Studebaker in World War Two / WWII
South Bend, IN
Rest in Peace
This page last updated 3-6-2014.
Studebaker had 17,000 employees during WWII
and had all of its production facilities in South Bend at this time,
having moved out of a second plant in Detroit during the Great
Most if not all of the Studebaker production of radial
aircraft engines went into this type aircraft, the Boeing B-17 Flying
Another big product line that Studebaker is
remembered for is the 2 1/2 ton truck. This Studebaker US6 2.5 ton truck is located at the National Military Historical Center, Auburn, IN, and
is on loan
from the National Studebaker Museum in South Bend. It was built in
1942 and is on of 197,678 that were built by the company. It was
never used so is in near brand new condition.
Studebaker World War
Two / WWII Production Numbers / Statistics:
(63,789) of the
Wright R-1820 Cyclone aircraft engines used primarily in the Boeing
B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber. For production of the radial
aircraft engines the Defense Plants Corporation provided a
$50,000,000 for a new plant on Chippewa Avenue on the south side of
South Bend, the ground breaking ceremony taking place in January of
1941. Studebaker did not need the facility after WWII as it
was too large for its intended car production. However, during
Korea it did again make military trucks in the facility and later AM
General used it.
(15,124) M29 Weasels: (766) T15/M28-1942-43, (1,002) T24-1943,
523 M29-1943, 2,951M29-1944, (4,201) M29C-1944, (6,446) M29C-1945 The M29 Weasel was invaluable to the
military as it had the ability to move through sand, mud and snow and
negotiate up, down and sideways across hills in any of the three.
It was totally designed and built by Studebaker in its main plant in
(197,678) US6 / M16A 2 1/2 ton trucks -
Most of the production went
to Russia which desperately needed good reliable heavy duty trucks and
in appreciation for the supply of trucks, Joseph Stalin sent
Studebaker an official letter of thanks. The trucks came in
either a 148 in. or 162 in. wheelbase. There was also a 6x4
version that was rated at 5 tons but this was for over the road use
only. The 6x6 was rated 2 1/2 for off road travel. Around
10,000 trucks were manufactured as open cab starting in December of 1942
but production reverted back to the covered cab in March of 1943 after
the Russian Army expressed its dissatisfaction with the change.
Studebaker US6 trucks were not only manufactured as cargo trucks but 750
gallon water tankers, semi-tractor (6x4) and dump trucks.
This undated four page brochure on Studebaker's contribution to the war
effort would appear to be 1943.
This is a Studebaker built R-1820 engines
that is at the Champaign Aviation Museum in Urbana, OH and could end up
as one of the four powerplants that will go onto the B-17 Champaign Lacy
when she is fully restored to flying condition.
Magazine Advertisements - Studebaker is
one of the manufacturers that elected to advertise its war effort in the
magazines of the period to keep its name in front of the car buying
public, knowing there was going to be pent-up demand for the automobiles after
hostilities ceased. Looking the ads helps give more insight into the
war products produced.
This ad from October of 1944 gives some
Studebaker production numbers to that date. 45,000 R-1830 aircraft
engines out of a total of 63,789 and 135,000 trucks out of 197,678 had
been produced by that date.
Studebaker built 197,678 trucks during WWII,
many of them going to the Soviet Union as part of the Lend-Lease program.
15,124 M29 Weasels were produced during WWII.
This was a Studebaker design and it was the only company to manufacture
Photos from the Studebaker Museum in South
Bend, IN. This is an excellent museum and is well worth the trip
to South Bend to visit it. Composed of three floors, there are all
sort of vehicles in the brand new facility. The WWII items are in the
basement which is a combination display and storage area for vehicles as
they are rotated through the main museum displays.
The M29/T15/T24 Weasel:
The Wright 1820 Radial Aircraft Engine:
There is no US6 /M16A truck on display but there was this photo of one.
See photo below.
Photos from the National Military
Historical Center, Auburn, IN.
Another view of the Studebaker US6 2.5 ton truck
that is on loan
from the National Studebaker Museum in South Bend.
The National Military Historical Center also has
a Studebaker T24 on display also.
The National Military Historical Center also
has a Studebaker M29C "Water Weasel" which was the
Here a Studebaker built M29 Weasel is
pulling troops behind it on skies with a tow rope in Italy in early
You can see real Studebaker US6
Video of seventeen Studebaker Trucks in Queensland, Australia, 2007