The DUKW1 2½-ton amphibious truck was developed by the US National Defense Research Council to a military specification in October 1942.



The vehicle was based on many of the mechanical components of the standard American 2½ -ton 6x6 truck fitted into the watertight hull. Built by the Yellow Truck and Coach Mfg Co. of Pontiac Michigan, the DUKW was powered by a 4,417cc GMC 270 6-cylinder petrol engine which allowed it to travel at 45mph on land or 6.3mph in the water. On land it utilized the usual; six wheel drive of a standard truck; and for water operation it was propelled by propeller and steered by a combination of both the front wheels and a rear rudder. Despite a rather limited load-carrying capability and temperamental performance in rough seas the DUKW proved a sturdy and reliable vehicle.

The driver’s cab was separate from the main cargo compartment, which could carry 25 men or up to 2½ tons of cargo. Hatches in the deck gave access to storage compartments, to the engine, and to the rear mounted winch. Two mechanical pumps and one hand pump were provided to clear water from the hull should it become necessary.

21,247 of these vehicles were built in US plants before the end of World War II, performed invaluable service from March 1943 in amphibious landings2 and river crossings operations with all Allied Forces, and long after it had been superseded in the military by newer designs, many of these useful vehicles would find further employment around the world in a variety of civilian roles where an amphibious requirement was needed.


A number of weapon-carrying versions were produced, including the Scorpion, which could be used as a rocket launcher.


Length 31 ft 9.44 m
Width 8.25 ft 2.54 m
Height 8.75 ft 2.66 m
Weight 19,570 lb 8,876 kg
Speed 45 mph 72 Km/hr

See Also

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