Skip to main content

Trucks of War: Following the route of the African American manned convoy that ran 52-hour routes to keep American & British troops supplied in their fight against the Germans.

Truck drivers in World War II were the lifelines of troops as they advanced to defeat Hitler’s NAZI Army. Nicknamed “The Red Ball Express” it was a vital supply route that operated during World War II in support of the Allied forces in Europe. “Red Ball” was a military term used to mean an urgent and priority shipment.

The Redball Express was a massive undertaking, and it required the coordination of thousands of drivers, mechanics, and military personnel. The trucks would make round trips from the beaches to the front lines, sometimes covering more than 300 miles in a single day.

The trucks were often loaded to capacity, with drivers having to maneuver the heavily loaded vehicles through narrow and winding roads, as well as across bridges and through the muddy terrain of war-torn France.

Fearsome Drivers Kept the American Army On Its Feet

Despite the danger and the grueling conditions, the drivers of the Redball Express never wavered in their mission. They worked tirelessly to keep the supplies flowing, even as the enemy tried to disrupt the convoy with bombing and strafing raids.

Red Ball Express truck stuck in the mud.

Despite this, the drivers of the Red Ball Express, who were mostly African-American soldiers, worked tirelessly to keep the supplies flowing. Drivers sometimes ran 52 hours at a time– they worked relentlessly to keep the war effort in motion.

The importance of the Red Ball Express was not lost on the Allied commanders. General Eisenhower himself referred to the route as “the lifeline of the Third Army.”