Military Soft Skinned Vehicles (SSV): DUKW amphibious vehicle

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 5179610)

Canadians in Holland, south of Nijmgen. Duck leaving flooded road for dry land, 15 February 1945.

The DUKW (colloquially known as Duck) is a six-wheel-drive amphibious modification of a 2+1⁄2-ton CCKW truck.  The name DUKW comes from General Motors Corporation model nomenclature: D, 1942 production series, U, Utility, K, front wheel drive, W, tandem rear axles, both driven.  The DUKW was used for the transportation of goods and troops over land and water. Excelling at approaching and crossing beaches in amphibious warfare attacks, it was intended only to last long enough to meet the demands of combat.  The DUKW proved its seaworthiness by crossing the English Channel.  The DUKW was built around the GMC AFKWX, a cab-over-engine (COE) version of the GMC CCKW six-wheel-drive military truck, with the addition of a watertight hull and a propeller. It was powered by a 269.5 cu in (4 l) GMC Model 270 straight-six engine. A five-speed overdrive transmission drove a transfer case for the propeller, then a two-speed transfer case to drive the axles. The propeller and front axle were selectable from their transfer case. A power take-off on the transmission drove an air-compressor and winch. It weighed 13,000 lb (5,900 kg) empty and operated at 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) on road and 5.5 knots (6.3 mph; 10.2 km/h) on water. It was not an armored vehicle, being plated with sheet steel between 1⁄16 and 1⁄8 inch (1.6 and 3.2 mm) thick to minimize weight. A high-capacity bilge pump system kept it afloat if the thin hull was breached by holes up to 2 inches (51 mm) in diameter. One in four DUKWs mounted a .50-caliber Browning heavy machine gun on a ring mount. The DUKW was the first vehicle to allow the driver to vary the tire pressure from inside the cab. The tires could be fully inflated for hard surfaces such as roads and less inflated for softer surfaces, especially beach sand. 2,000 were supplied to Britain under the Lend-Lease program. used by an invasion force for the first time in the European theater, during the Sicilian invasion, Operation Husky, in the Mediterranean. They were used on the D-Day beaches of Normandy and in the Battle of the Scheldt, Operation Veritable, and Operation Plunder. The Canadian Army operated about 800.  (Wikipedia)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607684)

DUKW in Northwest Europe, 1944-1945.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233777)

DUKW with Canadian troops, Normandy, June 1944.

(Author Photo)

DUKW in the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa.

(IWM Photo, A Britis

A British DUKW carries American airborne troops and supplies across the River Waal at Nijmegen, 30 September 1944.