How 1919 Army Truck Convoy Across U.S. Helped Win WWII

2019/07/1562826797.jpg
Read: 37131     11:42     11 July 2019    

By Kyle Mizokami

Shortly after World War I, the U.S. Army set off on its most ambitious expeditions to date: traveling from one end of America to the other with nothing but trucks.


The Army, eager to prove the utility of trucks and roads in a future war, sent nearly one hundred vehicles on a trip from Washington D.C. to San Francisco. The trip was unfathomably difficult by today’s standards, with vehicles breaking down and bursting into flames, soldiers falling ill, and bridges and other road works damaged.

World War I was the first conflict in which motor vehicles made a substantial contribution. Invented in the 1900s, the car was quickly adapted into the truck and bus, both of which were used to move men and supplies long distances to the front line. After the war the U.S. Army, eager to show the utility of trucks and vehicles as fast-moving (relatively speaking) transports, organized a convoy from Washington D.C. to San Francisco—2,432 miles as the crow flies.

Over the next 61 days, the convoy would drive across America’s, uneven, disjointed, and occasionally non-existent road network. The convoy, as The Washington Postdescribes it, consisted of nearly one hundred “heavy troop carriers, light trucks, sidecar motorcycles, reconnaissance cars, field kitchens, blacksmith shops and one Renault light tank.” The convoy was manned by 24 expeditionary officers, 15 observation officers, and 258 enlisted men. The convoy made its way across the U.S. on the Lincoln Highway, now U.S. Highway 30, passing through 350 towns along the way.

One staff officer along for the ride, future President of the United States Dwight David Eisenhower, described road conditions as varying from “average to non-existent.”

The convoy was involved in 230 accidents and damaged 88 bridges. Twenty one personnel were injured as the convoy rolled across America and did not finish the trip. The injuries, accidents, and breakdowns are all the more astounding considering the convoy moved at an average speed of less than six miles an hour—about twice as fast as a person can walk.

This video, posted by the National Archives to YouTube, is 25 minutes long and basically a highlight reel of the trip, recording its departure from Washington to its arrival at the Golden Gate.

 

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How 1919 Army Truck Convoy Across U.S. Helped Win WWII

2019/07/1562826797.jpg
Read: 37132     11:42     11 July 2019    

By Kyle Mizokami

Shortly after World War I, the U.S. Army set off on its most ambitious expeditions to date: traveling from one end of America to the other with nothing but trucks.


The Army, eager to prove the utility of trucks and roads in a future war, sent nearly one hundred vehicles on a trip from Washington D.C. to San Francisco. The trip was unfathomably difficult by today’s standards, with vehicles breaking down and bursting into flames, soldiers falling ill, and bridges and other road works damaged.

World War I was the first conflict in which motor vehicles made a substantial contribution. Invented in the 1900s, the car was quickly adapted into the truck and bus, both of which were used to move men and supplies long distances to the front line. After the war the U.S. Army, eager to show the utility of trucks and vehicles as fast-moving (relatively speaking) transports, organized a convoy from Washington D.C. to San Francisco—2,432 miles as the crow flies.

Over the next 61 days, the convoy would drive across America’s, uneven, disjointed, and occasionally non-existent road network. The convoy, as The Washington Postdescribes it, consisted of nearly one hundred “heavy troop carriers, light trucks, sidecar motorcycles, reconnaissance cars, field kitchens, blacksmith shops and one Renault light tank.” The convoy was manned by 24 expeditionary officers, 15 observation officers, and 258 enlisted men. The convoy made its way across the U.S. on the Lincoln Highway, now U.S. Highway 30, passing through 350 towns along the way.

One staff officer along for the ride, future President of the United States Dwight David Eisenhower, described road conditions as varying from “average to non-existent.”

The convoy was involved in 230 accidents and damaged 88 bridges. Twenty one personnel were injured as the convoy rolled across America and did not finish the trip. The injuries, accidents, and breakdowns are all the more astounding considering the convoy moved at an average speed of less than six miles an hour—about twice as fast as a person can walk.

This video, posted by the National Archives to YouTube, is 25 minutes long and basically a highlight reel of the trip, recording its departure from Washington to its arrival at the Golden Gate.

 

popularmechanics



Tags: