Dodge WC series
This article is about the World War II Dodge VC-, VF-, WC- and WF-models. For the civilian Dodge VC-, VF-, WC- and WF-Series trucks, see Dodge T-, V-, W-Series.
For the civilian post-War variant, see Dodge Power Wagon.The Dodge WC series, sometimes nicknamed 'Beeps', were a prolific range of light 4WD and medium 6WD military utility trucks, produced by Dodge / Fargo during World War II. Together with the 1⁄4-ton jeeps produced by Willys and Ford, the Dodge 1⁄2‑tons and 3⁄4‑tons made up nearly all of the light 4WD trucks supplied to the U.S. military in WWII – with Dodge contributing some 337,500 4WD units (over half as many as the jeep).
Contrary to the versatility of the highly standardized jeep, which was mostly achieved through field modification, the Dodge WC‑series came in many different, purpose-built, but mechanically uniform variants from the factory, much akin to the later family of High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles. The WC series evolved out of, and was part of a more extended family of trucks, with great mechanical parts commonality, that included open- and closed-cab cargo trucks and weapons carriers, (radio) command cars, reconnaissance vehicles, ambulances, carryalls, panel vans, and telephone installation and mobile emergency / field workshop trucks.
The Dodge WC series were essentially built in two generations. From 1940 to early 1942, almost 82,400 of the 1⁄2‑ton 4×4 Dodge trucks were built — initially called the VC series, but the great majority (from 1941) in the WC series, and in more variants. Contrary to what the nomenclature would suggest, the 1941 WC models were a direct evolution of the 1940 VC models, retaining the U.S. Army's G-505 Ordnance Corps Supply Catalog number.
In 1942, the payload was upgrated, and the trucks grew into the G-502 3⁄4-ton 4×4 Truck (Dodge) and the G-507 11⁄2‑ton 6x6 personnel and cargo truck (Dodge) — confusingly retaining the Dodge WC model code. Although the 3⁄4‑tons featured significant design improvements, they did retain some 80% interchangeable components and service parts with the 1⁄2‑ton models — a vital Army requirement, for field maintenance and operability of the trucks.
Dodge was the U.S. Army's main supplier of 1⁄2‑ton trucks, and its sole supplier of both 3⁄4‑ton trucks and 11⁄2‑ton 6x6 trucks in World War II. With over a quarter million units built through August 1945, the G-502 3⁄4‑tons were the most common variants in the WC‑series.
After the war, Dodge developed the 3⁄4-ton WC‑series into the civilian 4×4 Dodge Power Wagon; and in 1951, the WCs were replaced by the very similar 3⁄4‑ton 4x4 Dodge M-series vehicles .
Though the majority of Dodges built were 'Weapons Carriers', "WC" was not abbreviated from this, but a general Dodge model code – initially "W" for 1941, and "C" for a (nominal) half-ton payload rating. However, the "WC" model code was simply retained after 1941 — for both the 3⁄4-ton, as well as the 11⁄2‑ton rated 6x6 Dodges.
All in all, not counting mechanically related variants, the WC series alone involved 52 model versions (thirty 1⁄2‑ton 4×4, eight 1⁄2‑ton 4×2, twelve 3⁄4‑ton 4×4, and two 11⁄2‑ton 6×6 models). Creating vehicles of a common platform in such a variety of designs, with payloads ranging from 1⁄2‑ton to 11⁄2‑tons, had no equal in its time, and is seen as an extraordinary feat of the WWII American auto industry.