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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: 20 Aug 1939 Battle of Khalkhin Gol: Soviet Gen. Zhukov decisively defeats Japanese Imperial Army forces in the Japanese-Soviet border war in Inner Mongolia [20-31 Aug].  More 
20 Aug 1940 Winston Churchill refers to the valiant RAF pilots defending Britain: 'Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few'.
20 Aug 1944 168 captured allied airmen arrive at Buchenwald concentration camp, accused of being 'terror fliers' rather than legitimate combatants.
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 Vehicle from C Co., 121st Engineering Combat Bn, 29th Infantry Division, in France, 1944.  Named St. Lo Special.
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.
Tenth Mountain Division M29 Weasels, Camp Hale, CO, 1943-44.  Soldier is identified as Richard Fogarty.
Field headquarters of Task Force Frigid, sent to Alaska to test uniforms, equipment and vehicles on the barren wastes of the Arctic, circa 1946.  Visible are a jeep and M-29 Weasel vehicles.
Tenth Mountain Division M29 Weasel on its side on a roadside snowbank, near Camp Hale, CO, circa 1943-1944.
4.2-inch chemical mortars were among the first ground weapons to fire HE against fortifications on the French coast after the June 1944 invasion. At extreme right appears a M29 Weasel amphibious tracked vehicle.

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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