Authored By Dan Alex (Updated: 9/6/2016):
Design was utilitarian to the core, designed to utilize a minimum of moving parts and thus making it relatively easy to repair in the field. This also lent the vehicle well to configurations and versatility. The slab-sided cab sat behind the engine housing which was aspirated through a grille element along the front facing. The front wheels were steerable and covered over in high-mounted mud flaps. The rear was supported by a collection of four double-wheeled axles. The truck sat high to allow for navigation over uneven terrain, water and mud. The passenger area could be covered over in a tarp (this a cost-effective move over the use of expensive sheet metal) supported by spanning ribs or left open to the elements. Entry to the passenger space was typically from the rear of the vehicle. Foldable wooden racks were included along the cargo bed sides to serve as passenger seating. The driver and the gunner made use of conventional automobile-style doors along the cab sides. The front of the truck was characterized by a large-area bumper system as well as a protective cage fencing guarding the engine and integrated headlamps from debris and small arms fire. Gas tanks were mounted conventionally along the truck sides, just aft of each door step. While early CCKW 353s had their cabs covered over in sheet metal, later ones made use of tarp or canvas coverings instead beginning in July of 1943 as a further economical measure in its construction while also saving on weight.
Beyond passenger transportation, the cargo area could house a communications shelter for radio, a field medical facility, and engineering Treadway Bridge, up to 750 gallons of water or fuel as well as ordnance for the US Army Air Corps. Such was the versatility of this fine machine.