I guess there wasn’t enough boats. But if you gave a few men a large enough tarpaulin, some poles and maybe some bales of hay–you could float a jeep across a stream. Pretty amazing stuff, if you think about it. And no, I’m not about to take my jeep for a swim anytime soon. I’ll just let it take me to the swimming hole and go for a swim myself.
One of the early (first 70) Bantam jeeps undergoing river stream crossing tests. Those “pontoons” were made by using canvas tarpaulins covering bales of hay, Infantry Journal, May, 1942.
With a little help from its friends! Early during the war all sorts of testing was done on jeeps including the Bantams. As mentioned in the caption above this is a very early jeep from the first contract of 70 vehicles. Only one of these are known to have survived and it is in the Smithsonian collection. Find out more about the Bantam in BANTAM, FORD AND WILLYS-1/4-TON RECONNAISSANCE CARS. You also might be interested in Military Maintenance for MB/GPW Jeeps 1941-45.