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United States' 2 1/2 Ton, 6x6, Amphibian Truck, DUKW, "Duck"


The DUKW was designed from a directive issued by the Commanding General, Services of Supply. The D represented the model year, 1942, the U represented that it was amphibious, K that it was all wheel drive and W that there were two rear axles.

The DUKW was based on the 2 1/2 Ton, 6x6, Deuce and a Half truck. A hull was added to the chassis that would allow it to float.

One out of four DUKW's have a M36 truck mount for an antiaircraft machine gun.

The engine can power all the axles or just the rear two.

The winch for the DUKW is mounted in the rear.

Cargo Area

The DUKW's cargo area can carry 25 men or 5,350 lbs of payload. The cargo area also had storage areas accessible through hatches in the floor. There are also hatches that allow access to the engine. This was roomy enough to carry small artillery guns. It was possible to fire the artillery from the water but this ability was rarely used.

Crew Compartment

The driver's compartment is open and at the front of the rear cargo area. It has a canvas that goes over the top and rear. There are side curtains that can be removed. The windshield can be folded forward or tilted up and out.

On Land

The DUKW had the ability to regulate its tire pressure while traveling over very soft ground.

Water Propulsion

For water operations there is a propeller and it is steered by the front wheels and a rudder. Additional steering could be done by steering the front wheels. There is an anchor with shackles. There is a ring life preserver and three life preserver jackets. There are two pumps (bilge) for removing water out of the hull, one a 60 gallon/minute rotary pump and a 260 gallon/minute centrifugal pump. In emergencies a 50 gallon/minute hand pump is provided.


  • 2 1/2 Ton, 6x6, Amphibian Truck, DUKW: >21,000, 21,147
    • Manufacturer: Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing Co.


  • 2 1/2 Ton, 6x6, Amphibian Truck, DUKW:
  • Scorpion: Had 4.5" / 114.3 mm rockets mounted. Used in the Pacific theater of operations.
  • BAV-485: Soviet Union's copy. Had a loading ramp at the rear of the cargo area.


As the DUKW was based on a standard truck design it was relatively easy to maintain.

The benefit of the DUKW is that it didn't have to unload on a beach, but could drive further inland and take the cargo to where it was needed and then go back for more.

Soviet Union

The Soviet Union produced a copy called the BAV-485. Some were still being used by Warsaw Pact forces.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom used their DUKWs until the 1970s.


  2 1/2 Ton, 6x6, Amphibian Truck, DUKW
Crew 1, 1 - 2, 2
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 19,570 lb, 20,013 lb
9,097 kg
Weight - unloaded 14,880 lb
6,750 kg
Weight - loaded 20,055 lb
9,097 kg
Payload 5,175 lb, 5,350 lb
2,347 kg
Winch capacity 10,000
Length 31', 32'
9.75 m
Height - top up 8' 9.5", 8' 10"
2.69 m
Height - top down 7' 1 3/8"
Width 8' 2 7/8", 8' 2.9"
2.51 m
Ground clearance 10.5"
Ground pressure  
Main None
1: .50 cal MG
Armor Thickness (mm) None
Engine (Make / Model) GMC Model 270
Bore / stroke  
Net HP 91.5
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Radiator (Type)  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering ratio  
Electrical system 6 volt
Gear ratios - 1st speed  
- 2nd speed  
- 3rd speed  
- 4th speed  
- 5th speed  
- Reverse  
Fuel (Type)  
Quantity 40 gallons
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Speed - Road 45 mph, 50 mph
80 kph
Max speed - water 6 mph, 6.3 mph
9.7 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 75 miles, 220 miles
120 km
Road radius - water 50 miles
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius - land 36'
Turning radius - water 20'
Elevation limits  
Fording depth Amphibious
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle 18"
Climbing ability 60%
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Wheels (Type) 11.00 x 18, 10 ply desert
Wheels - desert  
Tire tread  
Tread center to center 63 5/8"


  1. The American Arsenal, 1996
  2. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  3. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site