Forces of Valor 85055 1942 Production US Army GMC CCKW 353 6x6 2-1/2 Ton Truck - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944 [D-Day Commemorative Packaging] (1:72 Scale)
"The armies will go as far as practicable and then wait until the supply system in [the] rear will permit further advance."
- General Omar Bradley, August 27th, 1944
The GMC 6x6 was built for the US Army as part of a standardization program begun in 1939, which allowed for only two of each type of vehicle to be considered, and emphasized commonality of parts and accessories wherever possible. Known as 'Jimmies', the vehicles were supplied to Britain under the Lend Lease scheme before America's entry into World War II, and the trucks served with distinction in all theatres, including in the Soviet Union, which also received significant numbers through the ports of Murmansk and Archangel.
The 'Jimmy' made an enormous contribution to the Allied victory after the D-Day landings by ensuring a reliable method of transport for supplies to units at the front, all of which had to be trucked across France until ports nearer Germany could be captured and rehabilitated. By war's end, over 800,000 2-1/2 ton trucks were produced by US industry (with over 560,000 produced by GMC alone), many of which saw service again in the Korean Conflict.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a US 1942 production GMC CCKW 353 6x6 2-1/2 ton truck (known rather affectionately as the 'Deuce-and-a-Half'), which played a pivotal role in the Allied armies advance through northwestern Europe during 1944-'45.
Length: 4 inches
Width: 1.5 inches
Release Date: July 2009
Historical Account: "Home by Christmas" - In a desperate effort to bridge the gap between US units at the front and mounting stockpiles back at Normandy, a long distance, one-way, "loop-run" highway system - dubbed the 'Red Ball Express' - was born. Since circumstances allowed little time for advance planning or preparation, 'Red Ball' was, as one observer noted, "largely an impromptu affair." It began on August 25th, with 67 truck companies running along a restricted route from St. Lo to Chartres, just south of Paris; and reached a peak four days later with 132 companies (nearly 6,000 vehicles) assigned to the project.
Communications Zone (COMMZ) and Advance Section (ADSEC) transportation officials were responsible for overseeing Red Ball activities, but it required the support and coordination of many branches to succeed.
While the Engineers were busy maintaining roads and bridges, MPs were on hand at each of the major check points to direct traffic and record pertinent data. Colorful signs and markers along the way - not unlike the old Burma Shave signs that covered America's own countryside - kept drivers from getting lost, and at the same time publicized daily goals and achievements. Quartermasters, truck drivers, materiel handlers, and petroleum specialists were ever present both along the route and at the forward-area truck-heads. Disabled vehicles moved to the side of the road, where they were either repaired on the spot by roving Ordnance units or evacuated to rear-area depots.