The Willys Jeep is known as one of the most versatile and widely used military vehicles in history. The Jeep was born out of the need for a light military vehicle capable of navigating difficult terrain while still being able to carry at least four, fully equipped troops and in some cases, towing light anti-tank guns or supply trailers. The first Jeep came into concept on June 27, 1940, while the war was already raging in Europe and North Africa. The American Quartermaster Corps Ordnance Technical Commitee, released the specifications for a new military vehicle, and set the deadline for a prototype on 22 July. While various designs emerged, the one the US Army took most interest in, was the Bantam prototype. This little vehicle, while not meeting the requirements perfectly, was indeed the cornerstone of the Jeep design. The Bantam prototype was first tested at Camp Holabird in the United States, and proved capable of carrying four men, and could even be mounted with a machine gun, and also proved capable of navigating difficult terrain, but was slightly underpowered. Willys-Overland also produced a prototype which was very similar in body design to the Bantam, but featured the much more powerful 'Go-Devil' engine, giving it the upper hand in the competition for the military contract. Later, the official Willys prototype, the Willys MA, went into testing, along with the third competitor, Ford, who had presented the Ford GP. It was ultimately the Willys prototype that won the day, thanks to it's much more powerful 'Go-Devil' engine, which not even Ford matched. But Willys-Overland proved unable to meet the mass production requirements for the military, and thus joined forces with Ford. The result was a 'Go-Devil' engine in the body of a Ford GP. The two production models were known as the Willys MB and the Ford GPW. Both have become affectionately known as the Jeep, and went on to see many years of service with not only the United States and Great Britain, but other exotic countries as far across the globe as Indonesia, Morroco, Thailand, South America, and even the Soviet Union, where it was known as the 'Ivan Willys'. Various derivatives of the Jeep appeared too, most notably in the Soviet Union, that being the Gaz-67. While Bantam was not the winner of the military contract, they continued to produce their own 'Jeeps', known as the BRC-40, which mostly saw service in Great Britain, some 1,100 being built. This is the Humble beginnings of the military Jeep, a vehicle that has gone on to shape the history of light military vehicles since it's very first concepts in a dusty factory in America, to the bloody battlefields of both the war in the west and the east.

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