The Dodge WC54¾ Ton, supply catalog designation G502, was a WC series 4×4 light truck developed during World War II. It served as the main ambulance 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 Corps as radio vans.
Design and production
The WC54 was designed to replace the WC9, WC18 and the WC27 Truck, 1/2 ton, 4×4 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.