(TM 9-2800 shows WC-22 - winch version)
The Museum's WC-21 driven by members of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets pulling cannon at "March-in"
Generally, the Dodge WC 1/2 tons were not deployed for use in combat by the US Army. There were two significant exceptions. The first is those sent to the Philippines prior to World War II where they were captured by the Japanese who used them during the war. The second is that in Europe the Army Air Corps used several versions of the Dodge 1/2 ton trucks on English air bases in support of flight operations. Most notable were the 1/2 ton ambulances. Other 1/2 ton Dodges were modified to handle bombs.
My limited research on use of the 1/2 ton Dodges in combat with the US Army in North Africa is based largely in reviewing several hours of official Army file footage. Strangely, there were no 1/2 ton Dodges - or 3/4 ton Dodges shown. I would reasonably expect to see some Dodges in the Army footage.
Most of the Dodge 1/2 ton military trucks that saw combat in World War II were those shipped to Russia and Great Britain as "Lend Lease" aid. Lend-Lease aid destined for France was redirected when France surrendered. Lend-Lease Dodge 1/2 ton military trucks were deployed in Northern Africa where the rapidly alternating successes in battle saw them captured by the Germans and recaptured by the Allies. Military historians estimate that 85% of all German support and transport vehicles at the time of the conclusion of the North Africa campaign were captured Allied equipment. Remember that Germany was defeated as much by interdiction of supply lines as by actual combat so that estimate is 85% of not a whole lot.
Half tons in Algeria
The caption on this photo described it as being"An American motorized column racing across Algeria to Tunisia 12-19-42" Note the WC 52s in the rear towing what looks like A.T. (AntiTank) guns." Sadly, the bumper markings are not discernable. There appear to be American flags displayed on the first two Dodges. Many times Lend-Lease equipment were shipped out with American flags or other reminders of the Lend-Lease providers painted on them. The headgear on the driver of the lead "Jeep" suggests this may have been a British convoy, while the headgear on the passenger in the "Jeep" says "American". Maybe this was a Joint Operation.
The headgear thing is confusing. In "Rat Patrol"- the TV series set in the African desert - Sgt Sam Troy (played by Christopher George) wore an Australian bush hat and was one of three Americans serving with the British Long Range Desert Group. Another American, Pvt Tully Pettigrew (played by Justin Tarr) was the only one who wore a "steel pot". The third American, Pvt Mark Hitchcock (played by Lawrence Casey) wore a "kepi" similar to those worn in the American Civil War, and by the French in both World Wars. And Sgt Jack Moffit (played by Gary Ramond) wore a variety of British and local styles of headgear. Enough of this since it is the least historically correct information on the Kempner POWER WAGON Museum web site.
As the US Army was being built up and trained, the half-tons were used in training. The "Louisiana Maneuvers" was one of the best known of the large scope training exercises. In smaller unit training, the half-tons were often fitted with silhouettes to represent tanks and other military weapons. The photo below is believed to have been taken at the "Louisiana Maneuvers." Notice the unit markings on the cab skirt below the driver.
Production of the half-tons ceased in early 1942 as they were replaced with the more rugged Dodge military 3/4 ton WC series.
Back to the Museum Main Page