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Weapons of World War Two

Jeep Willys

Jeep Willys

The United States Army, in the years of the Second World War, could be surely defined as the less orthodox existing army. This was at least according to the canons, certainly somewhat narrow, with which Europeans, without exception, had gotten used to judge a military organization. The uniforms of slightly neglected appearance, the large variety, many times changed into heterogeneity, of the available means, or the singular sense of camaraderie which often seemed to cross the limits imposed by the military graduation, created around this army, young in comparison with others, an undeniable aura of interest.

But soon this interest was almost always followed by fear by all of those, and they were majority, who finally realized about the industrial potential of the country that some had believed to be able to crush with certain initial victories. This army, on its march across Europe, made to know to the population with which it contacted habits and fashions of American origin that it carried with itself: Coca-Cola, chewing gum or Boogie-Woogie, for example. But not all of the American products had a so basically consumist purpose.

The motor industry, returning to military necessities, had produced in large number a small vehicle for multiple uses (General Purpose) which soon would become the universally known symbol of this modern and fully mechanized army. From the pronunciation of the initials GP, the vehicle was soon familiarly known as "Jeep". This one was a vehicle adapted to marching on any type of terrain, with the four wheels driven, and a weight somewhat above one tonne. The engine, of four cylinders in line and of gasoline, achieved with 2199 cubic centimeters a maximum power of 54 horsepower and it was able to overtake slopes of 60 percent.

Its square-like shape, once the windshield was folded forwards, gave it the appearance of a box on wheels. The gearshifts were five, four forwards and one backwards, this latter with reduction gear. Lacking armor, the Jeep was intelligently used by fully taking advantage of its main strengths: agility, speed and operational range. So it was successively used for reconnaissance and transport, as ambulance and mobile command post and, in specially adapted versions, antiaircraft or antitank weapon, rendering excellent service in every front, from North Africa to Russia and the Pacific.

Adopted in all the services of the United States Army, and successively by all the Allied armies, the Jeep was mainly built by Willys Overland Motors Company from December 1941. At the end of the war more than 640000 exemplars had been built. Unlike which happened with many vehicles exclusively built for war purposes, the operative life of the Jeep did not end with the war. It had so a new existence, a better one without doubt. Built for the war, since 1945 this vehicle has been used in almost the entire world as an ordinary and pacific transport element.

Year: 1941

Weight: 1377 kilograms

Length: 3.36 meters

Width: 1.58 meters

Height: 1.77 meters (with raised soft top)

Engine: Four cylinders in line of 2199 cubic centimeters and 54 horsepower

Maximum speed: 105 kilometers/hour

Operational range on road: 483 kilometers

Maximum surmountable slope: 60 percent

Fording: 45 centimeters

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