GMC CCKW 2-1/2 Ton 6x6 Cargo Truck
GMC 353 of the red ball express in the mud. The beast of burden of the US Army and the supply line that liberated Europe.
Origin & developmentIn 1939-1940 the US Army Ordnance Corps worked on a standard design, for a medium truck of the 2 1/2-ton class (2,268 kg). It was a 6×6 tactical truck intended to operate off-road and in all weather. General Motors was already supplying the 1939 4x4 ACKWX initially ordered by the French Army and proposed its modified, englarged CCKW. This new General Motors design was chosen by the Army. The first vehicles rolled off the line in early 1941, so many were available already when the US went at war in december.
2.4 million trucks were purchased and used in overall total by the U.S. Army until orders stopped by December 1945. Of these, 812,000 or about one third of the total were the 2-1/2-ton truck, quite an achivement for a single model, hence why it became the "beast fof burden" of the US Army. General Motors total production for the CCKW and all its variants (like the amphibian DUKW) reached 572,500 units total, 1/4 of the total truck production. Therefore total production approached the mighty jeep. Still, 150,000 units were of the 1⁄2-ton, 4x4 Chevrolet G506, built in the same factory.
The CCKW came in many variants, including open or closed cab, long wheelbase (LWB) CCKW-353 and short (SWB) CCKW-352, and over a score of specialized models, but the bulk were standard, general purpose, cargo models. A large minority were built with a front mounted winch, and one in four of the cabs had a machine-gun mounting ring above the co-driver's position. It was unarmed, except for about 1/4 of the production: A ring-mounted machine gun, commonly the cal.50 M1920 "Ma Deuce" or the less common M1919A4. Of course the drivers were armed with their own service pistol and often M1 carbines. Their vehicles of course were unarmoured as they were not expected to ecounter any resistance, going from depot areas near the coast to the frontline.
DesignThe GMC CCKW began to be phased out, once the M35 series trucks were first deployed in the 1950s, but remained in active U.S. service until the mid-1960s. Eventually, the M35 series, originally developed by REO Motors, succeeded the CCKW as the U.S. Army's standard 2 1⁄2-ton, 6x6 cargo truck.
EngineThe CCKW conception rested on the GMC 270 engine. It was an overhead valve inline six cyclinder, rated for 91.5 hp (68.2 kW), but also 104 hp (78 kW) at 2750rpm on its variant. It was capable of 216 pound-feet (293 N⋅m) of torque at 1400rpm. The cylinders had a 25/32 in (96 mm) bore for 4 in (102 mm) stroke for a total of 269.5 cu in (4.4 L) of displacement. It ran on gasoline and was designed for commercial trucks, not on military grade specs, but nevertheless, it proved reliable in service.
It was coupled with a Warner T93 5-speed transmission and its gearbox counted a 4th gear and had an overdrive 5th gear. The transfer case comprised high and low gears engaging the front axle of a classic way. As designed, these axles were of the Timken split type. But as production went on, the GM "banjo" type was used on most models.
GMC-353 on the Ledo supply road, now Burma in 1945 (NARA)
Chassis and constructionThe HMC-353 had a chassis of the classic ladder frame type. It had three driven beam axles. The front axe was suspended by leaf springs, the rear tandem also by leaf springs but with locating arms. The chassos came in two wheelbases:
-"short" Model 352 which had a 145 in (368 cm) wheelbase* so a limited cargo bed, just to carry ammunitions and towing the 75 mm or 105 mm howitzers.
-"Long" Model 353. It had a 164 in (417 cm) wheelbase. This was the standard cargo truck, not a prime mover, the most produced.
*Measurements are from the centerline of the front axle to the centerline of rear bogie
The eight roadwheels had tires were 7.50-20, four paired ones at the back, and two simple ones at the front for steering. They were fitted with hydraulic brakes using vacuum. The only proper military grades equipments fitted were some tooling, blakout driving lights, army towing hook, foldable banks for the troop carrier, plus supports for armament in some versions. But the most characteristic was a 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) front-mounted winch with 300 pounds (140 kg) of traction, 14 inches (36 cm) wide. Some vehicles also had an open cab chassis, developed in early 1944, and armed with a potent heavy machine gun. There was also a special variant cut in half behind the cab for air transport and each half was a load. When landed, these halves were bolted together. The standard cargo version had a rear utility bed originally entirely built in steel. However due to strategic material management steel was rationed, and all-wooden beds were manufactured, which were highly unastisfactory. Therefore a "composite", with the base and framing in steel and wooden sides was manufactured, but it still was not satisfactory and at the end of the war, as steel rationing was lifted, it was made in steel again. These standard cargo models had beds with fixed sides, drop tailgate, and folding troop seats which allowed the vehicles to be quickly adapted from troop carrier to cargo carrier.
Variants & production
ProductionTotal Production of the 2 1⁄2-ton 6×6 Cargo truck CCKW: ~572,500. The GMC nomenclatured defined this acronym according to the following: "C", designed in 1941, "C", conventional cab, "K", all-wheel drive and "W", dual rear axles. Production sites were GM'S Yellow Truck and Coach division's Pontiac, (Michigan) which also produced the 6×4 CCWs. During the war, they were also delivered by the GM's St. Louis, Missouri Chevrolet plant.
Mechanic at the Fort Knox school
- CCKW proper: ~518,000
- LWB CCKW-353: ~464,000
- SWB CCKW-352: ~54,000
- non-CCKW variants ~54,500
- 1939 ACKWX: 2,466 units
- C.O.E. AFKWX: 7,235 units
- 6×4 CCW-353: 23,649 units
- DUKW amphib: 21,147 units
CCKW Open cab variant
CCKW VariantsThe main obvious were the long wheelbase (LWB) common truck GMC-353, and the short wheelbase (SWB) GMC-352 prime mover of the US Army.
Initially, both used a modified commercial closed cab design (modified to military grade) with a metal roof and doors, called "close cab". By 1944 a cheaper and simplified open cab version was developed. It used a canvas roof and doors. It also allowed the vehicles to be air-transportable and allowed to pass under low bridges or obstacles and modulate the shipping height. Of fourth of these open cab versions had a machine gun mounting ring, above the co-driver's position. It was armed generally with a M1920 Browning HMG. It was primarly used for AA defense but was found handy in rare encounters with ambusing troops operating in rear lines.
The CCKW rear bed was a utility platform that can be tailored for a wide range of bodies and payloads filling all U.S. Army needs on the field.
- CCKW 352 LWB Closed cab
- CCKW 353 LWB Open cab (1944)
- SWB Closed/Open cab
- 12 ft (3.7 m) cargo (most common). Open bed with tarpaulin, steel, wooden or composite.
- Standard Enclosed Van: Communication, HQ vehicle, Ambulance, field hospital, Workshop, POW transport.
- Air compressor
- CCKW-353-B2 AA (M45 Maxon Mount)
- Bomb service
- Chemical decontaminating
- Chemical handling
- Dental operating van
- Dump truck
- Fire engine
- Fuel & gas tankers (750 US gal (2,800 l))
- Fuel & oil handling (660 US gal (2,500 l)), (750 US gal (2,800 l))
- High lift
- K-53 radio equip. van
- K-60 radio equip. van
- Map reproduction van
- Ordnance maintenance van
- Pipeline equipment
- Ponton bolster
- Semi-trailer tractor
- Shop equipment GP repair van
- Surgical van
- Water purification van
- Water tanker (700 US gal (2,600 l))
- Welder's truck
GMC-353 with air compressor unit
GMC-353 with Crane in hatzerim, Israel
GMC-353D Fuel Truck in 2012, Eurosatory
Open cab recovery truck
K-53 workshop van
War and Peace GMC fuel truck
Other VariantsThese were not based on the standard CCKW and will be (or already had been) treated in separate posts.
ACK-353 (circa 3,500)
The ACK-353 (A for 1939 design, C for conventional cab, K for all wheel drive) was also called the 1 1⁄2-ton 4×4 truck in ordnance. It was derived from the 6x6 ACKWX, predecessor of the Chevrolet G506. Its equivalents were the Dodge/Fargo T-203 and VF-400 series, an attempt at a lucrative contract for a standard World War II 4x4 cargo trucks in the 1-1⁄2-ton 4×4 category (which Dodge won).
The ACK-353 had the new 1939 GMC 248 engine using an overhead valve, and low-deck inline-six cylinder (3-23/32-inches (94 mm) bore, 3-13/16 inches (97 mm) stroke, 248 cu in (4.1 L) displacement. This engine was rated for 77 brake horsepower (57 kW) and transmission used a four-speed manual gearbox combined with a two-speed transfer-case on front axle for all-wheel drive operations. It used a 157-3/4 inches (401 cm) wheelbase, while the truck itself mreasured 256 in (650 cm) long, 90 in (229 cm) wide, 117 in (297 cm) in height, 89 in (226 cm) with rear top bows folded. Its tires were 7.50-20, front and rear, six in all, doubled on the rear axle. Weight was 7,532 lb (3,416 kg) in working order. Its front hubs were designed to allow the fitting of a dual wheels to deal with snow and mud. It existed in closed cab configuration, fitted with a steel bed GS body, with fixed sides, troop seats. They were designed originally to meet a French contract for ten thousands. The bulk of the production ended in British Army from June 1940, after 2,000 units has been effectively delivered to the French in early 1940, which were captured by the Wehrmacht and well appreciated for their reliability and off-road characteristics on the Eastern front.
ACKWX-353 (2,466 made)
The ACKWX acronym stands for (A: 1939 design, C: conventional cab, K: all wheel drive, W: tandem rear axles, X: non-standard chassis). It was a three-ton 6x6 truck and direct predecessor of the the CCKW. It was given the with the same 77 brake horsepower (57 kW) drivetrain as the ACK but it was heavier at 9,856 lb (4,471 kg) of 264 in (6,71 m) long, 94.5 in (2,40 m) wide, and 118 in (3 m) tall or 90 inches (2,29 m) on the cab's roof. It was the "short nose" GMC 6x6 truck. About 1,000 were ordered by France in 1939, but delays in completion and shipping meant like the 4×4 ACK trucks most of the order was diverted to Britain in June-July 1940. The British did not liked them, due to their long wheelbase and underpowered, and they were shipped bia lend-lease to Russia instead after the summer of 1941. In overall, 2,466 ACKWX trucks were delivered, only a few -of any- used by the US Forces and British forces.
AFKWX-353 (7,235 made)
The AFKWX (The "F" stood for forward cab) had a cab over engine configuration, and longer cargo bed than the CCKW. It was developed from 1942 and went into production alongside the regular CCKW at Yellow's Pontiac plant and Chevrolet's St. Louis plant. Mechanically it was the same, but with a compact cabin "over" the engine allowed. This freed aft spave, enough to manage a 15 ft (4.57 m) up to 17 ft (5.18 m) cargo bed. The first 50 produced had closed cabs, but for design simplifaction, all the remainder of the production had open cabs. No front-mounted winch was ever mounted on this version, and mechanics often complained about its engine location for maintenance, which was difficult. The type was not as successful as only 7,235 were built, condiderable numbers, but still a pinprick compared to the main CCKW production. Of these, 2,232 units had the "short" 15 feets body, and 5,000 had the "long" 17 feet cargo bed. It seems almost all were used by the US Army.
CCW-353 (118,000 made)
This vehicle had almost the same acronym, because it was basically the same truck, but deprived of off-road capabilities as its front-wheel drive was deleted for simplification. It was the official purely on-road truck, re-rated for 5-ton rated, and 6×4. Only its beam front axle was used for steering, with a transfer case locked in high range. As it was cheaper than the regular CCKW, the CCW saw a considerable productio, reaching circa 118,000 vehicles in 1943, called the 2-1/2-ton, 6x4 truck in the inventory. GMC made only 23,649 of these, completed by other manufacturers. These trucks also had no fron winch and the bulk of the production was made in 1942.
DUKW (21,147 made)
This famous version had a heavily modified hull wrapped around the chassis, which was made amphibious. The GMC DUKW or "duck" became the proverbial allied amphibious truck of WW2, able to carry large supplies from shore to shore or cross large rivers. Together with the numerous armoured LVTs they proved instrumental in the pacific ans the crossing of the Rhine in Jan-Feb. 1945 as well. Due to their lack of protection they were often used in the second or third wave. They were used by all the allies, including Soviet forces, and were considered the most succesful softskin amphibious vehicles of the allies, especially when compared to the infamous Ford "Seep".
GMC-353 Crossing the 38th parallel, during the UN withdraw from Pyongyang
NotesBoniface, Jean-Michel; Jeudy, Jean-Gabriel (1990). GMC 6x6 & DUKW: A Universal Truck. Foulis/Haynes.
Chief of Ordnance Office; Military Vehicle Preservation Association, eds. (2010). Summary Report of Acceptances, Tank-Automotive Materiel, 1940-1945 (Revision). Detroit: U.S. Army Service Forces (Pub.1945)
Colley, David P. (2000). The Road to Victory: The Untold Story of World War II's Red Ball Express. Potomac Books.
Crismon, Fred W (2001). US Military Wheeled Vehicles (3 ed.). Victory WWII Pub.
Doyle, David (2003). Standard catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles. Krause Publications.
Doyle, David (2010). 2½-ton Truck. Squadron/Signal.
Ware, Pat (2010). The World Encyclopedia of Military Vehicles. Lorenz Books.
Whitlock, Flint (2004). The Fighting First: The Untold Story of the Big Red One on D-Day.
LinksTM 9-801 2½-ton 6×6 GMC CCKW. US War Dept. 1944.
TM 9-2800 Standard Military Motor Vehicles. US War Dept. 1943.
TM 9-2800 Military Vehicles (PDF). US Dept. of the Army. 1947. ww2cckw.org/
US army transportation museum
Same, about the Red Ball Express
The GMC 353 on olive drab
Various blueprints of the type
US Veterans Memorial
The GMC 353 on wikipedia
All model kits via scalemates search engine
Basic HMC-353 2-1/2 ton utility truck. Standard dump truck with reinforcements and M2HB 0.5 M1920 browning HMG ring mount. Protection framing is not mounted.
CCKW CCKW 353 standard 2-1/2 ton standad dump truck with bedframes mounted, WAC HQ, 1943
CCKW H1, standard open cab dump truck
CCKW 353 Torpedo (open cab), 45th Quartermaster Company, 45th Infantry Division in Sicily - Op. Husky 1943
GMC 353 CCKW, Battle of the bulge, winter 1944
GMC 353 with Maxston mount (to come)
GMC 353 with Bofors 40 mm (to come)
CCKW 353D Fuel truck
CCKW 353 K53 Radio Shelter Truck, HQ Co. 1st Infantry Division, Germany March 1945
CCKW 353 ST6, Shelter Truck 6, workshop truck
Service Truck, N°7 Crane, extended fwd winch
GMC AFWX 354, 3-ton 6x4 truck
GMC ACKWX 353 3-ton 6x6 truck
Regular US army closed cab GMC 352
US army open cab GMC 352
Soviet lend-lease GMC 352
Soviet lend-lease GMC 352, winter northen front 1943-44
Soviet lend-lease GMC 352, Katiusha conversion, 1944
GMC-353-Open cab winch
GMC-127 Kolwezi 1978
Warsaw GMC NAC 1946
Interior and details
Allied ww2 Vehicles
British Vehicles-AEC Armoured Command Vehicle (415)
-Albion WD.CX24 Tank Transporter
-Austin K2/Y Ambulance
-Austin K4 Dropside
-Austin K6 GS
-Austin K6 Gantry
-Bedford OXA Armoured
-Bedford OXC Semi-trailer
-Bedford OXD GS
-Bedford OYC Tanker
-Bedford OYD GS
-Bedford QLB Bofors.
-Bedford QLD GS.
-Bedford QLR/QLC Radio/com
-Bedford QLT Troop carrier
-Guy Lizard ACV
-Leyland Hippo Mk II
-Morris ML Ambulance
-Morris C8 GS
-Morris Commercial CD series.
-Morris Commercial CS8
-Morris GS Terrapin
-Scammell Pioneer SV1S/SV2S (~500)
French Vehicles-Berliet DGRA, GDC, GDM, VDCA, 30
-Bernard fuel carriers.
-Citroën Kégresse P14, P17, P19, T23, 32U, 45
-ELMAG (Alsace) ?
-Ford France ?
-Hotchkiss PKW Typ680, 686, 686 PNA.
-Isobloc buses, W843M medical bus
-Laffly V15R, S15R, S20TL, W15T.
-Latil TAR H2
-Lorraine 37L and 38L tractors
-Matford (Alsace) F917
-Panhard & Levassor ?
-Peugeot 202, 402, DMA, DK, DK5
-Renault AHS, AHN, AHR, AGC, ADK, ADH, AHSs
-Saurer type 3CT
-Simca 5, 8
-Somua MCL, MCG
-Unic TU1, P107
-Trippel (Alsace) SG6
-GAZ AA M1927 M1932 M1941
-GAZ AAA M1937
-GAZ AAA M1940
-Ford Marmon HH6 Katiusha
-ZIS 41 HT
-ZIS 42M HT
Soviet Artillery Tractors-Komsomolets (4,041 pre-war)
-STZ-3 (3,658 pre-war)
-STZ-5 (7,170 pre-war)
-Komintern (1,017 pre-war)
-Voroshilovets (228 pre-war)
-Kommunar (504 pre-war)
Soviet staff cars cars
Amphibious armoured cars-PB-4
US Trucks-Ford B3000 S
-Ford V8 M1937
-G8T 2-1/2 ton 4x2 Truck
-International model 1937
-Chevrolet G-506 1 1⁄2-ton 4x4
-Chevrolet G-7107 4-1/2 ton 4x4
-Chevrolet 3116 1-1/2 ton 4x2
-Studebaker US6x4 U7
-Studebaker US6x4 U-6
-Studebaker US6x6 U-5 6x4
-Studebaker US6 U4 bz35S 2-1/2 ton 6x6 truck
-Dodge m1931, WC series light trucks
-Dodge truck M6 portee OK
-Dodge WC51 OK
-Dodge WC-53 4x4 carryall
-Dodge WC55 OK
-Harley-Davidson WLA motorcycle
-Willys MB light truck
-GMC CCKW Cargo Truck
-GMC CCKW CCKW-353
-GMC SWB CCKW-352
-GMC 1939 ACKWX 353 3 ton 6x6 truck
-GMC AFWX-353 3 ton 6x4 truck
-GMC DUKW 353 2-1/2 ton 6x6 truck
-GMC C.O.E. AFKWX
-Diamond T Model 980/981 12-ton 6x4 trucks (G159)
-Diamond T Model 968 4-ton 6x6 truck (G509)
-Diamond T Model 967
-Diamond T Model 970
-Diamond T Model 972
-Diamond M26 Dragon Wagon
-Diamond M19 Tank Transporter
-Diamond T Model 980
-Diamond T 4-ton 6x6 truck
-Autocar U8144T 5/6-ton 4x4 truck
-Brockway/LaFrance 6-ton 6x6 truck, G512, 514, 547, 569
-White/Corbitt 6 ton 6x6 Prime Mover
-Four Wheel Drive Auto Company (FWD) SU-COE 5-6 ton 4x4
-White Motor Company
-Inl KR-11 5 ton 4x2 dump truck
-Inl M5-6 318 2-1/2 ton 6x6 swb
-Mack NR15 10-ton 6x4
-Reo 28 XS 10-ton 6x4
Purchase this pagemarker and support the site !Sd.Kfz 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 were half-tracks designed just before the war as prime movers, to carry supplies, ammunition, personal, and tow artillery. Many were also converted during the war as armored versions carrying AA FLAK guns (Flakvierling, 37 mm, or the legendary 88 mm Rheinmetall als used as tank hunters), or were converted as nebelwerfer (rocket launching armored vehicles). They were built by Hanomag, Steyr, Mercedes-Benz, Bussing and many other manufacturers until 1945, over 20,000 half-tracks.
German Military trucks
Krupp Protze Kfz.19
Krupp Protze Kfz.21
Krupp Protze Kfz.68
Krupp Protze Kfz.69
Krupp Protze Kfz.70
Krupp Protze Kfz.81
Krupp Protze Kfz.21
Krupp Protze Kfz.83
Borgward B 3000
Ford B3000S, V3000S, V3000A series
Ford model BB
Ford model V8-51
Skoda Rad Schlepper
Ost RSO Porsche 175
Steyr Type 2000A
Einheits Lkw Kfz.62
Krupp LKW L3
Opel Blitz Omnibus
Beute Ford B3000 S, V3000S, V3000A
Beute Ford model BB
Beute Ford model V8-51
Beute Tatra 111
Italian Military trucks
L. Trucks (Autocarro Leggere)
-ОМ-32 Autocarretta da Montagna
-Camioneta SPA TL.37
Med. Trucks (Autocarro Medio)-Alfa Romeo 430RE
-Alfa Romeo 800RE
-Isotta Fraschini D65
-Isotta Fraschini D80
-Autocarro Dovunque SPA 41/42
H. Trucks (Autocarro Gigante)-FIAT-633NM
-Autocarri Unificati Ursus
Staff Cars-Alfa Romeo 6С2500 Coloniale
-Fiat 508M/CM Ballila
-Fiat 1100 (1937) (Balilla-1100 Coloniale)
-Lancia Aprilia Coloniale
-Bianchi VM 6C
-Fiat 2800 CMC
Artillery tractors-L.3 trattore leggero (hypothetical) for da. 47/32
-Pavesi Р4.31 (L140)
-Fiat 727 - half-track artillery tractor
-SPA TM40 - wheeled artillery tractor
-Semicingolato Breda Tipo 61 (SdKfz-7 under licence)
Motorcycles-Benelli 500 M36/VLM
-Bianchi Supermil 500
-Gilera 500 LTE
-Moto Guzzi Alce/Trialce
-Volugrafo Aermoto 125
IJN ww2 vehicles-Toyota 4x4 Su-Ki (Amphibious truck)
-Isuzu Type 94 truck
-Type 94 6-Wheeled Truck
-Type 95 Mini-truck
-Type 97 4-Wheeled Truck
-Type 1 6-Wheeled Truck
-Type 2 Heavy Truck
-Toyota KB/KC Truck
-Nissan 80 Truck
-Nissan 180 Truck
-Amphibious Truck "Su-Ki"
Tractors-Type 92 5 t Prime Mover "I-Ke"
-Type 98 6 t Prime Mover "Ro-Ke"
-Type 92 8 t Prime Mover "Ni-Ku"
-Type 95 13 t Prime Mover "Ho-Fu"
-Type 94 4 t Prime Mover "Yo-Ke"
-Type 98 4 t Prime Mover "Shi-Ke"
-Type 96 AA Gun Prime Mover
-Type 98 20 mm AA Machine Cannon Carrier
-Type 98 Half-tracked Prime Mover "Ko-Hi"
-Type 98 20 mm AA Half-Track Vehicle
-Experimental Heavy Gun Tractor Chi-Ke
-Experimental Crawler Truck
-T G Experimental Crawler Truck
-Fordson Prime Mover
-Pavessi Gun Tractor
-50 hp Gun Tractor
-Komatsu 3 ton Tractor
-Light Prime Mover
-Clarton Prime Mover
Staff cars-Toyota AA/AB/AC
-Type 93 6/4-Wheeled Passenger Car
-Type 95 Passenger Car "Kurogane"
-Type 98 Passenger Car
-Model 97 Nissan Staff Car, Nissan 70
-Rikuo Type 97 Motorcycle
-Rikuo Type 93 side car
Misc.-Type 94 Ambulance
-Type 94 Repair Vehicle
Cold War(Section pending completion, listing and distribution)
UAZ-469 Staff car * MAZ-543 TEL * ZIL-135 TEL * S125/S75 TEL * Mercedes Standard 4.5L * Unimog 2.5 standard * Land-Rover * * * * * Bedford RL * Nissan 2.5 Truck * * * * * * * * * * * * *