[Civil Affairs] Weapons of War - The Jeep

Today, 'Jeep' refers to an American automobile brand, but back in 1941, it was the mode of transportation for thousands of Allied soldiers throughout the European theater. This vehicle has since become a hallmark of American ingenuity and remains one of the most commonly known products of WWII.

The production of the Willys Jeep began in 1941 with a request from the U.S Army to over one hundred car manufacturers to build a prototype for a reconnaissance vehicle in just 49 days. Only two companies responded to this request: Bantam Car Company and Willys-Overland. The U.S Army would extensively field test both the Bantam Reconnaissance Car and the Willys-Overland Model MB design, in the end giving the production contract to Willys-Overland to develop the Model MB. Although most of the Model MBs were designed by Willys, its signature engine grille was an addition by the U.S Army from a Ford design. Because of the high demand, Willys-Overland allowed the U.S. Army to share their contract with other automobile companies. The second company chosen would be none other than Ford, who would build the Model GPW.

The specifications of the vehicle are quite impressive considering its requirements and short time frame for prototyping. The vehicle was limited to 896 kilograms with an empty load, sporting a Willys “Go Devil” engine and a 3-speed transmission. The Willys MB and the GPW could hit speeds up to 65 mph (105 km/h) and had a range of around 300 miles (483 km). The two most common variants of the vehicle were the standard issue and .50 caliber Browning machine gun mount. The vehicle could also sport a foldable cabin, and a rather poor attempt was made at creating an amphibious model.

The origin of the name 'Jeep' is a highly contested one, and one theory points to the issuing of the GPW as the start. As was done with the creation of the name Humvee, it is thought that GP was slurred together by soldiers into a slang-sounding “jeep”, which would later become the future brand of the vehicle.

In Darkest Hour, the Willys Jeep (Model MB) is standard issue. The vehicle can be found on most large vehicle focused maps and comes both with and without the Browning machine gun mount. The vehicle is great for covering long distances quickly and does well to serve its main purpose of reconnaissance, as every tanker fears a flanking Jeep with anti-tank personnel. However, the vehicle can be easily disabled with a hit to its engine block, leaving its passengers exposed to a good rifle shot, so let both tankers and infantry alike beware.
Willys MB
Above: Willys Model MB

Written by PFC Chamine.
Edited by WO1 Brewer.
Formatted by PFC Laird.


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