1942 General Motors DUKW

The DUKW was developed quickly during World War II to meet the need for amphibious cargo transfer from ship to shore. The nomenclature DUKW was assigned by the manufacturer, General Motors Corporation, from:
  • D= First year of Manufacture (1942)
  • U= Utility vehicle (amphibious)
  • K= All Wheel Drive
  • W= Rear tandem axle.

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Crew 2+25
Manufacturer: General Motors Corporation
Engine: 270 cubic inch GMC straight 6
Length: 31 feet
Width: 8 feet 4 inch
Height: 8 feet 8 inch with top up
Weight: 7.5 tons
Water Speed: 6.4 mph
Road Speed: 50 mph
Number Manufactured: 12,000
Capacity Troops: 25 or 12 on litters
Capacity Cargo: 5 tons
Status Active Display (drivable)
Owner: Estrella Warbird Museum


Someone quickly noticed that DUKW could be pronounced "duck" and the "Amy Duck" was born. The first operational use of the DUKW was in March 1943 when the U.S. landed troops on Noumea, New Caledonia. Later organized into companies, the DUKW displayed its versatility by carrying ammunition directly from anchored ships to shore. This use of DUKWs kept casualties to a minimum, but a bigger purpose surfaced as American ingenuity took over. Some of the DUKWs were modified to carry 4.5 inch rockets.

General Patton and General Eisenhower realized the DUKW was an invaluable war tool, and they were impressed by its capabilities. Over 1,000 DUKWs were used in the Sicilian landings of 1943 alone. Operation Overlord, the landing in Normandy, was the most crucial operation in history with circumstances that made the DUKWs virtually indispensable. Approximately, 2,000 DUKWs brought to shore 40% of all supplies landed between June 6 and September 1, 1944.

Colonel Frank Speir, Project Engineer of the Army´s Amphibious Warfare Program until the time of his death on 8 July 1956, one of the fathers of the US Army's DUKW, thought that foils could increase the sea speed of this vehicle. He initiated a contract with Lycoming Division of AVCO and Miami Shipbuilding Corp to build a prototype. Adapting data from HALOBATES, including its autopilot, and using a Lycoming T-53 gas turbine for main propulsion, a flying DUKW was designed, and successful demonstration trials were conducted in Miami waters. Speeds in excess of 30 kt were demonstrated (compared with the 5 kt of the conventional DUKW).

A very special thanks to all the volunteers, those who donated materials, and everyone who had a part in restoring this DUKW! We all think they did an exceptional job, especially if you had a chance to see the DUKW before the restoration began! Thanks, again!

Mark Van Klavern Goose Hale Keith Dekker
Tom Gorman Gary Corippo Cheeto Alldredge
Ruben Cook Shawn Singleton Rob Mosher
Ron Boyte Dennis Johansen Ron Brooks
Callie Singlegon Ted Van Klaveren Charlie Harber
Steve Greenberg Nathan Heaston Jerryt Greer
Mike Lewis Gary Ryan Mike Brophy
Jacob Anderson John Eerett John Edell
Gary Woodall Lighthouse Litho - Cambria Bill Boothby
Frank Graves Nathan Cremeans Tom Devaul
John Anaya Bill Kerstan Taylor Swarthout
Eric Vaughn Phil Schack Chuck Kincannon