Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   
Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) soft-skinned vehicles (SSV) preserved in Canada

Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) and other Canadian soft-skinned vehicles (SSV)

Data current to 16 March 2021.

In military terminology, a soft-skinned vehicle is any vehicle that is not armoured, such as a truck, motorcycle, Jeep or car.  The term soft-skinned vehicle may apply also to half-tracks and scouting vehicles having little or no armour.  These can be used as general purpose workhorses, like a 53-seater coach or pick-up, a military police vehicle, or a car used for undercover work on the home front.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395228)

Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (RCASC) truck in London, England, 1917.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3392822)

Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (RCASC) truck with seats for transporting troops, Shirley Bay, Ontario, 1928. 

Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) trucks were a class and a coherent range of military trucks, made in large numbers, and in numerous variants, by Canada during the Second World War.  They were built to British Army specifications, and primarily intended for use in the armies of the British Commonwealth and its allies.  In the late 1930s, Canadin automotive industries began to design patterns of vehicles to prepare for the coming war.  This initiative involved a unique and historic design and production collaboration between rival giant car-makers Ford and GM of Canada.  Canadian Military Pattern trucks not only motorized the militaries of Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but many were also sent to the Soviet Union during the war.  CMP trucks saw service around the world, during and after the war.  By the end of the war, Canada's vast supply of trucks provided a vehicle for every three soldiers in the field, in comparison to one vehicle per seven American GIs, making it the most mobile army in the world. 

(Data source for this page is extracted from William Gregg, (ed.), Blueprint for Victory: The story of military vehicle design and production in Canada from 1937–45, The Canadian Military Historical Society, Rockwood, Ontario, 1981)

The Ford-built CMP trucks used a 95 bhp (71 kW), 239 cu in (3.9 L) Ford V8 Flathead engine while most of the Chevrolet-built CMP trucks had a 216 cu in (3.5 L), 85 bhp (63 kW) straight-6 overhead-valve engine.  An American-made 270 cu in (4.4 L) GMC straight-6 engine powered the C60X 3-ton truck.

The Ford and Chevrolet trucks shared a standard cab design, which evolved over the years of production.  The first (designed at Ford by Sid Swallow), second and third cab designs were called No. 11, 12 and 13, respectively.  The first two types were similar, the main difference being a two-part radiator grille in the No. 12 cab (its upper part was opened with a bonnet, which was known as the "Alligator cab").  The final No. 13 cab, an entirely Canadian design made from late 1941 until the end of the war, had the two flat panes of the windscreen angled slightly downward to minimize the glare from the sun and to avoid causing strong reflections that would be observable from aircraft.

All the CMP cab designs had a short, "cab forward" configuration that gave CMP trucks their distinctive pug-nosed profile.  This design was required to meet the original British specifications for a compact truck design that would be more efficient to transport by ship.  The specifications also demanded right-hand drive.

Internally the cab had to accommodate the comparatively large North American engines and it was generally cramped.  The standard cabs were then matched up with a variety of standard chassis, drive trains and body designs.  Chevrolet-built vehicles could be recognised by the radiator grille mesh being of a diamond pattern, whereas Ford-built ones had grilles formed of a square mesh.

Dodge production started later. Early prototypes used the No. 13 cab, but production vehicles retained a commercial cab and longer conventional control similar to MCP vehicles.  This enabled more rapid production, while retaining similar specifications for chassis, drive, and mounting of vehicle rear bodies.

The production of CMP truck bodies in Canada was subcontracted out to smaller companies in Ontario and Manitoba, organized into the wartime "Steel Body Manufacturers Association" by the Department of Munitionsand Supply The considerable variety of truck body designs included general service (GS)/troop carrier, fuel/water tanker, vehicle recovery (tow truck), field ambulance, dental clinic, mobile laundry, wireless house (radio HQ), machinery (machine shop/welding station), folding boat transport, artillery tractor, and anti-tank gun portee.

As listed, a drive specification of NxM means that the vehicle has a total of N wheels and that M of those wheels are driven.  The military specifications did not permit more than two wheels per axle The British standard load capacities of 8 cwt (hundredweight), 15 cwt, 30 cwt and 60 cwt correspond roughly to the American loads of 1/2 short ton, 3/4 ton, 1.5 ton and 3 ton, respectively.  The 60-cwt CMP trucks were usually called 3-ton lorries or trucks.

Chevrolet, General Motors

 (Trekphiler Photo)

Chevrolet C8 truck (4x2, 101-inch wheelbase, 8 cwt).

 (Author Photo)

Chevrolet, General Motors C8A Heavy Utility Wireless (HUW) Truck, (4x4, 101-inch wheelbase, 8 cwt), 4 CDSB Petawawa Military Museum, Ontario.

The C8A was also built in Heavy UtilityWireless (HUW), Heavy Utility Ambulance (HUA), Heavy Utility Personnel (HUP), Machinery ZL (mobile radio repair shop) and Computer (accounting, payroll) configurations.

 (Author Photo)

Chevrolet, General Motors C8A Heavy Utility Wireless (HUW) Truck, (4x4, 101-inch wheelbase, 8 cwt), 4 CDSB Petawawa Military Museum, Ontario.

 (Author Photo)

Chevrolet, General Motors C8A Heavy Utility Wireless (HUW) Truck, (4x4, 101-inch wheelbase, 8 cwt), 4 CDSB Petawawa Military Museum, Ontario.

 (Author Photo)

Chevrolet, General Motors C8A Heavy Utility Wireless (HUW) Truck, (4x4, 101-inch wheelbase, 8 cwt), 4 CDSB Petawawa Military Museum, Ontario.

 (Author Photo)

Ford 15A Heavy Utility Truck (4x4, 101-inch wheelbase, 8 cwt), Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario

 (Author Photo)

Ford 15A Heavy Utility Truck (HUT), (4x4, 101-inch wheelbase, 8 cwt), CZ42105159, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

 (Joost J. Bakker Photo)

Chevrolet C15A truck (4x4, 101-inch wheelbase, 15 cwt), CZ4286781.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3608066) 

Chevrolet C15A truck (4x4, 101-inch wheelbase, 15 cwt) cab 12, 1941, with a British Motley Bren mount in a mobile A/A gun role. This truck was possibly a water tank version with the water tank removed.

Vehicles were identified by unique numbers assigned to them, with two different systems used by the Canadian Army.  In Canada, vehicles were designated by a census style designation in the format yy-n-nnnn (year/number). The yy represented the year of acquisition of the vehicle while the n-nnnn represented the sequential number of the vehicle acquired that year, i.e., 38-1-243 represented the 1,243rd vehicle obtained in 1938.  This system may have changed in 1942.   

Overseas, elements of the Canadian Army in the UK initially came under the command of British formations and transport was originally drawn from British sources.  British census numbers were adopted (known correctly as War Department (WD) Numbers).  These numbers were unique identifiers, used in conjunction with a letter prefix identifying the type of vehicle.  Early on, the use of a "C" prefix to identify Canadian vehicles was also adopted.

These numbers were to be 3-1/2 inches high, and were painted in white, either horizontally, or if there was no room, diagonally, on the hood of cars and trucks, or on the body of tanks and armoured vehicles. Motorcycles and some trucks had the WD number on the sides of gas tanks. WD numbers also appeared on the back of vehicles; for trucks they were located centrally, 4 inches above the tailgate, and on jeeps they were painted on the left side.  (

The vehicle letter codes were allocated as:

CA Ambulance CM Car (staff car, jeep, etc.)
CC Motorcycle CS Self-Propelled Gun
CF Armoured Car or Scout Car CT Universal Carrier or Tank
CH Tractors (ie Artillery tractors) CX Trailers of all types
CL Lorry (30 cwt or heavier) CZ Truck (15 cwt and smaller)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3230150)

Chevrolet C15A truck, 15-cwt swb, late model with the round hatch, alongside a Canadian Army GPA amphibious jeep, P.5219935, Germany, ca 1944-45.  The “P” prefix for the British War Department Census Number is for Amphibious Vehicles.

The official caption states these are personnel of the 2nd 7th Reconnaissance Regiment (17th Duke of York’s Royal Canadian Hussars) transfering from a "Seep" (amphibious jeep) to a Chevrolet C60S truck serving as the unit bus at Weener, Germany on 13 Feb 1946. 

Conspicuous vehicle markings include the formation sign of the 3rd Canadian Division, CAOF on each vehicle (the French-Grey marking of the 3rd Division was retained by the CAOF), War Department numbers, a speed limit marking on the windshield (35mph) of the 60-cwt, faded white blackout markings on the bumper, lift rings, and rear view mirror of the truck, and unit signs.  The Arm of Service flash (green over blue) of a reconnaissance unit is evident on the truck; the jeep appears to have a blue/yellow/red AoS flash indicating a RCEME unit.  Just visible in the photo are unit and formation signs on the upper bonnet of the truck, and what appears to be a tactical sign on the door of the truck.  The "BUS" sign is an unofficial addition by the unit.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3392829)

Chevrolet C15TA Armoured truck (4x4, 101-inch wheelbase, 15 cwt), CZ428917 "Aristocrat" near Nijmegen, Netherlands, 5 Dec 1944.  Note the PIAT mounted on the starboard side (just above the ARISTOCRAT lettering), and jerry cans on the port side.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3222597)

PIAT, West Nova Scotia Regiment, Ortona, Italy, 10 Jan 1944.

The Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank Mk. I was a British man-portable anti-tank weapon developed during the Second World War. The PIAT was designed in 1942 in response to the British Army's need for a more effective infantry anti-tank weapon and entered service in 1943.  The PIAT was based on the spigot mortar system, and projected (launched) a 2.5 pound (1.1 kg) shaped charge bomb using a cartridge in the tail of the projectile.  It possessed an effective range of approximately 115 yards (105 m) in a direct fire anti-tank role, and 350 yards (320 m) in an indirect fire role.

The PIAT had several advantages over other infantry anti-tank weapons of the period; it had greatly increased penetration power over the previous anti-tank rifles, it had no back-blast which might reveal the position of the user or accidentally injure friendly soldiers around the user, and simple construction; however, the type also had some disadvantages, powerful recoil, a difficulty in cocking the weapon, and early problems with ammunition reliability.

Image may contain: outdoor, possible text that says '13 M BIGMOUTH CREEK' (NBMHM Photo)

Chevrolet C30 lorry (4x4, 134-inch wheelbase, 30 cwt) with Type 12 cab, Bigmouth Creek, British Columba, ca 1944.

Chevrolet C30 lorry (4x4, 134-inch wheelbase, 30 cwt).

Chevrolet C60S lorry (4x4, 134-inch wheelbase, 3 ton).

Chevrolet C60L lorry (4x4, 158-inch wheelbase, 3 ton).

 (DND Photo)

Chevrolet C60 wrecker.

 (Stribrohorak Photo)

Chevrolet C60X lorry.  This is a C60 chassis with 6x6 drive, 160-inch +52-inch wheelbase, 3-ton, 270 cu. in. GMC straight-6 engine).  The lorry is a variant with a General Motors Engine, built c1942, and painted in British Military Camouflage.

 (Library and Archives Canda Photo, MIKAN No. 3200974)

Canadian Army trucks loaded with refugees and their bicycles, who were evacuated from  south of Arnhem, arriving at Nijmegen, Netherlands, 20 Nov 1944.   The evacuees bicycles which were prized possessions, can be seen hanging from the back of the trucks. 20 Nov 1944. 

 (Anthony Sewards Photo)

Canadian Military Pattern Chevrolet 8440 CGT Field Artillery Tractor (FAT), (4x4, 101-inch wheelbase), CH4207380, with Limber.  LdSH secure compound, Historical vehicle Troop, 3 CDSB Edmonton, Alberta.

 (DND Photo)

General Motors Fox Armoured Car (CF), (4x4, 101-inch wheelbase), B Squadron of the 4 Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, 1 Canadian Infantry Division, Italy, Oct 1943.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4232408)

General Motors Fox Armoured Car (CF), (4x4, 101-inch wheelbase), based on the Humber Armoured Car.  MGen Worthington, Parliament Hill. 

  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607603)

Chevrolet General Motors Otter Light Reconnaissance Car (CF), (4x4, 101-inch wheelbase).  (Unit markings deleted by censor)

 (DND Photo)

Chevrolet General Motors Otter Light Reconnaissance Car (CF), (4x4, 101-inch wheelbase), crossing a Bailey Bridge over the Volturno river at Grazzanise, Italy, in October 1943.


 (M Morren Photo)

Ford F8 truck (4x2, 101 in (2.6 m) wheelbase, 8 cwt).  Photo shows the Ford F8 CMP truck with Type 11 cab, Ede, the Netherlands.

 (Author Photo)

Chevrolet C8 truck (4x2, 101 in (2.6 m) wheelbase, 8 cwt), CZ4002671, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

Ford F15 truck (4x2, 101-inch wheelbase, 15 cwt)

 (Anthony Sewards Photo)

Canadian Military Pattern Chevrolet C15A truck (4X4, 101-inch wheelbase, 15 cwt), awaiting restoration.  South Alberta Light Horse (B Sqn), 3 CDSB Edmonton, Alberta.

Ford F15A truck (4X4, 101-inch wheelbase, 15 cwt).

Ford F30 lorry (4x4 drive, 134.25-inch wheelbase, 30 cwt).

 (Joost J. Bakker Photo)

Ford F60S lorry (4x4, "short" 115-inch wheelbase, 3 ton)

Ford F60L lorry (4x4, "long" 158.25 in (4.020 m) wheelbase, 3 ton

Ford F60T C291Q FGT tractor unit (CH), (4x4, 115-inch wheelbase, 3 ton)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3201518)

Ford F60 3-ton lorry having difficulties, being examined by soldiers with the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (RCCS), 2nd Canadian Infantry Division.  The lorry sank into a ditch on the Beveland Causeway, Netherlands, 27 Oct 1944.   The Bridge Classification disc is clearly visible, as is the War Department number in regulation location with "CL" prefix, and a white recognition star, painted upside-down. A unit serial or other information has been chalked onto the bumper.

 (dave 7 Photo)

1941 Ford F-60 built in Canada by Ford with right handdrive and shipped to the UK for use by the RAF.  The Bomber Command Museum, Nanton, Alberta.

 (DND Photo)

Ford F60H wrecker (6x4, rear axle undriven, 160.25-inch +52-inch wheelbase, 3 ton

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3195690)

Ford FGT Field Artillery Tractor (FAT), (CH), (4x4, 101.25-inch wheelbase), March 1941.  The CMP FAT was usually used to tow either the 25-pounder gun-howitzer or the 17-pounder anti-tank gun.  A power winch was located above the rear axle for manoeuvring the gun or unbogging the vehicle.

 (Author Photos)

Ford FGT Field Artillery Tractor (FAT), (CH), (4x4, 101.25-inch wheelbase).  4 CDSB Petawawa, Military Museum, Ontario.  This vehicle is currently being restored by the Ontario Regiment Museum, Oshawa, Ontario.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3194752)

Ford Lynx Scout Car (CF), (4x4, 101-inch wheelbase), abandoned during the raid on Dieppe, 19 Aug 1942.

 (Author Photo)

Ford Lynx Scout Car (CF), (4x4, 101-inch wheelbase), based on the Daimler Dingo.  Canadian War Museum, Ottawa.


Dodge built some 180,000 trucks, most of which for use in the CMP role, and by the same naming convention, three quarters of which were 3-ton models of various D60 (Dodge T-110) types.  To achieve a quick increase in output of trucks that provided equal functionality, it was deemed acceptable for the Dodges to forgo the standardized Ford and Chevy control cabin; and like the other two automakers, Dodge equally fitted its own engines.  But although regular Dodge cabs were fitted, they were right hand drive, and had a gunner's hatch in the roof.  After initial D60s had been produced with 8.25x20 tires and dual rear wheels, they were subsequently switched over to the larger, CMP specification 10.50x16 size, and axles with single rear wheels, as well as being fitted with British design rear bodies.  Operator's and technical manuals for the Dodges also mirrored the Ford and GM CMP manuals.  All of Dodge's models, however, were two-wheel drive, with a high and low-range rear axle.  All Dodges were powered by a Chrysler straight-six flathead gasoline engine.  The 3-ton D60 models' 236 cu in (3,870 cm3) delivered 95 HP @ 3600 rpm.

Dodge D8A truck (8cwt, or ½-ton – engineering code T-212)

 (Joost J. Bakker Photo)

Dodge D15 truck (15cwt, or ¾-ton – engineering code T-222)

 (IWM Photo B12119)

Dodge D60S lorry, (60cwt, or 3-ton, engineering code T-110L-6, with a short 136" wheelbase).  Dodge D60 supply trucks crossing a Bailey bridge over the river Meuse in full flood.  Maaseik, Dutch border, 25 Nov 1944.

Dodge D60S/DD lorry, (60cwt, or 3-ton, engineering code T-110L-13, with a short 136" wheelbase).

Dodge D60L lorry, (60cwt, or 3-ton, engineering code T-110L-5, with a long 160" wheelbase).

Dodge D60L/D lorry, (60cwt, or 3-ton, engineering code T-110L-9, with a long 160" wheelbase).

Dodge D60L/DD lorry, (60cwt, or 3-ton, engineering code T-110L-12, with a long 160" wheelbase)

The initial 60cwt, or 3-ton Dodge types: the T110L-S, T110L-3, T110L-4, as well as the later T110L-14 didn't formally carry a D60 nomenclature. 

 (Author Photo, 2 Sep 2011)

 (Author Photos, 11 Oct 2019)

Dodge 3-ton Cargo Truck, ca 1947, 4 CDSB Petawawa, Military Museum, Ontario.  Formally, these trucks included the T series for 1939, the V series for 1940, and the W series from 1941 through 1947.

Outside of Canada

Chassis and vehicle production was licensed to Australia, allowing local production, while other vehicles were shipped to Britain in part-assembled "knocked down" form.  These were delivered as kits and had final assembly in factories in Britain.  Air portable versions had the top half of the cab superstructure and exterior components stowed to allow the vehicles to fit in the hold of transport aircraft, which could easily be re-fitted on receipt in theatre.

Bare chassis were created for alternative bodies to be fitted, reducing the shipping requirement to India.  Bodies for these vehicles were locally produced in India from available materials, frequently built entirely from wood, creating a diverse range of "Indian Pattern" vehicles.

To meet the pressing demand for military vehicles during the Second World War, several Commonwealth countries designed light armoured vehicles based on CMP chassis made in Canada.  Special chassis were created to aid in this purpose, featuring rear mounted engines and central steering positions.  Armoured cars used these or standard chassis depending on design and availability.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524395)

Vehicles of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division moving through Bockhoute, Belgium, 18 Oct 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3356798)

Four Wheel Drive Auto Company FWD SU-COE artillery tractor towing a crated 3.7-inch HAA gun, 1944.  Militarised cab-over-engine (COE).  The chassis was produced by FWD at their factory in Clintonville, Wisconsin, and then shipped of to Wilson Motor Bodies in Kitchener, Canada to be bodied.  Supplied mainly to Britain within the Lend-Lease programme during the Second World War for use as a medium artillery tractor.  The all-wheel-drive was permanent.  There was a lock-able third differential in the transfer case, so that maximum traction was obtained at all times without wind-up in the drive line . Bodywork on the artillery tractor was similar to the AEC Matador artillery prime mover.  It was also produced as a tractor-trailer version.  A Canadian subsidiary of FWD was set up in conjunction with Dominion Truck of Kitchener, Ontario by 1919.

 (AlfvanBeem Photo)

Four Wheel Drive Co. 4x4 FWD SU-COE, Marshallmuseum, Liberty Park, Oorlogsmuseum Overloon, The Netherlands.

 (NBMHM Photo)

Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) truck, overseas, Command Post (CP), ca 1944.

 (Military Communications and Electronics Museum Archives Photo)

Bedford QLT Terminal Equipment Vehicle (Corps), in use by 2 Canadian Corps Signals.

 (Author Photos)

Diamond T Wrecker, equipped with Holmes double boom wrecker body, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

 (Author Photo)

Diamond T field shop, 43-01276,  Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

 (Author Photo)

3/4 ton truck, Canadian War MuseumOttawa, Ontario.

 (Author Photo)

M152, 3/4 ton truck, RCSigs, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Canadian Army vehicle markings post war and in Korea were much the same as those used during the Second World War. WD Numbers did not include a "C" or vehicle type prefix letter.  Instead, all WD numbers were prefixed with "CDN". Roundels were not used, though five pointed stars, without the circle surround used in 1944-45, were still in use to identify Canadian vehicles to friendly troops.  Several different nations contributed to both the United Nations effort in Korea as a whole, and the 1st Commonwealth Division which was a true multi-national formation.

Unit signs were still used in Korea, of the same type used in the Second World War.  Formation signs consisted of either the 25th Canadian Brigade patch, the Commonwealth brigade patch, or both.  These signs seem to have been hand painted at times, with a large variety of colours used for the Commonwealth sign, ranging from sky blue to dark blue.  These signs were also painted on a shield-shaped background different from the patches worn on uniforms; the tops of the signs were straight across.  (

 Canadian CFR vehicles have seven numbers beginning with the year of introduction in service (for the green fleet).  If you read the seven digit number, i.e. 95-12345 with the first two numbers being the year the vehicle was put in service (1995).  Those numbers are not on the plate, which would read 12345. The CFR number follows the vehicle for its entire career, including transfer from one base to another, transfer from unit to unit, moved in theater, etc. it will always show the same CFR.