US Ambulance markings:

The 3/4 ton Dodge WC54 ambulance had the word AMBULANCE in three inch high white letters, 3/4 inch above the windscreen, with a 3/4 inch high red cross on a four inch white square background placed on each side of the word. A 36 inch cross on a 39 inch square white background appeared on each side of the body, centred over the rear wheels: a 33 inch cross on a 36 inch white background on the rear door panels directly below the windows and centred on the joint between the doors: and a60 inch cross on a 64 inch square white background on the roof., commencing 14 inches from the rear of the vehicle.

The size of the crosses described was measured between the ends of opposite limbs. Each limb of the cross is in fact a square, having sides equal to one third the size of the cross.

Medical Corps insignia: The US Army Medical Corps insignia, a caduceus, was carried on each side of the ambulance near the front of the body. It was in black or red on a square white background. Beneath the insignia were the words UNITED STATES ARMY. The wording appears to be two inches high, with the caduceus about nine inches high and the background twelve inches square, but the proportions are only as deduced from photographs.

Red cross:

The word "ambulance" appeared over the windscreen with a small Geneva Red Cross on a white panel at either end. Early vehicles also carried a white panelled red cross centered on the body sides above the waist moulding a 42x40 in panel on the roof and two panels on the rear doors in overall. In October 1943 much larger red crosses were adopted 36x33in on the bodyside 64x60in on the roof, also centred on the wheel arch and a single panel 47x45in across both rear doors interrupted by the windows.   

The photos below show the late US markings of a Dodge WC54.Click on the thumbnails to enlarge!

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Passenger-side Driver-side Front-side

These were applied prior to shipping and indicate the vehicle's weight and dimensions. They also excisted as metal tags fitted to the dashboard of vehicles.

Personal markings:
Although not as usual as on aircraft many vehicles were decorated with small "nose-art" during WWII. These were usually names, mascottes, painted Division symbols and pin-up's. The variarity was limited only by the GI's imagination.

Bridge plates:
A yellow disc fitted on the grill, with a digitcode indicating the weight of the vehicle. It was used for all sorts of vehicles. The Dodge WC-54 used bridgeclassification 4.

Stars & Stripes:
All US Army unarmoured vehicles in the ETO had a little "stars & stripes", made of paper, glued in the lower left corner of the windowshield.

White star:

Ambulances carried a 5 pointed white star on the doors and hood. This was meant as an aerial recognition sign.


"Prestone 4x" Painted on the front of the hood above the grill in approx. 1/2"-1" letters it indicated anti-freeze was put into the cowlingsystem of the vehicle, together with the year.


The following information will assist in painting your 3/4-ton Dodge. Info on other models plus comments on the following material welcome.

What is clear is that most surfaces including woodwork should be painted lustreless Olive Drab (although a semi-gloss finish is more practical to keep clean). It's possible to argue all day about what is the correct shade of Olive Drab. I am aware of all of the points about aging and colour shifts, weathering and different paint formulations used by parts contractors but I still maintain that most NOS 3/4-ton Dodge parts that the writer has seen appear to be painted with OD which has a distinct blackish or greyish tinge to it - not the yellowish/olive type that seemed to be used on early GMC's etc. and not the lighter OD seen on later model jeeps. In the end, it is really a matter of personal taste, so find a shade of OD you like and use it. The engine bay is one area though that is not universally OD.


LIGHT GREY (very pale - similar to a smoke white):

Engine block, cylinder head, bell housing, oil filler pipe, generator mount, waterpump and fan pulley, thermostat housing, crank pulley, manifolds, oil filter mount on head, Carter carb. airhorn, all engine sheet metal, gearbox except shift tower which is olive drab.


Oil filter housing and bands, radiator fan , starter, generator, horn and horn bracket, air cleaner, Zenith carb. air horn, engine breather/filler cap.


Background colour for all distributor data plates and 6 volt electrical data plates.


Background colour for 12 volt electrical d/plates.


Generator regulator cover.


"STARTER COIL REGULATOR" lettering on firewall. In approximately 5/16th." or 7mm block capitals and seemingly applied by way of a stamp to the rectangular pressing just below the generator regulator.Click for diagram.