3/4 Ton SMP Dodge Trucks

A 1967 dated image showing an M37 CDN truck in standard configuration. The markings on the door were part of a trial for the new Tri-Service emblems adopted as a result of the unification of the Canadian Forces in 1968. The CFR number is representative and is not the actual number assigned to this vehicle. (DND Image)

After the end of the Second World War, orders for military vehicles ceased. The Canadian Automotive industry quickly reverted to civilian car design and production, with little thought to peacetime military needs. By 1950 however, the Cold War was in full swing, The Korean War had started, and the Canadian Government was fearing an imminent need for new military trucks, while already aware of the problems that arose in re-tooling civilian automotive industry a decade before.

During the war, Canada had produced the CMP (Canadian Military Pattern) truck for its armed forces.  Although still held in large numbers into the 1950’s, it was to a British design specification with right hand drive and other numerous outdated features. At the end of the War, it was determined that Canada would standardise its military vehicles on US designs. The latest standard was the “M-Series”, commonly referred to as the SMP (Standard Military Pattern) family of trucks in Canada. 

The M37 ¾ ton 4×4 truck was selected by the Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force as the replacement for the 15cwt CMP and Dodge APT trucks in service at the time.  The vehicle was a standard cab and box arrangement that could also be produced with a van body if desired.

After much negotiation, an agreement with the United States was made where the trucks would be assembled in Canada by Canadian Industry using a mixture of US and Canadian supplied parts. The design was also adopted by the Royal Canadian Air Force at the same time to replace its outdated Dodge APT ¾ ton trucks. In March 1951, Chrysler Corporation of Canada received a pilot model M37 from the United States to use as a reference sample. By October of that year, the First “M37 CDN” as they were now known, rolled off the production line in Windsor, Ontario.

The Canadian trucks were similar to the US made versions except for the larger, Canadian produced 251 cubic inch engine and improved transmission. Other differences included the standardized fitting of a metal “Arctic Cab” instead of the canvas top seen on US examples. As with the US versions, Canadian trucks were made with and without, front mounted PTO driven winches. There was also a M42 CDN Command version planned, which was essentially an office kit installed in the rear bed of an M37, but this project was cancelled in favour of the enclosed M152 platform.

In 1952, the ambulance version of the fleet was introduced featuring an insulated metal van body with large barn doors in the rear. This model was known as the M43 CDN. 1952 also saw the introduction of the pilot model M152 CDN panel truck. The M152 CDN took over from shelved M42CDN Command truck project and was based on the US XM152. This truck was similar to the M43 but featured side windows in the rear body with wire mesh covers.

The M152 CDN was to be used for the basis of several specialised equipment vehicles including the Radio Van, (“Gin Palace” as it was commonly known, supposedly because of what may have gone on inside of it). Initially the M152 CDN incorporated the M43 designs double swing out rear doors, but Signals Branch trials indicated that the large doors prevented the mounting of antennas on the rear of the body. As a result, the design was modified to have a single rear door and after some delay the changes were incorporated in the production models. The final design of M152 CDN panel van entered full production in 1954.

The final model of ¾ ton SMP that Canada acquired was the M56 CDN. These were a cab and chassis only that featured the longer frame of the M152 and M43 but with the sheet metal of the M37. The intent was to use them for the mounting of mobile welder units and water tankers. Ultimately these roles were carried out by regular M37’s or trailers and the six M56 CDN manufactured in 1954 were surplus to requirements by 1957.  The last of 4524 ¾ ton SMP trucks were delivered by Chrysler of Canada to the Canadian military in 1955.

Model19511952195319541955Total
M37 CDN237104210164942823071*
M43 CDN 121238242409
M152 CDN   6583801038
M56 CDN   6 6
Total2371163101811969104524
* The total of 3071 M37 CDN trucks includes 672 delivered with winches.

While this was going on in Canada, the Canadian Army fighting in Korea was having problems of its own with its older worn-out fleet of Canadian and American supplied vehicles. By 1952 maintenance problems with the old Dodge Weapons Carrier (WC) series trucks were becoming acute and a solution to the vehicle problem was needed. The US army was in the process of introducing the M-Series in Korea and Canada was able to negotiate a scheme where Canadian US supplied Second World War era vehicles could be exchanged for brand new M-Series trucks. Deliveries were initially slow throughout 1953 but by March 1954 Canadians had 193 M37 cargo trucks and 27 M43 Ambulances, both types of US manufacture. At the end of 1954, the M37’s and M43’s were returned to US ordnance parks and left in Korea.

Canadian made ¾ ton SMP’s went on to serve with Canada in France, Germany and Norway as part of our NATO commitment, and in the middle east with Canadian contingents on United Nations missions. By the late 1960s, the fleet of Canadian made ¾ ton SMP trucks was starting to show its age and the newly amalgamated Canadian Forces was looking at a replacement within the next half decade.

In 1970, the Chrysler of Canada 1 ¼ ton 4×4 “Ram” amphibious truck was trialed, but it was the Chevrolet 1 1/4 ton 4×4 modified commercial pattern of truck, commonly known as the “Five Quad”, that was adopted in 1976. The last of the Dodge SMP’s was retired in the late 1970’s with the majority being sold onto the civilian market.

Tables of Known 3/4 Ton SMP Vehicle Data

These tables includes the information of known 3/4 SMP trucks. The serial numbers for the trucks are linear from 91400001 through to 91404524 but the CFR numbering rationale is not known at this time. Due to the quantity of vehicles acquired over the course of production no attempt has been made to enter every vehicle serial number. RCAF vehicles were assigned a unique registration number and only obtained a CFR if they were still in use after 1968. Dates of acquisition based on the original Canadian Army Registration (CAR) numbers have been entered when known.

As the vehicles were acquired, and mostly disposed of, prior to the adoption of electronic inventory control by DND the list contains only 114 records obtained from DND electronic records . The remainder of the vehicle data captured here has been obtained from period images and data plates of surviving vehicles. Any additions or corrections are very much appreciated.

M37 CDN Cargo Truck

DateCFR No.Serial No.Image/ Notes
19514000191400038Truck, Cargo, Modified For Radio Teletypewriter Equipment,w/Winch
4000291400042
4000591400028 
4001091400040Truck, Cargo, w/Crane, Front Mounted, w/Winch
4004691400054Truck, Cargo, w/Crane, Front Mounted, w/Winch
4007991400085Truck, Cargo, w/Winch
4008091400070Truck, Cargo, w/Winch
4012291400124Truck, Cargo, w/Winch
19524013491400135
(DND Image)
Truck, Cargo, w/Winch
4017191400166Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying, w/Winch
4022691400216Truck, Cargo, w/Winch
4025591400252Truck, Cargo, w/Crane, Front Mounted, w/Winch
4026891400271Truck, Cargo, w/Winch
4028791400294Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying, w/Winch
4029391400299Truck, Cargo, w/Winch
4031091400531
4032591400535
4032891400608
4033191400628
195240349
Seen in Ottawa towing the funerary 25 pounder and limber. (DND Image)
4036691400532
195240370
(Unknown Source)
4039191400685Truck, Cargo, Mod for  Rtty Equip
4039991400564
195240428
1962 in Ottawa, Ontario with the Governor General’s Foot Guards. Note the unit badge on the door. (Courtesy Lost Ottawa)
19524045491400707
195240497
(DND Image)
195240501
(DND Image)

(DND Image)

(DND Image)
Front mounted derrick
4054491400463w/Welding Shop  Equip, Oxygenacetylene
4056291400485Truck, Cargo, w/Winch
19524056591400442
40568  91400491Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying, w/Winch
195240585
Camp Wainwright in July 1956 with the RCHA. (15th Field Regt. Museum and Archives)
4062191400770Truck, Cargo, w/Winch
195240626
40626 was fitted with the trials installation of the adapter kit for the SS11B ENTAC Missile (DND Image)
4063291400763Truck, Cargo, w/Crane, Front Mounted, w/Winch
4064391400780Truck, Cargo, w/Winch
19524064591400790
4066091400799Truck, Cargo, w/Winch
4066591400808Truck, Cargo, w/Winch
4071091400843w/Adapterkit, Electronic Equipment VRC12, W/winch
4072291400851Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying, w/Winch
4073891400809Truck, Cargo, w/Winch
19524076491401023
40765  91401006Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying
4080391401047
4080591401042
4084591401086Truck, Cargo, Mod for  Rtty Equip
4085291401092Truck, Cargo, Mod for  Rtty Equip
4086091401106w/adapterkit, Electronic Equipment VRC12
4090091401155
4090591401149
40951  91401196Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying
4098991401235
4100091401253
4108491401336
4108891401340Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE
19524109491401346
4111091401349
19534117191401417
41182
On exercise in Norway as part of Canada’s NATO commitment. (Still from DND film)
19534122691401492
19534124291401501
4125291401508Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE
4133491401587
4135491401607Truck, Cargo, Mod for  Rtty Equip
4137591401614
19534142991401680
4145691401694
4148591401748
19534148891401749
4152391401791
19534153291401799
4154391401809
195341547
4160191401872
4160591401870Truck, Cargo, w/Adapter Kit, Electronic Equip, w/Winch
41614
On escort duty with the R22Regt. in downtown Montreal, Quebec during the October Crisis, 1970. (Montreal Gazette)
195341617
In use by an armored unit. (Unknown Source)
4163491401903Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE
4174491402038
41834
In Montreal, Quebec during the October Crisis of 1970. (Montreal Gazette)
4186291402128
195341887
(Unknown Source)
4191891402154
4198391402257Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE
4199191402255Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE
4202791402292
4203891402304Truck, Cargo, Mod for  Rtty Equip
4203991402316Truck, Cargo, Mod for  Rtty Equip
4204391402313Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying
4207391402339
4211591402389Truck, Cargo, Mod for  Rtty Equip
4216991402421
4220091402463Truck, Cargo, Mod for  Rtty Equip
4221091402481
4222391402519
195442238
(Unknown Source)
4224491402510Truck, Cargo, Mod for  Rtty Equip
42250 91402511Truck, Cargo, w/ Inspection and Repair Equip, w/Winch, RCEME
195442260
19544227991402556
4228791402574
4229091402557Truck, Cargo, Mod for  Rtty Equip
4229491402589Truck, Cargo, w/ Inspection and Repair Equip, RCASC
195442315
195442324
4233591402622Truck, Cargo, Mod for  Rtty Equip
4234491402633
4234991402638Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE
4235091402639Truck, Cargo, w/Winch
4235791402651
4236091402671Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE
4239691402670
195442412
CFB Lahr 1975. (Courtesy Don Dingwall)
4241691402703
4244791402734w/Welding Shop  Equip, Oxygenacetylene
4244991402736
4245291402744w/adapterkit, Electronic Equipment, VRC12, W/winch
4248791402761
4249091402777
4250991402796Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE
4254191404255
4254291404251Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE
4255691404244
4256091404261Truck, Cargo, Mod for  Rtty Equip
4259791404305Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE
4261291404326
4263691404342
4264691404357
42659
Seen in Cyprus (DND Image)
4268191404381
4268491404390Truck, Cargo, w/Winch
195542706
(Library and Archives Canada)

(Library and Archives Canada)
Truck, Cargo, w/Adapter kit, Electronic Equip, C4, w/SS11B  System
4270791404403Truck, Cargo, w/Adapter kit, Electronic Equip, C4, w/SS11B  System
4271491404452Truck, Cargo, w/Adapter Kit, Electronic Equip, C4, w/SS11B  System
4271591404402Truck, Cargo, w/Adapter Kit, Electronic Equip, C4, w/SS11B  System
4273191404464Truck, Cargo, Mod for  Rtty Equip
4274891404431
4275391404463
195542779
Very new looking M37 CDN’s in depot storage. (DND Image)
4278291404492
(Courtesy David Good)
Truck, Cargo, w/ Inspection and Repair Equip, w/Winch, RCEME
4278791404498Truck, Cargo, w/ Inspection and Repair Equip, w/Winch, RCEME
195542804
(DND Image)
Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying
4280691404515Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying
4283791403279w/Adapterkit, Electronic Equipment VRC12, W/winch
42885  91403327
42895
(DND Image)
4292491403367Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying, w/Winch
YearRCAF No.Serial No.Images/ Notes
136B54-1097
RCAF Station Holberg, B.C. 1959 (Unknown Source)
195191400323

M43 CDN Ambulance

YearCFR No.Serial No.Image/ Notes
47033
47033 remains in use for ceremonial purposes at CFB Petawawa. (DND Image)

For a period of time it suffered from an identity crisis on the CFR plate. (Courtesy Eric Booth)
47131
47145
(Unknown Source)
195547213
47243
1960’s at CFB Cornwallis. (Courtesy Dan McLaren)
68889
Seen in base ambulance white being decontaminated. (CFB Comox Museum)
YearRCAF No.Serial No.Image/ Notes
195291400953Was painted CF Ambulance white.
19523J22-157091400968Original RCAF Blue paint
1952: No.11 Supply Depot, Calgary
1952 to 1961: To 917th ACWRON. US Air Force Radar station. Puntzi Mountain, BC.
1962 to 1966: 55th AC&W Squadron RCAF. Puntzi Mountain, BC.

M152 CDN Panel Truck

YearCFR No.Serial No.Image/ Notes
195245001
(DND Image)

Showing the dual rear doors of the M43 with screened enclosure. ( DND Image)
Pilot Model
195445111
195445212
195445315
19544552891403356
195445627
Seen on a signals course in 1967. (Courtesy RC Signals Museum)
45600
(DND Image)
EOD Truck
45726
CFB Holberg B.C. 1972. (DND Image)
195445750
56 Signals Squadron UNEF. (Courtesy RC Signals Museum)
195591403671EOD Truck
1975: disposed of to Winnipeg Police Service as EOD Vehicle.
2012: Located in Winnipeg area scrap yard and re-acquired by Winnipeg Police.
2015: Restoration completed to Police EOD configuration.
19554586591403681

Contract Information

Contained here are the known contract numbers and details for the Canadian 3/4 ton SMP trucks. These tables have been primarily collected from surviving vehicle dataplates. It is hoped to be able to create a complete list using archival sources as information becomes available.

M37 CDN

Contract No.Date*Notes
CDMR5110291951-11RCAF Contract
CDLV1091951-11
CDLV2901952-2
CDLV6011952,1953
CDLV7041953
1952-5 Contract for 750 Trucks W/O Winch
* Reflects dates observed and not necessarily date contract was awarded.

M43 CDN

Contract No.Date*Notes
CD5111551952-6RCAF Contract
CDMR5111601952-6RCAF Contract
CDLV8221955
* Reflects dates observed and not necessarily date contract was awarded.

M152 CDN

Contract No.Date*Notes
CDLV7581954
CDLV8171954
CDLV8281955
* Reflects dates observed and not necessarily date contract was awarded.

M37 CDN Image Gallery

The Black Watch (RHC) using an M37 CDN as a infantry section transport while training at Camp Gagetown (Library and Archives Canada)
Soldiers of the Royal 22nd Regiment on guard duty in the Montreal, Quebec neighborhood of Westmount during Operation Essay during the October Crisis. October 1970 (Montreal Gazette)
An M37 CDN fitted with an S-250 Shelter in Churchill Manitoba during winter 1974. (DND Image)
Linesmen of the Royal Canadian Artillery at CFB Gagetown in 1963 with a M37 CDN fitted with the cable layer kit. (Library and Archives Canada)
Two M37s of the 15th Field Regiment RCA seen at CFB Chilliwack in 1972. Note the adapted door mounted spare tire on the right hand truck. (15Fd Regt. Museum and Archive)
An M37 CDN gets a ride slung under a Canadian Army CH-113a Voyageur helicopter. (Library and Archives Canada)
An M37 CDN at Camp Wainwright in 1977 shows the late configuration of many trucks with a roof mounted storage bin. (DND Image)
A 4 CMBG truck seen in West Germany during the “Reforger 74” exercise. (Library and Archives Canada)
An M37 CDN sits in a “Tactical Hide” during an exercise. (Library and Archives Canada)
An RCAF M37 CDN that slid off the road at RCAF Station Holberg B.C. in 1963. The yellow paint overall even extends to the interior! (Unknown Source)
4 CMBG Linesmen at Work in West Germany during “Reforger 75” with an M37 CDN fitted for Cable Laying (Library and Archives Canada)
A C42 Wireless set fitted into the rear of an M37 CDN in use with the 15 Field Regiment RCA in 1969. (15Fd Regt. Museum and Archive)
A Late 1970’s newspaper advert from Vancouver B.C. for newly surplused M 37 CDN trucks.
Planning a mortar shoot with the Royal Highlanders of Canada (Courtesy Charlie Fitton)
An RCAF M37 CDN at Metz France in 1954. (Source Unknown)
Firing an SS11B Missile. (Library and Archives Canada)

M43 CDN Image Gallery

15 Field Regiment RCA 1956. Note the early red cross lens on the roof mounted spot lamp. (15fd Regt. Museum)
A clean base ambulance. Note the red rotator on the centre of the roof. (DND Image)
Seen on a United Nations Mission. Note the Yellow “Canada” markings on the side of the truck body. (Library and Archives Canada)
CFB Cornwallis in the 1960’s. (Courtesy Dan McLaren)
Gagetown in the 1960’s (Library and Archives Canada)
Seen on the ramp at Frobisher Bay 1971. From Sentinel Magazine. (DND Image)
A surplus M43 CDN Being used as a camping truck by the Pontiac Quebec Fish and Game Club. (Courtesy Jason Ginn)

M152 CDN Image Gallery

An M152 CDN fitted for radios (DND Image)
An M152 of 4CMBG being unloaded from a ferry across the Danube River in West Germany 1975 (Library and Archives Canada)
(DND Image)
An M152 CDN stuck in the Snow at Camp Petawawa 1965. (Courtesy Ron Chesnay)
Seen with the penthouse erected on the back of a Command Post truck. (Courtesy Thomas Bennett)
An uncommon image of a dark blue Royal Canadian Navy M152 CDN at Frobisher Bay in 1960. (Courtesy Cal Diamond)
Inside the back of an M152 CDN on exercise in Germany (Courtesy RC Signals Museum)
Inside the Back of an M152 CDN being used as a Command Post. (DND Image)
Operating in Compound. (Courtesy RC Signals Museum)
Being used for Driver training in Calgary in 1959 (Source Unknown)

Sources

Andrew Iarocci. The 3/4-Ton SMP Truck in Canadian Service. Service Publications 2009

Don Dingwall. Canadian Vehicles in Korea Service Publications 2015

g741.ORG Website.