On this day we reflect on the great sacrifices made by those before us. Without their incredible efforts and sacrifices we wouldn’t have the free world we have today. During the war, our brave soldiers had access to an amazing variety of vehicles. On this day we remember the incredible effort and sacrifice given. We’ll also take a look at some of the amazing vehicles that helped make the victory over the forces of evil possible.
Anyone who has seen any vehicle from the Second World War has seen the Willys-Overland Motors MA. Better known as the Jeep. To quote General Dwight D. Eisenhower, “The Jeep, the Dakota, and the Landing Craft were the three tools that won the war.” The tale of the Jeep is well known, the US government put out a call for manufactures to provide a vehicle that was up to the task. Three companies made it to the final round of trials: Willys-Overland Motors, The Ford Motor Company, and American Bantam Car Company. The contract was originally awarded to Bantam, but after it became clear they simply couldn’t keep up with the demand for production, the US government gave the blueprints to their entry, nicknamed “the blitz buggy” to Ford and Willys. Willys and Ford tweaked and perfected the design, and went in to production. The vehicle would continue to evolve and prove itself. Today, no other vehicle matches the pedigree and performance when it comes to off road capabilities.
While the Jeep is far an away the most well known vehicle of WW2, there were several others that helped contribute to the war effort. Some of which live on in spirit to this day.
The motorcycle industry is as diverse and competitive as the automotive industry. Many people are religiously brand loyal, and when it comes to loyalty, it’s hard to beat the reigning champ, Harley Davidson. Harley Davidson was one of the two motorcycle companies that was able ot survive the great depression, and built the RL 45 prior to the start of WW2. The RL 45 was a v-twin that put out 18.5hp and was capable of traveling up to 70km/hr.
Of course, not all vehicles used by the military in those days were so tame. The M3A1 scout car built by the White Motor Company was an armored scout vehicle with early all wheel drive. The M3A1 was equipped with a 87hp 6 cylinder as well as 1 .50cal gun and 1 or 2 .30cal machine guns. Even with 7mm armor and a weight of nearly six tons, the M3A1 had seating for up to 6 passengers. Throughout the war effort over 20,000 M3A1’s were built, and they continued to find life even after WW2 in other wars for years to come.
The DUKW (often referred to as, you guessed it, the duck) was a six wheel amphibious vehicle created by GM to use in carrying troops and supplies across a wide variety of terrain. The duck was powered by a 6 cylinder GMC engine that put out 92 horsepower. The vehicle was capable of traveling up to 7 mph while in the water. The duck was the first vehicle that allowed drivers to alter the tire pressure from inside the cab, something that is still being used to this day. The design of the duck and the variable tire pressure made it especially useful in beach landings, even without much armor. The CCKW was the standard, non amphibious version of this vehicle. The CCKW is the vehicle transport you see in nearly any WW2 film, as was critical for delivering supplies to the front-lines, especially after the Normandy invasion. The duck is still used today as a tourist attraction across many US cities.
WW2 was filled with hundreds of other vehicles, but we wanted to look at the types of vehicles that most resemble the types of vehicles driven today. Without boats, tanks, planes, and other vehicles the allies wouldn’t have been able to win. Most importantly, without the unforgettable efforts of our courageous soldiers, peace wouldn’t have been possible.
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