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Studebaker produced more than a dozen configurations of the Lend-Lease US6 "Deuce and a Half." Most of the "Studers" ended up in the Soviet Union. (Illustration by Gregory Proch)

In 1940, with war looming, General Motors Corp. developed a six-wheel drive (6×6) truck that entered U.S. Army service as the CCKW350. GIs called it the “Deuce and a Half,” in reference to its 2½-ton cargo capacity. By war’s end GMC had produced more than a half-million Deuces, fitted with a variety of configurations aft of the cab, including a cargo bed, water and gas tanks, enclosed vans, air compressors, dump bodies and a tractor mount for hauling semitrailers. GMC’s primary consumer for the truck was the Army. International Harvester built its own version, the M-5H-6, for the U.S. Navy and Marines, while Studebaker built the US6 model primarily for the Allies through the Lend-Lease program.

Studebaker built 105,917 six-wheel drive versions and 87,742 four-wheel drive versions of the US6 between 1941 and 1945, in 13 variations. Reo Motors built an additional 22,204 of the 6×6 U3. Of that total the United States shipped 152,000 trucks to the Soviet Union, mainly through the Persian Corridor. The Russians found the “Studer,” as they affectionately nicknamed it, robust and reliable, and its logistic contribution made it arguably the most significant American-supplied piece of hardware the Soviets used. Studebaker trucks also saw wartime service along the Burma Road and the Alcan Highway.