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World War II
The Truck That Did Everything But Bake a Cake

World War II
World War II

The Truck That Did Everything But Bake a Cake
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.59

     challenging words:    bumper-high, conley, correspondent, first-rate, idiot, melded, mini-truck, payload, roughshod, specs, super-truck, weight-less, welders, infantry, civilian, warfare
     content words:    Quartermaster Corps, Three U. S., American Bantam, Blitz Buggy, Willys Quad, Reconnaissance Vehicle, World War II, Ernie Pyle, Manuel A., Legendary Jeep

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The Truck That Did Everything But Bake a Cake
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     A rusty Model T truck rattled past. The eyes of a tall, uniformed man followed it. The major's thoughts were gloomy. He turned away, shaking his head. The world was a powder keg. German troops were set to run roughshod over most of Europe. Who could say where the Nazis would stop? But here was the U.S Army, bogged down in the past.
2     Battered old trucks from the last war still hauled men and supplies. Of course, there were always the motorcycles, the major thought sarcastically. Now there was a prime vehicle for modern warfare. Might as well send the men out on horses. At least they didn't get flat tires. The major squared his shoulders. They'd just have to get the brass to listen, that's all. It was time for a change.
3     The major needn't have worried. The army's supply department, Quartermaster Corps, was already on the job. By 1940, specifications had been drawn up for the ultimate army truck. Three U.S. automakers would give it their best shot. The specs included:

      1. four-wheel drive;
      2. rectangular body with folding windshield;
      3. bucket seats (3);
      4. bracket for .30 cal. machine gun;
      5. towing capabilities and blackout lighting;
      6. wheel base of less than 80" and height of less than 40";
      7. weight-less than 1500 lbs. with payload capacity of 600 lbs.;
      8. capable of 50 mph.

4     It wasn't the huge beast that some had pictured. It couldn't haul a tank or a whole infantry unit at one time. Actually, it was more of a mini-truck.
5     American Bantam produced the prototype, dubbed the Blitz Buggy, in 1940. The Willys Quad and Ford's Pygmy followed shortly after. In the end, Willys won the contract for the new vehicle. The new truck was simply engineered and cheap to make. Yet its engine could run at 400 revolutions per minute for a hundred hours with no problems. It could power other devices such as radar, radio, and welders. The army ordered thousands with folding cloth cabs at a cost of $738.74 each.

Paragraphs 6 to 13:
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