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- World War II -

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Study the role of the jeep "roadrailer", the Liberty Ship and the DUKW in the distribution of troops and supplies throughout the world. Take time to listen to the story of the Red Ball Express, one of the earliest success stories of the newly formed Transportation Corps.

Water Vessels

The Army has a navy! The Army DUKW was tested in the Chesapeake Bay and at Fort Story for sea-worthiness and amphibious operations. It was tested for off-road operations at Fort Belvoir. Introduced in 1942, DUKWs are still in use by tourist attractions such as the Wisconsin Dells. The Liberty Ships were either 'ugly ducklings' or 'dreadful looking objects'. But they were cheap, simple and could be built quickly. Eventually 2710 LIberty ships were put into service from 1941 to 1945. The Army transported 7,290,000 personnel and shipped 126,787,875 tons of cargo with these 'emergency, temporary, expendable' vessels. You can stand behind the mariner's wheel and hear/see what a helmsman experienced on a Liberty ship. And you can see the DUKW as it looked on D-Day. The outside pavilion has a Super DUKW.

Other artifacts in this area relate to the Army's experience in having its own navy.

Ground Transportation

If it doesn't have a Jeep, then it isn't the Army! The first 'Jeep' was the Bantam Reconnaissance Car. But the Army decided that Bantam couldn't produce enough so the contract went to Willys and Ford. The 4 wheel drive light reconnaissance vehicle entered production in 1941 and quickly became THE vehicle associated with the Army. All US services used it and it was adopted by the Allies as well. The CJ version (civilian Jeep) entered production in 1945. The Jeep could be modified -- is an understatement. From its original reconnaissance function, the Jeep became a weapons platform with either mounted machine guns or the 90MM recoilless rifle. It could also be pressed into service as an emergency ambulance. Take the wheels off and add railroad wheels, and the Jeep can scout out the rail lines as one of our models shows. Almost as ubiquitous as the Jeep was the 2.5 ton or Deuce and a half truck. These were used in the Express routes (Green, Red and White) but only the Red Ball Express had a movie made for it. The 2.5 ton could haul 5 tons of cargo on paved roads but only half that cross-country. Since most roads were targets in WWII, the Army convoys frequently went cross-country.

This page last updated on March 23, 2021