The AFHM has a number of authentic, fully operational military jeeps on display throughout the museum. Getting up close and personal gives visitors a sense of life in the military and the importance of the service these vehicles provided. Take a moment, put yourself behind the wheel – feel the power, feel the fear, feel the pride.
1964 Jeep – This particular jeep was actually used by the Israeli Army during the Six Day War (June 5 thru 10, 1967) and is equipped with a 106mm Recoilless Rifle.
1964 USMC M38A1 ¼ TON 4 X 4 Utility Jeep
M151-A2-LC – On display in our Ho Chi Minh Trail diorama, this AM General prototype was never put into production and has been certified by as the only one in existence. The M151-A2-LC was built on an experimental basis using the A2 body and engine and the civilian CJ5 fixed axles and T90 transmission and T18 transfer.
The M151-A2-LC was originally acquired directly from AM General. This particular prototype is the gas version of this design. The AFHM also has a diesel M151-A2-LC which has not yet been fully restored.
US Army / USMC M151-A1 ¼ ton 4 x 4 – This jeep was the last design before the introduction of the Humvee. It was capable of a variety of tasks, including operating the Minesweeper the AFHM has attached. This Minesweeper on this vehicle is only one of two known to exist.
History of the Military Jeep
The history of the military jeep dates back to 1941. This four wheel drive reconnaissance vehicle became the focus of the US military just prior to their involvement in World War II. At that time, the US Army asked over 130 companies to present a working prototype of a four-wheel-drive reconnaissance car. The American Bantam Car Company and Willys-Overland were the only companies to respond to their request.
Each company submitted its proposal. Bantam was a small company and the Army was concerned with its ability to produce the high volume of vehicles they required. The Army took Bantam’s design to Willys and Ford instructing them to review the design and make any necessary changes and/or modifications. Shortly thereafter, Ford presented the US Army with the ‘Pygmy’ and Willys presented their “Quad”, along with the original Bantam. All three prototypes had a similar four-wheel drivetrain component.
Willys-Overland Wins the Contract
After extensive field testing, Willys-Overland made design revisions to encompass new weight specifications. New guidelines allowed them to use their heavy but powerful Willys ‘Go Devil’ engine. This new design won Willys the contract. Due to the high volume of vehicles required, Willys-Overland did allow the US Government to use additional manufacturers. The government chose Ford.
WWII and the Jeep
During WWII, Willys-Overland and Ford produced approximately 640,000 Jeeps. They were used by all branches of the US military. The US Army alone supplied each of their infantries with 145 jeeps. Along with reconnaissance, the vehicles were used in a variety of roles:
- Cable laying
- Saw milling
- Firefighting pumpers
- Field ambulances
Though used extensively throughout the US military in World War II, 30% of all jeep production was used to supply the United Kingdom and the Soviet Red Army. After WWII, a number of variants were developed and modernized versions remain popular in both the military and civilian life. One of the most attractive features of the Jeep is its off-road capabilities. The Willys MB military jeep was supplied to the US military and some allied nations into the late 1960s.