In 1940 the US Army set a requirement for a 6x6 truck with a 2 1⁄2-ton (5,000 lb (2,300 kg)) off-road payload. Studebaker, Yellow coach (a GM company), and International Harvester submitted designs. All three were accepted and in production by 1941. The US6 was built primarily for export under the lend-lease act the Soviet Union would be the largest operator. Production began at Studebaker's South Bend, Indiana, truck plant in June 1941, in 1944 REO's Lansing, Michigan plant would also build them. A total of 219,882 2 1⁄2-ton (2,268 kg) 6x6 and 5-ton (4,536 kg) 6x4 trucks in thirteen variations were built. Studebaker was the primary manufacturer, building 197,678, while REO sub-contracted 22,204 more. REO trucks are identical to Studebakers, but REO only built long wheelbase without winch models.
The Tankograd Publishing book upon opening provides us with a whole huge section on the history and development of the Studebaker containing a huge amount of data in detail. The book like most of the Tankograd Technical manual series becomes a photo heavy history of the subject in this instance the U.S. WWII Studebaker.
The photo history of the subject starts with a serious of black and white pictures front, back and side shots that include detail and information about the truck. This section continues through with different uses and of course pictures of truck like the Studebaker US6 U5 long-wheelbase gasoline truck. There is also some information on the Studebaker US6x4 U6 short-wheelbase tractor truck unit, with plenty of additional information on things like lend lease trucks and where they were used and the quantity sent.
The special units such as the Studebaker US6 U9 special chassis truck with Ordinance maintenance shop truck body. There is also pictures of the Studebaker US6 U3 Long - wheelbase cargo truck is used/ turned into a Twin cal. .50 machine gun mount M33. Studebaker US6 U12 short-wheelbase side dump truck with winch and also normal rear -dump models.
Some interesting pictures follow of the trucks being put through their paces straight off of the production line on the proving ground, great shots for diorama work and showing just how versatile the truck really is.
An assembly shot of the Studebaker having a tipper body moved into place this is followed by a couple of pictures of the truck in the field. Soldiers and vehicles of the Battery E, 93rd Coast Artillery Regiment desert training in Death valley. A tranquil picture of a quartermaster truck company on an US airfield loading hay into the back of one of the trucks.
The truck itself was used just about all over the world and the book goes into a huge amount of history and pictures like the Pons-Kostelanetz convoy on a supply road to Russia. A studebaker US6x4 tractor truck with a coupled 7-ton panel cargo semi-trailer on display during a parade in a Dutch town .
Another load of various different Studebakers are shown participating in the in the first convoy that reached the Kumming Yunnan China. Also a similar amount of trucks getting refuelled along the Ledo-Burma road in 1945.
A large section of the building of the Alcan (Alaska) Highway showing just how harsh condition wise the Studebaker could handle with a large selection of photos of the trucks. This section is very interesting with some great photos of the various different trucks with the tractor truck and semi-trailer with snow chains in a great picture . The pictures really are full of inspiration for dioramas and also for building different versions of the tuck in modelling form.
One of the sections I really enjoyed was the Red Army and Wehrmacht Studebakers where the Germans captured some of the Russian Studebakers. One of the photos shows the Russians improvising using the winch to change an engine.
A great bit about the Katyusha BM-13-16 Rocket launcher on the Studebaker US6 chassis some great pictures some of the burnt out trucks, with some other photos of the BM-13-16 launcher really good for the modellers building this vehicle.
The last section is all about cab interior, controls and instruments very useful for the modeller with again a huge amount of photos and diagram form.
The book is very well written and full of photos for anyone liking the soft skins or diorama. I have really enjoyed this book and have a couple of the Studebakers in my stash to build and will return to the book for reference. Tankograd have been making these type of books for a long time now and with each one I get to read I find them very useful as not only a modeller but as a person with an interest in history.
Highs: The book is full of useful information and absolutely full of photos some of them great for ideas for a diorama or two.Lows: The book at the beginning does get a little heavy reading wise, but soon becomes so useful. Verdict: This book is a must if you are into soft skins, the Studebaker, or dioramas.
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