By Peter Binzen
The tourist boat that capsized in the Delaware River this month, drowning two, was a direct descendant of the amphibious vessels that carried troops and supplies from ships to shore during World War II. The DUKWs - a designation based on the naming conventions of their manufacturer, General Motors - were used for landings in the Mediterranean, the Pacific, and on the beaches of Normandy.
They also saw service on an Italian lake in the final days of the war. An Allied assault, led by troops of the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division, had driven German forces out of the Apennine Mountains and across the Po Valley to the foothills of the Alps. The Allied forces' next goal was to take the town of Riva, at the northern end of beautiful Lake Garda. They advanced along a road that tunneled through the hills rising steeply from the lake's eastern shore.