Today in WW II: 20 Apr 1945 Northern Italy: US 5th Army breaks out beyond the Apennines, into the broad Po River Valley, forcing retreat across the Po by forces of German Gen. Heinrich Von Vietinghoff.
Ford GP Truck, 1/4 Ton, 4x4 Jeep
The full story of the development of the original Army Jeep of World War II is on the linked page. See the Ford GP page for more details and photos of this prototype jeep.
The GP was Ford's design for the 1941 U.S. Army order for 1,500 Reconnaissance Car prototype jeeps, following the Ford Pygmy pilot model of 1940. GP was Ford's production code for the vehicle: "G" for U.S. Government contract production and "P" for 80 in. wheelbase. "GP" does not stand for "General Purpose" as is sometimes claimed.
Many of the now-familiar body features of the military jeep were originated by Ford, such as the squared-off front end with a flat grill, and the headlights recessed in the grill. Ford did not win the Army mass-production contract award, which went to Willys-Overland, but Ford did produce the Ford GPW as a second source manufacturer of the Willys design.
Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the Ford GP prototype jeep at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup.
Ford GP Truck, 1/4 Ton, 4x4 Jeep Photo Gallery
Ford GP. Photo: Courtesy of Steve Greenberg.
1941 photo of Ford GP.
Ford GP jeeps, at Ford test area, River Rouge plant near Detroit, MI, May 1941.
Ford GP jeep, Fort Riley, KS. From Field Artillery Magazine, June 1941 edition.
Ford GP with four West Point cadets, Ft. Benning, GA, summer of 1941. The M-1 helmet was new at the time.