailers meant to follow them. The second of its kind was the M100 trailer, designed for use with Willys M38 & M38A1 Jeeps, which had the following improvements over the MBT:

●       24-volt electrical system (compared to 6-volt)

●       Specially designed military tail light housings

●       “M” series waterproof wiring & lights

●       Squeeze-release braking system

●       7.00 x 16” NDCC tires

●       New corner grab handles

The M100 was heavily used throughout the Korean war, but it came to be replaced by the M416 trailer by the time the U.S. Army entered Vietnam.

Vietnam War

The two-decades-long war between the U.S. Army and North Vietnamese troops saw a lot of upgrades in military machinery and weapons. It’s important to remember that during this time period, America was also engaged in the Cold War with the Soviet Union, generating (at the time) unimaginable technological advances.

The trailer used during the Vietnam war was M416. Its unique characteristics and capabilities are as follows:

●       24-volt electrical system

●       Maximum payload capacity of 500 pounds

●       Maximum towing speeds

○       Highway: 55 mph

○       Concrete/asphalt roads: 50 mph

○       Other terrain: 30mph

●       Manually operated braking system

●       Two wheel single axle with multi-leaf suspension

●       Watertight body with front and read drain valves

The M416 trailer, built to track behind the M151 Jeep, was the last of its kind — that being the military quarter-ton Jeep trailer.

Feel free to browse the Jeep parts catalog on the Army Jeep Parts website for all your necessary trailer parts.