Car History Year 1943-45
Date: Sunday, September 26 @ 23:40:41 UTC
After the dark days of 1942, 1943 was to see America and the other Allied nations pursuing the war against Germany and Japan with vigor. With the wealth of American manpower and industry behind it, the allied war effort was slowly making gains. In Europe, Allied troops invaded Italy as a prelude to the far more critical invasion of northern Europe- D Day- in 1944. In the Pacific, Japan's island conquests were wrested back one by one. Of course, there were setbacks, as the aggressors fought tooth and nail to retain the lands that they had seized. But progress on both fronts was inexorable. German forces would eventually be fought to a standstill by US, British and other Allied armies in the west and Soviet troops in the east, capitulating at the beginning of May 1945. Japan followed suit in August after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were devastated by atomic bombs.
Throughout this period, however, a "car" was still being built, although its purpose, not surprisingly, was purely military. In the army's parlance, it was known as a "1/4-ton, 4x4 truck", but it soon became affectionately, and officially, known as the Jeep. It was built by the hundreds of thousand and served in every theater of the war. The axis powers had nothing like it; nor indeed had there ever been anything like it. The Jeep was a light-weight, rugged, powerful, go-anywhere vehicle that served both on and off the battlefield. Without doubt, it was the most versatile vehicle of WW2. It could be used for reconnaissance missions, running supplies to front-Sine troops, evacuating wounded, towing artillery pieces, carrying radio equipment, transporting generals, and myriad other tasks. Equipped with machine guns, it was used for hit-and-run raids behind enemy lines; it was landed by glider with airborne forces. It could negotiate thick mud, climb steep inclines and ford deep water.
During the allied liberation of Europe in 1944, Jeeps were put ashore on the beaches of Normandy from landing craft and drove from there all the way to Berlin, becoming as indentifiable with the American Gl as his Lucky Strikes and his Hershey Bars. A lot of European children probably had their first automobile ride in an American Jeep.
Designed by Willys-Overland to meet the requirements of the US Army for a lightweight scout car, the Jeep had a strong chassis and simple open bodywork with no doors and a fold-flat windshield. It could seat three, but in action it often carried many more. Its 134.2 cu.in. four cylinder engine developed 60 horsepower and was backed by a four-speed transmission with high and low ranges; two- or four-wheel-drive could be selected at will. The result was a vehicle with good highway speed (in excess of 60mph) and real stump-pulling power to deal with rough terrain.
To guard their source of supply during wartime, the military insisted that Jeeps be built by at Seast one other manufacturer, but that they be identical in every respect so that parts were interchangeable. The masters of mass-production, Ford, were given this role and built many thousands of the little vehicles.
The one controversial aspect of the Jeep is how it got its name. No one seems to know for sure. Some argue that it came about from its military designation, GP (General Purpose); others say that it was named after a character in the Popeye cartoon strip. Whatever the truth may be, the fact is that the Jeep not only helped win the war, but also was the forerunner of a whole line of four-wheel-drive vehicles (both military and civilian) that has continued to this day.
It was common practice for soldiers to name their Jeeps, just as pilots named their planes. Soldiers being what they are, this often resulted in the amazing juxtaposition of a tough, ungainly, strictly functional piece of equipment, bristling with shovels and spares, bearing a title like Crystal Lady or Honey Child. Perhaps the ultimate accolade for this remarkable vehicle is that its name passed into the language to describe any rugged, utility, four-wheel drive vehicle. In the immediate post-war period, the British even referred to their Land-Rovers as Jeeps. Thus, along with the Stetson, the Tannoy and the Hoover, the name of an individual make could be applied to the breed in general and the meaning be universally understood....
WILLYS-OVERLAND MB JEEP
Cast iron - 4 cylinders in line
134.2 cu. ins
Bore and stroke
No. of seats
Willys: 358.489 by 1945 Ford: 277,896
M24 "CHAFFEE" TANK
2x Cadillac V8s-cast iron blocks
2 x 346 cu. ins
Bore and stroke
2 x 110 @ 3,400 rpm
Armored - Armed with 75mm cannon; 2 x .3 inch machine guns; 1 x .5 inch machine gun
No. of seats
Crew of 5
4,070 by 1945
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