Willys M38A1

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Willys / Kaiser MD / M38A1
'67 Kaiser Jeep (Auto classique VAQ St-Lambert '12).jpg
1967 Kaiser Jeep
Overview
ManufacturerWillys 1952–1953
Willys Motors / Kaiser Jeep 1953–1971
NEKAF[nb 1] 1955–1962
Sherkat-Sahami (Iran)[1]
Also calledWillys MD
Production1952–1971
Body and chassis
Body style2-door SUV
LayoutFront-engine, four-wheel-drive
Related
Powertrain
Engine134 cu in (2.20 L) Hurricane I4 (gasoline)
Transmission3-speed Borg-Warner T-90 manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase81 in (2.06 m) [2]
Length138.6 in (3.52 m) [3]
Width60.8 in (1.54 m) (body) [3]
Height73 in (1.85 m) with top up, reducible to 56+14 in (1.43 m) [2]
Curb weight2,660 lb (1,210 kg)
Chronology
PredecessorWillys M38
SuccessorFord M151

The Willys MD, formally the M38A1 Truck, Utility: 1/4 ton, 4x4, or the G‑758 by its U.S. Army Standard Nomenclature supply catalog designation, was a four-wheel drive, military light utility vehicle, made by Willys and Willys Motors / Kaiser Jeep from 1952 to 1971. It was widely procured by the U.S. military from 1952 until 1957, after which U.S. purchases were reduced to the U.S. Marine Corps. The Marine version had minor differences from the units used by other branches.

The MD was the first Willys jeep with a significantly restyled body, immediately recognizable by its rounded hood and fenders. It formed the basis for the civilian and commercial Jeep CJ‑5, built for three decades (1954–1983), and subsequent models, and called the first 'round-fendered' Jeep. Although hard doors were still not available, the soft-top could be complemented with soft side panels and little hinged doors, that consisted of a thin steel frame with cloth and plastic window.[4]

For the U.S. Army, the MD was replaced by the Ford M151 jeep, from 1960. Low volume production of M38A1s for export to friendly foreign governments continued through 1971. Production totalled 101,488 units (80,290 domestic / 21,198 foreign sales). M38A1 jeeps saw extensive service during the Korean War, Vietnam War and several other conflicts.


Description[edit]

The M38A1 was frequently mated with the M100 (Korean War) version of the Jeep trailer.

The M38A1 / MD was the second post-war evolution of the World War II Willys MB jeep (after the M38 or MC; F engine Prototypes), and the first Willys Jeep to feature the new rounded fenders and hood body design that would become the distinguishing body style of the 1955 CJ‑5, and which was carried through for decades on the CJ‑6, CJ‑7 and CJ‑8 Jeeps.[3]
The M38A1's wheelbase grew by a single inch (2.5cm), and overall length by some 6 in (15 cm).

M38A1 cabin / dashboard

Drive Train[edit]

The M38A1 was the first Army jeep to use the Willys Hurricane F-Head 134 inline-four engine. This engine was taller than the 'Go-Devil' engine that powered the WWII era jeeps and the M38, and was the reason for restyling the body over the higher power plant.

Otherwise, the MD had a T-90 3-speed transmission, Dana 18 transfer case, either the Dana 25 or the Dana 27 front axle, and Dana 44 rear axle.


M38A1C spotter unit with .50 cal machine gun.

Variants[edit]

M38A1C with 106mm recoilless gun.
M38A1'D' used in the Little Feller I nuclear test.

M38A1 (MD)[edit]

Basic utility version. Would regularly be equipped with M2 .50 cal machine gun and/or radio equipment and antenna-mount. On early units (1952–1953) the front grille was mounted with two 45 degree hinges, one at each frame rail, to flip it forward for maintenance.[5]

M38A1C[edit]

Modified version equipped with a M40A1 106mm recoilless rifle. Some units were fitted as spotters, with a .50 caliber rifle. The 50 cal. would be fired first, to ensure a first round hit with the M40 equipped unit.[6]

M38A1'D'[edit]

Several dozen M38A1s were converted, mounting a tactical nuclear Davy Crockett Weapon System, fired by a large diameter smoothbore recoilless rifle – either an M28 120mm, or an M29 155mm gun.[7] The vehicle carried two M388 projectiles, mounting the Mk-54 nuclear warhead. The range of weapon was approximately 1.25 miles (2 km), with the M28 gun, or 2.5 miles (4 km) with the M29. This vehicle/weapon combination was also referred to as the "Battle Group Atomic Delivery System", and was allocated to airborne units.

The Dutch used this M38A1 with generator and mobile welder

M38A1 Welding Unit[edit]

Just one unit is assumed to have been built,[8] originally fitted with a Harger & Valentine field arc-welding system, powered by a power take-off driven generator.[9]

M170 long wheelbase ambulance version

M170 ambulance[edit]

The M170 Frontline Ambulance variant of the M38A1, with a 20 in (51 cm) stretched wheelbase, formed the basis for the later civilian Willys CJ‑6 Jeep. The spare tire was relocated in a special wheel well on the right interior side of the vehicle, and a larger 20 US gal (76 l) fuel tank was fitted. Capacity was six seated passengers, or three lying on litters. A total of 4,155 M170 ambulances were designed and built by Kaiser Jeep of Toledo, Ohio, from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s.[10]

U.S. Marines Variant[edit]

There is no official, nor uniform specification, for the M38A1s that where manufactured specifically for the United States Marine Corps. USMC jeeps had to be air transportable, hung under a helicopter, so they all had a reinforced rear bumper, for lift ring fitment, and most indeed had front and rear lift rings.[11] The rear lift rings were fitted (by or for USMC) in a different position, than standard jeeps had been prepared for from the factory.
Further, most USMC jeeps had more waterproofing, and roughly two thirds of them received more undercoating – to the frame exterior, under the floor and hood, and the bottom half of the firewall. For better traction, the Marine Corps started ordering limited-slip differentials, especially on the rear axle, and mostly after introduction of the M151 jeeps in the Army. USMC jeeps were painted 34052 forest green, with flat yellow numbering on the hood only. Little or no other markings were applied on USMC jeeps.[11]

U.S. Air Force DJ Variant[edit]


Other Variants[edit]

Canadian M38A1 jeep

Canadian[edit]

Canadian variants: M38A1CDN, M38A1CDN2 produced in Canada and M38A1CDN3 produced in the USA.

According to Canadian author David Dunlop, over 1,000 M38A1 CDN jeeps were built by Ford of Canada in 1952/1953.[12]
Next, Kaiser Jeep of Canada Ltd started assembling Jeeps in Windsor in 1954 or in 1959, in the former Willys factory, established there in 1934. Initially building only CJ-5 jeeps, at a targeted rate of 1,000 a year, in 1967 a Canadian government contract came, to build 800 M38A1 CDN2 Jeeps for the Canadian Forces at $2,789,000 CDN.[12] M38A1 CDN3 jeeps were built in the USA for Canada in 1970-1971. Unclear about 1959-69 Windsor production is how many other Jeep models and units were built for the Canadian military. Anecdotal evidence has surfaced of a domestic Canadian Navy unit, built in 1964.

Dutch: NEKAF jeeps[edit]

The Dutch Army also used the short wheelbase M38A1 as an ambulance –
instead of the long wheelbase M170.

After initially using surplus U.S. war jeeps after World War II, a successor model was required by the Royal Netherlands Army, from the early 1950s. Wanting to support Dutch industry, a prototype four-wheel drive design by the country's only volume car and truck manufacturer DAF, the H-driven DAF YA-054, was considered, competing with U.S.-built M38A1s, a number of which had been supplied under the Mutual Defense Assistance program.[13]

The DAF proposal seemed neither better nor cheaper and lost the race, but as an economic stimulus, the American Jeeps were to be assembled in Holland[14] from knock-down kits parts, made in the U.S.A., in the "NEtherlands KAiser-Frazer" (or 'NEKAF') factory. Eventually some 24 % of the NEKAF jeep's parts were supplied by Dutch firms. Nekaf jeeps were identical to U.S. M38A1s, except for minor lighting additions.[13]

Dutch Army M38A1 MD jeep

Production spanned from 1955 to 1958, under Kaiser-Frazer (some 5,650 units), after which time production was taken over by a Dutch company, who delivered another 2,237 jeeps through 1963, still using the 'NEKAF' name, for a total of just under 8,000 units. The M38A1 Jeep eventually served with one of the longest service records in the Royal Dutch military, for more than 40 years, from 1952 until 1996, as a result of both budget constraints, and sheer longevity of the vehicles, even outlasting the DKW Mungas, which had been bought to replace them in Dutch service,[13] as well as some 1,200 DAF YA 66s supplied in the 1970s, which had little to no off-road capability, and which were decommissioned in the early 1990s.

After 1959, with American part sets, 355 Nekafs were converted to M38A1C: 106mm M40 recoilless rifle carriers, and from 1983 to 1989, forty M38A1Cs were equipped with cable-guided TOW missiles.[13]

Iranian[edit]

Jeep Truck copies (variously called the Simurg or Simoorgh) produced by the firm of Sherkat-Sahami in Iran.[15]

South Korean[edit]

KM-410 and Keohwa M-5GA1 versions produced in South Korea.

Operators[edit]

An ex-Bangladesh Army (obtained from surrendered Pakistan Army stocks in 1971) M38A1C with M40 recoilless rifle, in Bangladesh Military Museum.
Israeli M38A1C anti-tank jeeps.
Willys M38A1 - ex Swiss military.

Non-state military operators[edit]

United Nations (UNIFIL) peace-keeping Jeeps, operated by Dutchbat in Lebanon (1981).

Service history[edit]

President Lyndon B. Johnson riding in an M38A1.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ (NEtherlands KAiser-Frazer Factory)

Reference notes[edit]

  1. ^ Neville, Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces (2018), p. 41.
  2. ^ a b M38A1 Data Sheet TM9-500.pdf
  3. ^ a b c About Willys M38A1: History & Technical Specs – KaiserWillys.com
  4. ^ M38A1 with hinged soft-top door
  5. ^ M38A1 - The "Original" Round Fender
  6. ^ M38A1C 1/4 Ton 4x4 W/M40A1 106mm recoilless rifle - ScaleMates
  7. ^ M38A1D Jeep with M28/29 "Davy Crockett" Tactical Nuclear Launcher – WarWheels.Net
  8. ^ Welding Unit Variant - M38A1.com
  9. ^ 1954 M38A1 Welding Unit F/S - G503 Military Vehicle Message Forums
  10. ^ M170 - Ambulance Variant — M38A1.com
  11. ^ a b USMC Variant - Differences between years and variants | M38A1.com
  12. ^ a b Kaiser Jeep in Canada 1959-69 – CJ3B.info
  13. ^ a b c d NEKAF Production Units - Differences between years and variants | M38A1.com
  14. ^ Colloquial usage of the term!
  15. ^ Neville, Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces (2018), p. 41.
  16. ^ "Arms for freedom". 29 December 2017. Retrieved 2019-08-31.
  17. ^ Neville, Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces (2018), p. 16.
  18. ^ "Kader Factory". Aoi.com.eg. Archived from the original on 23 July 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  19. ^ Neville, Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces (2018), p. 41.
  20. ^ Conboy and Greer, War in Laos 1954–1975 (1994), p. 59.
  21. ^ "Flotilla Aérea".
  22. ^ Neville, Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces (2018), p. 41.
  23. ^ Commons category:Willys M38A1 in Swiss military service
  24. ^ Neville, Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces (2018), p. 41.
  25. ^ Kassis, Véhicules Militaires au Liban/Military Vehicles in Lebanon (2012), p. 51.
  26. ^ Neville, Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces (2018), p. 9.
  27. ^ Neville, Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces (2018), p. 9.
  28. ^ El-Assad, Civil Wars Volume 1: The Gun Trucks (2008), p. 135.
  29. ^ Neville, Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces (2018), p. 9.
  30. ^ Kassis, Véhicules Militaires au Liban/Military Vehicles in Lebanon (2012), p. 60.
  31. ^ Kassis, Véhicules Militaires au Liban/Military Vehicles in Lebanon (2012), p. 53.
  32. ^ Neville, Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces (2018), p. 14.
  33. ^ Kassis, 30 Years of Military Vehicles in Lebanon (2003), p. 35.
  34. ^ Neville, Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces (2018), p. 15.
  35. ^ Naud, La Guerre Civile Libanaise - 1re partie: 1975-1978 (2012), pp. 8–16.
  36. ^ "Flotilla Aérea".
  37. ^ Neville, Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces (2018), p. 9.
  38. ^ Kassis, 30 Years of Military Vehicles in Lebanon (2003), p. 24.
  39. ^ Kassis, Véhicules Militaires au Liban/Military Vehicles in Lebanon (2012), p. 58.
  40. ^ Neville, Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces (2018), p. 9.

General references[edit]

  • TM 9-804A 14-ton 4x4 utility truck M38A1, Technical manual (1952)
  • TH 9-345 NEKAF M38A1 Dutch M38A1 made by NEKAF, Technical manual (1957)
  • Kenneth Conboy and Don Greer, War in Laos 1954-1975, Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1994. ISBN 0-89747-315-9
  • Samer Kassis, 30 Years of Military Vehicles in Lebanon, Beirut: Elite Group, 2003. ISBN 9953-0-0705-5
  • Samer Kassis, Véhicules Militaires au Liban/Military Vehicles in Lebanon 1975-1981, Trebia Publishing, Chyah 2012. ISBN 978-9953-0-2372-4
  • Leigh Neville, Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces, New Vanguard series 257, Osprey Publishing Ltd, Oxford 2018. ISBN 9781472822512
  • Moustafa El-Assad, Civil Wars Volume 1: The Gun Trucks, Blue Steel books, Sidon 2008. ISBN 9789953012568
  • Philipe Naud, La Guerre Civile Libanaise - 1re partie: 1975-1978, Steelmasters Magazine, August–September 2012, pp. 8–16. ISSN 1962-4654 (in French)

External links[edit]