U.S. Army Ambulances & Medical Vehicles in World War II

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Didier Andres
Other Publication Information
Hardback, 144 pages 10”x8”, 250 Illustrations
Company: Casemate UK - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Casemate UK - Website: Visit Site


This book covers the search for and the development of all types of ambulances, medic jeeps, medical trucks, and litter carriers used by the US Army during World War II. The book details many modifications made in-theater to vehicles, and other missions for medical vehicles including use by the American Red Cross and American Field Service.

US Army Ambulances & Medical Vehicles in World War II is part of Casemate’s Illustrated Special Series that uses hundreds of B&W photographs, color illustrations, and diagrams to provide a wealth of information for the historian, modeler, or researcher.

Author Didier is passionate about military history, in particular American vehicles of World War II. He has accumulated an impressive collection of technical documents and photographs on the subject, which he has shared through his writing, both books and magazines, over the last two decades.

The book is divided into 16 chapters describing medical vehicle types and missions during World War II:

  1. Introduction
    Describes the Army efforts to convert civilian vehicles for ambulance use prior to World War II
  2. Metropolitan ambulances
    In 1940 the Quartermaster Corps attempted to use ½ ton civilian ambulances, which were insufficient. The weight requirement was increased to 3/4 ton, which could be satisfied by ambulances from Cadillac and Packard. These vehicles are described in text and B&W photos.
  3. Multi-patient ambulances
    The Army Medical Department wanted a mobile hospital to bring close as possible to the front. By December 1941, The Linn Coach & Truck Company developed a multi-patient ambulance that could accommodate 12 on stretchers or 16 mobile patients. An additional 25 vehicles entered service in May 1945.
  4. Field litter carriers
    When sufficient ambulances were not available other vehicles were put to use to transport wounded soldiers. These included 3/4 and 2 1/2-ton trucks and jeeps.
  5. Front Line Ambulances
    Originally there were no vehicles specifically designed as ambulances to be used at the front. A few vehicles were adopted including a Willys MT Jeep, A Holden jeep, and the M-29- C Weasel
  6. Medic Jeeps
    Beyond its role as a troop transport, the Jeep was a simple way to evacuate soldiers quickly. Sometimes used without modifications and other times with more sophisticated modifications, the Jeep was used for medical evacuation in many different campaigns and theaters of operation. Many examples of Jeeps used for medical or evacuation are described in text and B&W photos.
  7. Rescue Teams
    Uncontrollable elements such as water, ice, or snow required the use of amphibious and other specialty vehicles. The DUKW-353, the M-28 Cargo Carrier Weasel, and the M-7 Snow Tractor were used for medical evacuations in these conditions and are described in B&W photos and text.
  8. Medical Trucks
    Specialty medical trucks were developed in 1943 based on the GMC CCKW-353 truck. These included mobile dental laboratories, mobile dental prosthetic repair trucks, mobile dental clinic trucks, mobile optical repair trucks, laboratory trucks, mobile surgical trucks, field medical trucks, and blood bank trucks. These vehicles are all illustrated in various in-action settings.
  9. Reverse Lend-Lease
    Several vehicles sent to Britain as part of the Lend Lease program were returned to the US as repayment. Other British medical vehicles were also returned, including the AEC 10T10 London buses, and the Austin K-2/Y Standard ambulance.
  10. Field ambulances
    The first true field ambulances ordered in large quantities by the Quartermaster Corps were built on a 1/2-ton 4 x 4 chassis. This resulted in the Dodge WC versions of the field ambulance, with over 26,000 produced. These are covered in detail with text descriptions, B&W photos, and data tables.
  11. Ambulance Markings.
    The three main categories of markings on field ambulances were the protection markings of the Geneva Convention, those of the Army Medical Department, and unit and usage markings. These are covered in good detail with in-field B&W and color photos, color profiles, color illustrations, and data tables.
  12. Field Ambulances on the Front
    This chapter includes many B&W photographs of the Dodge WC ambulances in use on the front lines.
  13. Different Uses, Different Missions
    This chapter includes photographs of WC Dodge vehicles used for non-medical purposes during and after the war.
  14. The American Red Cross
    The Red Cross served an important part of the troop’s mental well-being, bringing comfort and a taste of home. The Red Cross ran soldiers’ lounges with a bar, rest, and reading rooms, and equipped itself with Clubmobiles - canteens on wheels. Various types of vehicles are described here in text and B&W photos.
  15. The American Field Service
    Volunteers and financiers of the American Field Service purchased and provided ambulances first to France, and then to Britain
  16. Enigmas
    This chapter describes ambulances with removed or modified markings that do not have an explanation or rationale.
  17. Bibliography


This is an excellent and thorough reference work for US Army ambulances and other medical vehicles during the Second World War. The photographs, mostly black and white, are clear and good representations of the vehicles and their uses. The text is well written and provides clear descriptions of the photos and background of the ambulance vehicles.

Thanks to Casemate Publishers for producing this excellent resource and providing the review sample to IPMS.


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