WWII Army Amphibious vehicles (DUKWs) were designed by the National Defense Research Committee as a means of moving supplies directly from ships to the shore. In 1942 the first order of 2,000 was placed and training began in San Francisco. The vehicle was used in the initial assault on Normandy.
The history of the how the Ducks landed in the Wisconsin Dells is a story in itself. A Milwaukee trucking company owner, Melvin H. Plath, found interest in purchasing some Army surplus vehicles and took a financial risk by purchasing amphibious trucks (Ducks) before he had a plan with what he would do with them. After Plath became familiar with the unique vehicle, he took his family to Pewaukee Lake on Sundays, where he charged 50 cents a person to experience the vehicle that could transverse between land and water.