There are countless fictional worlds inspired by the question, “What if the Nazis had won World War II?” Luckily, we’ll never know. But it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that the Allied Forces would win the war. At the start, the Axis had considerable technological advances over the Allies, including more efficient vehicles and significantly more powerful fighter planes. After Pearl Harbor, when the US finally joined the fight, the tide turned. By bringing its military innovations and its substantial army, battles began to swing in the Allies’ favor. Most people point to the advancement of military vehicles as the main reason for this. For more information, check out these military vehicles that helped the Allies win WWII.
Dodge WC-54 Ambulance
Developed during WWII, the Dodge WC-54 was a version of the Dodge WC series light 4x4 vehicles. They served as the U.S. Army's principal ambulance from 1942 to 1945. The US Army Medical Corps used them as late as 1953 during the Korean War.
Regarding tanks, the Germans enjoyed a substantial advantage over the Allies at the start of the war. The German Army's tanks were quick and efficient, contributing to the Blitzkrieg's success. The United States government submitted blueprints for the M4 (Sherman) tank in 1940, hoping it would result as successful as the German tanks. The design went into production in February 1942, three months after the US joined the effort.
The M3 Stuart, often known as the Light Tank M3, was a World War II American light tank. The M5 was an enhanced variant that went into service. Prior to the United States joining the war, the country loaned it to British and other Commonwealth forces. After this, the US and Allied forces used it until the war's end. The British army designation "Stuart" was derived from Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart of the American Civil War, and applied to both the M3 and the M5 Light Tank.
British forces used about 170 Stuarts in Operation Crusader in late 1941, the first time the tanks were used in combat. When utilized against the Japanese in the Philippines in December 1941, Stuarts were the first American-crewed tanks in World War II to engage the enemy in tank vs. tank action. Outside of the Pacific War, soldiers used the M3 for reconnaissance and screening in the closing years of WWII.
The DUKW, commonly called the "Duck," was a six-wheel drive amphibious version of US military CCKW trucks used during World War II and the Korean War. The Duck was designed in a partnership between Sparkman & Stephens and General Motors Corporation (GMC). It transported cargo and personnel over land and water. Surviving Ducks are now popular as tourist boats in coastal areas.
The British requested that North American Aviation build Curtiss P40 Warhawks at the beginning of 1940, as Germans rampaged over Europe. Instead of the P-40, North American offered a new P-51 Mustang fighter. The P-51 prototype was completed on September 9, 1940, and its first flight occurred on October 26, 1940. North American had accomplished an incredible feat: they had delivered a brand-new aircraft in 102 days and flew it weeks later. The British gave it the moniker "Mustang."
The North American P-51 Mustang is considered the gold standard of WWII fighters. The Mustang had a huge impact on the strategic situation in Europe and the Pacific. The Strategic Bombing Campaign on Germany featured two designations: pre-P-51 and post-P-51. The Allies lost—and lost terribly—pre-P-51. Post P-51, the Allies took total control of aerial combat and pushed the Germans out of Europe's sky.
The Jeep became the military's primary light wheeled transport vehicle, with President Eisenhower describing it as "one of three decisive weapons the US had during WWII." It was the world's first mass-produced four-wheel drive vehicle, manufactured in six-figure quantities; nearly 650,000 units were built, accounting for nearly a quarter of all non-combat motor vehicles produced in the United States during the war. The US delivered large numbers of Jeeps to their allies, outnumbering Nazi Germany's entire production of similar vehicles, like the Kübelwagen and the Schwimmwagen. The Jeep is one of the most important military vehicles that helped the Allies with WWII.
Jeeps have since gone on to become iconic vehicles that civilians drive. Whether you’re looking for Willys or Kaiser Jeep parts, keep an eye on Army Jeep Parts—the best place to find parts and information on classic Jeeps.
Because airpower was so important in WWII, the aircraft carrier was a key vessel throughout the entire war effort. Their versatility and efficiency aided in making the newly designed aircraft a focal point in battle. Naval aviation was critical for both sides during the war, and building fleets of aircraft carriers was critical. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor shows the incredible potential a military force may achieve with a fleet of aircraft carriers at their disposal.
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was one of the most skilled Navy experts and strategists in history, and he was instrumental in the United States' triumph in the Pacific theater during WWII. He considers himself fortunate to have launched the USS Nimitz. Following that, nine more Nimitz-class carriers were launched, eventually replacing the Enterprise-class, the world's first nuclear carrier class. These massive vessels have long been the world's most powerful and competent warships.
Rather than go into battle at a disadvantage, the United States military went all-in on designing new vehicles to combat the advancements of the Axis Powers. Many people cite the Jeep and the aircraft carrier as the two key components that turned the tide of WWII—the Jeep for its tough build and durable components, and the aircraft carrier for its ability to transport an entire fleet of planes and dispatch them anywhere in the Pacific or off the coast of Europe. It’s difficult to overstate how critical all of these vehicles were to shaping the overall outcome of the war. Without them, the result may have been very different.