M19 Snow Trailer by Saginaw
When KTR member Robert vanít Oost advertised his M19 Snow Trailer by Saginaw Stamping, USA it caused a lot of interest.
One of our readers, Rodney Rushton, kindly sent us these black and white pics of the M19 Snow trailers he saw in regular visits in the late 1970's to Den Otters Yard, Dordrecht.
Rodney told us "He (Den Otter) used to buy huge quantities of WW2 vehicles from Denmark, Norway and France. The GMC's would be dismantled and sent to Indonesia or the Phillipines to the logging camps there. I would go over and spend all week there pillaging for parts and various. Bear in mind there was a limit of £50 spending money per trip in those days! I took several photos in the yard over a period of time and I can look out these too. They are mostly of GMC's but a few are of Dodges and some Canadian Chevs or Fords.
The Brothers Roelse were frequent visitors to this yard also, and several of the vehicles they collected came from here.
I was in a most honoured position of being allowed to roam freely, which I never abused, and met several major dealers there from all over the world. Happy Days....."
Saginaw Products made the M19 ski / wheel trailers. Two production batches known, one in 1944 and one in 1950.
The M19 trailer had a net weight of 640 lbs, and a payload of 2000 lbs. It had a wooden body on a steel hollow-section frame, with hood, hoops, side and end panels all easily detachable, and it was normally equipped with a heater and two stretchers, plus a rear pintle hitch so that trailers could be doubled up. The two-bolt mounting pintle hitch was unique to the M7 and M19, and will not accommodate even an ordinary MB / GPW jeep trailer lunette.
They had three main functions;
rescue and recovery, for which they were equipped with two stretchers and a personnel heater aircraft starting, for which they were outfitted with much larger aircraft engine heaters and slave power equipment. cargo, for which they could be operated with or without canvas hood, top bows, side and end frames. Serial numbers for the 1950 units seem to start at 1000 and were dated around November of that year, suggesting they were made to supplement a batch of 1944 originals that were going to Norway, and seem to top out around 1150.
It is quite likely that the 1944 batch didn't run to as much as 1000 units, as 600 would have supplied two trailers for every M7 that Allis Chalmers built. Estimated total production would be around 750 ( 600 in 1944 and 150 in 1950 ) but many 1950 trailers seem to have survived due to careful use by the Norwegian army.
The 1944 originals had several noted weak points which can all be attributed to the lightness of construction ( they were rated at 2000 lbs, same as a Ben Hur trailer, but weighed only one third as much - 640 lbs )
1944 tow bar frames had holes for bolting through the drag chains - 1950 trailers had no holes and drag chain ends welded to the tow frame.
1944 skis were mostly wood / ply with metal brackets and strake - 1950 trailers had metal sheath underneath, with strake welded to it.
1944 front support legs were quite short - 1950 support legs were lengthened by a couple of inches.
In addition to those points they tried to recover as much weight as they could by lightening. The 1944 heavy rectangular bracket for mounting the heater was replaced by a much lighter flimsy unit on the 1950 production. The type of plug and socket for the lights and auxiliary power also looks to have been updated.
Despite this rework all M19s are very prone to damage. The trailer body will bend noticeably when loaded away from the axle line and normally stays out of flat. The tow frame is a fabrication work of art, being split, angled, and welded, but this results in a lot of work and since they appear not to have been coated internally when new, most are now quite weak as a result of internal rusting.
The canvas covers were insulated by quilting, and had one green side and one white side, plus flaps and reinforcement for the various heater and ventillation exhaust outputs - many of which were doubled to allow the covers to be reversible.
The low tow hitch position and small tow ring means they were really only suitable for towing behind an M7, as they dragged at quite an angle when hitched to a Weasel. An M7 tractor could tow two loaded M19 trailers on solid going such as an ice or snow covered road, and when rougher ground was to be traversed it would drop one unit and shuttle them across the rougher ground one at a time.