|Predecessor||Dodge WC-27, G505, 1/2-Ton 4x4|
M37 ¾Ton truck series
|Body style(s)||Coachbuilt, steel sheet.|
|Engine(s)||Gasoline, six-cylinder side valve, 230 cubic inches.|
|Transmission(s)||Four speed forward, one reverse, part-time 4x4|
|Curb weight||2,680 kilograms (5,900 lb)|
|Fuel capacity||30 gallons (US)|
The Dodge WC54 3/4 Ton, supply catalog designation G502, was a WC series 4x4 light truck developed during World War II which served as the main ambulance vehicle used by the US army from 1942 to 1945, with some used as late as 1953 during the Korean War by the U.S. Army Medical Corps, and others serving as late as the 1960s in the armies of some European countries. At times, several were also used by the US Signal Corp] as radio vans.
Design and production
The WC54 was designed to replace the WC9, WC18 and the WC27 Truck, 1/2 ton, 4x4 Dodge Ambulance (G505). Based on the 3/4 Ton "Beep" Dodge chassis, it featured a longer wheelbase and adjusted suspension to make its ride softer. The closed sheet-metal body was made by Wayne Body works. It had room for a driver and four to seven patients plus a medic. If the fold-away bunk stretchers were used, four patients could be transported lying down. Because of its intended role, the WC54 featured a large matrix cab heater fitted on the firewall, providing comfort for patients and crew. It was fitted with a foldaway step to its rear to allow easier access for stretcher bearers and injured personnel. Early models featured a stuck out fuel filler cap which was changed to a recessed one in the later model, a modification that was retrofitted to some early model trucks.
Between 1942 and 1945, total production of the 3/4 ton WC-series T214 was 255,173. Of these, 22,857 were ambulances. The vehicles were supplied under US government contracts W398-QM-11420 (850 examples), W398-QM-11422 (9945 examples), DAW398-QM-448 (16 examples), W398-QM-13596 (410 examples) and W374-ORD-2864 (11,636 examples).
Virtually unchanged throughout its life, apart from minor technical tweaks, it was later turned into a knockdown version, known as WC64, to allow larger quantities to be shipped at the same time. Only 3,500 were made between the beginning of 1945 and the end of the war.
In popular culture
As the WC54 was the main ambulance in use by US Armed Forces in World War II, it is featured in a large amount of war films and can be seen in the following:
- In the M*A*S*H TV series, used by the fictional 4077 MASH. At the end of filming in 1982, the set, including vehicles, was left at the 20th Century Fox Ranch in Malibu Creek State Park, Malibu, California, where the show was shot. A fire destroyed the tents and buildings, leaving only a WC54 and a CJ Jeep hulk which can still be found there.
- In the 1998 film The Thin Red Line.
- In the 1965 film Battle of the Bulge
- In the 2001 series Band of Brothers
- In the 1990 film Memphis Belle
- In the 1970 film Patton.
- U.S. Army Medical Corps and US Signal Corps
- Royal Army Medical Corps
- Free French Forces
- Greek Army and Greek Air Force
- Austrian Army
- Belgian Army
- Norwegian Army
- Dodge WC series
- List of Dodge automobiles
- Dodge M37
- Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle
- Light Utility Vehicle
- G-numbers (G502)
- Combat medic
- History of the ambulance
- Austin K2
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- TM 9-2800 Standard Military Motor Vehicles. dated 1 sept. 1943
- TM 9-2800 Military vehicles dated oct. 1947
- TM 9-808 3/4-ton Dodge truck dated Jan. 1944
- SNL G502
- SNL G657 Dodge master parts book
- Classic Military Vehicles (magazine). "Dodge WC54 Ambulance." Classic Military Vehicles Number 4, September 2001. Cudham, Kent, UK: Kelsey Publishing Limited.
- Classic Military Vehicles (magazine). "Dodge WC54 Ambulance." Classic Military Vehicles Number 11, April 2002.Cudham, Kent, UK: Kelsey Publishing Limited.