words and pictures Craig Moore
Recently restored by specialists Hughes Movie Supplies for ‘Masters of the Air’ the highly anticipated World War Two TV series, the USAAF Aircraft Refuelling Tanker and REO Diesel Truck Tractor was the highlight of Craig Moore’s trip to the Overlord Show. Here he tells us more about it…
Occasionally the sight of an unusual, restored vehicle at a military vehicle event will make me stop and stare. The Hughes Movie Supplies’ (HMS) United States Army Air Force Aircraft 4,000 gallon refuelling tanker pulled by a REO 29XS 6x6 F1 diesel truck tractor unit, was one such vehicle. It was absolutely huge.
Mick Wilson had transported the tanker to the Overlord Show in Hampshire to exhibit it as part of the World War Two US Army Red Ball Express display. There are photographs of these fuel tankers being driven on the Red Ball Express in Normandy and they would have been full to the brim of aviation fuel for aircraft as well as some Allied tanks. The name REO was an abbreviation of the company founder’s name, Ransom E. Olds. In 1942, the company received an order from the US Army Air Corps for 1,740 REO model 29XS ‘Fuel Service’ truck tractor units (contract number W-535-AC-27790).