The successful development of the jeep during World War II (WWII) was a long process of requirements development, testing, and experimentation of small reconnaissance cars, and incorporation of lessons learned from WWI transport vehicles. The jeep prototype was initially developed by American Bantam Company, but later designs by Willys-Overland and Ford were also evaluated during the acquisition process. Changes in laws and procurement procedures also impacted execution of the jeep development program. Eventually, a single vehicle design was standardized and produced during the war, primarily by Willys-Overland, but also by Ford. The design of the jeep has endured as an acquisition success story. Lessons learned from the jeep development can still be applied to systems acquisition programs today.The enormously successful vehicle we know today as the “jeep” was born out of requirements developed by the U.S. Army prior to World War II (WWII). From a small company and simple beginnings came one of the iconic symbols of WWII and arguably one of the most enduring automotive designs of all time. The successful development of the jeep demonstrates the need for requirements harmonization, and the mass production and longevity of the design demonstrates the application of thoughtful, long-range manufacturing planning. In this follow-up case study to the P-51 Mustang (Haggerty & Wood, 2010), we look at how the jeep design was created and what set it on the course to become the vehicle with the longest production run in U.S. history.
The overall requirement for the vehicle that became the jeep followed the demise of the horse as a method of military transport and reconnaissance. Following WWI, the world’s armies focused their energies on the development of petrol-powered vehicles of all types. In the United States, the Army was interested in a vehicle that could replace both the horse and the motorcycle in the scout, reconnaissance, communication, and liaison roles as well as a vehicle large enough to carry the heavy weapons and ammunition required by infantry companies.
CONTENT by CHAPTER
1. TEXT - The Jeep at 70: A Defense Acquisition Success Story
2. TEXT - U.S. Air Force Fact Sheets "JEEP"
3. TEXT - Jeep Military News Story
4. HISTORIC PHOTOGRAPHS
5. TM 9-2320-208-34P; July 1966; U.S. ARMY MANUAL IN SLIDE FORMAT - DS AND GS MAINTENANCE REPAIR PARTS AND SPECIAL TOOL LISTS (for) TRUCK, UTILITY: 1/4 TON, 4 X 4, M38A1 AND M38A1C, AND TRUCK, AMBULANCE: FRONT LINE, 1/4-TON, 4 X 4, M170
6. TM 9-2320-208-20P; January 1966; U.S. ARMY MANUAL IN SLIDE FORMAT - ORGANIZATIONAL REPAIR PARTS AND SPECIAL TOOLS FOR TRUCK, UTILITY: 1/4-TON, 4 x 4, M38A1 AND M38A1C AND TRUCK, AMBULANCE: FRONT LINE, 1/4 TON, 4 x 4, M170
7. FILM - FORD RECONNAISSANCE CARS JOIN THE ARMY, ca. 1941
8. FILM - FORD RECONNAISSANCE CARS JOIN THE ARMY Part 2, ca. 1941
9. FILM - Autobiography Of A Jeep (1943)