WWII North Africa Campaign - Correct Desert Tan Color for WC54 Ambulance

SidB

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I am restoring a WC54 ambulance. My father drove one in Italy during the war. His truck began life in N. Africa before being moved to Italy and was desert tan rather than the more common olive green. I have checked the web but am having a tough time identifying what the correct color code should be. It looks like the color in photos was more pale tan with less yellow than the color used in Desert Storm and Iraq. However it may be because the photos have faded. Would anyone have any recomendations on sources of information on corect equipment colors for the equipment deployed in this phase of WWII? I would welcome any thoughts or recomendations you have.
Thanks and regards,
Sid - Suwanee, GA
 

FrankUSMC

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Sid
I would just pick a tan you like and paint the WC54 that color. There are several factors to think about.
1.The color would not have been a factory hand picked perfect color, it would have been, "any one got any tan paint we can use to paint our trucks with?" color.
2. Over 25 years ago, I read a story on painting the trucks tan in North Africa, it was not an art. The writer said they sat up a spray booth using shower heads to shoot the trucks with the tan paint. he said they had paint on the glass, headlights, and tires. They would just wipe off the over sprayed paint with gasoline. We were losing so many vehicles in North Africa, that were not going for perfect paint jobs.
3. Read the book "Army at dawn", it is about the war in North Africa, unlike what they show in movies, we were losing the battle at the start. The correct shade of tan would have been the least of our worries.
Pick a tan that looks great, paint the ambulance and tell the story of your father. Thanks for saving our history.
One of the few, Frank USMC RET
 

SidB

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Dear Frank,
Thank you for your recomendations and the back story. I will look for the book and will share photos as I bring it along.
Regards,
Sid
 

Another Ahab

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Sid

3. Read the book "Army at dawn", it is about the war in North Africa, unlike what they show in movies, we were losing the battle at the start. The correct shade of tan would have been the least of our worries.
Another book that's a good read about the campaign in North Africa is "I Dream of the Day":

- It's kind of a travelogue of the region, more than a history of the war (but that is in there also)

- It's an unusual mix of the whole experience of being there (letters by the writer, in theater, to his Mom, at home)

Here's a link with a summary; check it out http://www.ourstory.info/library/4-ww2/Milne/DreamTC.html
 
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FrankUSMC

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Sid
Also, if you paint it tan, and some "expert" comes up and tells you that shipping vehicles from North Africa to another front did not happen. It was also done on the Alaskan highway. I have read were used trucks came in from North Africa to help with the construction and maintenance of the road.
I have owned or own most of the WWII Dodges, I can tell you, the ambulance was my favorite! I loved that truck. The only negative about it, it will not fit into the average home garage, just to tall.
One of the few, Frank USMC RET
 
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