Half-Ton MLW-2 Jeeps
The idea for the Jeep was to be a light-weight 4x4 vehicle, yet Willys designers kept coming up with other ideas for the world famous Jeep. The MT TUG 6x6, Half Track, Mimi Jeeps etc. Then they came up with the idea of a ½ Ton version. As far as we know, they only ever built two prototypes and as to there whereabouts today, no one knows – if they ever appear, please do let me know – Mark Askew.
In September 1943, Headquarters, Army Air Forces, received a request from the South West Pacific for a truck with payload and mobility over mud and swamps of jungle terrain, superior to that of the quarter ton Jeep. Some Jeeps had been modified locally with 18 inch pickup body extension to increase cargo capacity, but more trucks were needed and fast. On September 12th 1943, Ordinance Research at Aberdeen Proving Ground tested a standard Jeep on which they installed a set of 7.50-20 tyres which worked well, although the power was not as good. Ordnance then contracted with Willys Overland to design and build two prototypes with 7.50-20 inch tyres with maximum parts interchange ability with the MB and a ½ ton payload.
Because these pilot models were built under a government contract, their number began with ‘M’ and because its wheelbase was 92 inches, Willys gave it the designation ‘LW’ which then became MLW (Military Long Wheelbase) and the second version became the MLW-2.
The overall length was 142-7/16 inches, about 10 inches longer than the MB. Width was the same as an MB at 62 inches. The track of the MLW-2 was 54 inches, 5 more inches than the MB. Due to the 7.50-20 inch tyres it was 3 inches taller than the MB. The engine and T84J floor shift transmission remained the same.
The MLW-2 used two different transfer cases, each having the 2.43 low range gear ratio, used earlier on the 6x6 MT TUG Jeeps. The tailgate also came from the 6x6 MT TUG.
Many thanks to Fred Coldwell and Fred Crismon for sharing some of this information and some of these photos.
These two shots,(A) showing the body tub, before fitment. Note, folded
down seats (similar to the MT-TUG). (B) , top inside view, showing
the fuel tank, storage area for the hood sticks on the rear wings
and the spare wheel mount wedges in the rear compartment.
A video/DVD entitled ‘The WW II Jeep - a History’ which
will include action film footage of rare Jeeps is also available please
contact: Jeep Promotions Ltd, 5 Chestnut Ave, Wheatley Hills, Doncaster,
South Yorkshire, DN2 5SW, UK. Tel 01302 739000