Wednesday, April 9, 2008

day with the ducks

April 1943, a DUKW is being loaded aboard the USS LST-312. The guys that road these DUKWs called them Sitting Ducks. Basically, it was a 2 1/2 ton (deuce and a half) GMC truck with a hull and a propeller. They are very slow in the water. A few year ago Gina, Katie and I took a ride on one at Chattanooga Ducks. The captain of the craft even let Katie behind the wheel while venturing around MacClellan Island. I highly recommend the experience. The hour long tour starts driving the streets of historic downtown Chattanooga and the rest of the tour is on the river.
DUKW
D = 1942;
U = Utility (Amphibian);
K = Front Wheel Drive;
W = Two rear driving axles.

Ducks come from DUKW, a military acronym that designated the vehicle as amphibious military personnel carriers. DUKW's were created following the attack on Pearl Harbour as a means to transport supplies from ships to areas that did not have port facilities. DUKW's were first used operationally in Europe during the invasion of Sicily. Nearly 90% of all supplies came in by DUKW on the vital second and third days of the invasion. D-Day brought a force of 2000 DUKW's to the Normandy coasts. The fleet was an essential element in the strategic surprise of the enemy, which assumed the Allies needed a port to make an effective landing. Considered to be one of the most successful amphibious vehicles ever made, there were ultimately over 21,000 produced by a work force consisting mainly of women working in the war effort.
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