World War II dubbed itself one of the most far stretched global conflicts in history. From 1939 to 1945, WWII crossed into six different continents, involving more than 30 countries and introducing advanced weapons and heavy machinery. To compete against and beat out the powers at hand, countries were left to put their best feet forward in science to design and manufacture military equipment to transport goods and troops.
To raise their war efforts and supply the military with the best of the best, the United States raised millions of dollars through bond campaigns. And unlike in previous times of conflict where horsepower was the primary source of power, military vehicles became the make-or-break method of war for capturing supplies, extra territory, and even the enemy.
The military cars, airplanes, and tanks of World War II had the most significant impact on the nation and the world's ability to battle the enemies. Let's look closer at what they offered.
When you look into and request a loan title quote for a Jeep, you also request one for a piece of military history. For more than 70 years, the Jeep has been accessible by the consumer market but was initially designed and used as means of transportation for the military.
At the beginning of the war, horse and buggy were widespread to transport goods and troops. And the United Kingdom was one of the only nations to enter the conflict with a full lineup of military vehicles, two of which were the Guy and the Bison. The Guy was an armored car built by Guy Motors and was only made in a limited quantity. The Bison concrete armored lorry, also known as the mobile pillbox, didn't come until later in the war during the invasion crisis.
The United States made a note of the vehicular use by the UK and did away with horses before making their debut in the war. In 1940, the US Army asked automakers to craft a reconnaissance vehicle that we now know as the Jeep. These vehicles took on the difficult tasks of carrying supplies and soldiers over some of Europe and Asia's most rugged terrain and displayed superiority over traditional transporting in warfare.
Both sectors of power, Allied and Axis, used the Jeep's ability to transport goods and troops.
Aside from the essential role Jeeps played in transporting soldiers, trucks also had a hand in basic transportation, serving as fire engines, and maintaining supplies. From 1940 to 1945, GMC built and supplied nearly 500,000 6x6 trucks that weighed roughly 2 ½ tons. The soldiers knew these massive vehicles as deuce-and-a-half, and they were durable like Jeeps, but their large size allowed them to carry more supplies, more troops, and delivered mass quantities of gasoline.
The deuce-and-a-half's ability to carry a ton of gasoline to the front line enabled the Allied forces to advance without fear of running low on fuel or running out altogether. Unfortunately for Germany, they entered the war still operating with and relying on horsepower. They felt surprised at the speed Allied forces were able to transport supplies and soldiers, leaving them subject to Allied attacks. They made a swift attempt to build a mechanical mode of transportation but fell short again, and those ran out of gas relatively quickly.
War by air wasn't new in World War II. Still, in the years leading up to the global conflict, advancements brought aerial warfare to new levels and demonstrated the importance of air superiority. In the Napoleonic Wars, hot air balloons delivered propaganda, while the 1911-12 Italo-Turkish Warplanes played a prominent role in aerial bombardment.
The Luftwaffe, Germany's aerial branch, made use of the Messerschmitt. This aircraft played a crucial role in several victories for the Germans during the invasion of Norway, the Polish Campaign, and the Battle of France. For the allies, British Spitfire and Hurricane saw their shining hour at Dunkirk and during the Battle of Britain, which helped turn the tides of the war.
The attack from Japan in 1941 pulled the United States into the war officially. Japan used B5N's, D3A's, and Zeros during their strike. And when the United States entered the global conflict, they introduced their P-51 Mustang and P-38 Lightning, known for fighting and long-haul escort planes. The Luftwaffe feared the P-38 Lightning so much that it earned the infamous nickname "Fork-Tailed Devil."
Making their warfare debut in World War I, tanks quickly proved their value in conflict and found a more permanent use in World War II. Tanks provided protection to soldiers and served as a modern version of the siege engine along with acting as mobile artillery units. Their all-terrain abilities meant they were among the most ideal military vehicles to take on all impassable land to trucks and Jeeps. Nearly every country that participated in the war had a regiment of tanks, which alone speaks to their overall effectiveness.
In the enemy's territory, the small, lighter-weight tanks scouted new locations for the movement of troops. And heavy-duty tanks were relied on to transport high-ranking military personnel to safety.
Germany, the United States, the Soviet Union, and Britain held the title for the most advanced tanks throughout the war. The American's M-4 called Sherman housed moveable turrets and a 75 mm cannon. It was lightly armored and saw nearly every facet of World War II. Other tanks worth noting are Germany's Tiger II and the Panzer, the T-34 from the Soviets, and Britain's Churchill Crocodiles.
When you think about how integral each piece of machinery was in wartime history, they each played critical roles in advancing through battle. The military cars, airplanes, and tanks of World War II have all since evolved and made household names for themselves with everyday uses. Joseph Stalin once said, “The war was decided by engines and octane.” If you get your hands on a piece of history and need restoration help, get in touch with us at Army Jeep Parts and look at our full selection of Willys parts for sale.