Model 150 Twin Cub in WWII – Barrage Balloons & the Crosley Pup    (added January 2018)

The Model 150 Twin Cub Engine

Waukesha’s Cub Twin Model 150, was an opposed, two-cylinder, air-cooled, L-Head, horizontal pan-cake engine with a bore and stoke of 3.000 x 2.750, displacing 38.9 cubic inches, with a bare engine rating of about 14 hp at 3,200 rpm. It was also built with a 2.500 in. bore and cid of 35.3 cid (Model 151). The engine was originally designed to power orchard sprayers. However, many of the over 12,000 built between 1938-44, were used in the pre-war (1939-42) Crosley mini-cars and the military during WWII, some of which were also used for Auxiliary Power Units (APU).


Twin Cub 150 in a Crosley Pup



Barrage Balloons
Another application for Waukesha engines during WWII was powering the winches that were used to raise and lower barrage balloons!


Barrage balloons, aka small blimps, were used to protect military areas from the strafing of low flying enemy airplanes. A strategic pattern of barrage balloons were deployed at various low altitudes and tethered to the ground with cables strong enough to shear off the wings of enemy planes. Movies and photos of the historic D-Day landing on the beaches of Normandy during WWII shows an array of barrage balloons protecting the supply ships, landing craft, and troops on the beaches.  The brave hoisting crew were some of the first the first to land! (The “D” in D-Day meant “day” as in the “day” of a planned attack. The day before a planned attack would be D minus1 and the day after would be D plus1, etc.)


The overall success of barrage balloons remains an open question. A study revealed that more friendly aircraft collided with the cables than did hostile aircraft. But what is not known is how many enemy strafing’s were prevented because of the fear of enemy pilots of hitting the cables. After the war one Luftwaffe pilot admitted that colliding with the barrage balloon cables was one of their greatest fears!

Barrage Balloons at Normandy

The barrage balloon were made by: Good Year, B. F. Goodrich, General Tire, Firestone, U.S. Rubber and others.


The Hydrogen generating and helium purification equipment was produced by the Independent Engineering Co. of Fallon, IL


Balloon cables were made by: John A. Roebling, American Chain, American steel, and Bethlehem.

Winches that were used to raise and lower the barrage balloons were manufactured by: Marmon-Harrington; Gar-wood; James Cunningham Co.; Pacific Car & Foundry and Wilson Mfg.

Wilson Mfg., of Wichita, TX, used a couple of Waukesha engines for their winches:

After the war the barrage balloon winches were sold as Army surplus.  One company that bought them, the Benson Winch Co., sold the ones powered by the Waukesha Model 150, for $325. (Crated, the winches weighed approx. 1,500 lbs.)


The Crosley mini-cars, all 2-door, included:


Crosley also used the Model 150 engine for a little, 2-passenger vehicle for the Air Force designated as a CT3, but known as “The Pup”. The driver sat in front and the passenger in a back seat! Not many were built. Crosley also designed a motorcycle using the Model 150, the record isn't clear if it was two or three wheeler, but only a couple of them were made!



Hometown Story
Then there is the other story about the Model 150 and a motorcycle!  Back in the late 1960’s the Waukesha Motor Co. hired a fellow named Jerry Keuler, an experienced product designer and Veteran of WWII. One noon-hour the subject of the Model 150 came up and when I described the engine to Jerry and showed him a picture, he was dumb-founded. He then told us the story about serving on some remote Island in the South Pacific at the end of WWII. To kill time, he and a buddy, took a little two-cyl. pancake, air cooled, engine from a discarded APU and “jerry-rigged it”, if you’ll pardon the pun, to a motorcycle. Jerry recognized the Model 150 as that little APU engine! Jerry continued the story by telling us that when the base Commander saw Jerry and his buddy riding around on the  “Jerrybuilt 150 Motorcycle” he commandeered it for himself!


Rocky Schaefer
Historian WEHS



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