This posting remarks about a number of concerns: assorted factoids about the German PZKW II tank and it's 1944 down-graded status as an offensive weapon to a reconnaissance car; tips for GIs as to how to drive German vehicles and, finally, the German interest in salvaging tank parts from captured enemy armor:
The attached two articles report on what the U.S. Army came to understand following the close examination of two German tanks: the Panzer III and Panzer IV.
The Panzer III was first produced in 1934 and the Panzer IV two years later; both tanks were used with devastating effect during the opening days of the Blitzkrieg on Poland, France and later the invasion of Russia. The developed a close and personal relationship with both during the North African campaign in 1943.
Click here to read about the German King Tiger Tank.
The American Army's amphibious vehicles called the DUKWs (Ducks) were first manufactured by General Motors in 1942 and were issued to both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. 2,000 were shipped to the British, over five hundred found their way to the Australian military and 535 were passed along to the Soviet Army. They have earned their sea legs a thousand times over and have even ventured across the English Channel.
The attached YANK MAGAZINE article was one of the first articles to have ever been written about them, and quite ironically plays-down the revolutionary nature of the invention:
"Japs realize the value of the DUCKs. They once issued a communique saying their bombers sank 'one 5,000-ton ship and one amphibious truck".
All global tensions aside, the U.S. Army could not find any faults at all with the motorcycles that BMW was making for Adolf Hitler during World War II. After having spent much time testing and re-testing the thing, they reluctantly concluded, "This is as good as any motorcycle in the world" (it was probably a bit better...).
Click here to read about the firm belief held by the German Army concerning the use of motorcycles in modern war.
Here is the skinny on the Ford Motor Company's M8 Greyhound Armored Car as it was presented to the olive-clad readers of YANK MAGAZINE in the summer of 1944:
"Armored Car, M8, 6x6: the Army's latest combat vehicle, is a six-wheeled, eight-ton armored job that can hit high speeds over practically any type of terrain. It mounts a 37-mm cannon and a .30-caliber machine gun in a hand-operated traversable turret..."
An enthusiastic Yank Magazine article about the Douglas DB-7/A-20 Havoc (the British called it the "A-20 Boston"): throughout the course of the war, there was no other attack bomber that was manufactured in greater quantity than this one (7,477).
"An eyewitness report of a pre-invasion mission over the continent in one of the newest and most effective U.S. air weapons, an attack bomber that looks like an insect but moves and hits with the speed of a meteor..."