During World War II, the Dodge Company produced tens of thousands of light weight, versatile trucks in the WC series. While most cargo was carried in "deuce and a half" or larger vehicles, the Dodge WCs worked long and hard, an essential part of Army mobility that led to victory in 1945. Thousands more were shipped to allies, including the Soviet Union, where they were also revered.
Dodge 1/2 Ton Production during World War II.
Photo: Courtesy of WW2Xprt.
Following World War II, the same Dodge WC trucks continued to serve, then returned to duty in the Korean War. They were finally replaced in the 1950s by the Dodge M-37, another legendary tough truck. Dodge's last production military trucks were the M880-series of military-modified Dodge W300 commercial trucks.
Today in WW II: 23 Jul 1940 American Bantam and Willys-Overland submit the only two bids for the Quartermaster Corps light reconnaissance and command cars, the origin of the military jeep. More↓
The 98-inch wheelbase G-502 3/4 ton 4x4 was designed for all arms and services. Used to transport personnel, weapons, tools and equipment, the body is of a commercial pickup type, with removable canvas top mounted on three bows. Troop seats are provided within the body. A removable canvas top and folding windshield are provided. There was space at the rear for a jerry can, and low seat sides for easy dismount. The 'combat wheels' were divided-rim, that used a bolted-on retaining ring replacing the normal split ring wheels.
The WC-52 had a top governed speed of 54 mph, and could operate over unimproved roads, trails and hilly country with a towed load. A total of 23,164 of the WC51s were built, and 10,826 of the WC52 model, all between 1942 and 1945.
Another Dodge product was the 1/2 ton WC-7 officer's Command Car (production photo, above) that included a 12-volt electrical system for powering a radio, a map table, cargo area lights, sliding windows, blackout curtains and a folding rear step.
Following WW II, the M-series of vehicles was designed to replace all vehicles in the U.S. military inventory. The Dodge M-37 family, introduced in late 1951, included a cargo truck, ambulance, command truck and other models as described on the linked page.
The Dodge trucks that were built for the U.S. Army (and used by all the armed services) are very popular with collectors due to their reasonable size, ready availability of parts, and great off-road capabilities. There are many websites and forums devoted to the U.S. Army Dodge Trucks, some of the best collected on the linked page.
Recommended Book About Dodge Military Trucks
Dodge Power Wagon Photo History
covers the original Dodge military truck series of World War II, and their successor civilian vehicles, the matchless Dodge Power Wagons. Many great photos are included.
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