Casemate's US Army Chevrolet Trucks in WWII

Author/Artists: Didier Andres

Publisher/Distributor

Casemate

Price

$37.95 MSRP from Casemate

Reviewer:

Scott Van Aken

Notes: 160 pages,  hardcover, over 100 photos and illustrations. 7x 10 inches.
ISBN: 978-1-61200-863-9

There are several reasons why US forces and the Allies in general did so well during WWII against the Axis. To use one word it would be 'logistics'. Time and time again we read in various histories how the German or Japanese forces were put into a bind due to lack of sufficient supplies. Men don't march forward without supplies, vehicles don't move without fuel and supplies. Same goes for aircraft. Where the 'arsenal of democracy' really came into play was its ability to provide fairly long lines of supply and most of that was due to having sufficient trucks to carry good. Sure, this material had to first cross oceans, but once ashore, it was to a great extent, put onto trucks to then move it forward. While the rails were much better at moving a lot of stuff and heavy stuff as well, in many cases the rail infrastructure had been destroyed and needed a lot of rebuilding.

Most of the heavy hitters when it came to trucks were the 2.5 ton 6x6 vehicles produced by Studebaker and GMC to name a couple. However, not all trucks were that big. The jeep, for instance was 1/4 ton, Dodge built a number of 3/4 ton vehicles and Chevrolet built 1.5 ton trucks. These latter trucks were 4x4 and built with a bewildering number of variations. While they couldn't carry as much as larger trucks, they were also not as large and more of them could be transported or loaded onto smaller landing ships. They were particularly useful where conditions were tight and the larger vehicles were simply too large.

To the uninitiated (such as I before I read this book), they look very much like the GMC CCKW. They should as they are from basically the same parent company. There were some significant visual differences and of course that is all covered in this book. An interesting fact is that since such a large number were sent to the USSR under lend-lease, pretty much all the Chevy trucks had a steel roof. This is because the Soviets did not like the canvas roof version you so frequently see on the CCKW trucks.

The vehicles were built as cargo trucks, panel delivery trucks, cargo dump trucks, tractor trucks, bomb service trucks, telephone trucks, cabover trucks, and as bare chassis trucks where the recipient adds whatever bed they so wish. In amongst these major categories were sub types. For instance many panel delivery trucks were jammed with radio equipment. Telephone trucks had drilling augers installed and so on.

The author provides basic information on all these main types and subtypes as well as an initial history of the truck, the trailers it was able to pull, and how it was used on campaign. There are also appendices that provide specifications and a small section on survivors. Since this is part of Casemate's illustrated series, there are a ton of well chosen period photos of all the types mentioned. In all it is a great reference on the type and a book that I actually enjoyed reading quite a bit. I learned a lot and isn't that what these books are for? Most highly recommended.

June 2020

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