Dodge WC54

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Dodge WC-54 / WC-64
Dodge WC54 Field Ambulance (1943) (owner Glen Rummery) pic4.JPG
ManufacturerFargo (Dodge) [1]
ProductionWC-54: 26,002 (1942–1944)
WC-64 KD: 3,500 (1945)
Body and chassis
ClassLight truck
Engine230 cu in (3.8 L) I6
Transmission4-speed manual
Wheelbase121 in (3,073 mm)
Length194.5 in (4,940 mm)
Width78 in (1,981 mm)
Height90 in (2,286 mm)
Curb weight2,680 kilograms (5,910 lb)
PredecessorDodge WC-27, G505, 1/2-Ton, 4×4
SuccessorDodge M43
M37 ¾Ton truck series

The Dodge WC54 ​34-ton, supply catalog designation G502, was a WC series 4×4 light truck developed during World War II by Dodge. 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.

Design and production[edit]

The WC54 was designed to replace the WC9, WC18 and the WC27 Truck, 1/2 ton, 4×4 Dodge Ambulance (G505).[2] 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.[2] 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.

From 1942 to 1945, total production of the 3/4-ton Dodge WC-series was some 250,000. Of these, 29,502 were ambulances — 26,002 WC-54 and 3,500 WC-64 KD models.[1][3] 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).[2]

Virtually unchanged for three years, apart from minor technical tweaks, it was replaced by a knock-down body version, the WC-64 KD. Based on essentially the same chassis as the WC-54, the rear ambulance boxes were split in two major parts: lower and upper, designed to increase the number of vehicles that could be shipped at the same time. The lower part of the ambulance body was attached to the chassis at the factory, while the upper box was crated for installation in the field.[4] Only produced in 1945, just 3,500 of these were made before the war ended.[1] The "knocked-down" condition was so much more space-efficient, that two ambulances could now be stacked, and shipped in the same space that would previously hold only one conventional WC-54 ambulance. Additionally, the reduced size also allowed air transportation of the vehicle.[5]



See also[edit]


  • 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.
  1. ^ a b c Chief of Ordnance Office; Military Vehicle Preservation Association, eds. (2010). Summary Report of Acceptances, Tank-Automotive Materiel, 1940-1945 (Revision). Detroit: U.S. Army Service Forces, Office: Chief of Ordnance-Detroit, Production Division, Requirements and Progress Branch (published December 1945). p. 62.
  2. ^ a b c "Dodge WC54 Ambulance". Retrieved 2012-07-27.
  3. ^ Benedict, Chris (July 1979). "Dodge 3/4 Ton 4X4 And 1½ Ton 6X6 Production, 1942–1945". Army Motors magazine.
  4. ^ Dodge WC64KD Ambulance – Technical
  5. ^ "Dodge WC64KD History". Retrieved 2012-07-27.

External links[edit]