DUKW Box body - radio/command vehicle?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by chocolate_frog, Jan 19, 2013.

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  1. Have just read 'Dorset: The Army' by George Forty ( a former Lt Col in the RTR) and a jolly interesting read too, however, I have have found a picture that has flumexed me somewhat.

    No reference is made in the book, but the picture is titled 'An American Army DUKW boards a LST (Landing Ship, Tank) prior to D-Day.' The DUKW is driving (nose first whch I thought strange) from the dock in to the ship, ship id 376, but it has a temp sign made of wood and matierial with the number '401'.

    The DUKW is standard (to my eye) but inside its cargo bay appears to be a box body container.

    Intial google searchs have not found any mention of a boxbody for a DUKW, I'll try to scan it later.

    It stands proud of the 'deck' by some 3ft with a flat roof and vertical sides. Transion between the vertical and roof is by rounded edges along the sdes. The front of the body reaches the 'roll bar' canvass support just behind the driving area, and the rear goes right to the back of teh cargo compartment, sides are flush with the sides of the cargo compartment (specific box or just taken from teh 'Deuce' truck which provided the chassis? On looking through google gmc cckw boxes seem to have curved roofs or too many windows to be this box)

    At teh front are two 'pots' for antenna, either mounted to the vehicle or on the very front of the boxbody. To the rear, in the centre, is a third pot attached to the roof.

    A tanksheet is folded and secured to the centre of the roof with white/light thin rope from rather largemetal loops. These are strange, htye don't look strong enough to be used as lifting points, but seem rather substantial for the task they are performing.

    Immediately below are attachemnt points for two (on each side I assume) 1ft long bolts. These seem to be fixing the container to the DUKW as per modern box bodies.

    to the rear, on the RHS is either a full length door, or a hatch which starts below the dukw deck line. It has a window and is maybe just over a foot wide.

    To the rear of the dukw is teh deck where the spare wheel and various equipment is stowed. This has a roof rack of 3 seperate boxes. Two outside boxes have signicant drainage (20 odd 1in holes) and sloped fronts. Across whic is draped a cam net. figure 2ft wide, 3.5 ft long and 2ft high. top access (handles seem to protrude)

    The middle box is raised (significantly) to the height of the top of the box, also top access. Is maybe 8in wide, 2ft long and 1ft high. no drainage visible.

    Anyone have info on this vehicle? I always thought DUKWs were transport veh for ship to shore, and accross rivers and the like. So what is this one for? Immediate command of ship to shore log ops? DUKW unit ops?

    Also shown (on anotre page) are Universal Carriers with raised sides. Again a new one, they are fording ashore with the 1st Dorsets, but I can fgure out why they were so modded!
  2. [​IMG]

    View from left front (other pic from rear right). No rear equipment boxes visible, except what may be the middle one(raised above roof of box).

    No description but listed as 'Dukws Radio Beach Landing Vehicle' and 'radio unit - 56th Signal Battalion'.

    I forgot to menton in post 1, that the veh was US Army.

    oopps, from here http://www.pbase.com/rhssr/image/16226609
  3. Don't know anything of the box body, but why is driving in nose first unusual? I have only been on one on a tourist trip along the Thames, but it definitely drove in nose first.
  4. [SIZE=+3][SIZE=+3]
    ffrom Lone Sentry: Service: Story of the Signal Corps -- WWII G.I. Stories Booklet
  5. Nose first on to a LST mate, not in to water.
  6. Sorry. My bad.
  7. Same boat as described in post 1 (inc boat in the background) and even exactly the same camera angle, different DUKW... still going in nose first though ?

  8. In general when loading onto an LST or similar you go on nose first as you have to leave stern first, otherwise the prop and rudder foul on the ramp, there are some variations on this, but it depends on the angle of dangle and length under water of the exit ramp.
  9. Cheers jcm, I always thought they drove off nose first (either on to land or in to water)
  10. its easy enough going off the land, as generally you will start to float as the wheels leave the ground, what you don't want is no ground when not floating as the ass end (stern bit) drops a bit sharpish, if you get a picture of the back you will see that both the rudder and prop are a bit exposed, hence when going off an LCT/LST/big boat, if you go off nose first the angle of the ramp means that you smack the rear sticking out bits with a bit of a thump.
    When going off the land you just drive into the water, as fast as possible, whilst checking that there is NOT 3 large and 3 small RED bilge plugs in the brackets beside the driver, as it starts to float, engage prop and off you go.
  11. Is that so?

    I met an ex RASC DUKW driver at the D Day Club lunch last year who talked about the problems of launching his DUKW on D Day. He talked about driving off and entering the sea at worrying angle and watching the water rise up the windscreen., Maybe he was taling rubbish, or were there variations in how vehicles were loaded?.
  12. Pterandon, your old and bold DUKW driver wasn't completely wrong, around the time of D Day they fitted an angle iron "guard" across the propeller tunnel to prevent too much damage if the prop fouled, however this wasn't a general mod across all of the vehicles.
    It is possible to exit sharp end first, however its not without significant risk for a number of reasons. When entering water you can't engage the prop until its either in the water or just about to be, the bearing that supports the prop at the back is water cooled and lubricated, so if you spin it up to early then it melts. Engaging the prop isn't a simple exercise, gearbox into neutral, transfer box into neutral, stop all wheels if possible, prop drive engaged, t box into low, gearbox into 2nd, or reverse, a bit of a juggle whilst sliding down the ramp, and if you are afloat by then you could be drifting all over the place. Going off blunt end first means you can do all this whilst still on the ramp. All a bit more hectic if you are on the receiving end of the Wehremachts best.
    Accepted best practice when I did my training in 1969 was to always exit stern first, as it provided most control when entering the water.
    Hope this helps.