Casemate's Dodge WC 54 Ambulance

Author/Artists: Fabien Raud




$37.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 160 pages,  hardcover, over 150 photos and illustrations. 8x 10 inches.
ISBN: 978-1-63624-213-2

With the inevitability of the US getting involved in WWII, the Army realized that it would need a lot of modern equipment. As it was planned for the majority of the army to be motorized, this included a need for a way to transport casualties from the front lines to rear hospitals or air evacuation sites.

What was needed was something proven and available. Chrysler corporation produced a series of vehicles based on a 1/2 ton truck chassis as the WC9, WC18 and WC27. Eventually over 6500 of these were built. However, what was needed was a field ambulance that could operate off road and in fairly rough terrain. What was chosen was their 3/4 ton chassis and what became the WC 54. Out of the 250,000 vehicles built on the WC chassis, only 26,000 were ambulances with production of the ambulances running less than two years. These were replaced by the 64KD.

These were not the ambulances you think of today but were simply designed to haul casualties. They could handle either four stretcher cases or eight ambulatory cases. The latter sat on a small, padded drop down bench on either side. The only 'accessories' that were carried was a splint kit that looked incredibly uncomfortable, but I guess when you are full of pain killer, it doesn't matter. Almost all of these vehicles were used by the Army's medical corps with few being used for other tasks or with other organizations. None went to the Signal Corps for radio vans as they had their own vehicles from Chevrolet. Probably the largest non-US user was the French Army who utilized them near the end of the war as well as post war in Indo-China and other spots.

As with other books in this series, this is primarily a photo book as much as a history and you are treated to lots of photos, some of the period ones in color. There is also a very detailed look at the vehicle itself thanks to some fine period illustrations and images of restored vehicles as well. These Casemate Illustrated Specials make for a great read and equally welcome reference. Highly recommended to all.

June 2022

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