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:: GMC 6x6 2.5ton DUKW 353
GMC 6x6 2.5ton DUKW 353
The DUKW was designed by Rod Stephens, Jr. of Sparkman & Stephens, yacht designers, British deep-water sailor and US resident Dennis Puleston and Frank W. Speir from the MIT at the behest of the US War Dept., to solve the problem of resupply to units following amphibious landings. Initially rejected, one prototype was by chance involved in the rescue of seven stranded Coast Guard personnel trapped on a sand bar near Provincetown, Mass., when the experimental DUKW was on hand to lift then men off when heavy surf prevented conventional craft from approaching their vessel. All opposition by the Military ceased as a result and full production of the amphibian was given the green light.
The DUKW was built around the GMC AFKWX, COE version of the standard truck, with the addition of a watertight hull and a propeller. It was powered by a GMC Model 270 straight-six engine. A five-speed overdrive transmission drove a transfer case for the propeller, then a two-speed transfer case to drive the axles. The propeller and front axle were selectable from their transfer case. A power take-off on the transmission drove an air-compressor and winch. It weighed 15,900 kg empty and operated at 50mph on roads and 5.5 knots (6mph) water.
It was not an armoured vehicle, being plated only with sheet metal between 1.6 and 3.2 mm thickness to minimize the weight. A high capacity bilge pump system kept it afloat if the thin hull was breached by holes up to 51 mm in diameter. One in every four DUKWs mounted a .50-caliber Browning heavy machine gun on an M36 ring mount.
Built by Yellow Truck and Coach Co., part of GMC. after 1943, at their Pontiac West Assembly Plant and at the Chevrolet Div. of General Motors Corp. at their St. Louis Truck Assembly Plant. A total of 21,147 were manufactured before production ended in 1945.
Supplied to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, 2,000 were also supplied to Britain, 535 to Australia and 586 were supplied to the USSR. They would later build their own version, the BAV 485 after the war. Although initially sent to Guadalcanal, their first operational use was in Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. Also in the ETO they were used on D-Day in Normandy and in the battles of the Scheldt Estuary and Operations Veritable and Plunder, the Rhine Crossings. In the Pacific, USMC DUKW's were used to cross the coral reefs of islands such as Saipan and Guam.
After World War II, reduced numbers were kept in service by the United States, Britain, France, and Australia. The U.S. Army reactivated and deployed several hundred at the outbreak of the Korean War were they were used extensively to bring supplies ashore during the Battle of Pusan Perimeter and in the amphibious landings at Incheon.
DUKWs were supplied to the France and were used by the Troupes de Marine and naval commandos. Many were deployed in French Indochina during the First Indochina War. Britain deployed DUKWs to Malaya during the Malayan Emergency of 1948–60. Many were redeployed to Borneo during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation of 1962–66.
One in every four DUKW's had the .50cal MG fitted on the M36 mount.
DUKW's in British service never mounted the .50cal MG.
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