Oshkosh USA, engl.

Over 90 years ago, Oshkosh built the first four-wheel drive truck and called it the Old Betsy. In 1918 the company relocated to the town of Oshkosh in the US. State of Wisconsin and henceforth called itself Oshkosh Motor Manufacturing Company. Everyone who is interested in trucks, fire engines and military vehicles knows this name. Today, Oshkosh is a leading developer and manu-facturer of firefighting and military vehicles.

This model of the M-23 was built by Richard Kreager, who worked at Oshkosh and, like me, was an enthusiastic model builder. At that time he was at the source of all information and was therefore able to build his models to perfection. He built this model around the wheels because for a certain scale like 1/25th or 1/24th he couldn’t get suitable tires and rims. So he disassembled some Tonka models that were commercially available as children’s sandbox toys and then built this M-23.

It was in the 1970s that I first came into contact with airport fire engines, back then it was the vehicle that Frankfurt Airport had received from the Faun company. Of course, I was very impressed by this firefighting giant and wondered if there were such vehicles over in the States.

Yes, they existed at the time and were built by Oshkosh. So I contacted the company and after some time I received an answer, see letter on the left. That year I was still with the Bundeswehr in Hemer.

After this extremely positive first contact, a lively correspondence developed over time, which always lasted a while, because computers with e-mail etc. unfortunately did not exist at that time. Richard and I became friends and exchanged ideas regularly. He sent me brochures, catalogues, photos and drawings of the Oshkosh vehicles, especially the airport fire trucks.

Having received plenty of documentation from Richard about the M-23, it was of course an absolute must for me to build a model of it as well. The model still under construction can be seen at the top right of the picture, a combination of wood and plastic. I built it after my time in the Bundeswehr around the end of 1979, here at a model building exhibition in a car dealership. Unfortunately, my M-23 model was stolen from the stand during the night and never showed up again. A few years later, the TDA pictured above was also stolen from me, it’s the articulated lorry in front of the M-23. After that I had enough of exhibitions.
Here are some pictures of the model from back then. Maybe someday I’ll build it from scratch again.