The Weasel

The idea for the Weasel came from the British Inventor Geoffrey Pyke, a man famed for his unorthodox methods. His most famous invention was Pykrete, a material that would’ve been used for the Habbakuk iceberg aircraft carrier. Pyke had long planned for Commando assaults on German power plants and industrial areas in Norway and also planned actions to interrupt the Nazi atomic weapons program in Operation Plough. Operation Plough is very much the origin of the Weasel. Pike called for a small, lightweight and fast vehicle, able to transport small teams of men across deep snow to take them deep into enemy territory.

The United States used the vehicle extensively during World War Two.  It was used in Italy, the Western Front, and even in the Pacific. It saw action during the Normandy landings, St. Lo, and the Battle of the Bulge.  It proved its usefulness at the engagements on the Ruhr and Rhine, where it was able to cross the thick, sticky river mud.  In the Pacific, it was used by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, where it proved capable of crossing loose sand, and the harsh tropical island terrain where the Marine Corps’ jeeps wouldn’t dare venture.

Weasel

The use of the M29 Weasel as a universal vehicle soon became clear to the Americans. They used it regularly as a light troop carrier and cargo hauler, and also as a mobile command center, ambulance, and to lay telegraph wires. One of its major attributes was its ability to cross minefields, as its low-ground pressure was often not enough to trigger the anti-tank mines. The ground pressure was still more than enough to trigger anti personnel mines which could easily split a rubber track.

Weasel

The M29 was operated by one driver and could carry three passengers. The driver was positioned in the front left with the engine compartment to his right and a row of three seats in the rear for the passengers. Though officially an unarmed vehicle, Browning M1919 .30 cal or .50 cal M2HB Machine Guns were often mounted for some form of offensive/defensive capability.

Weasel

The M29C was the main variant of the Weasel. The M29 was already partly amphibious, able to traverse shallow and calm waters such as rivers and streams, but could not operate in rough, sea like waters. The M29C amended this issue, with the addition of buoyancy aids in the rear of the hull as well as two rudders. Removable pontoons were also added to the front and rear and changes were made to the treads of the track links to allow it to propel itself in water, although it was very slow. This still didn’t make the M29 capable of seaborne amphibious landings, but allowed to be more stable in deeper or slightly inland waters.including Sweden, France and Norway. Many Weasels served in scientific Arctic explorations.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Elton Allen – Lubbock, TX; US Army, Vietnam, (Ret. 30 y.)

Carl Baumgaertner – St. Paul, MN; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Silver Star

Edward Demyanovich – Bethlehem, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 82nd Airborne Division

Warren Johnson – Glass Lake, NY; US Army, Korea, 101st Airborne Division

Nick Krysko – Toronto, CAN; RC Armed Forces, WWII

Norbert Mersman – Mesa, AZ; US Army, WWII & Korea

Melvin Smith – Sebring, FL; US Army, Korea, Co. E/187th RCT

Anna Snyder – Biloxi, MS; US Army Air Corps WAF, WWII

Estelle Valentine – San Diego, CA; Civilian, Goodyear, WWII / OSS, ETO

John Williamson – Anderson, IN; US Air Force, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, MSgt (Ret. 24 y.), flight engineer

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on September 9, 2019, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 93 Comments.

  1. Only a couple of weeks ago I saw two “Ducks” parked along the seawall in Galveston. They’re sort of the same vehicle, in the sense that they can go on land or in the water. They’re used to haul tourists around now. I’m not sure if they were refurbished “somethings,” or if they’re modeled on the Weasel or some other sort of landing craft, but they were the first thing I thought of when I saw these gems.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have no recall of this ever been portrayed in any War Movies? or haven’t I been paying attention?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The weasel was an astonishing piece of kit. So versatile.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Really interesting, GP!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your story shows the importance of inventors in wartime.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Very interesting. It seems we have stolen something from you again. I also know the weasel, but as a German invention. LoL

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I am currently reading ‘Normandy ’44’ by James Holland. I will pay attention to the Weasel

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Your posts are great gp, only thing with ex servicemen like me who have a penchant for history, we tend to have a need to do more research, overall it is a great way of researching fact on war history, well done mate.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I always encourage people to get interested and/or curious and do further research. There’s no way wordpress can give me enough room to put ALL the information that’s out there – especially now that the archives and further classified papers are being released!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I just love those old advertisements..👍

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Interesting vehicle!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. During the Blizzard of ’49, the Weasel did duty as a way to reach people stranded on their farms and ranches with needed supplies.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I really enjoyed that. I had heard of the iceberg aircraft carriers, but not Geoffrey Pyke or the Weasel which would make a great holiday vehicle even now.
    On your second Military Humor picture, given that the message is translated into Arabic, I’m none too sure it is a joke, with all those crazy suicide bombers about.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree about the 2nd cartoon; I would say it served for a dual purpose – a warning for them and for us… a smile.
      Did you ever do a post on the iceberg aircraft carriers?

      Like

  13. We over-look history in our own back yard. IE Studebaker in South Bend

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Geoffrey Pyke deserves a post all to himself, amazing chap. He was a journalist in Germany during WW1 and became a POW, and then did a daring escape back to England.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. The neighbor in back of my parents’ house, Frank, has one of these Weasels parked in his driveway, usually with a 6×6 truck – – he restored it as a retirement project, and keeps busy during the summer going to parades, ceremonies, etc. It has the metal flotation tanks attached, but he doesn’t risk trying it in the water. None of us knew what the heck it was when he first parked it there, and I thought maybe he’d made a miniature APC just for fun, but it’s the real thing, and he’s got it running.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good for him!!! I’m excited to know about another Weasel that survived. I know so many were shipped to Russia and they liked it so much that the word “Studebaker” is synonymous with “truck” over there.

      Like

  16. Another fascinating and informative post – thank you, GP!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Thanks for the information on the Weasel, GP. Saw the ad and was amazed that they were built by Studebaker. Used to live in South Bend where Studebaker was located.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I remember seeing a documentary about this weasel, you certainly as always did your homework. I find it fascinating how many inventions that where used in the war were later certain part or certain ideas transferred to civilian day to day life.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. What a cool vehicle. I enjoyed reading the add and the history. I love reading about the “wacky” inventions that made it to production during that war. People with a problem, a vision and ultimately, a machine shop. It’s amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Love the comic. Oh yeah!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. This is so cool, GP! Now I want to put one in a story. 😀 Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Being a life-long fan of Studebaker, I was happy to see the Studebaker ad about the Weasel. • Most of the Studebaker-built 6×6 Army trucks went to Russia. Those trucks were so tough in the harsh Russian climate that the Russians came to love them and to this day “Studebaker” is the vernacular word in Russian for “truck”. Another Studebaker contribution to the war was aircraft engines. •  In the farewell salutes: Elton Allen – Lubbock, TX – my home town. If I’m not mistaken, he went to the same high school I attended. As I’ve written previously, I appreciate the effort you put into the Farewell Salutes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I appreciate the added info you’ve put here, much appreciated, I had no idea.
      It breaks my heart to type in the names in Farewell Salutes and know we’ll never hear their whole story, but it’s my way of saying thank you to them.

      Like

  23. I need the sign on the Hummer as a bumper sticker!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Much as one deplores war it is amazing how military need promotes research and development.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I have seen a picture of Weasel before in one of those books I read but I don’t recall “Weasel”. I presumed it’s just another amphibious vehicle although I kept on wondering how it could navigate in water because of its weight being it looked like a tank. Interesting post as always GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Iwo Jima will be featured in my upcoming novel. I will be sure to put the Weasel in it. Where were they manufactured?

    Liked by 3 people

  27. Fascinating, GP. I find it hard to believe I never heard of the Weasel before now. I learn more from this blog than almost any other.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. A nice feature, GP. The sheer variety of vehicles needed to fight a modern mechanised war is often overlooked in favour of tanks and jeeps. All the armies involved had a huge number of different adapted fighting vehicles, and The Weasel was an extremely useful one.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 5 people

  29. Another amazing component of victory! Your posts are so informative and substantiate what we never learned about our history. Thanks so much.

    Liked by 4 people

  30. I just love those old advertisements…

    Liked by 5 people

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