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WW II Studebaker Truck?

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  • #16
    From the Stude truck history on the main SDC web site:
    "And in common with most other American industries, Studebaker began producing military systems under contract to the U.S. Government in 1941. Its two most famous wartime products were the Weasel tracked vehicle and the US6-model 2½-ton military truck, which went into production in South Bend in June 1941. By the end of that year, 4724 had been built. It was built in both 6x6 and 6x4 forms on 148-inch and 162-inch wheelbases, and shared some running gear components with the similar GMC CCKW 2½-ton, 6x6 military trucks. In order to get the trucks in production as soon as possible, Studebaker used their M-series truck cab (modified for swing-open windshields, but also with the M-series truck’s wind wings) and the same Hercules JXD L-head, 6-cylinder gasoline engines that had been used in the 1937-1940 J25 and K25 trucks. The swing-out windshields mandated windshield wipers mounted above the windshields instead of on the cowl. This modified cab was designated as the model C9 cab. GMC CCKW trucks had somewhat rounded front fenders, while the Studebaker US6 trucks had front fenders that were flat on top with a 90-degree turn downward behind the front tire. The wind wings and the square-ish front fenders are easy identification features of Studebaker-built WW II 2½-ton military trucks.

    At the request of the Army, Studebaker also developed an open-cab version of the US6 in 1942, and built 10,006 of them during 1942 and 43. These trucks used a completely different cab design without wind wings. Manufacture of the open-cab trucks was assigned to other companies in March 1943, after which Studebaker built only closed-cab trucks using the M-series model C9 cab.

    To simplify maintenance and parts stocking, the U.S. Army tended to assign only one make of heavy-duty truck to each Military Service and/or theater of war. Many of the Studebaker-built US6 trucks were assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers for construction of the Alcan (now Alaska) Highway in 1942. Studebaker ran a number of full-page ads in national magazines showing a US6 leading the first supply convoy to Fairbanks over the Alcan Highway. Under the Lend-Lease program, in 1941 the U.S. Government supplied Allied nations (especially the Soviet Union) with military hardware, and the Studebaker US6 was chosen as the military truck to provide to other nations under this program. Over 100,000 of these trucks were provided to the Soviet Union. These trucks were so durable in War duty that noted military vehicle historian Clell Ballard has stated: “The term ‘Studebaker’ was even incorporated into the Russian language. Near the end of the war, Americans did some research about Russian GIs. The report stated: ‘. . . they referred to all trucks as Studebakers’. In ordinary conversation they sometimes used ‘Studebaker’ as the equivalent of ‘OK’ which reflected their opinion of the Studebaker trucks.”

    According to historian Thomas E. Bonsall, “Joseph Stalin was so appreciative of the effectiveness of his Studebaker trucks that he sent the company a letter of thanks.” Bonsall quotes from Nikita Krushchev’s memoirs, in which Krushchev comments on the contributions of the Studebaker US6 trucks:
    “Just imagine how we would have advanced from Stalingrad to Berlin without them! Our losses would have been colossal because we would have had no maneuverability.”

    Great Britain also received a large number of Studebaker US6 trucks. They were used extensively in the Middle East and in the India-Burma theater of war.

    As the War came to a close, the War Department cancelled its contracts for military trucks, and those not already en route to Russia were placed in storage. Many eventually were sold by the Federal Government to local and state governments for use as heavy-duty fire trucks, tow trucks, etc. Studebaker built a total of 197,678 US6 military trucks between June 1941 and August 1945. Reo built another 22,000 US6 trucks using the Studebaker design."
    Skip Lackie

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    • #17
      Here are more available US6 configurations:







      Craig
      Last edited by 8E45E; 10-11-2019, 04:20 PM.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by 62champ View Post
        If the fenders are missing, I believe the US6 was the only truck of its size that used the opening vent window in the door.
        Dodge also had opening vent windows:



        Craig

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        • #19
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          • #20
            Thanks for the very informative posts!
            Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Buzzard View Post
              I own a 1945 Studebaker US6, WWII era deuce and a half (2 1/2 ton). The most prominent features compared to the other manufacturer's is that the two piece windshield opens out for ventilation along with typical vent windows in the doors, and the fenders were designed with a flat top so as to be used as a workbench during repairs and maintenance. The side panels located behind the headlamps was also remove-able for engine access. Another mostly unknown feature is that they drove both rear axles with separate driveshafts instead of the typical tandem axle setup linking both units together. Their reasoning was that they could drive over a land mine with the front axle (resulting in disabling it) and still have the rear to function until repairs could be facilitated. The picture posted in post # 2 is correct.
              Bill
              Hi Buzzard, could you please elaborate on the two driveshaft design. I am having trouble picturing it. IE I thought all the trucks would have two driveshafts, one to the front and one to the rear. Are you saying there were two driveshafts going from the transmission to the rear axles?
              Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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              • #22
                This will help...

                Last edited by 62champ; 10-12-2019, 07:19 AM.

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                • #23
                  I have a US6 here that is looking for a good home. I rescued it from the crusher, but don't really have time to bring it back to life.

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                  • #24
                    Hi Tom,
                    As graciously answered by Patrick's posting of the chassis diagram, count'em on the all wheel drive lower pic, there are five driveshafts.
                    Some time ago there was published (probably by Clell Ballard) a fantastic story about these super heavy duty trucks and how they assisted the allies in their retreat in Burma. Apparently the troops so overloaded the Chevs and Dodges as well as Studebakers that they could no longer perform. If I recall they cut the former units into trailers so the Studebakers could pull them as well their already overloaded US6's.
                    Bill

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                    • #25
                      I had read where Gen. William Knudsen (the pre-war head of GM) who was in charge of the Office of Production Management for war materiel had made the decision that primarily GMC trucks would go to the Army is most theaters of the war so soldiers would think only of GM products once they got out of the service to help GM's bottom line and market share. If true, it more or less relegated Studebaker and other war contractor's products to go to lend-lease nations or out-of-the-way theaters.

                      I've never seen any evidence to support that claim but it is at least somewhat believable.
                      Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by tsenecal View Post
                        I have a US6 here that is looking for a good home. I rescued it from the crusher, but don't really have time to bring it back to life.
                        If you were closer I'd jump on it......

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by 62champ View Post
                          This will help...

                          Thanks very much! Amazing that they would actually do that. The loads they were contemplating must have been staggering.
                          Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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                          • #28
                            A bit off topic, but in 1996 there used to be an early 60's Studebaker Deuce in the Arkansas National Guard. HHB 2/142 FA to be exact out of Ft. Smith. It was a medic truck .
                            I wonder what happened to it.

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                            • #29
                              Here is another "re-purposed US6 in southern Washington State, apparently still earning it's keep when required.

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