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World War II Army Technical Manuals

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Below is a selection of Technical Field Manuals. For a fuller list you can find about 1,000 of them between 1940-1945 on the Archive.org website. So if you don’t see one here try looking there.

Phrase Books

TM 30-606 German Phrase Book Nov 1943 – How to speak German.

Ordinance

Pigeons

TM 11-410 The Homing Pigeon Jan 1945 – A technical manuel for using Homing Pigeons.

Pigeons can also be released from aircraft: See The Handling and Release of Pigeons from Aircraft.

Some Pigeons were raised from existing Signal Corps Pigeon stock while others were donated as this article indicates: Tuna Clubs Pigeons Enlist in the Army New Jersey Feb 1943.

For a history of Pigeons in WW1 see: Feathers of Honor.

Cooking

TM 10-405 The Army Cook: 1941. This pamphlet supersedes TM210-152, December 31, 1935.

While not a part of the manual, I included a 4-page document on the Procedure (SOP) for Company Field Kitchens. Date unknown. It’s essentially a “cliff-notes” version of how to set up a field kitchen.

One interesting note is that the Mess Sgt was to carry into the field –

Feldkochbuch fur Warme Lander | 1940 | 1941 | 1942 – Germany Army field cookbook. Note, that cookbooks may contain Swastikas and other potentially offensive material. The website author publishes them for purely historical and educational reasons and thinks these ideas belong exactly where they are, the dustbin of history.

Manual of Military Cooking and Dietary 1933 London – British Army cookbook. Note, that the book may contain references to imperialism or empire-building. The website author publishes them for purely historical and educational reasons and thinks these ideas should remain in the trashcan of history. People have a right to self-determination.

Religious

TM 16-205 The Chaplain 1941 | Discusses how to perform chaplain services and duties.

For a history of the chaplain technical manual refer to: THE OPERATIONAL, SOCIAL, AND RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES UPON THE ARMY CHAPLAIN FIELD MANUAL, 1926-1952 by Robert Nay.

Administrative

TM 12-255: Administrative Procedures Nov 1st 1942. Outlines various procedures to deal with different kinds of issues like transfers, leaves, induction, reception, detachment, discharge, pay, death, arrest, punishment, medical treatment, accounting, issuing of clothing and equipment, procurement, property transfer, lost or damaged property, vehicle accidents, courts-martial and many more! For some notes and problems on administrating a front-line infantry regiment see this report on the 318th Infantry Regiment by Capt Louis Pickering dated Sept 2nd 1944.

TM 12-230 Service Record – Oct 18th 1944. Outlines how to fill out the service record. A supplement to AR 345-125.

TM 12-253-CORRESPONDENCE – Oct 1st 1944. Explains how to write and fold letters in accordance with the preferred military style. Includes a style and grammar guide and numerous examples.

Signal Corps

TM 37-305 Typewriter Maintenance Nov 1944 – A zip file that contains images of the manual as well as an HTML document with the text.

TM 11-242 Radio Set SCR-300a Feb 1945 – The manual for the SCR-300 radio set. This radio set could not speak to the SCR-536 / BC-611 radio set.

TM 11-235 Radio Sets SCR-536a through f May 1945 – The famous “Handy-talkie”. This unit could not work with the BC-611/SCR-300 radio units. There are only minor differences in circuits and components among the variants. The exception is SCR-536g which provides jacks at the bottom for a headphone/mic unit (which starts to make it similar to the Korean war era PRC-6).

Interestingly, for bad weather, it recommends covering the unit with the small protective arms covers placed over rifles (ie those green waterproof bags).

The unit also has the Homing Modification Kit MC-619 accessory unit. This helps to home in on a transmission and find it.

TM 11-330 Switchboards BD-71 and BD-72: Oct 29th 1943. The maintenance, management, care and use guide for the BD-71 and BD-72 switchboards and associated equipment. BD-71 is the 6 line switchboard and BD-72 is the 12-line. The manual makes reference that among BD-72, BD-72a, and BD-72b only minor differences exist among them. If someone knows what they are let me know!

There is also an older manual: BD-71 and BD-72 Switchboards Instructions from 1937 and is a preliminary issue but I’ve included it here for historical reasons.

For more on the fungal treatment of Signal Corps equipment see: Signal Corps Technical Information Letter Nov 1944 No 36

TM 11-332 Telephone Central Office Set TC-4 June 1942 – This set consists of two units the Panel BD-97 and the SB 96.

TM 11-348 Telephone Repeater TC-29-A April 1943 – This helps improve transmission over wire (W-110b) or cable (CC-358) or open lines. It’s not a unit per se but a bunch of different items like Power Supply PE-204, EE8s, and EE99a that when combined make this repeater unit.

TM 11-361 Test Sets EE65 and EE65a through EE65e Feb 1943

There are minor differences in the several models of this set. All voltmeters are of 50,000 ohms resistance except on the test set EE-65, the voltmeter of which has a resistance of 3.000 ohms. The test set EE-65-B has a larger voltmeter and correspondingly deeper case cover. The test set EF-65 is equipped with a separate transmitter, a separate receiver, and a separate ground rod which are carried in the case; none of these items is a part of the other test sets. The key arrangement on test sets EE-65 and EE-65-A and -B is identical.

The test sets EE-65-C, -D, and E- are identical; they differ from the test set EE-65-A principally in having a sixth key and some differences in their key connections.

There is an EE65g that is made out of steel not aluminum, uses a different generator (GN-38b), updated wiring diagram, and panel to accommodate the new aluminum box.

TM 11-362 Reel Unit RL-31 July 1941 – This is for a reel unit to hold the larger DR4 wire drums and describes how to use and install it (such as on vehicles).

There’s also TM 11-362 Supplement for Reel Unit RL-31 June 1944 which is just instructions on how to install the new RL-31c unit on a truck. The RL-31c looks to be the RL-31 unit with a few different mounting brackets.

TM 11-349 Maintenance Equipment ME-22: I don’t see a free version available but there is a paid one here with some additional scans.

Comes from TM 11-349 Maintenance Equipment ME-22 and shows the screws needed for the EEa.

TM 11-487 Electrical communication systems equipment Oct 1944 – Discusses electrical communication equipment and includes details, descriptions, remarks, and pictures. For use in planning complete communication systems. Links to Google Drive.

TM 11-487B Wire Communication Equipment March 1951 – a post-war document that still mentions a lot about WW2 era communication equipment as well as post-ww2.

TM 11-2016 Switchboard SB-5/PT April 1944 – Switchboard SB-5/PT is a 6-line, portable, magneto-telephone switchboard for use primarily in field wire systems. It weighs only 12 pounds and for that reason is especially valuable for jungle and mountain operations. This switchboard is similar to the BD-9 and BD-11 in that it has an operator’s cord in addition to the line and trunk circuit cords, it has no talk-listen or ring keys, and it has no operator’s telephone. A Telephone EE-8 may be used as the operator’s telephone, and the magneto of this telephone will be used for ringing. The operator’s cord is terminated in a red plug to distinguish it from the line and trunk cords, which have black plugs. Switchboard SB-5/PT differs from the BD-9 and BD-11 in that each line and trunk circuit includes both a ring jack and a talk jack, instead of one common jack. SB-5/PT isn’t meant to replace BD-71 or BD-72.

TM 11-22 Reel Equipment CE-11 Jan 1944 – The equipment designed to hold the smaller DR8 1/4 of a mile wire.

TM 11 2253 Open wire construction fixed plant March 1944 – This is a tentative manual (but probably doesn’t change much from the actual one). It discusses all aspects of installing telephone poles.

TM 11-2626 Test Unit I-176 July 1944 – Test Unit I-176 is an instrument designed to measure resistance, alternating current (ac), direct current (dc), and voltage over a wide range of values.

TM 11-4022 Radio Receivers and Transmitters BC-620abfghj June 1945 – This is a short-range (5miles) two-way radio device. The differences among the variants are that some output transformers have been changed to provide extra impedance to accommodate a 250ohm load as well as a 4,000ohm load.

Some models such as A, B and H are modified in production to incorporate the Adapter
M-394, to permit the use of the meter and the
receiver amplifier tube of the set for alignment
procedure. All other models of Radio Receiver
and Transmitter BC-620-(*) are equipped with
Adapter M-394 by the manufacturer.

The unit is powered by Plate Supply Unit PE-97 if used in vehicles or BA-39 or BA-40 batteries if not. For the batteries, they need to be used in CS-79 and then connected to the unit. See: TM 11-605 SCR-509 AND SCR-510 NOV 1943 for more information.

Signal Corps: Cross reference table of maintenance, tool and test equipments, and test sets. – A handy chart that explains what test/maintenance equipment is to be used with certain kinds of radio equipment. Not an Army publication but some kind of clean-up version. For example, the SCR-300s need the EE-65 test set and several ME sets.