December 14, 1940

Original Source Documents:   February 10, 1943 - FTC Hearings - Gen. Lynch

                                                  February 10, 1943 - FTC Hearings - Gen. Lynch - Col. Lee Statement Addendum

Contributor:    Robert A. Notman

Source:  Major General George A. Lynch Papers











File No. 28-2-4096





FEBRUARY 8, 1943








In the Matter of                                                            )

                                                                                    )           File No. 28-2-4096

WILLYS-OVERLAND MOTORS, INC.                   )







FEBRUARY 8, 1943




Major General George A. Lynch, Retired,

812 Lake Formosa Drive,

Orlando, Florida,

(Formerly Chief of Infantry, War Department).


Mr. M. R. Bevington, representing

Federal Trade Commission.


- - -


(Off record discussion.)


Mr. Bevington:  General, for the record, might I ask that you indicate your rank and that you follow this with a statement covering your service in the U.S. Army?


General Lynch:  Major General, Retired.  I was commissioned in 1903 and served from 1930 to 1905, inclusive, in the Philippine Islands; served four years as modern language teacher at West Point; served from 1909 to 1913 with the 29th Infantry; on duty with National Guard 1913-1916; went to the Philippine Islands for three months' service in 1917; returned in June 1917 and served during the World War on general staff.  Came back to the United States from France in 1919, and served on the War Department general staff until 1923; then served as battalion commander in the 2d Infantry for two years; from 1936 to 1930, again served on the general staff in charge of schools an the R.O.T.C. In 1931 again served in the Philippine Islands and China.  In 1933 I returned to the United Stated and served on the general staff of the 2d Corps Area at Governors Island, for approximately a tear; then came on duty with the N.R.A. as Executive Office and acting Administrator over a period of six months.  In 1935 I went to China and commanded the United Stated troops in China for two years.  I was appointed Chief of Infantry in 1937 and served four years, until date of my retirement in May 1941.


Mr. Bevington:  General, there is at this time before the Federal Trade Commission an application for complaint which alleges that Willys-Overland Motors, Inc., at Toledo, Ohio, has been advertising in the Saturday Evening Post, Colliers and Look, among others, that it, in close collaboration with the Quartermaster Department of the United States Army, created and perfected the 1/4 ton reconnaissance car of the Army, popularly known as the "Jeep".  Would you favor use with a statement, based on your personal knowledge, that will cover the origin and development of this vehicle, and particularly will give credit to those to whom credit is due for the creation of such vehicle?


General Lynch:  When I came in office as Chief of Infantry in 1937, we had a large number of weapons known as heavy weapons, which included the 81 mm. mortar, 30 caliber machine gun and a 50 caliber machine gun, and later there was developed a 37 mm. gun. All of these weapons required special transportation, with battlefield mobility, that is, able to move across country over rough ground and get as close to front lines as possible. We had a series of tests, lasting six months, of all available vehicles, with a view to adopting, the one must suitable for infantry combat.


At the same time the Howie carrier was brought to the consideration of the Infantry Board. As a result of all the tests, the one-ton Marmon Herringbone was recommended to the Board, for weapon and ammunition carrier, and the War Department approved the procurement of a certain number of vehicles conforming to the Marmon Herrington specifications. Unfortunately, the procurement resulted in obtaining from another concern a vehicle not having the characteristics of low silhouette and high mobility and light weight of the Marmon Herrington, with wholly unsatisfactory results. Following this we continued working for a lighter vehicle with low silhouette. The Howie carrier considered by the Board had no relation to this problem. It had been developed by Major Howie and General Short, and, I believe, was patented by them. It was sometimes popularly called the "Kiddy car". It had a platform not over a foot above ground, mounting a machine gun lying flat on the bottom and carried two men lying prone. It was designed as an assault vehicle and had no relation in design or function to the weapons and ammunition carrier. It was our unanimous conclusion, both of the Infantry Board and my office, that an unarmored vehicle of that kind could not well be used on the front line and would be entirely impracticable and we rejected in.


The Howie cart was again brought to the attention of the War Department in the spring on 1940, and I think impressed the Department with the fact that it had great possibilities; at all events, my office was ordered to go into the merits of this machine with which we were already thoroughly familiar and had rejected.


At the same time an effort was being made to replace the motorcycle with a vehicle more efficient for cross country movement.  The motorcycle which was essentially the same as the one in use in the Army from 1917 to 1940, was of very little use from cross country movement.  It was all right on the roads, on good hard-surfaced roads.  We were then considering a tricycle with an idea of determining whether it could not be effectively substituted for the motorcycle.  The practicability of a light four-wheel vehicle for the same mission was also entertained.  At that moment the question of the Howie carrier came into the picture and Mt. Payne presented himself at the office of the Chief of Infantry.


(off record discussion, General Lynch continuing)


Mr. Payne was informed that the Infantry Office was not interested in the Howie vehicle, but that we were decidedly interested in getting a liaison vehicle and weapons carrier of lighter weight, with a lower silhouette and better tractive qualities that the half-ton truck then in service.  Development of a vehicle to meet this desire of the Infantry Office was then undertaken by Mr. Payne, in constant collaboration with Col. William F. Lee, the Chief of the Materiel Section of the Infantry Office.


The characteristics initially fixed were as follows:


(a) Maximum height: 36 inches;

(b) Maximum weight, without payload, 1000 lbs.;

(c) Cross-country ability and grade ability - equal to that of standard cargo vehicles;

(d) Caliber 30 machine gun mount either integral with the body of the vehicle or detachable;

(e) Capacity: A crew of at least two men, one machine gun with accessories, and three thousand rounds of ammunition or equivalent weight;

(f) Armored face shield for drive;

(g) Four wheel drive, and

(h) Ground clearance: Maximum possible consistent with desired silhouette.


Later, requirements for all wheel drive and amphibious characteristics were added.  These characteristics were communicated in a letter to the Adjutant General by the Chief of Infantry under date of June 6, 1940, of which I have no doubt you have a copy.  As the development of the vehicle proceeded it became evident that in order to obtain the sturdiness to perform the cross country functions and especially to provide the four-wheeled drive, large size tires and increased power to handle these, the weight and silhouette had to be increased somewhat beyond the initial limits proposed.  A pilot vehicle was built by the American Bantam Car Company of Butler, Pa., which concern was for various reasons able to construct the vehicle as asked for by the Infantry and concurred in by other interested departments.  The finished vehicle was found to weight fully equipped, built without its payload, about 2025 lbs.  Its performance fully met the expectations of the Infantry Office.  While weighing heavier than originally contemplated, it was still susceptible of manhandling, but it was evident that any increase in weight would decrease its efficient.  Since the pilot vehicle possessed all the necessary performance characteristics at that weight, it was evident that any increase would be unnecessary and would reduce facility for manhandling.


Based on tests made at Holabird and in order to save time, the Bantam pilot model was accepted as an experimental replacement for the motorcycle with sidecar, while serving many other purposes not originally contemplated.  Procurement for more extended tests of 70 replicas of this pilot model was decided upon.


In the meantime, as a result of the performance of the original pilot model and to develop an adequate source, it was decided an additional 1500 should be procured.  The Ford Company and Willys-Overland had secured plans and specifications of the Bantam and were manufacturing their own copies of it.  Representatives of my office through conversations with representatives of these two concerns discovered that they both contemplated constructing vehicles weighing several hundred pounds more than the pilot Bantam.


The addition of certain features which after the initial test had been agreed upon as really necessary had raised the probable weight of the Bantam to an estimate of 2160 pounds, and this was agreed upon by all "Using Arms" as being the final limit.


On October 29, 1940, the War Department directed the procurement of the 1500 vehicles from the American Bantam Company.


Pilot models produced by Ford satisfactorily met the prescribed test.  Their first vehicle manufactured under their contract came well within the prescribed limits on silhouette and weight, and appeared to be acceptable.  Willys-Overland, on the other hand, appeared unable to meet the weight limits.  However, they were awarded a contract for a number of vehicles weighing several hundred pound more than the Austin Bantam and in excess of the weight limitations fixed by War Department instructions.


It is my belief that the vehicle produced by Willys-Overland weighing several hundred pound more than considered necessary is not as efficient a vehicle as the quarter-ton truck produced by the American Bantam Company.  No gain has resulted from the increased weight and facility for manhandling the vehicle out of trouble has been reduced.  Attention is especially invited to the fact that the quarter ton liaison vehicle, popularly known as the "Jeep", was a completely developed vehicle before Willys-Overland entered the field of procurement, and that Willys-Overland neither created not perfected the vehicle popularly known as the "Jeep", nor are they entitled to any credit whatever for having developed a pilot model for all command reconnaissance cars of this type.


Principle credit for the development of this vehicle is due to Col. William F. Lee who was the initiating force in the War Department, and Mr. C. H. Payne who prosecuted the engineering development.


(Off record discussion.)


Mr. Bevington:  In a hearing before the Truman Committee of the United States Senate dealing with the "Jeep" question, I noticed that the Chairman repetedly volunteering the statement that the American Bantam Company had done all the pioneer work on the "Jeep".  Is that within your knowledge?


General Lynch:  The American Bantam succeeded the Austin Company.


(Off record discussion, Gen. Lynch continuing)


I had retired from active service (April 30, 1941) before Willys-Overland developed any contract cars.


Mr. Bevington:  General, according to the information given me at Holabird, the sample pilot model made by the American Bantam Company, delivered to the Quartermaster Depot at that point on September 24, 1940, was, on the following Sunday, under order of the War Department, sent to Ft. Myer, Virginia, for demonstration.  May I ask whether you were present at such demonstration, and whether the demonstration was considered by the officers then present as successful?


General Lynch:  I was present at this demonstration and I, as well as the other General officers present, was deeply impressed with the efficiency and capabilities of the vehicle.


Mr. Bevington:  Are you familiar with the names of some of the higher ranking officer, and others, who ere so present?


General Lynch:  These included Major General John K. Herr, Chief of Cavalry, Major General Richard C. Moore, Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Gregory, Quartermaster General, and I believe Major General Danford, Chief of Field Artillery, Colonel Lawes, Q.M.C., Mr. Charles H. Payne.


Mr. Bevington:  Did you yourself participate in this demonstration of the car?


General Lynch:  Yes, I rode over an obstacle course, very difficult terrain.  I rode in the same car with General Herr and General Moore.


Mr. Bevington:  After this demonstration was there any doubt in your mind as to whether the Army had found the light reconnaissance car it had been trying to secure?


General Lynch:  I was convinced the car was now a practical vehicle for numerous purposes, though it would have to be subjected for further tests to determine any weakness.


Mr. Bevington:  Was the judgment of your colleagues the same as your own?


General Lynch:  I think they were all impressed that a very important development in the domain of motor transportation had taken place and that an efficient vehicle for battlefield purposes was now available.


Mr. Bevington:  General, from your knowledge, can you say just when the term "Jeep" began to be applied to this vehicle?


General Lynch:  I regret that I cannot be sure.


Mr. Bevington:  Can you say then that the term was associated with the car very soon after the Ft. Myer demonstration?


General Lynch:  Yes, shortly after.  I think there are other people who could answer that question more precisely than I can.


Mr. Bevington:  General, the reason I have persisted in this line of questioning is that you have been credited with having yourself given the name "Jeep" to this car at that time.


(Off record discussion.)


Mr. Bevington:  General, was any though ever given by the Army to this car, or any feature thereof, being subject to patent?


General Lynch:  Not to my knowledge.


Mr. Bevington:  General, by way of recapitulation, will you please state to whom you individually give credit for the creation of the "Jeep", taking up in the order of sequence those who are so entitled to that credit?


General Lynch:  With regard to the tactical conception I would assign most credit to Colonel William F. Lee who fixed on the initial tactical specifications and their subsequent modifications.  He was my personal representative and was in constant conferences with me in this matter.


On the engineering side, I think there is no question that 100 per cent credit, to all intents and purposes, belongs to Mr. C. H. Payne who translated the tactical specifications into the engineering design that we see in the "Jeep" today.


(Off record discussion.)


Respectfully submitted,


A. H. Sisson,



February 10, 1943




that 100 per cent credit, to all intents and purpose, belongs to Mr. C. H. Payne who translated the tactical specifications into the engineering design that we see in the "Jeep" today.


(Off record discussion, Gen. Lynch continuing)


Under my direction, Colonel Lee represented the Infantry during the entire period the "Jeep" was under development.  He subsequently prepared a history of such development for my information.


The Colonel is now on duty overseas and therefore not available as a witness before the Federal Trade Commission.  As the matters dealt with are within my own knowledge, I will therefore read his account into the record and made same a part of my testimony.  His narration follows:


"On June 5, 1940, Mr. C. H. Payne, who represented himself to be an official of the Bantam Motor Car Company, Butler, PA., visited your office and made inquiry concerning rumors he had head of a contract to be let by the War Department for manufacture of Howie Carriers.  He said he had been told that the Chief of Staff was very much interested in providing the carriers for the Army in large numbers.


"Oseth and I were familiar with the powers and limitations of the Howie Carrier and tried to point out to Mt. Payne that we could be of no assistance to him in his efforts to promote that vehicle.  After about two days of warm discussion he began to show signs of understanding that the Infantry had determined by tests conducted by the Infantry Board that the Howie Carrier, because of undesirable characteristics, was not suitable for combat use.


"Oseth had been pushing the Quartermaster General to effect a reduction in the silhouette of the 1/2 ton truck and therefore was not greatly interested when Payne and I began discussing the possibilities of the Bantam Car Company making a car for infantry combat use along the lines of their latest commercial car and incorporating the characteristics which still remain in the present car.  Mr. Payne was very enthusiastic from the start and continued to maintain an optimistic attitude toward the final results in spite of the many obstacles, technical and administrative, in his path.  He was, of course, primarily concerned with the amount of business he could get for his company, but he also showed a keen interest in doing what he could to help the Infantry develop the car it needed.


"At the time Mr. Payne arrived on the scene, I had been seeking support of the Quartermaster, the Cavalry, Artillery and others, not to mention personnel in our own office, for the purchase of two 'Gantz' (foreign make) cars which had been testing with good results by the British and I believe the French Armies.  Literature and extracts of reports of tests of the car had been received from the military attache in Switzerland and referred to the Chief of Infantry for comment.  Although Oseth thought they might be worth testing, he was not overly enthusiastic and none of the others were even slightly interested.  In fact, some openly ridiculed the suggestion that any cars of that type be procured.


However, the experience I gained in trying to sell the idea of a light car to the other arms and services was extremely beneficial when Mr. Payne agreed to undertake the development of that type car.


"After most of the details for the Bantam were worked out, it was again necessary to visit the same members of the Arms and Services to get their support before submitting the project to you in final form.  This time I had the support of Mr. Payne and although the results were not encouraging, we finally induced the Cavalry to go along with us.  Major Tompkins, who acted for Col. Grew, his chief, said the Cavalry was not interested in getting a car of that type but that they would support us in return for our support of a project they were preparing.  The Quartermaster General's Office was not interested, but said they would not interpose serious objection if we wanted the car.  None of the others, including the Field Artillery, would join us.


"As the Infantry had experienced difficulty in getting the Quartermaster General's Office to effect modification of transport, we decide, with your approval, to try to place the project under Ordnance.  I took the matter up with Col. Barnes, Ordnance, and found him agreeable to the idea.  To do this he suggested that we include in the characteristics a requirement for armor protection which merely consisted of a small strip of armor plate for the windshield.  We followed his suggestion and project was accordingly referred to the Chief of Ordnance.


"During this preliminary stage when the work consisted mainly of selling the light car to certain representative of the principle Arms and Services, Mr. Payne at first had splendid success.  He was an engaging fellow and possessed a rather high degree of salesmanship ability.  Later for some reason he met with rather strong opposition from some quarters, and it remained for me to smooth out the difficulties.  Col. Barnes was particularly bitter toward him as were certain members of the General Staff and the Quartermaster General's Office.  The general opinion of him among those with whom he dealt on the subject of the Bantam, including your executive, was that he was an 'annoying pest' with only an ordinary car to sell.


"After about five days of continuous campaigning, we then drew up the characteristics which are unchanged today, except perhaps for the weight.  You were in the arms and equipment office at this time and authorized me to add a paragraph recommending the development of the amphibious feature.  I mention this latter point because I know Oseth believes he and he only is responsible for the development of the amphibious vehicle, when as a matter of fact he did not become interested in it until some months later - after I had repeatedly, almost daily, urged him to get behind the idea.  I had discussed the possibility of an amphibious vehicle with you many times before and was fully aware of your desire to develop one.  Your prompt and emphatic approval of my request to include the amphibious feature in the letter to the Adjutant General gave me a thrill that will always remain in my memory in connection with the development of the Bantam car.


"The day you signed the letter setting up a requirement for the Bantam, I personally began to follow the correspondence and continued to do so until it passed through the Adjutant General's Office and the G-3 and G-4 offices and was acted upon by the War Department.


"Mr. Payne ably assisted in getting expeditious action on the letter by inducing someone in the Secretary of War's Office to become interested in the project.  He said it was the Secretary of War, Mr. Woodring, who assisted him.  I do know that Major Tate was assigned the exclusive duty of assisting Payne and me and that it was very evident that more favorable attention was directed toward us and our efforts.


"On June 19, 1940, the Ordnance Technical Committee, of which I was a member, visited the Bantam plant at Butler, Pa., for the purpose of determining whether or not that Company could do all it claimed it could do toward turning out the light car.  We found to our satisfaction that the commercial Bantam was a sturdy car, much improved over the model tested a few years before by the Infantry Board.  We also observed that although the Company was apparently in poor condition with respect to current business, it has adequate facilities to turn out the car we had recommended for development.  Immediately upon return of the Technical Committee to Washington, a formal meeting was held at which all Arms and interested Services, including the field artillery, were represented.  Col. Barnes, Ordnance, presided.  Recommendations of the Committee were that the project for the development of the 1/4-ton truck as set up in the infantry requirement letter be approved and that the project be transferred to the Quartermaster General.  The Committee found that the Bantam was far superior to the so called 'Howie Carrier' (this finding was based on the views and recommendations of Major Howie, inventor of the vehicle bearing his name, who was present at Butler, Pa., with the Committee) and recommended that no further action be taken with respect to the development of the Howie Carrier.


"A rough design of the vehicle was made in our office and submitted to a committee at a meeting held at Camp Holabird sometime during the latter part of June or the first days of July, 1940.  Mt. Payne of the American Bantam Car Company and his chief engineer were present.  The committee included Major Tomkins, Cavalry, Col. Oseth and me, and a civilian of the QM office on duty at Holabird.  An outline of the body of the car was drawn on the floor at one of the building, and later a mock-up was prepared which followed almost exactly the drawing we had prepared in our office.


"The Butler representatives made notes from the drawing and the characteristics as submitted by us and gave us the vehicle we had asked for.


"From the time of the approval of the project by the War Department to the time of delivery of the Pilot Model of the Bantam to the QM at Holabird, there were adjustments in the weight of the car which was increased several times, partly from the type of materials used, but largely because of the front drive and, of course, the transfer case.


"It was during this period between the time the board approved the project and the date that the bids were mailed by the QMG that Mr. Payne seemed to have encountered his most serious difficulties.  Once he found out that the project received favorable consideration by the Ordnance Committee, he began another campaign to have the War Department expedite action on the 70 cars we had recommended.  (We had set up forty for the Infantry and ten each for the Cavalry, Field Artillery and the Armored Force.  The latter two had representatives at the Ordnance meeting on June 21st or 22nd, who finally decided that they should have some to rest in view of the relatively large number to be procured).  Mr. Payne visited all the offices he though might have some influence in awarding the contract for the 70 cars to his company.  It wasn’t long before complaints of his actions and methods were heard from many quarters.  He told the G-4 staff officers, members of the Secretary of War's and the Chief of Staff's offices, and officers of the QM General's office that the infantry desired the cars for the fall maneuvers.  He visited these offices daily and would call me from each to report on his progress.  He called one day to say he as at the White House and had had a talk with someone there on the question of speeding up action.  I know he walked into you office many times and told you of his activities, disappointments and hopes.


"Then he ran into another obstacle in the form of your Executive Office who was not very friendly to him and the and the product with which he was associated.  I know he prevented Payne from seeing you on more than one occasion.  During this time it fell my lot to straighten out the tangles created by Payne and to keep his campaign alive and active. That results were obtained is attested to by the fact that the QMG's office mailed bids on the 70 cars to the Bantam Car Company on July 11, 1940, too late, however, for delivery of them in time for Fall maneuvers but a record, nevertheless, in getting the contract into the hands of the manufacturer.  Mr. Payne deserves great credit for the speed with which the accomplishment of the contract was effected.  Some might say he was motivated entirely by selfish interests and will try to discredit him for that reason, but the hard fact remains that he rendered outstanding service to our Army in transport development at a time when such service was almost nonexistent, not to mention the obvious benefits derived from its development from many standpoints.


"When the pilot car was delivered at Holabird, all of the representatives of the Arms and Services visited that place and observed some of the highly concentrated tests of the car.  The reaction of observers was highly favorable and it was noted that those who had been uninterested immediately showed signs of great interest.  This is particularly true of the representatives of the QM General's office, including a Col. Lawes, who was in command of Holabird.


"It was also noted that a person in civilian clothes was a close observer and that he was inspecting the car more carefully than anyone else and making notes on a small pad.  It later developed that that person was the chief engineer of the Willys Overland plant.  You may remember that about a month before Mr. Payne first visited the office, Oseth has asked representatives of the The Willys Overland Company to produce a 1/2 ton truck of lower silhouette that the truck then in use by the infantry, and they refused in no uncertain terms to have anything to do with any work which would require modification of their standard vehicles.  Willys overland are now the only company producing the 1/4 T in quantity production and feature the Jeep in their advertisements, stating that their 'experts' in collaboration with the QMG 'experts' developed the 'jeep'.  Such high handed methods and misrepresentations of fact are some things I can't swallow.  My only interest in the development of the car was to contribute something use for infantry combat, and I believe that what I have done toward the project warrants the assumption of some credit for a fair share of that contribution.  I have not made a definite effort to obtain such credit nor did I believe I should make such effort.  However, since reading about all those who now claim credit for its development, particularly the Willys Overland and the QMG, I believe something should be done to prevent vicious attempt by those parties.  What can be done will probably be started by Mr. Payne because it means a livelihood to him.  I would like to see him rewarded for the results he obtained because he helped us to produce the car we knew was greatly needed.


"It might be well to add at this point that Mr. Payne and Mr. Fenn, President of the Bantam Car Company, were repeatedly advised by me of the requirement for an amphibious vehicle.  There were informed of that requirement at the time I visited their factory in June, 1940, and this matter was brought up on every occasion I had business or contact with them.  At first they regarded the project lightly, but later when we induced the War Department to set up about $10,000 for the development of such a vehicle, they went to work in earnest to produce it.  About a month before I left Washington, the Bantam Company demonstrated a rather crude model which did not receive much encouragement from those present, especially General Hodges.  Of course, we were not trying to sell the type demonstrated by Bantam, just the idea, but were unable to get anyone to listen very long.


"Mr. Payne should remember much of what I have said about this and, if honest about the matter, will admit that his Company failed to take full advantage of a good opportunity.  A Buffalo concern was working on a model of an amphibian but, being a boat building concern, were making modifications that would enable a boat to operate on land.  The result was an extremely heavy vehicle, about 4,000 lbs. - much too heavy for infantry use.  I understand, however, that this item is being produced as a special vehicle.  Oseth and a representative of G-4 observed the first test at Buffalo, N.Y., about a week before I left Washington.  Oseth said the G-4 representative was so enthusiastic about the development that he was going to recommend the procurement of a large number of them.


"The above information is not as complete as it should be, but as Payne is probably quite anxious to verify some of the points on which he may be uncertain, I hasten to get this off to you.


"A point worth consideration in the development of the Bantam is the time required for completion of the project.  A pilot model was turned out by Bantam and delivered to the QM at Holabird in approximately three months and 18 days from the day Mr. Payne first visited our office - June 5, 1940.  I believe this constitutes a record."


Respectfully submitted,


A. H. Sisson, Reporter


February 10, 1943


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