The RED BALL EXPRESS - Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups
Jeep-Short Wheelbase All discussion of short wheelbase Jeeps: CJ, TJ, YJ and JK

 
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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The RED BALL EXPRESS

[img]images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] There was a post recently asking about mixed axle ratios for FWD vehicles, and it reminded me about a conversation I had with a WWII truck mechanic who was part of the maintenance group that kept the famous Red Ball Express running fuel, ammo, food, and suppies to the advancing Allied Armies as they sped east across France. Those GI trucks were either four-by-fours or six-by-sixes with divorced transfer cases, all were twin sticks. The four-by-fours weren't so bad, but the six-by-sixes had no inter-axle differential so every tire on the tandem rear axle group had to be exactly the same size or they would get gear bind. They even went as far as to remove one driveline and separate the two rear axles to make the trucks run more free and use less fuel. Of course that meant they could not traverse any mud or real rough country with only one of the rear group axles driving. [img]images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img] He told me that no matter how much they tried to preach to the drivers, many of them just did not understand the basics of the drivetrain and could not understand how to operate the trucks without breaking SOMETHING. [img]images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] He said there were drivelines laying in the road all up and down the route because the drivers could not seem to understand that they had to disengage front drive on hard ground. For many of the drivers, this was their first-ever experience behind the wheel. [img]images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 01:42 PM
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Re: The RED BALL EXPRESS

Now Dave, you shouldn't tell lies.....we know you didn't talk to that mechanic, because YOU were the mechanic back then. But we understand how you don't want anyone to know how old you really are.......
post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-24-2005, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The RED BALL EXPRESS

[img]images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img] I never got tired of playing with my dad's six-inch cresent wrench. As a teething tot I loved to bite the cold handle of that wrench. That was in about'44 or so.....about the time the Red Ball express was running. In later years as I drove those army surplus trucks that we had I used to wonder if any of them were exactly as old as I was. I went on board a Liberty ship in San Francisco that was launched the day I was born at a shipyard less than twelve miles from where I was born in Californey in '43. [img]images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]
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