Army Wheels in Detail - Studebaker US-6 - 2.5 Ton Truck, by Petr Brojo
Booklet published by Capricorn in 2008, 40 pages. Square(ish) booklet - c.22cm by 24cm (N6089PE)
All text in English and Czech
The book is packed full with drawings, schematics, and colour and black and white photographs of Studebaker US6 trucks, and all explanatory captions are in both English and Czech text
From the introduction: In 1852, South Bend, Indiana on the comer of Michigan and Jefferson Streets two brothers of Dutch origin, Clem and Henry Studebaker opened a blacksmith shop with the name of H&C Studebaker Blacksmith Shop. In 1870 they have joined with their younger brothers Jakob, Peter, John and Mohler and established the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company Their business was expanding well and gained a very good reputation in manufacturing of horse wagons and horse carriages. The brothers constructed their first automobile in 1902 and the vehicles were being sold throughout the Unites States... The Great Depression in the thirties saw the company producing trucks only... The approaching war brought some rejuvenation into the business, where several countries felt the need to modernize their armed forces and were assessing the manufacturing capacities within the USA. The Studebaker Company was awarded contracts for a fairly successful three axle, three ton truck K30 for the French Army as well as Belgium and the Netherlands. A large number of chassis equipped only by the cabin were exported into China where the vehicles were being completed locally. Domestically the military market was dominated by the Yellow Truck Company belonging to the General Motors Corporation and which was producing the GMC CCKW vehicle. This was mainly driven by the fact that the US ARMY considered 2.5 Ton truck as a standard. As much as the Yellow Truck Company was well experienced and established, it was apparent that the company will not have sufficient capacity to satisfy the demand in the shortened time frame.' This was the reason why the vehicle was being produced also by the International Harvester Company whose vehicles were being received by the US Navy and the Marines and the GMC production was dedicated for the US Army. For these reasons the Quartermaster Corps.... offered as share of the business to the Studebaker Company The production of the GMC CCKW would mean large investments into changes in the Studebaker production line and subsequently would cause unnecessary delays in deliveries. Therefore it has been decided that the Studebaker Company will commence the production of their own vehicle designed to meet the QMC specifications.
Based on their own production line ottbe "M" series trucks, the designers of the Studebaker Company developed a brand new truck marked US-6 with 6x6 chassis and a contract was signed at the beginning of 1941, which enabled to commence with serial production preparatory works. First serial production vehicles for the US ARMY were leaving the production line already in 1941. The 2.5 Ton Studebaker US-6 had nothing to in common with the two other 2.5 Ton trucks produced by GMC and International Harvester (IHC). Many components were common such as the Timken-Detroit axles, the gearbox, wheel disks and some details such as vents, lights and others. Majority of components were original design such as the frame, cabin, whole-wood or metal flat-bed etc. The Studebakers were equipped by a 5240 cm3 water-cooled 6 cylinder gasoline OHV HERCULES JXD engine, with 95hp at 2500rpm. Common with the GMC, the Studebakers were also produced in two versions; short 3759mm and Long 4114mm and as many other war-time vehicles the Studebaker was produced with either sheet metal formed cabin or canvas cabin. Some enclosed cabins had a circular hatch in the roof for access to the .50 cal Browning M2 machine gun mount. All vehicles from December 1942 through March 1943 were fitted with a canvas cabin. All these vehicles were long flat-beds with either 6x6 or 6x4 chassis. Some vehicles were equipped with a 10000lb winch, mounted on extended beams of the front bumper. Only a limited number of the vehicles may be found in the US ARMY service as the vast majority of production was delivered to allied forces. Due to capacity constrains the REO Motors Incorporated company was also producing the US-6 vehicle. The REO US-6 vehicles are identical to the Studebaker ones and can only be identified by the manufacturer label. REO produced only long flat-beds without a winch.
The whole Studebaker production was 215863 US-6 vehicles. Out of this 105917 were 6x6 and 87742 were 6x4. From the total number of 6x6, 22204 vehicles were produced by REO Company More than 100000 vehicles of the total production were sent to the Soviet Union as a part of the Lend and Lease Act. The Studebakers grew popular and it was a dream of every driver to be assigned to this vehicle. The vehicles were being delivered dismounted in large crates by sea. Both northern and southern paths were used. In the case of the Northern path the convoy set out on the famous path across the Northern Atlantic to Murmansk and from there the crates were transported by train to Moscow where the vehicles were assembled at the ZIL plant, and since 1944 the vehicles were also being completed in Minsk as well. The southern path lead to Basra in Iraq, or certain Iranian ports. The vehicles were assembled at the Khormashar base, loaded with additional cargo and set to drive on their own through the Kavkaz Mountains all the way to Orgodzhonikidze. The Studebakers on the eastern front were often modified to the famous "Katyusha". The Polish and Czechoslovak units established in the Soviet Union were being equipped by the US-6 as well. Thirteen other variants have been derived from the original US-6 model, including Tank, Crane Truck, Semi- Trailer, Tipping Lorry and others.
After the WWII the US-6 were seen serving in many European armed forces and also in Africa and South America. In civilian service these vehicles served well into the sixties. The impression this design left in the USSR was such thatthe new ZIS 151 was designed in a similar manner with the chassis having almostthe same design, and also the GAZ 51 had identical design features.
Condition of the booklet is generally excellent. The covers are clean and bright, the staple spine is intact and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound.