"Between Life and Death in the Hürtgen Forest"
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

Willys Jeep

Using metal rails, four casualties could be loaded onto a jeep.The Jeep was the workhorse of the U.S. Army during World War II, and that was no less true for the medical battalions. Each aid station platoon was issued three Jeeps, not only for moving the wounded, but also for transporting the platoon and its gear to the front. These Jeeps often had metal frames across which litters (not "stretchers") could be laid for evacuation to a field hospital.

Tamiya's Jeep is a gem of a kit, and while I had the Aber photo-etch set on hand, I opted instead for a sweet little fret from Ordnance Models. It really has all you need to fine-tune the kit. The Tank Workshop provided the chained wheels.

I planned to use Verlinden's M*A*S*H conversion set for this build up, but the litter frame is disappointing, as the size of the frame does not allow for two litters to be placed side-by-side. I built new frames out of Evergreen, and included the corner extensions that helped keep the litters on the frames (also aided by the placement of the litters' "feet" within the frames). The kit's driver was used, and the wounded passenger was configured from the driver in the deuce and a half.

2.5 Ton 6x6 Cargo Truck

A graves registration team retrieves the dead during the Battle of the Bulge.

Surely one of the most onerous tasks in the military is the retrieval of the dead from the battlefield. This is typically the task of the graves registration unit of the Quartermaster Corps. The photo above shows men from the QMC collecting frozen corpses for transport in a cargo truck during the Battle of the Bulge.

Tamiya's "Deuce and a Half" is another sterling kit, and other than being enhanced with their cargo accessories and a set of The Tank Workshop chained wheels, the rest was built out of the box. The tarps covering the corpses were fashioned from lead foil. For more information on this kit, check out my review.


Aid station platoons were issued two 1/4 ton trailers, and the company headquarters had one water tank trailer.

I used Italeri's water tank from their trailer set, discarding the frame and building a new one from Evergreen strips. The tank was given prominent weld beads across the curved sides. Electrical wiring replaced the hose.

The 1/4 ton utility trailer that comes with the Italeri water tank is a post war item. I scrounged up two trailers from both of the old Jeep kits from Italeri and Tamiya, one for the aid station and one to attach to the halftrack. I rebuilt the framing and detailed the trailers with tie downs, parking brakes and cables, and chains.


The slatted frame improves upon the kit's solid piece
This view shows the handbrake

"Between Life and Death..."
The Battle of the Hürtgen Forest
Evolution of the Diorama
M3A1 Halftrack
Dodge Ambulance and Beep
Willys Jeep, 2.5 Ton Cargo Truck, Trailers
The Figures


Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2009 Timothy S. Streeter