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Looking for informations about "Control Tower" trucks


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I'm currently working on a writing project about a belgian comic titled "Buck Danny" which is about the adventures of USAF pilots. As part of this project, I'm trying to identify a strange vehicle, appearing from time to time in the comic books published during the 50's and early 60's.


To put it simply, it's a CCKW truck with what look exactly like a control tower cab glass on its cargo bed. That's why I call it a "control tower truck". I wasn't able to find any information about this configuration. If it really exist, it seems to be a leftover from World War Two. The only approaching vehicle I could find is the M47 used as control tower by US Army aviation in Vietnam ( see here - I very much like more information on this one, too, by the way :-D)


So, I'll greatly appreciate if someone could provide me details on the existence, and on the use of such "control tower" truck.



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Off t'bed now so the 'in a nutshell' version...


Basically what it says on the tin... a mobile control tower.

Used by both USAAF & RAF during WWII and beyond.

They were not assembled to any particular pattern or indeed on any particular vehicle...simply a case of whatever was available. Occasionally GMC's, frequently british built army office/living vans and everything downwards from a gypsy caravan to a jeep trailer and even a rickshaw...no really!!

In dusk, poor visability, dawn or just because of the lay of the land the Flying Control trailer/truck was in essence an extra pair of eyes at the far end of the airfield from the tower. Driven to the far end of the active runway it would, depending on conditions and visibility, control the departure of aircraft (& return later) where the tower was unable to do so. Fitted with The necessary radio equipment (though not always) to communicate with the aircraft and utilising signal lamps and flares. The main objective (on takeoff) to see the aircraft off the runway safely and set the next one on its takeoff run as soon as the 1st plane was airborne (or at least past the point of no return!). As part of the 'make it up as you go along' or "bodged" as I like to call it, school of engineering the trailers/trucks were often fitted with observation domes for the F/C crew to observe the goings on. These were usually cracked/fogged or generally U/S plexiglass astrodomes, nosecones or gun turrets. Usually painted in high visibility chequer pattern, black and white/black and yellow. Not to be confused with the similarly painted 'Follow Me' taxi-way jeeps who escorted the bombers/fighters to and from their hardstand (although operated by the Flying Control crews again)...

If there's anything you want to know shout up... I might know the answer... might...:???

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Bodge, a huge thank you! You gave me exactly the informations I needed. Wow, you're just awesome! :-)


Shatters, thank you too for the picture, very interesting.


There was also the German MAN 630L2A with a retractable tower used for deploying to "bare bones" airfields with a mass of other kit. These were in service into the late 1970s.

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In the book "The GMC 6x6 and DUKW A Universal Truck " by Jean Boniface and Jean Jeudy on page 114 there is a photo of a control tower vehicle " a engineering body houses a transmitter-receiver, a telescopic antenna mast, an operating table, and a control dome" on a closed cab 353 cargo

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