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Bogdan Gusev
Bogdan Gusev

German Vehicles In World War II: Trucks Of The ... __EXCLUSIVE__

Several general-purpose trucks delivered troops, fuel, food, ammunition, and other supplies during the Normandy campaign. Smallest were the one-and-a-half-ton variety from Chevrolet, Dodge, and Ford, with a basic weight of 7,550 pounds and a three-thousand-pound capacity. They were two-axle vehicles with six-cylinder, 83 hp engines capable of 48 mph with a 270-mile cruising range.

German Vehicles in World War II: Trucks of the ...

Over a two-year period, Army trucks drove 17 million miles on the test roads. Some vehicles carried blocks of concrete in an effort to see how long a 24-ton truck would take to destroy roads and bridges. Highway building and maintenance standards were developed from the tests.

If necessary, these heavier guns could be moved by truck, but they were usually pulled by the M4 high-speed tractor. In addition, there was a self-propelled version of the Long Tom. Under favorable conditions, an American heavy artillery battalion could road march up to 160 miles per day. These vehicles made American artillery far more mobile than German guns, which still relied heavily on horses for movement. German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein commented on the effectiveness of American trucks, even in the mud of the Russian front, where they sharply increased the mobility of Russian artillery units.

Once the United States entered the war in December 1941, the German deficiency was accentuated because America had the industrial base to create what Colley calls "the world's most highly mobile and mechanized force." The "secret weapon," as Colley called it, was the truck. America produced 3 million trucks or truck-type vehicles for the war. With the French rail network devastated by air attacks prior to the allied D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944, the trucks, often operated by the black troops of the Red Ball Express, were the key to supplying the troops as they advanced through the French countryside.

As the Allies pursued the German forces across Germany, the autobahn proved invaluable, especially to the supply trucks racing behind the troops. The supply units and their vehicles, which had been run ragged in France, strained to keep up. Colley quotes Corporal Edwin Brice of the 3909th Quartermaster Truck Company (I Company) who observed on March 26, 1945, that the unit's trucks had "taken an awful beating across France," but added that "victory depends on our success in keeping troops and supplies up where they are needed. If a truck or a driver can move he or it is needed."

In the three years following the Battle of Midway, the Japanese built six aircraft carriers. The U.S. built 17. American industry provided almost two-thirds of all the Allied military equipment produced during the war: 297,000 aircraft, 193,000 artillery pieces, 86,000 tanks and two million army trucks. In four years, American industrial production, already the world's largest, doubled in size.

On the ground, GM and Ford subsidiaries built nearly 90 per cent of the armored "mule" 3-ton half-tracks and more than 70 per cent of the Reich's medium and heavy-duty trucks. These vehicles, according to American intelligence reports, served as the "backbone of the German Army transportation system."

The activities of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler prior to and during World War II...are instructive. At that time, these three firms dominated motor vehicle production in both the United States and Germany. Due to its mass production capabilities, automobile manufacturing is one of the most crucial industries with respect to national defense. As a result, these firms retained the economic and political power to affect the shape of governmental relations both within and between these nations in a manner which maximized corporate global profits. In short, they were private governments unaccountable to the citizens of any country yet possessing tremendous influence over the course of war and peace in the world. The substantial contribution of these firms to the American war effort in terms of tanks, aircraft components, and other military equipment is widely acknowledged. Less well known are the simultaneous contributions of their foreign subsidiaries to the Axis Powers. In sum, they maximized profits by supplying both sides with the materiel needed to conduct the war.During the 1920's and 1930's, the Big Three automakers undertook an extensive program of multinational expansion...By the mid-1930's, these three American companies owned automotive subsidiaries throughout Europe and the Far East; many of their largest facilities were located in the politically sensitive nations of Germany, Poland, Rumania, Austria, Hungary, Latvia, and Japan...Due to their concentrated economic power over motor vehicle production in both Allied and Axis territories, the Big Three inevitably became major factors in the preparations and progress of the war. In Germany, for example, General Motors and Ford became an integral part of the Nazi war efforts. GM's plants in Germany built thousands of bomber and jet fighter propulsion systems for the Luftwaffe at the same time that its American plants produced aircraft engines for the U.S. Army Air Corps....Ford was also active in Nazi Germany's prewar preparations. In 1938, for instance, it opened a truck assembly plant in Berlin whose "real purpose," according to U.S. Army Intelligence, was producing "troop transport-type" vehicles for the Wehrmacht. That year Ford's chief executive received the Nazi German Eagle (first class)....The outbreak of war in September 1939 resulted inevitably in the full conversion by GM and Ford of their Axis plants to the production of military aircraft and trucks.... On the ground, GM and Ford subsidiaries built nearly 90 percent of the armored "mule" 3-ton half-trucks and more than 70 percent of the Reich's medium and heavy-duty trucks. These vehicles, according to American intelligence reports, served as "the backbone of the German Army transportation system."....After the cessation of hostilities, GM and Ford demanded reparations from the U.S. Government for wartime damages sustained by their Axis facilities as a result of Allied bombing... Ford received a little less than $1 million, primarily as a result of damages sustained by its military truck complex at Cologne...Due to their multinational dominance of motor vehicle production, GM and Ford became principal suppliers for the forces of fascism as well as for the forces of democracy. It may, of course, be argued that participating in both sides of an international conflict, like the common corporate practice of investing in both political parties before an election, is an appropriate corporate activity. Had the Nazis won, General Motors and Ford would have appeared impeccably Nazi; as Hitler lost, these companies were able to re-emerge impeccably American. In either case, the viability of these corporations and the interests of their respective stockholders would have been preserved.

The Lend-Lease program also provided more than 35,000 radio sets and 32,000 motorcycles. When the war ended, almost 33 percent of all the Red Army's vehicles had been provided through Lend-Lease. More than 20,000 Katyusha mobile multiple-rocket launchers were mounted on the chassis of American Studebaker trucks.

Gas bag vehicles were built during World War One and (especially) World War Two in France, the Netherlands, Germany and England as an improvised solution to the shortage of gasoline. Apart from automobiles, buses and trucks were also equipped with the technology. The vehicles consumed 'town gas' or 'street gas', a by-product of the process of turning coal into cokes (which are used to make iron).

The allies by comparison enjoyed the strategic advantage of the USA's ability to mass produce motorized vehicles, with low unit cost and rapid quantity production, coupled with relatively easy access to fuel worldwide.

We have compiled a list of the major players who assisted in the war effort in terms of vehicle production. A few of these companies have folded, but their contribution will always be remembered. Keep reading to learn about ten car brands that you didn't know built vehicles for the world wars!

Ford's tractors, trucks, and vehicles that were produced in its British factory ended up making an appearance in World War One. The Model T was a common sight on the war front, and many of their vehicles were used by the Red Cross to help the wounded. Ford's light tanks didn't compare to Renaults though, so the contract America had made with them was canceled after only a few were made. This company's vehicles were used by all of the forces in the allies due to its universality and practical function.

These were made to go over any type of terrain and their large load capacities enabled them to carry whatever supplies were needed. Dodge trucks are a common sight at shows featuring old military vehicles as many people have taken the time to restore them to their original state.

This company played a big role in World War Two with their production of engines, trucks, cars, and the M29 tank. Studebaker was involved in the war effort long before the U.S. joined as they provided K-Series trucks to the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. The interesting part about this was that the Germans actually commandeered these vehicles for themselves as they began overtaking these areas.

Chevrolet, another sub-company of General Motors, was the branch responsible for producing fire trucks for the war. They created Class 110 and Class 135 fire trucks, as well as Staghound Medium armored cars for the British to give to their troops. This company produced around 450,000 vehicles with their nameplate for the war effort during World War Two. This number does not include the GMC trucks they also produced in their factories for the mother company.

The first 3-axle and trolley buses were built by MAN in the 1930s. This was the most powerful heavy-duty diesel truck in the world at the time, with 140/150 HP. Along with the development of turbo chargers for diesel engines and the all-wheel drive for commercial vehicles, MAN introduced assembly-line production manufacturing. 041b061a72


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