K-38 trailer

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The K-38 splicer's trailer was used in World War II for carrying telephone cable splicers tools in the field.


The US Army Signal Corps K-38 trailer, cable splicer, 1/4 ton, 2 - wheel, seems to have been a standard civilian American Telephone & Telegraph designed product from the 1930s that was adopted into military service, and later augmented by the K-38A, a modified Willys MB/GPW jeep trailer which was outfitted for the same work - the repair and maintenance of lead-wiped telephone cable joints. The parts list below was published in January 1945, which supports the assumption that both types were in use at the end of World War II. Identical civilian trailers dated as late as 1948 have been found, albeit with slightly different wheels.

Although the K-38 is cited as produced by various manufacturers;[1] the SNL-G-685 parts list[2] reveals that the unique body parts all had AT&T part numbers.

A list of serial numbers, manufacturers and dates of delivery is in compilation, and seems to indicate that Highway Trailer made the earliest units at the start of World War II, FWD production was later in World War II, and Regent Manufacturing post World War II production. York-Hoover and Transport Freight production has not yet been dated. USA serial number information does not seem to exist - at least in quantity, and images of the unit is service are very few.

Most trailers seem to be identified simply as model "S" trailers on their respective serial plates, with just one known example of a late World War II FWD plate actually being stamped with the Signal Corps designation of "K-38". The hyphen is part of the Signal Corps designation and should not be neglected.

The disc wheels, 4" wide by 18" diameter, are described as "motorcycle type". The earliest trailers had two tie-down holes stamped in a recess on either side of the wheel hub, visible in one of the images used here. Later plain wheels sometimes had a single hole cut in a corresponding place in each wheel centre, or a welded-on loop, and the post war Regent production had a different style entirely with more of a lattice section towards the outside of the centre disc. This variation can be attributed to manufacturers using whatever wheels were available at time of production, but all wheels appeared to have been made or altered to be able to be secured by hole(s) or loop. The wheels appear to be subject to more corrosion and damage than the rest of the trailer, and are a particular problem for current restorers.

The bracket on the top is for a fuel-burning lantern used for roadside warning purposes, and on inspection appears rather more elaborate than it needs to be. A fabricated steel guard with mesh sides was provided for the lantern. No electrical wiring was provided on the original trailer, but a single taillight and reflector were commonly added.

Security was by padlock and hasp on the main lid, the rear lower hatch being secured by a pin with a pull handle running up the rear inside of the main body.

Production quantities are not known, but serial number spread suggest that FWD alone produced something over 3000 units, and there is a known spread of at least 250 units in the Highway Trailer serial numbers.

See also[edit]


  • Additional information and links can be found at the site referenced[3]
  • [4] is a page with illustrations of a post-World War II civilian model, apparently a model " 30-S "
  1. ^ Highway Trailer Co, Edgerton, Wisconsin,
    FWD Auto Co., Eagle Division, Appleton, Wisconsin,
    York Hoover Body Corp, York, Pennsylvania,
    Transport Freight Co,
    Regent Mfg. Los Angeles, California
  2. ^ SNL G-685 ORD-9, List of All Parts, January 1945, FWD Auto Co.
  3. ^ http://wwiijeepparts.com/Archives/JeepTrailer.html
  4. ^ http://www.porticus.org/bell/oldphotos_3.html
  • TM 9-2800 Standard Military Motor Vehicles. dated 1 sept. 1943
  • TM 9-2800 Military vehicles dated Oct. 1947
  • TM 11-227 Signal Communication Directory. dated 10 April 1944
  • TM 11-487 Electrical Communication systems Equipment. dated 2 Oct. 1944

External links[edit]