The DUKW, popularly called the DUCK, is a six-wheel-drive amphibious truck,
developed by the United States during
World War 2 for transporting goods and troops
over land and water and for use approaching
and crossing beaches in amphibious attacks.
A DUKW in WW II.
The DUKW was used in landings in the Pacific,
in North Africa
and on D-Day on the beaches of Normandy.
At Normandy alone, DUKW carried 18 million
tons of supplies ashore in the 90 days after
the landing that the enemy held all available
ports. See Mulberry harbor.
The DUKW was developed by the National Defense
Research Committee and the Office of Scientific
Reserch and Development, but was originally
rejected by the armed services. When a US
Coast Guard patrol craft ran aground on a
sandbar near Provincetown, Massachusetts,
an experimental DUKW happened to be in the
area for a scheduled demonstration a few
days later. Winds up to 60 knots (110 km/h),
rain, and heavy surf prevented conventional
craft from rescuing the seven stranded coast
guardsmen, but the DUKW had no trouble, and
military opposition melted. Subsequently,
DUKWs have proved their seaworthiness by
crossing the English Channel ;and many other
exploits at sea.
Although its designation as a DUKW may seem
to be a military pun, in fact in the terminology
developed for military vehicles in World
War 2, the D indicates a vehicle designed in 1942 ;of
270 cubic inches (4.4 L). The DUKW weighed
7.5 tons and operated at 6.4 mph (10 km/h)
on water and 50 mph (80 km/h) on land. It
was 31 feet (9.3 m) long, 8.25 feet (2.4
m) wide, and 8.8 feet (2.6 m) high with the
folding canvas top up. More than 21,000 were
The DUKW was the first vehicle to allow the
driver to vary the tire pressure from inside
the cab, with the tires fully inflated for
hard surfaces such as roads and less inflated
for softer surfaces - especially beach sand.
This added to the DUKW's great versatility
as an amphibious vehicle, and such arrangements
are now a common feature on many military
vehicles. The DUKWs were the only wheeled
vehicles capable of operating on the beach
at Iwo Jima, for instance.
Duck boat tour in Boston
Many DUKWs are still in use, primarily as
tourist transport in harbor and river cities
such as London, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore,
Wisconsin Dells, Seattle, Halifax, Nova Scotia,
and Liverpool;(UK). The Boston Red Sox;celebrated
their 2004;World Series;victory with a parade
of 17 DUKWs carrying members of the team
over land and across the Charles River
Those in Liverpool;and London have been repainted
yellow, and given diesel engines and enclosed
tops, making them resemble conventional buses.
They each have a bus-type public service
vehicle licence and a passenger-use boat licence.