During the Second World War (1940-1945) almost 600,000 three-axle 2½ ton army trucks were built by the Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing Company (Pontiac, Michigan, USA), a branch of the General Motors Corporation (GMC). More than 500,000 of them belonged to the CCKW type with its typical descending hood, broad fenders, and square brush guard with integrated rounded head lamp protectors. The CCKW was inspired by the more streamlined ACKWX which in turn was based on pre-war civilian GMC’s. As for the ACKWX, the type code has the following background: model year 1939 (A), engine in front of cab (C), optional front axle drive (K), drive of two rear axles (W) and a wheel base other than that of civilian types (X). CCKW's (yep, model year 1941) initially had the suffix X but in the course of 1941 this was omitted. From that time the two available wheel bases of the CCKW, i.e. long (4.17 m) and short (3.68 m), were indicated by the respective suffixes 353 and 352.
Next to the CCKW(X) several other GMC's were produced and appreciated in those days: the 'cab over engine' (COE) AFKWX, the CCW (yep ,no front axle drive) and the DUKW. The latter is a boat-shaped amphibian version (code U) of the CCKW which was built from 1942 (code D). Its nick name was ‘duck’.
Table 1. How to decode GMC’s? (CCKW in bold as an example)
* suffix omitted when this wheel base became standard
During the Second
World War CCKW's built up an outstanding reputation. They played a legendary
role in, for instance, the Red Ball Express in 1944. This was a ‘conveyer belt’
between French harbours and the
CCKW's were not only often called ‘Jimmy’ or ‘Deuce and a half’, but also ‘workhorse of the army’ as a tribute to their reliability and strength. After the war efforts they maintained their notorious reputation. Until the 1970's CCKW's were not only used by many army's but also cherished by construction companies, breakdown & towing services, fire brigades, showmen & fair companies, and circusses. They were bought from redundant army supplies. Consequently, GMC's became 'Classic Heroes of the Roads' and for my generation not primarily just army trucks. Let me first show you a few advertisements from that time. In these ads the manufacturer reminds us of the role of CCKW's in warfare.
For a mix of considerations (sincere desire to rebuild
European economies, transport costs of repatriation, reluctance of manufacturers
From such yards, trucks were sold to firms eager to resume
nex two advertisments try to
convice Dutch construction companies that
Next to the Netam firm, Bavo, Mimiasie and Nooteboom were well-known Dutch
suppliers of GMC-based tippers
The left upper adverisement confirms once more that strips were often welded to the
fenders of GMC's
One cubic meter of moist sand has a weight of
roundabout 1500 kgs. The payload of post-war GMCs was hence often
webmaster: J. Schröder
Gelanceerd / first launched: 7 January 2005
Laatst herzien / last revised: 14 March 2013