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matchlesswdg3

Dodge WC54 applications?

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Oher than as an ambulance for US and (more rarely) British armies, what else was the WC54 used for? Was radio truck application confined to the Korean War theatre? I understand the WC51/52 was used by the Brits and Aussies in Burma.

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I believe the American MP's had a few as paddy wagons but I haven't seen any photographic evidence of that

Pete

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They were certainly used by US forces as loudspeaker vans.

 

Normandy:

 

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Normandy.jpg

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The WC54 was used as a sealed vehicle to decode messages at headquarters, and as part of SLU, Special Liason Units, these handles the Ultra traffic in the feild.

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Interesting, didn't know that Tony would they have first been used in Tunisia perhaps ? interested because it may tie in with some research I'm currently doing on the 1 Army in that theater.

 

Pete

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for all the responses.....much appreciated. Regards the SLU application, Tony, do you know how the vehicle would be marked up?

 

Also love the loudspeaker car photo......would make a great vehicle for War & Peace show to combat thise pesky Russians!

Edited by matchlesswdg3

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Posted (edited)

Finally found the picture! :-D I believe this was taken in Germany. As for markings, I suspect nothing more than standard. The idea was not to draw any attention at all. http://www.yservice.co.uk/index Try here for more info, or any specific questions I can ask Phil.

slu cd.jpg

Edited by Tony B

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Tony, its hard to make out but the Dodge in the photo nearest the camera is marked as "USA". Would any in the SLUs have British Army markings? Am looking for a reason to paint a WC54 as British!

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Tony, its hard to make out but the Dodge in the photo nearest the camera is marked as "USA". Would any in the SLUs have British Army markings? Am looking for a reason to paint a WC54 as British!

 

I'll try and find the caption for the photo. The SLU and Y Service vehicles had no distinctive markings, The whole idea was to be as unobtrusive as possible. The QL radio trucks often had a canvas pulled over the back to make them look like a GS.

 

This is the only photo I have of WC54 I know is British, it's from the Tank Museum Collection taken of Chiselhurst Common.

Save.jpg

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Have a look at, "The Secret Wireless War, The Story of MI6 Communications 1939 - 1945", by Geoffrey Pidgeon. There are at lest three photos in there, including the one above, of the Dodge in use with the SLU/SCU attached to US HQ. Looking at the photos, it seems that they were in standard US markings. The bonnet numbers seem to be in the 7 series and, on one of them, it appears that, while the number itself is retained, the preceding "USA" has been painted out - or not added. The marking on the LHS front bumper edge - on the white paint on one of the photos is the unit designation "SCU8" and a large name "Joyce" extending the entire width of the radiator grille. According to somewhere in the book - having read it I can't find it again - there were only 9 converted ambulances, but then they were in use only at the highest level US HQ (the British HQ were served by Guy 15Cwts). Clearly Eisenhower had a detachment, as did Bradley, though, it seems Patton's was removed from him during one stage of the battle, much to his annoyance.

 

Of greater interest, perhaps are the 1940 Packard saloons which were the original vehicles chosen for the SCUs. Apparently they bought up every available Packard in the country at the time. They were used in North Africa, but were unsuitable in the longer term, hence the introduction of the Guys and the Dodges. Anyway, the book is worth getting hold of as it is a fascinating read in its own right. Incidentally, I'm not sure the Tank Museum photo shows one in British service as it still has the US Medical Corps insignia forward of the red cross and just behind the driver's door, but I am sure there are other photos of them in British, or Commonwealth, service - particularly in the Far East where the proportion of US vehicles was higher than in Europe or North Africa (apart from Jeeps, of course).

Hope this helps,

 

10 68

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The Tank Museum shots are reference shots of a very early vehicle in brand new condition, There are similar shots around of virtually all the US vehicles that were in the UK, whether as samples, illustrations for recognition, or whatever.

 

The ambulance has symettrical headlight guards and the small red cross marking on the side, both early features not found after about mid 1942. It may well also have the USA number on there - painted in drab blue on the side of the hood - and not showing up on film - exactly as planned.

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WC54's in USAAF, Somewhere in England. Dodge 52 with British census number. Dodge Ambulance, not sure what type in Middle East and one very used WC51 in Far East. :-D

wc54 in England 001.jpg

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far east.JPG

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Tony,

The second picture down, an ambulance, is the earlier 1/2 ton model. Markings on the side seem to denote USA.

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Thanks Richard. Out of interest, anyone know the markings on the fourth one?

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Posted (edited)

Two pictures from the web

attachment.php?attachmentid=128868&stc=1

source:

http://militarymashup.com/index.php?m0102003

 

The picture with the military Police one with the fancy two-tone (or even three?) paint job is taken in 1952.

source: http://dodgewc.frbb.net/t4966p15-enfin

 

Alex

mmu_get_jpeg.jpg

mp_wc510.jpg

Edited by Alex van de Wetering

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Posted (edited)
Thanks Richard. Out of interest, anyone know the markings on the fourth one?

 

I think it is 36th Indian Infantry Division (overlapping white and red circles on a black ground, red to the right). The VRN is British Indian Army. The "68" AOS marking may be, if it followed early post-war British style, the second infantry battalion in the third brigade of an infantry division, in which case it would be on a brown square, but I don't have reference material for the Indian Army at that time - but think it would probably conform to British practice. That would place the vehicle in the Arakan in 43/44 which is probably about right.

 

10 68.

Edited by 10FM68

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Thank you. There's always someone knows such esoteric info, :-D

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Thanks all for help in finding a potential British Army identity for a Dodge WC54. IJM Restorations in Yorkshire are now restoring their WC54 for me to put back on the road as a mobile Special Communications Unit manned mainly by Royal Signals personnel for deployment in the US sectors of the post Normandy European battlefield, to handle high level secret communications traffic. It is an ex 'Fury' film set vehicle and as you can see, there is a fair bit of work to do! As the load area would have been stripped put anyhow and a radio table installed, it is ideal for me to rig as a basic camper and carry a WW2 motorcycle or two!

 

2eealmx.jpg

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I did the same research many years ago when restoring my own WC54 and wondering which route to go down.

I found photographic evidence of them used for :

Signals/Wire laying / line repair trucks

MP Paddy Wagons

Mobile Shops

Propaganda / speaker broadcasting trucks

and of course Ambulances

- I was also told they were used as aircraft crew taxis but could find no evidence of persons using them as such - but a few pictures of them ferry back the wounded from aircraft....

 

Caution however as many of the conversions were post war - many of the signal corps trucks were post-war/Norwegian based .

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Edited by JEMIMA

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