ARTICLES on this page:

♦ Jeep Ambulance – The Jeep as a field ambulance.

 Sherman Calliope – Rocket armed Sherman tank <Scroll  down>.

GMC Cargo Truck – 6×6 2.5-ton cargo hauler <Scroll down>





The U.S. military began a mechanisation program as early as W.W.I.  When W.W.-II loomed on the horizon, the U.S. War Department decided that there would be a need for a light, fast and agile reconnaissance vehicle capable of traversing rough terrain.  Two companies began developing a vehicle to meet the War Department’s specifications. Willys-Overland (Willys) developed the MB jeep and Ford Motor Company developed the GPW version (practically identical). Both vehicles passed their military trial runs and were adopted for production.

SPECS      Made In:  U.S.A.     Made By:  Willys-Overland     Production Dates:  1940 – 1942     Total # Produced: 359,489     Engine:  Willys “Go Devil” straight 4cyl. gas, 60hp.    Range: 300 miles     Max Road Speed: 65mph      Crew: 1 (driver) + 2-3 passengers     Length: 11.02′      Width: 5.16′    Height: 4.33′ (top down – no stretcher racks)     Weight: 2337lbs. dry / 2453 lbs. fueled + engine fluids     Armor: 0     Main Gun: n/a     MGs:  Some jeeps had a pintle mount set behind / between the driver & front passenger seats & could carry either a .30cal or a .50cal MG.

DESIGN FEATURES:  The Willys Jeep Ambulance was nothing more than a standard Willys (MB) jeep. It was pressed into service to transport wounded GIs from combat zones to field hospitals. To serve this specific purpose, racks were welded to the jeep to hold two stretchers. One rack was set in front of the jeep, extending out from the radiator grill.  The second rack was installed lengthwise from the front passenger seat, extending back over the rear compartment. It was probably less comfortable than riding in an ambulance, but the Jeep’s speed and excellent cross-country capability was a fast way to get wounded soldiers to the medical attention they needed.

MODEL    Kit by: Italeri     Scale:  1/35     Material:  Plastic     FEATURES:  The kit has well detailed wheels & tires, a detailed interior (seats, dashboard, foot pedals, steering wheel, etc.), plus stretcher racks. I built the model with the hood raised, to show off the nicely detailed engine compartment. The Jeep’s interior is detailed, down to the front passenger seat being absent (removed to accommodate the top stretcher rack). Field tools are not molded on, they’re separate parts.   ADDED DETAIL: I added stowage items in the rear compartment – a coil of rope, a storage box, a tool kit, a small tarp, and spare blankets. I ‘dressed up’ the stretcher by adding a blanket (real fabric, dyed with thinned Tamiya Olive Green paint).  I drilled out the headlights & filled them with liquid acrylic to form ‘glass lenses’.     FINISHING:  The Jeep’s body was airbrushed dark olive drab. The underside was airbrushed with flat black, with undercarriage details in semi-gloss black. The wheels and underside were ‘weathered’ with dabbed on paint & powdered chalk (medium gray & earth tones).

A basic / standard Jeep.

Jeeps can’t fly – or can they?












JEEP / Driver side


JEEP / Passenger side – note that there’s no seat









JEEP / High angle – Note storage items in rear (rope, tarp, toolbox, jerry cans, supply box)





















JEEP / Undercarriage


JEEP / Engine

























Rockets were used as weapons as far back as the early 10th century when small rockets were strapped to large arrows. Dozens of arrows were fired together from a box-like reloadable ‘launcher’. In 1804, Sir Wm. Congreve produced the first practical metal cased explosive rocket (known simply as Congreve rockets). By the late 1930s rocket technology had advanced far beyond the simple Congreve rocket. When W.W.-II started, the Germans had a towed rocket launcher called the Nebelwerfer, which fired six large high-explosive rockets in series. Later, a number of half-tracks were modified to carry roof mounted Nebelwerfers. These vehicles were nicknamed Maultier (Mule).  The U.S. saw the value of having a multiple rocket launching system as a form of mobile artillery. In 1943 the ‘calliope’ rocket launching system was developed (official designation, Rocket Launcher T34). The nickname ‘calliope’ came from the system’s resemblance to a circus calliope pipe organ.

T34 Calliope SPECS   Origin:  U.S.     Made By: No data     Designed By: Victor Hawkins, 1943     Vehicle: mounted on standard M4 & M4A1 Sherman tanks     Configuration: T34 version, 60 x 4.5″ (114mm) rocket tubes – 36 in top group + two jettisonable groups of 12 tubes* in bottom group.  T34E1 version, same as T34 but with two sets of 14 tubes (instead of 12).  T34E2 version, same as T34 but firing 7.2″ (183mm) rockets.     Firepower: the 4.5″ rocket carried an explosive warhead equivalent to a 105mm howitzer shell.      Range:  Initially, 4100 yards. Later models, 5250 yards (no dates available).     Mount: The rocket launcher assembly was mounted between two risers welded to the sides of a Sherman tank turret. An armature connected the assembly to the Sherman’s 75mm gun – elevating or depressing the gun raised or lowered the calliope tubes (+25 ~ -12 degrees).     *NOTES:  lower tubes were not jettisonable if mounted on an M4A1 Sherman. Later variants of the calliope had ‘flame shields’ at the rear of the tubes to prevent rocket exhaust from blowing into the tank’s engine compartment.

Sherman SPECS      Origin:  U.S.    Made By:  Ford & several other companies.     Production Dates:  1942 – 1945     Total # Produced: 48,234 (all versions).     Engine:  Continental R9750-C1 radial gasoline, 360-400hp.    Range:  100-150 miles (depending on model).       Road Speed:  22-38mph (depending on model).     Crew:  5 (commander, gunner, loader, driver, radio op.).    Length: 19’2″      Width: 8’7″    Height: 9′ (w/o calliope).     Weight: 30 tons (w/o calliope).     Armor:  12.7 – 50mm     Main Gun: 75mm or 76mm (depending on model).     MGs:  Glacis – 1x .30cal    Turret 1x .30cal coaxial + 1x .50cal AA external.     Secondary Armament: Calliope rocket launcher.     NOTE: Even with the calliope mounted, the 75mm main gun remained active.

MODEL    Kit by:  Monogram     Scale:  1/32     Material:  Plastic     FEATURES:  The kit provides nicely detailed T34 mounts & rocket tubes. The turret rotates & the gun elevates & depresses, moving the T34 tubes with it.     ADDED DETAIL: I drilled out the headlights & filled them with liquid acrylic for ‘glass lenses’.  I drilled out the .30cal MG muzzles.   The kit’s field tools were molded on the hull; I sanded these off & replaced them with separate parts (spares box).     FINISHINGThe entire tank was airbrushed in Tamiya Olive Drab. Tires on the bogies were hand painted flat black. Tools (separate parts) were hand painted before installation. The finished tank was lightly weathered with some and painted dust ‘n dirt (lower & upper hull).

M4 Calliope in action. Credit: Wikipedia











CALLIOPE / Driver side














CALLIOPE / Radio Operator side














CALLIOPE / High view















CALLIOPE / Front view

















CALLIOPE / Detail – launcher mounting arms / brackets





The GMC 6×6 2.5-ton truck was a standardized design for the U.S. Army. Though variants were used for other purposes, the main function of the GMC CCKW (official designation) was carrying cargo. The rugged off-road vehicle’s 2.5-ton payload capacity got it the nickname ‘Deuce and a Half’. It was also sometimes referred to as ‘Jimmy’. During W.W.II, the Deuce and a Half saw extensive service with the famous Red Ball Express. The vehicle was replaced by the M35 series of cargo haulers (circa 1950) but remained in service with U.S. service units until the 1960s.

SPECS    Origin:  U.S.A.     Made By:  GMC Truck & Coach, & Chevrolet      Production Dates: 1941 – 1945     Total # Produced: 518,000     Engine: GMC 270, straight 6, gasoline, 91.5hp.    Range: 300 miles     Max Road Speed: 45mph     Crew: 1 (driver) + assistant / cargo handler (optional).     Length: 22.51′     Width: 7.33′    Height: 7.75′ (to cab).     Weight: 4.4 tons (empty) / 8.2 tons (fully fueled & loaded).      Armor: 0     Main Gun:  n/a      MGs:  some vehicles were given a ring mount on the passenger side of the cab, with a .50cal MG.

DESIGN FEATURES:  The Deuce and a Half was designed as an all-terrain vehicle and could perform as well going cross-country as it did on a road. The vehicle came in several variations, including open-top and closed cabs.  Variants included a short wheel-base model (#352 – 145″) which was used for towing 75mm & 105mm howitzers. The longer version (#353 – 165″) was used as a cargo hauler. The suspension was a simple leaf-spring type for all three powered / driven axles (rear tandem axles had leaf-springs with locating arms).

MODEL    Kit by:  Italeri     Scale:  1/35     Material:  Plastic     FEATURES: The kit offers the option of building either a closed cab version or a MG equipped version.  The wheels & tires are well detailed. The cab is nicely detailed with seats, a full dashboard, gas & brake pedals, steering wheel, & shift levers. The undercarriage is fully detailed & made of numerous parts (not a molded single piece).    ADDED FEATURES:  The kit includes a field-tools rack, but it seemed too small, so I replaced it with separate tools stored in a cut-down 50-gallon oil drum in the cargo section. All cargo items are from after-market kits (cast resin crates from Verlinden, oil drums from Tamiya).  I built my kit as the canvas-top version. I covered the rear-view mirror with shiny silver metal tape (instead of just painting it silver). The headlights were drilled out & filled with liquid acrylic medium for a ‘glass lens’ look.   I replaced the cargo bed with a real wood floor made from very thin balsa wood.     FINISH:  I airbrushed the truck an overall brownish olive drab. The underside was airbrushed flat black. Individual details, like seats, dashboard, shift levers, and all cargo items were hand-painted before being installed. Light weathering consists of gray dust & mud splatter. The undercarriage has some rust along with dabbed on mud and dirt. The tires were given a light wash of thinned gray paint to given them a slightly worn look.


GMC 6×6 2.5 -ton truck.      Credit: Wikipedia












GMC 6×6 / Driver side











GMC 6×6 / Passenger side









GMC 6×6 / Undercarriage











GMC 6×6 / Front view / Checking the tires














GMC 6×6 / Cab













GMC 6×6 / Unloading















GMC 6×6 / Cargo bed – Note real wood floor.





















GMC 6×6 / Warehouse backdrop














GMC 6×6 / Street urchins, hoping for a handout















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