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M-28 / M-29 Weasel Amphibious Vehicle

M-29 Weasel Amphibious Vehicle. Photo: Courtesy Jim Pace
M-29 Weasel Amphibious Vehicle. Photo: Courtesy Jim Pace.

M-29 Weasel Amphibious Vehicle. Photo: Courtesy Jim Pace
M-29 Weasel Amphibious Vehicle. Photo: Courtesy Jim Pace.

Today in WW II: 23 Nov 1940 Ford delivered the Pygmy prototype jeep to the US Army.  More 
23 Nov 1942 SS Ben Lomond sunk by German U-boat off the coast of Brazil.
23 Nov 1943 Deutsche Opernhaus, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, and many other buildings destroyed by a 764 aircraft RAF bombing raid on Berlin [22-23 Nov].
23 Nov 1944 Strasbourg, in eastern France, liberated by French General LeClerc's 2nd Armored Division. Eisenhower orders controversial halt at the Rhine by US Sixth Army Group.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

M-28 or M-29 Weasel Amphibious Vehicle

The Weasel began development in 1942, to meet a requirement by the First Special Services Force for transportation into Norway where the target was power plants supplying Germany with electricity. The vehicle specifications included:

  • Ability to move quickly and easily through the winter snows of Norway
  • Air transportable and able to be dropped by parachute
  • Cargo capacity to carry arms, explosives, and other supplies

An entirely new and innovative vehicle was needed, under wartime pressures to get it done yesterday. Studebaker Company accepted the challenge of a 180-day schedule to produce the vehicle. In less than 60 days, they had a prototype, which, after testing and improvements, was standardized as the M28 Cargo Carrier. While the mission to Norway was cancelled, the Weasel was a versatile vehicle that could be used for command, radio, ambulance, signal line laying, and light cargo. It operated effectively on difficult terrain such as snow, swamps, sand, deep mud, and lakes. It was used in Europe, the Pacific and Alaska during World War II, and by VJ Day, over 15,000 had been built. During the decades following WW II, the M29C was used in Arctic and Antarctic Operations, supporting explorers and scientists.

M-28 / M-29 Weasel Models

The M28 Weasel has two seats with its engine centered in the rear. Its tracks are lightly supported by only four pairs of road wheels. The top run of the track slants upward from the rear sprocket to the higher front drive sprocket. The electrical system is 6 volt.

The M29 Cargo Carrier (Weasel), standardized in November 1943, had four seats and moved the engine to the front right. It has tracks with a mild slant downward to the front, robustly supported by eight sets of road wheels on an improved suspension. The electrical system is upgraded to 12-volts. During production, the track width was increased from 15 to 20 inches.

The final version of the Weasel was the M29C, an fully amphibious version that added watertight cells for buoyancy and twin rudders at the stern. Over 10,600 of the M29C were produced, although some were stripped of their floatation tanks and rudders once in the field.

M-28 or M-29 Weasel Photos

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the M28 / M29 Weasel at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup:

M-29 Weasel, Amphibious Tracked Cargo Carrier, Alaska, during WW II.  Adapted for use in the Arctic.
30th Infantry Division M29 Weasel, with wounded soldiers being evacuated, near the area of the 30th ID Rhine River crossing south of Wesel, Germany, on 24 March 1945, two days before the date of this photo.
An M29C Weasel goes on a test drive during World War II.
Convoy of US vehicles on Leyte, Philippines, circa December 1944.  Lead vehicle is an M29 Weasel, followed by jeeps.
M29 Weasel with mounted recoilless rifle and sled in tow, ETO, winter 1944-1945.
M29 Weasel used in War Bond appeal during World War II.

M-28 or M-29 Weasel Amphibious Vehicle Photo Gallery

M-28 Cargo Carrier (Weasel) at winter training, Camp McCoy, WI, 1943.  Cross-country skis mounted outside the top enclosure.  The photo was taken by Capt. Edward Y. Pettit, who won a Silver Star in Normandy, while Company Commander of Company C, 2nd Combat Engineers Battalion, 2nd (Indianhead) Infantry Division, 14 June 1944. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit, son of Capt. Pettit
M-28 Cargo Carrier (Weasel) at winter training, Camp McCoy, WI, 1943. Cross-country skis mounted outside the top enclosure. The photo was taken by Capt. Edward Y. Pettit, who won a Silver Star in Normandy, while Company Commander of Company C, 2nd Combat Engineers Battalion, 2nd (Indianhead) Infantry Division, 14 June 1944. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit, son of Capt. Pettit.

Camouflaged M-29 Weasel transports wounded, Belgium 1944
Camouflaged M-29 Weasel transports wounded, Belgium 1944.

M29C test during WW II.  Note rudders on rear of vehicle
M29C test during WW II. Note rudders on rear of vehicle.

M-29 Weasel at Camp Mabry Museum (49th Armored Division- Texas), 18 July 2004. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit
M-29 Weasel at Camp Mabry Museum (49th Armored Division- Texas), 18 July 2004. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

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