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WW2 U.S. Willys gas can?

Article about: There is a post in this section regarding signal wire, one of the other items looks suspiciously like a flimsey can, although being of civilian design and manufacture it might not be militar

  1. #1

    Default WW2 U.S. Willys gas can?

    Hello all. I was walking the dog out in a old buffalo field when I came across a shed full of tires and I found this gas can on the floor, The top says '20-51/4-43' I dont know if that has to do with the date when it was made. Any info is need thanks, George
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture IMG_1495.jpg   IMG_1496.jpg  

    IMG_1497.jpg  

  2. #2

    Default Re: WW2 U.S. Willys gas can?

    Not my area of expertise I am afraid but the QMC will probably stand for 'QuarterMasters Corps'.........probably So that would make it military. The 43 is the date.

    Sorry I can't be of any further help.

    Cheers

    Steve T

  3. #3

    Default Re: WW2 U.S. Willys gas can?

    Hi George, Steve has pretty much covered it and is correct.

    Typical wartime US produced "Jerrycan". American cans were based upon the basic German design but were adapted for US mass production methods. The top was very different being a separate stamping and the lid was threaded to take the standard US gas filler nozzle.

    US cans made for the USMC though had the cam type German lid. The US Army water/food can also had a cam lid but of larger design to enable ease of cleaning out the inside.

    The first captured German examples were passed to the then neutral USA by the British in 1940. The Motor transport divison of the QMC depot at Camp Holabird drew up the US design in the autumn of 1940. The first contracts for the new five gallon can went to:

    Chattanooga Stamping Company

    National Enamel & Stamping Company

    Pittsburg Steel Barrel Company

    Wheeling Corrugating Company.


    Other makers soon were involved.

    During 1943, 1944 & 1945, 22,443,000 US pattern cans were produced. Over two and half million of these were actually made in Great Britian at a US Army owned plant operated by Magnatex Ltd. Even this vast productrion was not enough and the US Army was forced to use British made cans which were direct copies of the German originals, due to shortages in 1944.

    Water/food can production totaled some 6,644,000.

    The US cans are lighter in weight. 10 lbs empty/44 full. Compared to a Brit/German can at 11.5/44lbs.

    Cheers, Ade.

  4. #4

    Default Re: WW2 U.S. Willys gas can?

    Quote by Adrian Stevenson View Post
    Hi George, Steve has pretty much covered it and is correct.

    Typical wartime US produced "Jerrycan". American cans were based upon the basic German design but were adapted for US mass production methods. The top was very different being a separate stamping and the lid was threaded to take the standard US gas filler nozzle.

    US cans made for the USMC though had the cam type German lid. The US Army water/food can also had a cam lid but of larger design to enable ease of cleaning out the inside.

    The first captured German examples were passed to the then neutral USA by the British in 1940. The Motor transport divison of the QMC depot at Camp Holabird drew up the US design in the autumn of 1940. The first contracts for the new five gallon can went to:

    Chattanooga Stamping Company

    National Enamel & Stamping Company

    Pittsburg Steel Barrel Company

    Wheeling Corrugating Company.


    Other makers soon were involved.

    During 1943, 1944 & 1945, 22,443,000 US pattern cans were produced. Over two and half million of these were actually made in Great Britian at a US Army owned plant operated by Magnatex Ltd. Even this vast productrion was not enough and the US Army was forced to use British made can which were direct copies of the German originals, due to shortages in 1944.

    Water/food can production totaled some 6,644,000.

    The US cans are lighter in weight. 10 lbs empty/44 full. Compared to a Brit/German can at 11.5/44lbs.

    Cheers, Ade.
    Thanks Ade and Steve, Now I've got a reason to keep it

  5. #5
    CMc
    CMc is offline
    ?

    Default Re: WW2 U.S. Willys gas can?

    Just to add to Adrian's excellent description, I seem to remember my Grandad, who is sadly no longer with us but who served in North Africa and fondly remembered the Austins, Bedfords etc he drove there, telling me that the pre-Jerry can fuel/water cans used by the British and U.S. armies were bloody awful and used to leak and split. The early American Jerries were supposed to be a bit better, but my Grandad was still a bit suspicious of them, I think maybe it had something to do with that separate top section. The British ones were supposed to be alright but I suppose they would be, being a direct copy of the German one.

    On the other hand, genuine captured German Jerries (if that makes sense!) were supposed to be a highly sought-after and jealously guarded by any vehicle crew who managed to claim some! If you'd believe it all this came out of us once filling up my Hillman from a modern-day Jerry can, which he explained was based on the WWII German design, (the Jerry, not the Hillman, it was designed in Coventry and made in Linwood, near Glasgow!), and resulted in me learning the above! I think my interest in history came from my Grandad's stories, along with much of my interest in old motors, I do miss him that way.

  6. #6

    Default Re: WW2 U.S. Willys gas can?

    The earlier British can that your Grandad recalled were called "Flimsy cans". They were renouned for leakage!

    Quite hard to find today.

    The pic shows the two flimsies cans in the middle of the row. Left is the standard pre war 2 gallon petrol can, next the 4 gallon flimsy, then the improved thicker steel flimsy, the the Jerrican.

    Cheers, Ade.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture flimsyjerry.jpg  

  7. #7

    Default Re: WW2 U.S. Willys gas can?

    Quote by Adrian Stevenson View Post
    The earlier British can that your Grandad recalled were called "Flimsy cans". They were renouned for leakage!

    Quite hard to find today.

    The pic shows the two flimsies cans in the middle of the row. Left is the standard pre war 2 gallon petrol can, next the 4 gallon flimsy, then the improved thicker steel flimsy, the the Jerrican.

    Cheers, Ade.
    If you guys want to see what the cap looks like just let me know and Ill try to get a picture of it and upload it

  8. #8
    CMc
    CMc is offline
    ?

    Default Re: WW2 U.S. Willys gas can?

    Thanks very much for the picture and the information, I can just picture my Grandad in his youth, raging at leaky flimsy cans now! I imagine the reason they're so rare is because guys like my grandad flung them away as soon as they had a Jerry can to replace them with! There are probably still thousands of them buried in the sands of the North African desert where they were thrown out!

  9. #9

    Default Re: WW2 U.S. Willys gas can?

    I dont really know if thats a willys gas can, but looks really cool, i think its a great find, i found this, along side with some 7.62 bullets on an old abandoned base
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture 06032010126.jpg   06032010127.jpg  


  10. #10

    Default Re: WW2 U.S. Willys gas can?

    [QUOTE=NunoGTI;122944]I dont really know if thats a willys gas can, but looks really cool, i think its a great find, i found this, along side with some 7.62 bullets on an old abandoned base[/QUOTE Nice find, Where is this base located? Just wondering

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