By Todd DePastino

Last night, Ben Wright, Larry Woods, and I all walked out of the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh together after our 70th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement Commemoration event. As we filed from the elevator through the first-floor Great Hall, we passed a much-treasured artifact from World War II: a jeep prototype manufactured by the American Bantam Car Company of Butler, Pennsylvania, in 1940.

WWII Jeep Prototype at Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, PA

Bantam Reconaissance Car #1007 (BRC 60) made by American Bantam Car Company, 1940. Exhibit in the Senator John Heinz History Center

Larry, a History Center docent, stopped, pointed at the jeep, and pointed at one obvious flaw that had to be corrected to use the vehicle in combat.

Take a look at the photo above. Can you detect the problem?

I could not and probably wouldn’t be able to even if given hours to study the jeep.

If you want a hint, scroll down at this close-up.

Close up of tire of WWII Jeep Prototype at Heinz History Center

Still don’t see it?

As Larry explained, “Look at the tire treads. They point in the direction of travel. An enemy could see the tire marks and know immediately what direction the jeep was heading. The Army ordered the tires be changed to cross-hatched or other non-directional tread design that wouldn’t betray direction of travel.”

Just another example of something I’ve learned from talking with veterans: in war, details matter.

Close up of jeep tire with correct treads