Military Review

Amphibious vehicle DUKW

The release of this amphibian was launched in the United States in April 1941 by the concern General Motors in cooperation with the shipbuilding company Sparkman and Stefens from New York. With this unusual vehicle, much was for the first time. For the first time, an amphibious truck went into mass production, for the first time all axles received single-pitch wheels that followed the track and did not create additional resistance to movement, for the first time the wheels received special ten-layer elastic tires that allowed the possibility of operation at reduced pressure, which significantly increased throughput on weak soils and wheelbase, was first applied to the chassis of the DUKW and such an innovation as centralized control of air pressure in the tires.

Total from 1942 to 1945. In the United States, more than 21 thousands of DUKW amphibious vehicles were manufactured. Of these, at least 586 amphibians entered service with the Red Army as part of the Lend-Lease program. According to the official website of the US Coast Guard, which currently manages all American amphibious vehicles, on 25 June 2002, only in the USA DUKW 75 amphibians were still used for commercial purposes, 140 was still under state jurisdiction, cars were used on non-navigable waterways. So the amphibian, released during the Second World War, remains in demand at the beginning of the XXI century. Some of them are operated in excursion companies and yacht clubs.

The abbreviation DUKW comes from the system adopted by General Motors for the names of models of automotive vehicles produced by it; it is interpreted as follows:

“D” means the car was designed in the 1942 year;
"U" means "utility" (in this case, "auxiliary");
"K" means all-wheel drive - all-wheel drive;
“W” means the car has a double rear axle.

By the beginning of 1942, the American army was in dire need of a large floating car. The expansion of hostilities in the Pacific and the planned landing of Allied troops in North Africa urged the US military. They needed a cargo floating car, which could be loaded with the necessary property, equipment and personnel right at the side of the transport vessel, then transporting all this to the coast and independently getting to the landing site. Car DUKW was just such an amphibian. In the American army, this amphibious all-terrain vehicle received the informal nickname Duck (duck) and was in service with engineering regiments and units of the amphibious engineering command. DUKW amphibious vehicles were widely used in numerous amphibious operations in the Pacific theater of operations.

The DUKW amphibious vehicle was finally put into service in October 1942, widely used by the US military and its allies until the end of World War II. For the first time these amphibians were used in the 8 of the English army during the landing on Sicily. During this campaign, the British were armed with 230 cars DUKW, which could carry troops, anti-tank guns and ammunition. Soon DUKW amphibians were used to transport cargo through the Strait of Messina, and also participated in the liberation of Salerno. In addition, amphibians were used when crossing rivers in Italy, Western Europe and Burma.

Amphibious car DUKW

The GMC DUKW amphibious amphibious cargo amphibious assault transport vehicle was designed by American designers from Marmon Herrington based on the chassis components of the massive 2,5-ton trucks of all-terrain GMC ACKWX-353 (1940 model-year) and GMCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKHK). years), having wheel formula 353х1941. Thanks to this legacy, amphibians in the USSR were often called DUKW-6. Engineers of the company Marmon Herrington have developed a design project for a new machine, designed a power take-off mechanism with a drive for a screw and a winch (put in the back), bilge pumps, a screw with a water rudder, engine heat exchangers with a very serious ventilation system and many other components.

The amphibious displacement hull and its contours were designed by the New York shipbuilding company Sparkman & Stephen. At the same time, the boat was not a supporting structure - inside the hull there was an ordinary ACKWX-353 chassis with minor changes in the nodes, which was caused by the specifics of the application. The existing truck frame with chassis assemblies was installed in a displacement pontoon-type boat hull. The body was welded and manufactured from 1,9 mm thick sheet steel. The amphibian hull was distinguished by the presence of power braces and amplifiers, with hydrodynamic forms that were very successful for such a versatile car, which almost did not limit its mobility in off-road conditions. In the bottom of the boat hull there were recesses for wheels, cardan shafts, axles and a propeller.

The body of the amphibious vehicle was specially divided by bulkheads into 3 parts: bow, airborne and aft. In the nose was the engine power 94 l. With., and also a radiator, access to which could be through two special hatches. Here, on the nose was the office of management: the steering wheel, the instrument panel, the driver's seat and the right seat for his assistant or car commander. The front control compartment was protected by a windshield, and on the sides - detachable sides of tarpaulin. The crew of an amphibious car DUKW usually consisted of 2-3 people. In the troop compartment could accommodate 25 people landing or payload weighing up to 2,3 tons (including - 105-mm artillery with his calculation). At the same time, there was no hinged tailgate in the troop compartment, therefore all loading-unloading operations were carried out through the amphibian side. From above, the detachment of the assault force could be covered with a canvas awning that was stretched over the existing arcs. On some amphibians, it was possible to install weapons - large-caliber 12,7-mm machine gun Browning M2.

In addition to ordinary for truck controls in the amphibious GMC group, there were also levers for turning on the propeller, pump valves, as well as toggle switches for turning on tire inflation. All this additional equipment was located in the department of management. On DUKW amphibians with adjustable air pressure in tires, a two-cylinder compressor permanently connected to the engine was mounted.

Suspension and running gear (two-spar frame, box-type side members) of the DUKW amphibian did not differ from the base truck. But unlike a truck in an amphibious vehicle, all the tires were single-pitch, oversized with a large tread pattern, denoted as “reversing all-terrain vehicle”, with a single track. All this significantly improved the permeability of DUKW, as it was of great importance when the amphibian emerged from the water on a muddy, sandy or slick shore. Subsequently, in September 1942 of the year (after the production of 2005 amphibious vehicles), a centralized system for regulating the air pressure in the tires (on the go) was introduced into their design, which made it possible to reduce the pressure from normal 2,8 kgf / sq. Cm (when the amphibious vehicle was traveling on roads with coating) to 0,7 kgf / sq. cm when driving on weak soils (mud, sand), in particular, when leaving the shore from the water. Because of the deformation (flattening) of the tires that occurs during this, the contact area of ​​the tread with the ground increased, which significantly reduced the pressure exerted on the ground, and increased throughput.

On the water, the DUKW amphibious vehicle was set in motion with a three-bladed propeller, which was installed in a specially designed tunnel located in the rear part of the hull and connected to the power takeoff at once by three longitudinal universal shafts. On the water, the car could maneuver with the help of a water wheel, located immediately behind the propeller. 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. On the water, this made it possible to reduce the circulation radius to the 6,1 meter.

For pumping out water that could get into the body of an amphibious vehicle, it had an 2 pump: centrifugal and gear, they were driven from the propeller shaft. Behind, in the aft niche of the amphibious hull, a drum winch with a tractive force 9 mc was usually installed. The winch served to facilitate loading into the cargo compartment of artillery systems, vehicles, ammunition and other goods. For self-pulling the winch could only be used when moving backwards. The maximum height of the surf waves in the coastal zone, which still allowed the use of amphibious vehicles DUKW, was approximately 3 meters.

The mass production of GMC DUKW amphibious trucks was mastered in March 1942 by Yellow Truck & Coach Mfg factories, and, starting in 1943, by Pontiac, where only their final assembly was carried out. In 1943, 4508 amphibians of this type were manufactured, and in total by the end of 1945 - 21 units. The first DUKW amphibious vehicles entered the US Army in October 147 and were widely used by the US military until the end of World War II. At the same time, amphibious vehicles entered service with the engineering regiments and battalions of the specially created amphibious engineering command.

The first combat use of amphibians DUKW, as noted above, occurred in the summer of 1943, during the landing of the 8 of the British army in Sicily. Later in the 1944-1945, these amphibians were used by Anglo-American troops during various military operations in Europe. They were used during the landing of the Allies in Normandy, as well as when crossing water obstacles: the rivers Seine, Weser, Meuse, Main, Rhine, lakes and numerous canals. In addition, naturally amphibians were very widely used during battles with the Japanese in the Pacific theater of operations.

Around the middle of 1944, amphibious GMC DUKW-353 amphibious vehicles began to enter the Soviet Union as part of the lend-lease military assistance program. In the Red Army, amphibians were in service with individual battalions of amphibious vehicles. They were widely used by the Soviet military during the crossing of the Daugava and Svir rivers, during the Vistula-Oder offensive operation, and also in August 1945 of the year during the battles with the Japanese in Manchuria. The use of these unique at that point in time amphibians made it possible to solve complex combat missions with significantly less losses than when using conventional transport means.

DUKW performance characteristics:

Overall dimensions: length - 9,45 m, width - 2,5 m, height - 2,17 m.
Mass of the car with full gear - 6,5 t.
Load capacity - 2300 kg (on land).
The power plant - 6-cylinder gasoline engine GMC horsepower 94.
Thrust: 14 hp / t.
The maximum speed is 80 km / h (on land), 10,2 km / h (on water).
Power reserve - 640 km (on land), 93 km (on water).
Crew - 2-3 person.

Information sources:
Open source materials

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  1. avt
    avt 31 August 2016 14: 35
    good The necessary thing, which was so lacking in ours in the Patriotic War, was adjusted of course by Lend-Lease, but ...... not enough ..
    1. Amurets
      Amurets 31 August 2016 15: 22
      the supper thing that our homeland lacked so much, of course, was adjusted by Lend-Lease, but ...... not enough ..

      After the war, V. Grachev created a similar machine. And probably the first two DAZ-485 were the first products of Yuzhmash. In 1951, the Dnepropetrovsk Automobile Plant was transferred to the production of rockets.
    2. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 31 August 2016 17: 25
      So the reason for the absence of "swimmers", as well as mass heavy vehicles and even armored personnel carriers, is well known - this is the absence of a serial automobile engine of at least 90 hp before the war.
      The maximum that the industry could give was the GAZ-11 with its 76 hp. And then - immediately V-4 (diesel for the T-50) with its 240 hp And the failure between them.
      Not from a good life, our cities made a parallel / sequential spark for the SU-76.
      1. Amurets
        Amurets 1 September 2016 15: 25

        Alexey RA Yesterday, 17: 25 ↑
        So the reason for the absence of "swimmers", as well as mass heavy vehicles and even armored personnel carriers, is well known - this is the absence of a serial automobile engine of at least 90 hp before the war.
        The maximum that the industry could give was the GAZ-11 with its 76 hp. And then - immediately V-4 (diesel for the T-50) with its 240 hp And the failure between them.
        Not from a good life, our cities made a parallel / sequential spark for the SU-76.
        Well, why, there were. ZiS-5: 73h.s. ZiS-16: 85hp Problems with ZiSovskys arose due to the evacuation of motor production, earlier that on ZiS and GAZ there were problems with aluminum. For this reason, the ZiS-16 and the tank GAZ-85 were produced in limited quantities before the war. By the way, KOJU and ZiS-D-7 diesels could be brought to industrial production. Brought to mind B-2, M-30, M-40. This is a link to problems with car engines in the USSR. By the way, there were also problems with high-quality high-octane fuel for gasoline engines. As there were problems with high-precision machines for cutting spiral teeth of the main gear for driving axles.
    3. lelikas
      lelikas 31 August 2016 17: 33
      Well, not so little - more than 2000 Fordoff Jeepies and 500-700 "ducks".
  2. perevozthikov
    perevozthikov 1 September 2016 17: 31
    Grachevsky cars are still in service.
    1. Amurets
      Amurets 2 September 2016 14: 37
      Grachevsky cars are still in service.
      Unfortunately, after Russia and the PRC withdrew troops 100 km from the border, I no longer saw them.