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Army Ambulances: 1942

Army Ambulances: 1942

August 1942. "Detroit, Michigan. Chrysler Corporation Dodge truck plant. Dodge ambulances are here, lined up for delivery to the Army." Photo by Arthur Siegel for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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Not Bantam

The jeep is a Bantam copy, the Ford GP. Good comments though; note the staggered grab handles and slightly wider radius fenders and shorter running board.


The really interesting vehicle in this photo is the "Jeep" (or "Peep", as they were often called back in the day)... This one is a real rarity, a Bantam BRC. Bantam designed the first true jeep, but the Army didn't feel they could produce them in sufficient quantities. The design was given to Ford and Willys to copy, and Bantam was relegated to manufacturing 1/4 ton jeep trailers.

Ambulance nomenclature

These ambulances are the WC-54 model, part of the WC-series of light and medium duty military trucks adopted in 1941 and made by Dodge during the war.

Regarding swein's comment above, these would have been the ambulances used in the Korean War. Its replacement, the M-43 ambulance, while introduced in 1951, was adopted too late to see any significant combat use in Korea. It had a different body style and a 24 volt, rather than 12 volt, electrical system.

Awesome photo!

Traffic jam

I worked at the Chrysler Canada plant across the Detroit River in Windsor in the 1960's. We built 1000 cars a day. They tended to pile up outside if they weren't shipped out immediately.


Interestingly, both pilot and co-pilot of the inspecting jeep appear to be women. Good on ya, ladies!

All those

windshield wipers,tires and any other components were stored inside the vehicle, for theft and shipping, it's still done today.

Precision is Painless

The almost absolutely perfect alignment of the roughly 50 trucks per row I find astounding. And am I the only one who hears the M*A*S*H theme in their head looking at this? They used the same ambulances on the show (if not the actual Korean War).

Midnight Auto Supply

Chances are rubber parts left off to prevent loss in transit.

It would seem

that Germany and other countries underestimated American production capacity by a rather large number.


We see before us the ancestor (in various other configurations such as pickups and scout cars as well) of the famous and long lived Dodge Power Wagon. Besides their many civilian uses, trucks of this basic type were still serving in the US Army well into the 1970s -- the M-37 family of vehicles, featuring a bullet-proof but non-synchronized transmission that required considerable skill at double-clutching, both up and down the range.

Missing parts

No spare wheel(s) and no windscreen wipers. Would they have been extras, to be sourced by the customer, or were those parts in short supply, I wonder?

[Since wartime rubber supply was critical, my guess is that these items were supplied by government after delivery and installed on an as-needed basis. - tterrace]

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