The Dodge 3/4 ton WC51 truck enthusiasts homepage by Joakim

About this homepage...

...it is mainly an album on the progress of the rebuilt of my Dodge WC52 that I bought in June 2012 in France and the WC51 I bought in spring 2013 in Munich. It is dedicated to all the Americans that bought war bonds to collect money for their production, to the men and women at the production line in Detroit in WW2 that built those outstanding military vehicles with pride, to all soldiers in the field that used them to free Europe from dictatorship and to all that own a vintage Dodge and share the same hobby with me: to preserve those outstanding WW2 vehicles and their heritage for generations to come.

My personal background

After more than 20 years with Land Rovers Series 4x4s (mainly ex. MOD 109 models from Series II to III FFR) I have been about 6 years without a real 4x4 (modern SUVs don't count!). So the idea came up to buy a Dodge WC Series Truck from WW2 because of its very similar technical design and its historical value. I've been looking at first for a WC54 since late summer 2011 in central Europe but found no vehicle in a sound condition at a reasonable price. So the WC52 type was the second best option and I drove in spring 2012 twice to the Netherlands and once to Belgium to see several WC52s for sale. After more than 2,000 km on the road I found my WC52 on a French market site. It has been rebuilt from about 2004 to 2006 by a French Willys Jeep owner and his son as a budget project, but the latest French owner did not do anything since the last 5 years of ownership. So I fixed most of this "70% done project" and brought it back on the road. The pictures of my WC52 can be found here (notice: click on "next image" to open the next picture in the galery): WC52 pictures If you are interested in my "virtualGarage" with pictures of my previous vehicles have a look here: My former vehicles from A - Z

My Dodge WC52

The French registration documents state 1st of January 1943 as the production date of this Dodge WC52 light truck. War or not war - a strange date that could not be true from my point of view. Details on the Dodge indicated also a later production date. The Chrysler archive then found out that this Dodge left production line at Detroit on the 17th of February 1944 as a WC52 type.
Later on this vehicle was converted to a Bomb Service Truck by adding a crane as used on Chevrolet M6 Bomb Service Trucks and Ford GTBC Bomb Service Trucks. All share the same crane blueprint. At first I thought, this conversion is "non original" and the crane has been fitted later on during private use (after release from the French Forces). But: after about 12 hours of research at google picture search and checking some 2,000 pictures on the www I found pictures of two more WC52 vehicles from France with an identical crane conversion: Link 1, Link 2 (see: LOT 7 on that page). So from this point on there was a proof, that this conversion was done by the Air Force while my WC52 was in active duty. But it is not clear if it was the American or the French Air Force. Mind the details: as you can see on the first vehicle, is the crane is originally driven by the WC52 front winch. The Chevy M6 uses a hand driven winch. Compare with this ones: Link 3 It seems that there have been "experimental conversions" of the U.S. Forces with a motor winch in use on a M6 as shown here: Link 4 So in the end some Bomb Service Trucks seem to have been equipped with hand driven cranes (as my Dodge) and some with the motor winch driven option.
After the end of WW2 my Dodge was handed over to the French Air Force. The date when it was sold off to private owners is unknown. I think it has been an early release in the 1960ies. The yellow paint that I found on wheels, dashboard and parts of the interior indicate, that it has been used then by a garage or French automobile club for recovery service. The latest owner was then obviously a circus - due to the red, white, blue colours that are typical for a classic circus. During the rebuilt by the French father & son team the Dodge was resprayed in its quite "exotic" sand camo. In fact has the first "joint Air Force" in WW2, the 57th Fighter Group used that camo for it's motorpool in Tunesia in 1943/44. At this time the German Luftwaffe dominated the sky - so desert camo was essential for all vehicles. So allied troops adopted quickly the colour scheme of Rommels troops to minimize the massive loss of vehicles. I've found some rare colour pictures from Life Magazine with a similar WC51 of the so called "Desert Air Force" - later on part of the 12th Air Force. So it's no stupid "desert storm lookalike-something" camo or sheer fantasy. Then it took me some additional 10 to 14 h on internet research to find samples for the correct markings for a vehicle from the 57th Fighter Group motor pool. The bumpers will then show those markings: XII (12th Air Force) T.A.C. (Tactical) 57FG (Fighter Group) 64FS (64th Fighter Squadron) 11 (vehicle 11 - simply because it's my 11th 4x4).
About the 57th FG: It was the first allied fighter group in action in North Africa and part of the Army Air Force. The 57th FG was formed out of British and U.S. Pilots with joint command, using Spitfires and P-40s in the beginning of the war in North Africa. Later on the Army Air Force was equipped with P-47 Thunderbolts. All details on the 57th FG can be found here: Link 5

My new Dodge WC51

In 2013 I bought my second WW2 Dodge WC 3/4 ton light truck - this time a WC51 built on the 7th of Dec. 1942 - in olive drab. Since then I changed the markings to the 3rd Armored Division "SPEARHEAD" (General George S. Patton) that has liberated the state of Hessen in March 1945 and has been based around Frankfurt for many years after WW2. Last but not least - the 3rd Armored Division was the Army home for Elvis Presley - serving in Germany at the Ray Barrack's, Friedberg. So my Dodge WC51 has now those markings: 3 delta (3rd Army, Armored - General Patton) 82 delta (82nd Division, Armored) D (Company D) 12 (vehicle 12 - simply because it's my 12th 4x4). In addition is the Weapon Carrier now equiped with an M24 mount and a cal. .50 replica M2 BMG. A compilation of some of my WC51 pictures can be found here (notice: click on "next image" to open the next picture in the galery): WC51 pictures

Parallel to this I have started to rebuilt this Dodge as well and have exchanged the radiator, timing chain and gears, the transfer case, front, prop.-shaft, fuel tank, tires, speedo, fitted new brakes, new shock-links, repaired the running boards, replaced the glove box door (that came from a WC52), resprayed it... etc. etc. Simply to much to list up all that has been done up to now. To make the Dodge more reliable for long distance driving on motorways it is now "upgraded" with an electrical fuel pump and voltage regulator as well as with an electronic ignition set. Headlights are converted to modern H4 standard and parking light so that the front indicator lights could be moved to the small marker light housings. All details on the rebuilt can be found here (notice: click on "next image" to open the next picture in the galery): WC51 rebuilt
The technical facts at a glance can be found here: Dodge WC51 technical data fact sheet (German only).

My WW2 Dodge Garage Blog

In addition you are invited to visit my WW2 Dodge Blog. Thats my private thread at the WW2Dodge.Com Forum on the latest repairs, MV Events I visited etc. So if you want to read more about whats going on - have a look here:
My WW2 Dodge Garage Blog

Overview on the WW2 MV Events and Battlefields I visited up to now

Throughout the last years I have visited several Military Vehicle Events, commemoration ceremonies and former battlefields across Europe. I have been with my Dodge WC51 in Normandy at D-Day on the beaches, at Tanks in Town (Liberation Festival Mons, Belgium), in the snowfall at the Bastogne commemorations and many other events. At those occasions I met a lot of interesting people - from military vehicle collectors as I am up to WW2 veterans as Irving Smolens, "Pee Wee" Martin or Ted Eaglen - as well as relatives of soldiers that have been killed in WW2 or unknown Veterans that have passed away. A listing of those Events and the links to the pictures I took can be found here:
My Military Vehicle Events Pictures

Upcoming WW2 Military Vehicle Events

If you are interested in upcoming Military Vehicle Events you should have a look at the calendar at the WW2 Dodge Forum:
Upcoming WW2 Military Vehicle Events

I hope that you enjoyed my homepage and the pictures

Keep 'em Rolling to all MV enthusiasts - and keep in mind the word's of WW2 veteran Irving Smolens that I met in Normandy in 2014:
"We should never forget that freedom is not for free!"


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