PDA

View Full Version : Weasel and the Canadian Connection



DEEPNHOCK
01-07-2012, 09:37 PM
Very good read.

http://www.brantnews.com/index.cfm?page=news&section=read&articleId=12067

(snippet copy. See link for complete article)

http://www.brantnews.com/images/cj/large/12067_1.jpg

The M29 Weasel on display at Brantford’s Military Heritage Museum.
Photographer: Bob Gordon By Bob Gordon and Thomas Gordon
Saturday January 07/2012 at 08:43:12 AM
Brant News is proud to present an ongoing series highlighting historic artifacts on display at Brantford’s Military Heritage Museum.

In 1942, the U.S. Army called for design proposals for a lightweight, tracked vehicle particularly adapted to snowy conditions.
The vehicle was also required to have amphibious capabilities and be light enough to be carried by a glider.
The vehicle was being designed for the 1st Special Service Brigade, a joint Canadian-American commando unit.
Consequently, the National Research Council of Canada played an integral role in the Weasel’s development. The contract to manufacture the Weasel was eventually awarded to the Studebaker Automobile Company.
The “Weasel’s” Studebaker Model 6-170 Champion, L-head, 70 hp engine gave it a top speed of 58 km/h and a range of 255 km. It weighed only 1,700 kilograms. Uncommonly, the road, or bogie, wheels are offset from the vertical.
The first 2,100 produced had 380 mm tracks, the remaining, including the vehicle pictured above, had 510 mm tracks. Increasing the track width lowered the Weasel’s weight in terms of pounds per square inch to 1.9 psi, less than a human footprint.
The Weasel could ride over snow and marshland that any other vehicle and even a foot soldier would become hopelessly mired in. The driver could carry ammunition, supplies and equipment, or three passengers.
The M29 was amphibious, but with a dangerously low freeboard. The M29C “Water Weasel” was the amphibious version, with buoyancy cells in the bow and stern, as well as twin rudders. Afloat, it continued to rely on the tracks for propulsion, reducing its speed to 6 km/h.
Despite American origins and production, the Weasel was used extensively by Canadian forces in the fall of 1944 during battles to clear the marshy Scheldt estuary, the flooded approaches to Antwerp, Europe’s largest port.
They were kept in service by the Canadian Army for use in the Arctic. Skis are visible in a rack on the left side of the vehicle pictured above

comatus
01-07-2012, 11:15 PM
IIRC, the Devil's Brigade and its specialized transport were put together to invade Norway. The Brits were all hell for invading Norway there, for a year or two. The US Tenth Mountain Division and their ski troops figured into that strategy as well. In the event, both units ended up in the Italian campaign.

Weasels were heavily used, and well thought of, for running rations and ammunition from rear echelon to front lines in the Rohr Dams offensive and the North Shoulder of the Bulge, on the seam between Montgomery's command and US Gen Courtney Hodges. I don't know if they were used in Market Garden, or the glider air assaults across the northern Rhine. I'd like to see pictures, if they were.

Where portability was not a factor, I'd guess the Canadians preferred the Bren carrier.

garyash
01-08-2012, 10:25 AM
Here's an Army photo and official press release notes of a Weasel near Murringen, Belgium in February, 1945. Murringen is on the current border between Belgium and Germany, just west of Bonn.

13209

289stude
01-08-2012, 10:52 AM
That's not an m29 looks like the earlier m24 model. Note the leaf springs and the boggies & the tracks are slopped too high in front.

rkapteyn
01-08-2012, 11:01 AM
I was a 9 year old boy in German occupied Holland when we were liberated by Canadian troops.
Many Weasels and Jeeps supplied by America.
The Canadians gave us food that we desperately needed.
Thanks to you all!