|License # Serial #:|
|Fuel Capacity:||50 Gallons|
|Max. Speed:||56 MPH|
|Length:||274 3⁄4 in (6.98 m)|
|Weight:||12,880 lb (5,840 kg) empty
17,880 lb (8,110 kg) loaded
|Owner:||Estrella Warbird Museum|
After the breakout of Normandy in July 1944, an acute shortage of supplies on both fronts governed all operations. Some 28 divisions were advancing across France and Belgium, each ordinarily requiring 700-750 tons a day. Patton's 3rd Army was soon grinding to a halt from lack of fuel and ordnance. The key to pursuit was a continuous supply of fuel and ordnance, thus leading to the Red Ball Express. At the peak of its operation, it was running 5,938 vehicles carrying 12,342 tons of supplies to forward depots daily. The Army raided units that had trucks and formed provisional truck units for the Red Ball.
Soldiers whose duties were not critical to the war effort were asked - or tasked - to become drivers. When the Red Ball Express ended 16 November 1944, truckers had delivered 412,193 tons of gas, oil, lubricants, ammunition, food and other essentials. By then, 210,209 African Americans were serving in Europe and 93,292 of them were in the Quartermaster Corps. General George S. Patton concluded: "The 2 1/2-ton truck is our most valuable weapon."
Production of the GMC Truck, 2-1/2-ton, 6 x 6, Cargo, CCKW "Jimmy" or "Deuce and a half," began in 1941 by General Motors Corporation and ended in 1945, with 562,750 manufactured. This GMC truck was the most commonly used tactical vehicle in World War II. The GMCs were originally fitted with a sheet metal type cab. This was replaced after July 1943 by a tarpaulin or canvas cab, not only for the economic use of steel, but saving volume when transported by boat.
The rear area was fitted with wooden side racks which folded down for carrying personnel. The bed could also hold reservoirs for 750 gallons of water and fuel, provide shelter for radio communication or field medical procedures, transport elements of a Treadway bridge for engineers, or bombs for the Army Air Corps. This version of the GMC CCKW was withdrawn from service in the US Army in 1956.
The M35 series of trucks was one of the most long-lived systems deployed by the Army. They were first fielded in the 1950's and continued to serve with various modifications into the late '90s in two dozen configurations. This model is an M44A2 2-1/2 ton cargo truck which could carry 5000 pounds cross country or 10,000 over roads. It is all wheel drive and equipped with a 210 hp, Continental LD-465, in-line 6 cylinder, multifuel diesel. Multifuel meant that the engine could be set up to run on almost any type of diesel fuel, jet fuel or heating oil.
When American forces arrived in the Republic of Vietnam in 1965, the threat of ambush hung over every highway in the country. The response was to build gun trucks. Typical gun trucks consisted of a deuce and a half covered on the outside with a 1/4” armor plating. The floors were sandbagged. Each gun truck had a four-man crew consisting of an NCOIC, a driver, and two gunners. The weaponry was two M-60 machine guns. The NCOIC had an M-79 grenade launcher and a .45 and the crewmembers had M-16s, simple but effective. After a few months of operation, it became clear that the 2-ton truck lacked sufficient power to maneuver with the added weight of armor plate, weapons, and ammunition, so several of the more powerful 5-ton cargo trucks were converted into gun trucks.