The WW2 will perhaps remain the most devastating war in the human history. Countries involved in the conflict used the most sophisticated war strategies that were never used before. When guns fell silent on September 2, 1945, the Allies emerged victorious over the Axis Powers. The Allies won the war not only because of the determined men who selflessly put their lives on the line, but also the military vehicles that supported them.
Although many vehicles were used during the WW2, the most iconic vehicle was the Jeep. The vehicle was nicknamed “the wartime limousine” and it was synonymous to the US Army. Produced by Willys and Ford in hundreds of thousands, Jeeps were the most reliable 4-wheel-drive vehicles during the war. They have remained popular ever since. In this post, we list the top WW2 Jeeps. The list is as follows:
1941 Bantam BRC 40 Jeep
It is not possible to talk about Jeep without mentioning the American Bantam Car Company. They are the ones who designed the first prototype of Jeep. The 1941 Bantam BRC 40 is the third generation of the original prototype. A total of 2,605 vehicles were produced. However, there was a feeling that Bantam was too small and could not meet the high demand of reconnaissance vehicles required by the US Army. As a result, the Army contracted Willys and Ford to produce wartime vehicles using the Bantam design with changes and modifications they deemed fit.
It is too bad that many of us have never set their eyes on this vehicle. Those who are lucky enough have seen it in a museum meaning that they have never experienced riding on it. Although the versions from Willys and Ford were better and more favorable by the Army, we cannot afford to ignore BRC 40 as it made the story of Jeep possible.
1941 Ford GP Jeep
The 1941 Ford GP was the second model of the vehicle produced by Ford specifically for the war. The vehicle was compact, lightweight and 4×4 wheel drive. The vehicle could travel on roads at a speed of 60 mph. It could also climb slopes of up to 40 degrees and achieve a tilt of up to 50 degrees to either side of the vehicle and turn radius of 30 feet without overturning. This military vehicle proved valuable to the US Army and Allied forces. It could be used to carry out several duties such as towing anti-tank guns and quick troop transport among other duties. Using this vehicle, soldiers could traverse any terrain without any difficulty. 4,456 Ford GP vehicles were produced before the production ended in the same year.
Willys-Overland was one of the only three companies that presented their military vehicles designs in 1940. The Willys Quad prototype was quite impressive, but the Army had reservations because it was overweight and therefore not suitable for the war. The vehicle also needed several design changes. When Willys was contracted by the Army in 1941, it redesigned its earlier prototype. The result was the 1941 Willys MA Jeep.
Willys had the advantage of having seen the Bantam BRC 40 and Ford GP prototypes. It included the superior features in the two prototypes in its model and made some improvements that proved to be desirable for the war efforts. For instance, the engine was bigger as compared to the previous models. As a result, the MA model had impressive amounts of power and torque. It could reach a top speed of 74 mph. Its weight was similar to that of Bantam BRC 40 and Ford GP. The Army adopted it as a standard Jeep during the WW2. A total of 1,553 vehicles were produced under this model.
Willys MB Jeep
The production of the Willys MB was between 1942 and 1945. With 361,339 units built, the Willys MB was one of the very first wartime vehicles to be mass-produced in the United States. These 4×4 wheel drive vehicles were overly useful during the war. They were among the iconic military vehicles during the WW2. After the end of the war, the Willys MB evolved into Jeep CJ. The model is also acknowledged to have inspired all 4×4 wheel-drives used for recreational purposes. It has also inspired several military light utility vehicles that are used today.
As the war was becoming more intense, the capacity of Willys to meet the demand for military vehicles became doubtful. As a result, the US Army contracted Ford to produce the Willys MB with the same specifications but fit the vehicles with its own engine. Essentially, Ford GPW resembles Willys MB.
A total of 277,896 Ford GPW vehicles were mass-produced from 1942 to 1945. They are considered one of the finest and iconic vehicles to have been used during the WW2. They were multi-role vehicles with an excellent utility that could be used to perform a wide array of battlefield tasks such as transporting troops, carrying weapons, controlling crowd, carrying cargo and patrolling among other tasks.