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U.S. Army July 1944 truck assembly in Normandy

mariomike

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A veteran of the 148th Ordnance Motor Vehicle Assembly Company in WWII. He explains a film showing how they assembled trucks for the Red Ball Express.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhf4ynHqVqA

These are deuce and a half's ( 2 ¹⁄₂-ton 6×6 Cargo truck CCKW C= designed in 1941 C = conventional cab K = all wheel drive W = dual rear axels )

They were manufactured  by GM in Pontiac, Michigan. Later they were also manufactured at GM's St. Louis, Missouri Chevrolet plant.

The parts were then crated. The trucks were assembled on the beachhead in France.

 

renemongeau

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mariomike said:
A veteran of the 148th Ordnance Motor Vehicle Assembly Company in WWII. He explains a film showing how they assembled trucks for the Red Ball Express.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhf4ynHqVqA

These are deuce and a half's ( 2 ¹⁄₂-ton 6×6 Cargo truck CCKW C= designed in 1941 C = conventional cab K = all wheel drive W = dual rear axels )

They were manufactured by GM in Pontiac, Michigan. Later they were also manufactured at GM's St. Louis, Missouri Chevrolet plant.

The parts were then crated. The trucks were assembled on the beachhead in France.

I can stop smiling each time I see something who looks like a Willys' jeep. Someone has bought one, they used a big hammer in Lafontaine tunnel for some wheels problems. Also, I never worked on the military truck, the oldest truck I have fixed was a ford 1957. 30 years in the backyard with some trees in the trunk and only need a new battery. The fuel consumption was not acceptable. However, I had to fix an electronic suspension problem on Mercedes 430 SL, a lot of sensors, a really intimidating electronic system for a car, but the engine can run easily 450000km, they did the right thing when they bought Mercedes jeeps. This is a smart buy.


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FJAG

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There's a book I read many years ago that deals with maintenance of US Army equipment after Normandy - Death Traps: The survival of an Armored Division in World War II, written by Belton Cooper an officer in the 7th Armored Division's Maintenance battalion.

https://www.amazon.com/Death-Traps-Survival-American-Division/dp/0891418148/

Two very interesting statistics. The division lost over 580% of it's tanks during the European campaign and no one anticipated and prepared for the large numbers of rubber tires the wheeled vehicles would have shredded as a result of driving over shell splinters and other scrap metal littering all the roads.

:cheers:
 

renemongeau

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FJAG said:
There's a book I read many years ago that deals with maintenance of US Army equipment after Normandy - Death Traps: The survival of an Armored Division in World War II, written by Belton Cooper an officer in the 7th Armored Division's Maintenance battalion.

https://www.amazon.com/Death-Traps-Survival-American-Division/dp/0891418148/

Two very interesting statistics. The division lost over 580% of its tanks during the European campaign and no one anticipated and prepared for the large numbers of rubber tires the wheeled vehicles would have shredded as a result of driving over shell splinters and other scrap metal littering all the roads.

:cheers:

We didn't use run-flat tires. It does not have any suspension on a loader, easier to add new tires than another vertebra. These dudes look in good physical shape but they don't work as a mechanic in their way to lift heavy without their quadriceps, round back to move a wheel, a working day with a painful back is not funny. Also, an open wrench [emoji373] is not used properly, this is a waste of time in this way.


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mariomike

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FJAG said:
no one anticipated and prepared for the large numbers of rubber tires the wheeled vehicles would have shredded as a result of driving over shell splinters and other scrap metal littering all the roads.

:cheers:

There are photos of deuce and a half's with no rear wheels, because no replacement tires were available.
https://web.archive.org/web/20180126045735/http://www.transchool.lee.army.mil:80/museum/transportation%20museum/redballintro.htm
 

SeaKingTacco

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turkeyshoot said:
We didn't use run-flat tires. It does not have any suspension on a loader, easier to add new tires than another vertebra. These dudes look in good physical shape but they don't work as a mechanic in their way to lift heavy without their quadriceps, round back to move a wheel, a working day with a painful back is not funny. Also, an open wrench [emoji373] is not used properly, this is a waste of time in this way.


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What language are you trying to speak? None of this makes any sense.
 

SeaKingTacco

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Yes. I am just trying to make sense of your previous post, but cannot.
 

renemongeau

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SeaKingTacco said:
Yes. I am just trying to make sense of your previous post, but cannot.

I wonder if they received a training to rebuild trucks. I used to be a mechanic for 10 years.


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SeaKingTacco

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Ok- got it now.

Formal Training to do rebuilds in World War 2? I doubt it. In the first place, the trucks were just not that complicated. In the second place, the mechanics would have had a fair bit of incentive and encouragement to improvise.
 

NavyShooter

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Jumping back to the original video, it was neat to see the process, explained by a man who was actually there. 

The concept of RO RO shipping simply didn't exist, and the most efficient means to get vehicles across the ocean was in crates, that needed to be assembled upon arrival in Europe.

Their production line assembled 50 and up to 100 trucks in a day in support of the military's movement needs in Europe.  I'm sure we've all see the video of the Engineer School troops taking the jeep apart and re-assembling it in about 2 minute or so - this is what they were doing.  Unboxing, assembling, testing, and issuing vehicles to the transport drivers that needed them.

Were they the best truck?  Nope.

Were they a great truck?  Nope.

Was it a good enough truck that could be quickly built in the US, boxed up, shipped over to Europe by the hundreds, landed easily from cargo ships in France, then assembled in what effectively became a Henry Ford type assembly line?  Yup.

You can have it in any colour you want, so long as it's green.

NS
 

GR66

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Really makes you wonder how quickly our logistics system would break down in a serious conflict.  Fewer and more complex components all along the chain...from the combat vehicles to the ground transport to the air and sea re-supply capability. 

Even if we could produce enough equipment/munitions to resupply our combat losses...580% tank losses...as loss rates like that we might not have to worry about re-supply after a week or so!
 

FJAG

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There used to be a time when we had a war reserve of some equipment. Back in 1970 when my unit was flown from Shilo to Montreal for the October Fest we were issued brand new deuces and three quarters. Brand new in that they had less than a hundred miles on the odometer but they had been built in the early 1950.s Had a hell of a time with dry seals and other mechanical issues from their time in storage.

:cheers:
 

daftandbarmy

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NavyShooter said:
Were they the best truck?  Nope.

Were they a great truck?  Nope.

Was it a good enough truck that could be quickly built in the US, boxed up, shipped over to Europe by the hundreds, landed easily from cargo ships in France, then assembled in what effectively became a Henry Ford type assembly line?  Yup.

Similar to the Liberty Ships that they were sent over in....
 

mariomike

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I think US Army truck drivers were well trained. The drivers performed thorough first echelon maintenance on their trucks prior to handing in their work tickets. This helped keep their trucks off the dead line.

But, for 83 days the army ran the hell out of their deuce and a half's with unqualified drivers. They didn't double clutch, and stripped gears. Dry batteries, motors and differentials burned out, lack of effort to keep nuts and bolts tight - resulting in drive shafts falling off, transfer cases loosening, wheels coming off, fenders and bodies breaking up, poor lubrication, under inflated tires.

In the first month of operation, Red Ball trucks wore out 40,000 tires.

Trucks were overloaded. Governors sapped the overloaded vehicles of power on grades and prevented them from maintaining a steady and much higher speed. So, they were removed to increase speed from 56 MPH to 70 MPH.

Off course night driving was done without headlights. Blackout lights only.

They gunned down the middle of the road to avoid mines on the shoulders, and stopped for nothing. The driver and co-driver switched seats as they kept on trucking.

Black marketeering was rampant as some drivers delivered whole loads to anyone willing to buy. A 5-gallon jerrycan brought $100 on the French black market. There was also cigarettes, rations, sugar, medical supplies etc.

Trucks were often brought to a standstill by water in their gas. Proper maintenance required that the gas line filter on the fire wall between the engine and cab be purged of water at regular intervals, but few drivers paid attention to that regulation. Condensation was the principal cause of water in the gas.

POWs were also known to contaminate the gas with rain or snow water. 

There is a good book titles, "The road to victory: The untold story of the Red Ball Express".





 

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renemongeau

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I worked with old 6 wheels trucks although they were 10 years younger than these trucks. They had a manual choke carburetor and an idle cable button. This is not so easy to start the engine. They had the flooded engine issues. Could you believe this was a truck to dad’s granddad and I fixed that?


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mariomike

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turkeyshoot said:
Is it a diesel truck? I worked with old 6 wheels trucks. They had a manual choke carburetor and an idle cable button. This is not so easy to start the engine. Also, they did not have power steering and safety belts.

Gasoline. The film show choke and throttle operation. It was filmed at Fort Ord, California. So, cold weather operation was not shown.

There was no power steering or safety belts.

In this film,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkmP46pSb
Sgt. Pendelton and three of his men put on their side caps and leave a classroom setting. They look under the truck for leaks. Sgt. Pendleton opens the hood and takes off the cap to check the coolant. He sticks his finger in it. He checks the radiator air passages are open and the fan belt has proper tension. He pulls out the bayonet gauge to check the oil level and checks the engine for loose connections. He unscrews the gas tank cap to check the level. A soldier gets in the driver’s seat. He sets the parking brake and verifies the gear shift levers and power takeoffs are in neutral. He sets the hand throttle, pulls out the choke, turns on the ignition, and disengages the clutch before stepping on the starter. The amps and oil dashboard gauges are shown, followed by the water and fuel gauges, followed by the entire gauge dashboard. The windshield wipers, mounted to the top of the frame, are turned on and off. The “Driver’s Report- Accident” card is shown up-close and an Army Motor Vehicle Operator’s Permit before putting them back in the glovebox. He blows the horn twice and turns the headlights on. He pops the hood and checks the fan and steering linkage and springs . He checks the tires and spare with an air pressure gauge . The poppet latch on the winch is checked that the plunger is down and the front axle examined . The gas cans must be full and secure , the tools secured on the Pioneer equipment bracket , and the pintle hitch locked. He inspects the tools in the toolbox and the wheel nuts.

The truck is moved slightly forward to check operation. They practice starting a truck on blocks, going through the previous instructions. Proper driving posture is explained and the rearview mirror adjusted . A soldier drives the truck, and learns shifting and how to double-clutch. The instrument panel is shown and explained. The transfer assembling shifting lever is shown and explained for climbing hills. Proper braking is shown and explained. He kicks the tires to inspect them at the halt

How to parallel park is shown and explained , as is parking on a hill, and backing into a restricted space. A truck backs and parks into a tight space with a towed gun behind it.

The final inspection is given after operating the truck.

In the next film, Sgt. Pendleton shows his men how to turn a deuce into a halftrack!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZg5kwqF06k

This shows first echelon maintenance of a deuce by the driver,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8dBgEpg1FQ&t=15s

The CCKW only had one outside mirror. It was five inches round on the driver's side. On the M135 ( they were built in the early 1950's ) we had two outside mirrors, both still only five inches round. Later, they were upgraded to west coast mirrors.
 

renemongeau

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mariomike said:
Gasoline. The film show choke and throttle operation. It was filmed at Fort Ord, California. So, cold weather operation was not shown.

There was no power steering or safety belts.

In this film,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkmP46pSb
Sgt. Pendelton and three of his men put on their side caps and leave a classroom setting. They look under the truck for leaks. Sgt. Pendleton opens the hood and takes off the cap to check the coolant. He sticks his finger in it. He checks the radiator air passages are open and the fan belt has proper tension. He pulls out the bayonet gauge to check the oil level and checks the engine for loose connections. He unscrews the gas tank cap to check the level. A soldier gets in the driver’s seat. He sets the parking brake and verifies the gear shift levers and power takeoffs are in neutral. He sets the hand throttle, pulls out the choke, turns on the ignition, and disengages the clutch before stepping on the starter. The amps and oil dashboard gauges are shown, followed by the water and fuel gauges, followed by the entire gauge dashboard. The windshield wipers, mounted to the top of the frame, are turned on and off. The “Driver’s Report- Accident” card is shown up-close and an Army Motor Vehicle Operator’s Permit before putting them back in the glovebox. He blows the horn twice and turns the headlights on. He pops the hood and checks the fan and steering linkage and springs. He checks the tires and spare with an air pressure gauge. The poppet latch on the winch is checked that the plunger is down and the front axle examined. The gas cans must be full and secure, the tools secured on the Pioneer equipment bracket, and the pintle hitch locked. He inspects the tools in the toolbox and the wheel nuts.

The truck is moved slightly forward to check operation. They practice starting a truck on blocks, going through the previous instructions. Proper driving posture is explained and the rearview mirror adjusted. A soldier drives the truck and learns to shift and how to double-clutch. The instrument panel is shown and explained. The transfer assembling shifting lever is shown and explained for climbing hills. Proper braking is shown and explained. He kicks the tires to inspect them at the halt

How to parallel park is shown and explained, as is parking on a hill, and backing into a restricted space. A truck backs and parks into a tight space with a towed gun behind it.

The final inspection is given after operating the truck.

In the next film, Sgt. Pendleton shows his men how to turn a deuce into a half-track!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZg5kwqF06k

This shows first echelon maintenance of a deuce by the driver,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8dBgEpg1FQ&t=15s

The CCKW only had one outside mirror. It was five inches round on the driver's side. On the M135 ( they were built in the early 1950s) we had two outside mirrors, both still only five inches round. Later, they were upgraded to west coast mirrors.


Two wheels with a spacer would not be a problem if you don't have wet clay. I suppose they had many problems with roads of clay in Europe with this system of wheels. Also, I reminded having many problems with the old door window systems. Now, we use a cable system, the windows are easy to lift up and down but the old system had a kind of simple gears box to lift up the window with enough space to move out the bottom of a window.  I had to remove the inboard door to fix a window handle many times. Another problem, the drum brake system is terrifically rusting and can’t move after not moving the whole winter. All brake systems don’t move after winter but drum brakes are the worst.


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mariomike

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turkeyshoot said:
I suppose they had many problems with roads of clay in Europe with this system of wheels.

Apparently, one major cause of the damage done to tires was the hundreds of thousands of ration tins carelessly disposed of along the highways–the sharp metal edges tore into the rubber.
 

Colin Parkinson

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These trucks were the base design for the Deuce and the MLVW. They were a good design for the time and far better than the majority of other trucks. The design was copied and improved upon by the Soviets.
 
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