Maybe someone will disagree with us and say that a coat of arms (Air Cobra, for example) or a tank can become the flag or flag ...
But since we are talking about our opinion, then it is he. "Willys MW".
It is clear that our modern knowledge, with numerous additions of ideology and homegrown "historians" from vocational schools, is simply teeming with inaccuracies and obvious inventions. And Lend-Lease itself turned into exactly the same arena of ideological war, like almost any episode at the beginning of the defense, and then the offensive of the Red Army.
And you don’t need to go far for evidence, it’s enough to re-read the comments on any article about Lend-Lease, at least on our resource, anywhere. The result will be the same.
We do not intend to fight "for ours" or "for theirs". Yes, and to answer silly questions, like we could have won without help, too. Could. And they would have won. But how many hundreds more thousands, or even millions, of Soviet people would have perished on the fields of war? Persuading someone in the loyalty of this truism is stupid. We will not, but just continue our stories.
So, the Lend-Lease symbol. A car that even today is known to every Russian precisely as a military, Soviet military man of those years.
This is an American off-road all terrain Willys MB. The one who still drove our officers and generals in domestic films. The one who, during the war, "dragged" anti-tank guns along the leading edge. The one that was used by Soviet scouts to quickly move along the front line.
It is about this car, our story today. And let's start with stories creating this legend. More precisely, the legends. Because this model of army cars went off the assembly lines of plants such as Willys-Overland Motors and Ford (with a different name: Ford GPW). The differences between these cars are lower, especially since thanks to the museum of military equipment of the UMMC, which is in Verkhnyaya Pyshma, we had the opportunity to get acquainted with both models.
So, there is a tenacious, but improbable version of the creation of this car. A version similar to the Soviet one, such as "The party said it is necessary - the Komsomol answered there is!" It took a car - American automakers did. And this version appeared because of the really short development time of this jeep. The Pentagon announced the need for such vehicles for the US Army in the spring of 1940. A serial release started in 1941.
In fact, such a car was needed precisely the American army. And not even to participate in the Second World War. We needed a car for the border areas for transportation of commanders and intelligence of the border areas with the possibility of actions on the territory of the enemy. In the original terms of reference talk about the possibility of transporting guns and mortars was not.
From a technical point of view, the Pentagon has put forward quite stringent requirements. It was strictly stated that the SUV should have a maximum speed of at least 80 km / h, the fordable depth to overcome - from 29 cm, all-wheel drive, curb weight - no more than 585 kg, ground clearance - 16 cm, and carrying capacity - no less than 270 kg The only point on which customers went to at least some kind of a compromise - is the mass. She changed several times and in both directions.
For the auto business, the order was truly a "tidbit." Almost all car manufacturers got involved in the development of the car. However, it quickly became clear that the harsh conditions of the army required many design innovations. Mass producers of such developments refused. Only three of them took the risk to help out their army. The cool guys were American Bantam, Willys-Overland and Ford Motor.
The first problem was solved by engineers and designers of American Bantam. Based on their own car Bantam 60, they created the Bantam BRC SUV.
The car almost completely met the requirements of the army. Except for a fairly serious weight deviation. Army commanders decided to check the car in action, but decided not to start the series.
Be that as it may, the company still released the 2605 units of this car. True to the Americas, they were not used.
And then the detective begins.
The Bantam BRC tests were attended by competing engineers and designers. Both Ford and Willis developed their own cars, but some components, in particular the suspension, did not work. And so, for the first time in the history of the American automotive industry, the designers decided to copy the suspension elements from competitors. In fact, industrial spies worked. Especially well done on the "Willis".
It was Willis who, in two months, presented his own version of an SUV for testing. True stole and the main drawback of Bantam - weight.
Willys Quad, namely this name was given to the new car, weighed 1100 kg. After many improvements, the weight was reduced to 980 kg. The new model is called Willys MA.
But Ford engineers didn’t stand idle either. The Ford Pygmy SUV was created. With the same characteristics and with the same drawbacks.
So, the American army received three cars with the same test score: "Satisfactory." Not good and not bad. Technically, the best car was still Bantam.
However, better handling and performance cost more than the simplicity of competitors. It was necessary to choose the one that will become the main SUV of the American army.
As, probably, the readers already guessed, in these conditions the main thing was the price of an SUV.
Bantam price was the highest. Ford’s cars were a bit cheaper and “Willis” turned out to be the cheapest - only 738 dollars and 74 cents.
All three versions of cars were almost identical and differed only in small details. It is clear that this determined the choice of the military: with a tight military budget, the number of cars was an important factor.
The contract was signed with the company "Willys", and after she launched the last copy of Willys MA from the conveyor, she immediately started mass production at the Toledo factory of Willys Military Series B.
And here comes the question of “Ford”. How did Ford's factories enter production?
It's simple. Willys was unable to fulfill an order received by itself and had to ask for help from Ford. Naturally, Ford gladly agreed to share the profit. But with one condition. A copy of "Willis" will be named "Ford." Copies of technical documentation for the Willis became the basis for Ford off-road vehicles. And so it appeared on the Soviet front two almost identical cars with different names: Willys MB and Ford GPW.
Now it is worth considering the car more closely. The car is really interesting. Not for nothing, the release of this SUV continued for many, many years in various countries around the world.
The body of the car was completely open, carrying, with a rather high landing and designed for 4 passenger seats. The supporting element of the Willys MB was the frame of the spar type. Through springs with single-acting shock absorbers, continuous axle bridges fitted with locking differentials were connected to the frame.
To ensure the car a good weight distribution, the designers installed the power unit longitudinally, on the front wheelbase. As a result, the supporting elements of the body became perfectly smooth, a complete balance of the chassis was achieved, and even while driving, the weight was evenly distributed to all 4 wheels.
Another feature of the Willis body was the complete absence of doors. This was done so that in extreme conditions it was easy to jump or jump out of the car. However, there was no danger of falling out of the body while driving, as the seats in the cabin were slightly buried.
But if the situation became critical, the process of leaving the car took seconds.
The windshield, which had a fairly wide and strong frame, if necessary, was reclined on the hood. Such a “trick” was developed not only to conveniently aim and shoot forward (especially if weapon massive and heavy, and it should be done while driving), but also to lower the contour of the car when you need to lie low.
Plus, the disguise gave the color a special matte paint that did not give glare in the sun. Patented. But in our realities, the Soviet soldiers fought quite normally with oil paint, and also did not particularly shine.
Designers have not forgotten about the wipers working on the engine. Many critics consider this part completely unnecessary and, given that the body is open - there is some truth in it. But we must not forget the fact that the car was supplied with a folding canvas top, which was stored in the coiled form on the back of the SUV. It was used not very often, even during bad weather.
One spare wheel was mounted behind the car. On the left side of the body one could notice the tool needed in the field conditions - this is an ax and shovels that were fastened with special straps. Also, special handles were welded on the left and right sides. They were present not so much for the convenience of the passengers, as if, if necessary, they could pull the car out of the ford or pit.
The cabin itself was quite close, and the driver’s landing seemed a bit difficult. As for the driver's seat, the tightness, combined with a thin three-spoke steering wheel of a sufficiently large diameter, made it possible to stay more confidently on the roads, firmly hold the steering wheel and not risk losing control, running over large stones or bumps.
In fact, the car just seems so ... small and uncomfortable. Everything is fine there with the landing, one of the authors checked his pretty boar carcass in 90 kg. Accordingly, the soldiers of normal 70-80 kg plus a padded jacket or overcoat could fit comfortably.
The gas tank was located under the driver’s seat (apparently, no one asked for an opinion on the subject), and in order to fill the car, you had to fold the cushion every time. There was a soft sofa without armrests behind, but on both sides (behind the arches of the rear wheels) there were original glove compartments for tools and other equipment.
The front wheels as such arches did not have, and between them and the hood was a large enough gap. Instead of a front bumper, a wide and thick sheet of metal was welded, which came forward at 30 centimeters. This was done to ensure that the car overcame obstacles (for example, bushes, sticks, high weeds, etc.) or that the soldiers could effortlessly pull out the stuck car without any damage, tying the rope to this frame.
The grille had a lot of thin vertical spokes, and the headlights were slightly recessed in it. This was required by their special design, which allowed them to raise the headlights and turn them with diffusers downwards (especially important when you had to repair the engine at night or move around without having additional blackout devices).
Since March, 1942, the grille has already had seven spokes and stamped lining, and after 5 months, an additional headlamp appeared on the left wing with a “visor” and a protective metal ring in front.
An interesting motor is Willis, which is recognized as the longest-running in the world. The four-cylinder engine of the Willis was in-line, had a volume of 2199 cm cube and horsepower 60. Refueling with A-66 gasoline and, and despite the highest quality and durability, was very sensitive to low-quality gasoline, which could quickly fail.
Another important part is the manual transmission. Three-stage and fully interlocked with the engine itself. On the 2-th and 3-th steps, synchronizers were installed, and a transfer case was docked to the gearbox itself. Thanks to the cardan shafts with hinges, power is evenly distributed to the rear and front axle.
Now, it was necessary to drive the car not only with one gear lever, but also with two more - transfer case levers, one of which served to connect the front axle and the other to turn off and downshift.
The brake system of the car was hydraulic and spread to the 4 wheels, which was a huge plus.
Despite the fact that all the wheels were leading, the engineers for some reason did not provide a differential between the axles, so the time between the front and rear axles was not distributed. Traction was distributed only between the wheels themselves, and the usual bevel differentials without blocking nodes.
Since the car was designed for the most difficult and extreme conditions, he often had to overcome deep fords, which in some cases reached almost one and a half meters. Therefore, the designers decided to make a drain hole in the bottom of the body, which was closed with a stopper.
After a fairly serious description of the car itself, it’s worth “seeing” the little things that made Willys popular.
If you look closely at the fastening of the headlights on the Willis, you can see the "utter nonsense" of American engineers. Headlamps fastened "lambs". Why do I need a wing nut for mounting the headlights under the hood of the car? Nonsense, but when repairing an engine at night, the headlamp is easy to unscrew, turn 180 degrees to the side of the engine and work like a king. Trifle? In war, little things do not happen ...
By the way, according to the memoirs of veterans, the headlights of the “Willis” were suitable for almost all American equipment. And vice versa. Even the Harley's motorcycle headlights were interchangeable with this SUV.
Another interesting detail that makes the "Willis" just perfect for the army. This car requires almost no battery. Even a cold engine in normal condition starts up with several turns of the “curved starter”. True, you can get a decent hand ... And on a hot engine, the engine starts up almost “from a half a nose”. Those batteries that were still installed on the “Willis” were weak, 6-volt.
And another find "Willis". A windshield that can be lowered onto the hood. How simple it is to reduce the dimensions of the car and solve the problem of firing from machine guns and machine guns in the direction of travel ... We later used the same scheme on the landing variant GAZ-66 and jeep GAZ-69, UAZ-469.
By the way, the very name “jeep” came to our language precisely from “Willis”. This is the usual abbreviation for the military designation of cars General Purpose, GP, sounds like "GI", or "jeep." But this is only a version. Although Willys-Overland Motors registered the Jeep trademark in February 1943 at the height of the war in February ...
If we consider the numerous surviving and restored "Willis", we can draw attention to the rather frequent differences, not only between "Willis" and "Ford", but also between "Fords" or "Willis" from different parties. What is the reason?
So, what was the difference between Ford GPW and Willys MB?
Let's start with the main. Machines of both companies were continuously modified and it happened not so much because of changes in customer requirements, but because of production capabilities. That is why it is difficult to classify modifications by time. It is much easier to see differences in shipments.
Both cars (and in the USSR both were called “Willis”) have three modifications each. Depending on the delivery time.
early (November 1941 of the year-March of the 1942 of the year),
standard (March 1942 of the year - December of 1943 of the year),
Composite (December 1943 of the year - October 1945 of the year).
standard (April 1942 of the year - December 1943 of the year),
transition (December 1943 of the year - January 1944 of the year),
Composite (January 1944 of the year-June 1945 of the year).
Let's start with the body. The early “Willis” had a relief stamping of its name on the rear panel, the radiator was from 10 knitting needles, and the glove box was missing. The stamping of the Standard “Willis” was already located on the wheel arch under the lock of the tool niche. He also got the glove compartment, the bottom of two reinforcing ribs, footrest and a rectangular rear seat bracket.
As for the Ford, its standard modification had an ACM II type front support bracket, the body number was missing, the punching of the name was in the wheel arch under the niche lock, and the logo on the rear panel; the rear seat had a triangular bracket, and the rear lights - vertically mounted brackets. In addition, compared with the "Willis", the early models of "Ford" already had a glove compartment, and the bottom with two reinforcing ribs, and support for the legs of the rear passengers.
The transitional Ford was equipped with a triangular amplifier of the rear panel of the body, a rectangular bracket was mounted on the back seat, but the stamping of the car name on the side portions of the wheel arch on either side of the rear seat bracket disappeared.
Now the frame. In Willis, the front crossbar was tubular in shape, and the shock absorber brackets were rectangular-box-shaped, while Ford had a rectangular beam (like an inverted U), and the brackets were flush.
The battery stand also had differences - the Willyse was in the form of a rectangular metal sheet, and the Ford one additionally had an oval hole in the center.
Comparing both cars, you can notice differences in the image of license plates of the frame and engine. By the way, it was by engine number that one could determine the car as accurately as possible: the Willys MB number consisted of an MB index and six digits, and the Ford GPW had a GPW index and the same six digits.
Specifications car Willys MB
Year of production: 1941-1945.
Body: bearing, open, bezdverny
Dimensions (length / width / height): mm 3335 / 1586 / 1830
Weight: 1020 kg
Load capacity: kg 250 (with driver and passenger - kg 363)
Maximum speed: 104 km / h
Fuel consumption: 13,2 l / 100 km.
Entry / exit angles: 45 / 35 degrees
Towing weight (max.): 453 kg
Turning radius: 5,3 m
Engine: 4-cylinder, petrol, lower valve
Cylinder bore: 79,37 mm
Displacement: 2,2 l.
Power (at 3600 rpm): 60 hp
Transmission: Manual, 3-speed
Transfer case: manual, 2-speed, with a multiple ratio
During the war, both companies produced almost 700 000 (real 659 031) cars. Of these, 52 thousands were sent to the USSR.
Think about this number: 52 000 cars!
Moreover, it is possible for some readers this will be a revelation, but ... Some of these cars were delivered to the Soviet Union in disassembled form in boxes. And they gathered in Omsk and Kolomna on special assembly sites. So the American has Siberian roots.
This car is actually nothing to compare with. The USSR could not produce everything at once. Therefore, it is worth remembering this indifferent war worker, on board of which it is justly possible to place the inscription: “I took everything and everyone”.
And the cart from the "Vilis" is completely out
Transportation of wounded
Anti-tank guns and mortars ...
Commanders of all levels
52 thousands. With all that our industry has produced a very small number of all-wheel drive cars. Yes, and it is worth remembering that the “Willis” became the father of “Ivan-Willis”, that is, a whole family of Soviet military all-wheel drive vehicles.
Well, some more information from the UMMC military equipment museum in Verkhnyaya Pyshma: