GAZ 46

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GAZ 46 at Sinsheim pic2.JPG
A GAZ 46 at the Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim, Germany (2009)
ManufacturerGAZ (Gorky Automobile Plant)
Body and chassis
Class4x4 amphibious jeep
Body stylewaterproofed hull
Layoutfront engine, rear drive;
part-time 4x4
RelatedFord GPA, GAZ 69
Engine4 cyl petrol, 2112cc GAZ-69
55 hp @ 2800 rpm,
170 nm @ 1400 rpm
Transmission3-speed manual; 2-speed transfer case
water: PTO propellor drive
Wheelbase230 cm (91 inch)
Length507 cm (200 inch)
Width173,5 cm (68 inch)
Height179 cm (70 inch)
Curb weight1270 kg (GVW: 1770 kg)

The GAZ-46, army designation MAV (Russian, малый автомобиль водоплавающий, small floating car), is a Russian-made light four-wheel drive amphibious military vehicle that entered service in the 1950s and has been used by many Eastern Bloc allied forces since. During the Second World War Canada, Britain and the US forwarded large quantities of military materials to Russia. Among those were jeeps, trucks, and amphibious vehicles like the 6x6 DUKW and the 4x4 Ford GPA. The latter were used to help men and equipment get across the many rivers of Eastern Europe and combat the Germans. Seeing merits of such vehicles, after the war, Russia decided to develop two similar vehicles, using domestic automotive parts, the BAV, an equivalent of the DUKW, and the MAV, an equivalent of the Ford GPA.

Due to bad reception of the Ford GPA 'Seep' by Allied soldiers, most of them were routed to Russia under the US Lend-Lease program, before production was halted prematurely in 1943. The research institute NAMI developed a prototype NAMI-011, basing on GAZ-67B parts, in 1949.[1] The authorities decided, that it should be manufactured in GAZ works, as GAZ-011, but the factory was reluctant, because a design needed much perfecting, while the GAZ-67B was obsolete and due to be replaced with GAZ-69.[1]

As a result, an improved model GAZ-46 was built using the frame and parts of the GAZ-69 4x4 half-ton light truck, of which production started with the Gorki factory of 1952. The principal functions of the GAZ-46 MAV were to make light work of crossing lakes and rivers for men and materials, as well as performing river reconnaissance. As of the end of the fifties the latter role became reserved for the BRDM-1, a much more powerful 4x4 amphibious vehicle.

The GAZ-46 MAV used the mechanics of existing Russian GAZ 4x4 "jeeps" as well as being created somewhat bigger for better buoyancy, and its design is heavily inspired by that of the wartime Ford GPA. Just like the 'Seep', its hull is entirely out of steel, welded to a steel chassis. The layout is the same: engine compartment in the front, crew compartment in the center, and the spare wheel horizontally mounted on the rear deck. The driver and the commander of the vehicle have individual seats in the front with a three-seat bench behind them. The windshield can be folded down, and if necessary, a cover can be installed to close the cockpit. The engine is coupled to a manual three-speed gearbox and a two-speed transfer-case. Also, there is a screw-propellor for in the water propulsion, driven by a power take-off, and a proper rudder provides good maneuverability. Front and rear suspension is in the form of leaf-sprung rigid live axles. Thanks to its steeply raked front and rear and four-wheel drive, the GAZ can manage reasonably steep river banks before swimming across.

Popular culture[edit]

GAZ 46s of the Soviet armed forces were depicted in the 2007 action-thriller Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Replicas with fiberglass hulls were utilized for filming.[2]


  • René Pohl: Mit dem Auto baden gehen. HEEL Verlag, Gut-Pottscheidt Konigswinter 1998, ISBN 3-89365-702-9
  1. ^ a b c Andreev, Konstantin (in Russian). GAZ-46, "Avtolegendy SSSR" Nr 100, DeAgostini 2012, ISSN 2071-095X
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-08. Retrieved 2014-05-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

See also[edit]