Okay, try to start.
So, the hero of our story is a car ... No, something is not quite right.
The hero of our story transporter ... Again, not that.
The hero of our story is a boat ... No, by again.
The hero of our story is a pontoon-type ferry ... Lord, what is it really like?
Yes, we admit, never before have we had such problems. Describe, you understand, then, it is not entirely clear what. But glory to the statutes, they sometimes help. In this case there is a universal way-official.
The hero of our story is the amphibious vehicle GMC DUKW-353. In soldierly - "Duckling" (DUCK).
The car is largely revolutionary. Starting from the destination and ending with the manufacturers.
In April, 1941, the joint product of the automobile concern and ... shipbuilding company! The release of the amphibious assault transport of the long-base 2,5-ton amphibious truck GMC DUKW-353 was carried out by the concern General Motors Corporation and the shipbuilding company Sparkman and Stephen from New York.
So much for the wonder machine. According to the full program.
It should be noted that the car, which is known worldwide as the “Duckling”, looked different in 1941 year. His appearance in the modern form in the series began only a year later, in the spring of 1942. And two pre-production amphibians remained a “testing ground for design” design solutions. For prototypes we will return.
Today, when most combat vehicles have learned, if not to swim, then walk along the bottom and not to sink, it is difficult to imagine a time when amphibians did not even think about it. Young people today are surprised that during the Great Patriotic War, our soldiers forced the rivers on rafts, boats and in general on everything that could keep afloat.
And this despite the fact that, by and large, the Soviet Union is the only country in the world where they were able to fully make floating Tanks before the Second World War.
Meanwhile, even at the end of the last century 30, there was no talk of floating cars. What for? A car is a tractor, it is a quick way to move personnel, it is, if you will, a means of cargo delivery and communication. And he does not need to swim.
But at the end of the 30-x - the beginning of the 40-s, the military began to think about just such a vehicle. Not yet about the car. Rather, about the boat.
The fact is that everyone understood that there would be no war on the American continent. As well as the fact that the United States will have to participate in the upcoming war. So, the American army will move to other continents and islands.
Consequently, vehicles will be needed that can bridge the distance between the amphibious assault vessels and the coast. Machines that could transport soldiers and weapons from side to side. And even better, right up to the position. Or, across the river or lake. Raine, for example. Or Mine.
This task was formulated before the designers and engineers of the United States. Create something, do not know that, but that was good! Like that.
The main work on the creation of a new vehicle began with the two largest US companies - Ford and General Motors. However, the company "razderbanit" orders for the necessary machines. Ford took up the water jeeps and General Motors trucks.
Very often, one has to read that the first amphibians were designed by specialists from the Marmon-Herrington company. Here it is necessary to clarify where such rumors came from and what this company was doing at that time.
Marmon & Harrington, an independent car company, was in a difficult position by 1935. And it was then that the management went to the contract with Ford. "Marmont and Harrington" began to redo rear-wheel drive "Fords" in all-wheel drive. In total, for 1940, the company offered around 70 all-wheel drive models and their modifications based on Ford cars.
It is this experience that determined the participation of "Marmon" in the creation of new amphibians. In this case, the specialists of Marmon Herrington not only completed the layout of the machine, but also designed power takeoffs with a drive for the screw and winch, the screw with a water wheel, bilge pumps, engine heat exchangers with a powerful ventilation system and a number of other units.
Worked on the creation of "Duck" and shipbuilders. More precisely, the shipbuilding company (maritime architectural firm) "Sparkmen and Stefen". It was the specialists of this company who developed the body of this car. From the classic boat-type boat specialists immediately refused. The presence of wheels virtually eliminated all the advantages of this body.
The boat of the new car was designed as a pontoon. Pontoon type allowed to increase the buoyancy and carrying capacity due to two floats in front (engine compartment) and rear of the case. The housing was welded from mm 1,9 steel. At the same time, the purpose of the car was taken into account.
Power braces and amplifiers not only performed their main function in the water, but did not interfere with the car when driving on land. The hull had recesses for wheels, axles, drive shafts and a propeller. But most importantly, the body of the amphibian was not carrying.
Now it is necessary to return to the “Duckling” prototypes. The prototypes were designed on the basis of the GMC ACKWX 353. It was this truck that was planned as the basis of a new type of car. However, by the time the serial production began, the GMC CCKW-353 became the base truck.
So, already known to our readers "Jimmy" is hiding under the water-floating body!
So how was our hero? We will go through the nodes and aggregates of the amphibian, if possible without returning to the original truck.
So, inside the boat was installed almost serial, with some changes related to "waterfowl abilities", the chassis "Jimmy".
The boat itself is divided into three compartments or parts. Accordingly, the bow (motor), airborne (cargo) and feed.
In the nose were the engine and radiator, access to which was possible through two special hatches. The first hatch provided maintenance for the radiator as well as the silencer, and served to exit heated air from the engine compartment. The second hatch provided direct access to the engine.
Behind the engine was located the control compartment - the instrument panel, the steering wheel, the driver's (or steering) seat, and the right-hand seat for his assistant or commander. This front compartment was protected by a windshield, and on the sides - by fastening canvas sidewalls. Above could stretch the awning. On parts of the machines above the control compartment, an 12,7-mm M2 X-Browning Heavy-Duty Browning Machine Gun could be mounted on the turret.
In addition to the usual GMC controls, the control compartment contained levers for turning on the propeller, pump valves, and tumblers for turning on tire inflation. On DUKW amphibians with adjustable air pressure in tires, a two-cylinder compressor permanently connected to the engine was mounted.
The load compartment, designed for 25 people, had internal dimensions 3780 x 2080 x 710 mm. Aft ramp was not. Loading and unloading of people and goods were carried out through the side. For the convenience of servicemen, the troop compartment could be covered from above with a canvas awning that was stretched over special arcs.
By the way, the “Duckling”, though waterfowl, is a truck. And the standards of the army truck were applied to it in the same way as to the land brothers. Hence the standard load capacity. On land, the car transported 2 429 kilograms of cargo, but on the water in general 3 500 kilograms!
Suspension and running gear (two-spar frame, box-type side members) of the DUKW amphibian did not differ from the base truck. All tires were single-pitch, oversized with a large tread pattern, denoted “reversible all-terrain vehicle”, with a single track.
For better maneuverability and ground clearance, they were supplied with 11.00-18 ten-layer tires instead of 7.5-20 conventional trucks. The centralized tire inflation applied to this car made the GMC DUKW the first production American car with a similar system.
By the way, the centralized tire inflation system on the go made it possible to adjust the pressure from standard 2,8 kg / sq. cm to 0,7 kg / sq. cm. Thus, a car with normal tire pressure had the highest possible speed when driving on hard surfaces (highway) and maximum permeability in soft ground (when going ashore).
In general, the amphibian's passability was very good: an important parameter, the steepness of the climb, particularly relevant when going ashore, was 31 degree, turning radius on land 11 meters.
It is very interesting to solve the problem of control of amphibians in motion. Control when swimming was carried out using the steering wheel, located immediately behind the propeller. The “Duckling” does not have a special mechanism for switching on / off the water wheel. The steering wheel was constantly connected to the steering mechanism by a cable drive and could turn in both directions synchronously with the turn of the front wheels of the car.
No less interesting is the design of the propeller. A three-blade propeller with a diameter of 635 mm was installed in a special tunnel located in the rear part of the machine and connected to the power take-off with three cardan shafts at once. What provided the maximum speed of movement on water 9,6 km / h!
The combination of these mechanisms gave an excellent result in water management. Amphibian had a circulation radius up to 6,2 meter! And the power reserve on the water 62 km!
By the way, the marine use of these special machines led to the appearance of atypical water parameters in their characteristics: the height of the freeboard (from the waterline to the deck) in the nose of the 584 millimeter, in the stern of the 457 millimeters, the draft to the front wheels - 1,12 meter, on the rear wheels of the 1,24 meter
An important part of any floating machine are the mechanisms of water discharge from the hull. Considering that DUKW worked at a wave height of up to 3 meters, and the casing was not sealed initially, the designers placed two pumps in the car at once for pumping out water. Centrifugal and gear. Both pumps were driven by a propeller shaft.
In the stern of the machine is a winch and fuel tank. Initially, the winch was designed to facilitate loading and unloading. The effort of the winch 9 t. But soon after the first combat use of amphibians, it became clear that the winch could also be used for self-pulling.
By the way, the “Duckling”, when landing, transported not only ammunition, paratroopers and other cargoes to the coast, but also quite serious artillery. For example, guns and mortars with calculations.
Like most American cars of the time, the British were the first in the DUKW amphibious fighting environment when they landed an assault on the island of Sicily in 1943. "Ducklings" showed themselves from the best side. Therefore, it was decided to increase their release.
If from March 1942, the Yellow Truck & Coach Mfg factories were engaged in mass production of GMC DUKW-353, then from 1943 the assembly of these cars was also started by Pontiac. In 1943, 4 amphibians of this type were manufactured, and by the end of 508 - 1945 units.
The importance of this car for the American army recognized fairly quickly. Almost immediately after the entry of these cars into the American army, an amphibious engineering command was created. It was this command that was subordinated to the engineering regiments and battalions equipped with GMC DUKW.
About the same scheme used in our country. True, the special command did not create. Amphibians were part of special separate battalions of amphibious vehicles, along with light amphibious tanks.
It is possible that the creation of a special management structure for this type of engineering machinery did not happen because they began to enter the USSR only in the second half of 1944. This led to a rather point application of amphibians on the Soviet-German front.
It is known about the wide use of this technique when crossing the rivers Daugava and Svir. Great help GMC DUKW provided during the Vistula-Oder operation. Many lives of Soviet soldiers were rescued by these unpretentious motorboats then ...
Even more successful was the use of GMC DUKW-353 in the Soviet-Japanese war in August 1945. During the fighting in Manchuria, the use of amphibians made it possible to solve combat missions with significantly less losses than when using ordinary means of ferrying.
Well, the traditional technical data of the hero of the material:
Length: 9,45 m
Width: 2,5 m
Height: 2,17 m.
Mass complete: 6,5 t.
Load capacity: 2 300 kg (on land), 3 500 (on water)
Powerplant: 6-cylinder gasoline engine GMC horsepower 94 hp
Maximum speed: 80 km / h on land, 10,2 (9,6) km / h on water
Power reserve: 640 km on land, 93 (62) km on water
Crew: 2-3 person
Well, the last. Comparing this miracle of nature, you understand, there is nothing. Unfortunately, we didn’t have anything like that at the time. It's a pity.