Ford GTB (G-622) (Burma Jeep) Cargo Hauler / Bomb Service Vehicle
It was vehicles such as the Ford Burma Jeep that helped win World War 2 for the Allies.
Authored By JR Potts, AUS 173d AB and Dan Alex; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
Logistical vehicles have always proven the lifeblood of any far-ranging conflict and World War 2 was no different particularly in the campaigns of the Pacific which spanned thousands of miles over ocean and land. For the American military, the charge was in recapturing Burma from the Japanese and reclaiming vital passage to China. US Army General Joseph Stilwell had already defeated a Japanese attempt to capture northern Burma and it was in this territory that military engineers constructed the new "Ledo Road" which connected Ledo Assam, India to the old Burma Road at Kunming, Yunnan, China. The first 100 miles was underway by December of 1942 and consisted of a steep, narrow passage running from Ledo through the Pangsau Pass and down into Burma. The road ran alongside a mountain several thousand feet tall which required removal of 100,000 cubic feet of earth for every mile covered. All of this work was completed by 15,000 American soldiers and 35,0000 locals throughout the unrelenting Burmese temperatures which ranged into the 100s coupled with maximum humidity. With this much working against Allied forces, special trucks of a certain quality were called in for the task of hauling much-needed troops and supplies to far-off places, vehicles that could manage the unforgiving conditions of environment and temperature alike and help bring ultimate victory to the Allies over the Japanese. It was estimated that the "Ledo Road", upon its completion, would allow for upwards of 65,000 tons of supplies to reach allied forces in China. To this point, these forces relied heavily on supplies being flown into the region.
A state-side initiative gave rise to the famous "Burma Jeep", otherwise recognized as the "Ford GTB 1.5-ton truck" ("GTB-G622"), which deployed to the theater under the United States Navy and Marine Corps banners during World War 2. The vehicle was built from the outset with durable military-minded qualities that also exhibited the required maneuverability and a rather compact turn radius (32 feet). Originally, the GTB was developed for the US Army which, at the time, did not think highly of such a vehicle - it was Navy authorities who felt the vehicle could be of some use. The design was given a short wheelbase with a low profile that allowed for the moving of 3,000 pounds of cargo along her rear-set bed. The vehicle lacked any sort of conventional crew cabin with just a simple folding wind screen ahead of the two-man crew (driver and passenger). The nose of the vehicle was purposely short with the engine protruding into the cabin between the driver and passenger, the protrusion housed under a curved access panel. The driver's station was simplistic with a large, three-spoke steering wheel, minimal system dials and applicable handles and foot pedals. The passenger's seat faced the drier's position and folded for stowage. The powerplant of choice was a Ford Model G8T 4-cycle, 6-cylinder L-Head inline engine of 90 horsepower operating at 3,400rpm - allowing for a top road speed of 45 miles with a meager 9 miles per gallon rating. The unique grill pattern of the GTB made it instantly recognizable for its design utilized vertical running lines along the right portion with the remaining space reserved for an externally-accessed tool compartment. Rounded headlamps straddled either side of the grill. The front of the vehicle was protect by a large bumper assembly running the width of the truck. 20-inch road wheels were the standard fitting with a space traditionally holed out of the left side of the truck for a single spare. GTB trucks could also tow wheeled cargo trailers.