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WC-54's & 1/4ton trailers

Posted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 15:26
by Dean W.
Was there ever an instance where 1/4 ton trailers were towed behind WC-54's? I've seen pictures of 1/4 tons being towed behind WC-51/52's. I'm sure it wasn't a common thing to do. Thanks

Re: WC-54's & 1/4ton trailers

Posted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 18:13
by sgtpeter
The WC54 are not really configured to haul a trailer. While they do have the pintle receiver, they did not come with the electrical connector for the trailer lights. Based on T/O there would have been plenty of other vehicles to haul the limited number of trailers a unit would have had available. I also have not found any photo evidence of trailers being pulled. From what I have read ambulance drivers were constantly busy. They would get cross attached to different units even when their parent units were moving forward to support new operations. With their constant movement, I guessing they didn't wouldn't have been used to move trailers as the trailers would have ended up in the wrong place.

That being said, I believe that there were occasions when the WC54 hauled trailers. Soldiers are good about adapting. If there was a need to haul a trailer and the only thing available was an ambulance, they certainly would have used it. In the Army, never say never.

On a side note, I have talked with Army nurses who got hauled around the ETO in the back of ambulances. They remember taking turns with their face pasted to the rear window to see where they are going.

PS I'll be adding an electrical connector to my WC54 when I redo the wiring harness next year :o

Re: WC-54's & 1/4ton trailers

Posted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:42
by LOZ
page 144 of the Michel de Trez book on "Doc" Mcilvoy of the 505th, PIR ISBN 2-9600176-6-8. Shows an ambulance towIng a Ben Hur 1 ton trailer in Holland ( Part of the Seaborne tail) I thinck it may be a bit later. The top of the trailer of covered with a canvass marked with a red cross ( bumper no's 505-I M1 the hood no's appear to be 73572 S ) there are some more I will have a look around.

Re: WC-54's & 1/4ton trailers

Posted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 13:28
by LOZ
Page 104 of the book entitled The battle of the Bulge, World War " collectors edition, ISBN0-7835-5702-7. Shows a 17th Airborne Div. ambulance towing a overloaded quarter ton (jeep ) trailer in the Ardennes. no's on the trailor 0434? 17AB-X. There are no red cross makings on the trailer of canvass

Re: WC-54's & 1/4ton trailers

Posted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 05:40
by Dean W.
Thanks for the info guys. I'll be looking for those books,LOZ . My WC54 has a trailer connector on it so I thought I would use it to pull the Bantam until I get the GPW restored...some day! The Bantam just needs a floor and I have all of the other parts so it'll be "easy" :roll: to do this winter.

Re: WC-54's & 1/4ton trailers

Posted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 18:15
by medevac
I have seen photos of WC54's towing jeep trailers and Ben Hur trailers. The Dodge WC54 did have a connection for a trailer, but it was not the typical universal 4-wire socket. It consisted of a junction box in the rear of the truck which had three wire terminals. You could remove the connector plug from the trailer wiring harness and then attach the wire leads to the terminals on the truck junction box so you had functioning lights. I owned my WC54, then didn't own it, and now own it again. The intermediate owner found this feature on the ambulance, sourced a brand-new junction box, and it came with the project when it returned to my hands. Unfortunately, I don't know where it goes on the ambulance and will need to figure that out. Dean, I don't know where your socket is located, but the other Dodge WC 3/4 ton trucks had an extra hole on the driver-side tail-light bracket which is where the trailer socket went. All that said, I would think getting the appropriate wiring harness made with wires for the socket, putting the two-hole tail light bracket on the driver side, and using the existing wiring harness would be the best solution for towing trailers behind an ambulance. That's what I'm going to do.

As an aside, my friend who drove WC54's in New Guinea and the Phillipines told me that they were not allowed to tow trailers because they were to be prepared to transport casualties at all times. He told me that they had orders from their commander to refuse any other unit's request to use the ambulances as a tow vehicle, even if it was just to tow a vehicle out of getting stuck. They were only allowed to assist other ambulances or medical vehicles if need be.