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ISSUE 162 NOVEMBER 2014
Events listings, pages of classifieds and a comprehensive vehicle price guide
LI S HIN
MADE TO MEASURE ACMAT – the hand-built military gem
Latest MV prices
The Leyland Martian artillery tractor
GERMANY’S ‘BUCKET CAR’
9 771473 777119
Monster truck! 11
German driving school tanks
Contents November 2014
www.cmvmag.co.uk EDITORIAL Editor: Ian Cushway [emailprotected] Regular contributors: Pat Ware, David Doyle, David Fletcher, Geoffrey Fletcher, Scott Smith, Ian Stead, Andy Stead, Nigel Hay, Les Freathy, Diana Hawkins, Paul Hazell, Peter McNeil, Duncan Nicholson, John Norris, Kim Kinnear, Jon Hickman, Jon Burgess, James Taylor, John G Teasdale, David Gilbert, Alain Henry de Frahan Designer: Sean Phillips, AT Graphics Ltd ADVERTISEMENT SALES Advertisement Sales Manager: Julia Johnston tel: +44 (0)1780 755131;
04 06 12 14
firstname.lastname@example.org Group Sales Manager: Brodie Baxter PRODUCTION
The Morris-Commercial C8 FAT goes under the spotlight. REVIEW
A round up of current military-vehicle news, views and correspondence.
Page 14. Despite being bought by Renault, French company ACMAT remains the world’s only hand-built military vehicle maker. CMV was lucky enough to look round a cared for VLRA 420.
Find out what’s in store in next month’s CMV. MADE TO MEASURE COVER STORY
ACMAT is still the world’s only hand-made military vehicle maker and this VLRA 420, owned by Kieran Flynn, is a superb example of the French firm’s engineering prowess.
Design and Colour Repro: AT Graphics Ltd
AUSTRALIAN COUSINS 40 The story of the 1-ton Land Rovers that found their way into service down under.
44 A TRUCK AND A HALF!
Production Manager: Janet Watkins
Advertisement Production: Lousie Talbot
Pat Ware tells the story of the fifties monster truck that is the Leyland Martian.
MARKETING Group Marketing Manager: Martin Steele Marketing Manager: Shaun Binnington MANAGEMENT Publisher and Managing Director: Adrian Cox Executive Chairman: Richard Cox Commercial Director: Ann Saundry
TANK DRIVING SCHOOL
BEST OF BRITISH – DAIMLER DINGO
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John Teasdale investigates the evolution of the Panzerkampfwagen I driving school tanks. COVER STORY
The story of the fast and reliable scout car that entered service in 1940 and was still being used in the early fifties.
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BUCKET FULL OF IDEAS COVER STORY
Agile, light and with granite-like reliability – it’s no wonder the Kübelwagen was so liked. However, survival rates are low so it’s lucky we managed to track down a rare original.
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MILITARY VEHICLE MARKET 68 THE Nigel Hay, in collaboration with Milweb, charts COVER STORY
the ups and downs of the market.
VEHICLE PRICES 70 MILITARY What you should be paying for your next
the very first Land Rover FV18001.
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THE LINES… 72 BEHIND We get the inside story on Armortek. OF WAR 78 ECHOES Finishing off where it all started for many with
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66 SHOWTIME A listing of major military shows and
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The largely ignored Cavalier’s story has never really been told. Until now that is…
YORKSHIRE WARTIME EXPERIENCE 54 THE Scott Smith was there for CMV to capture the
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50 A24 CAVALIER
VEHICLES OF OSS DETACHMENT 101
Alain Henry de Frahan investigates the vehicles used by a formidable but poorly known detachment 101 of the OSS – the predecessor to the CIA.
SUBSCRIBE AND SAVE – PAGE 64 There’s never been a better time to subscribe. A subscription to Classic Military Vehicle will ensure you receive every copy, post free, before the official on-sale date, while making a substantial saving on the cover price.
C SIC MILITARY VEHICLE VEHICLE November 2014 CLASSIC
OPE N I NG
MORRIS-COMMERCIAL C8 FIELD ARTILLERY TRACTOR Introduced in 1939, and remaining in production throughout WW2, around 10,000 examples were constructed of the Morris-Commercial C8 field artillery tractor (FAT). Most had the curiously angular, beetle-backed body but late examples of the Mk III were fitted with a square-backed, canvas-topped ‘number 5’ body, with four access doors and a drop-down tailboard. The vehicle was powered by a Morris EH four-cylinder engine, producing 70bhp from 3519cc, driving all four wheels through a five-speed gearbox and single-speed transfer case; both the Mk I and Mk II variants featured permanent all-wheel drive, but the front-wheel drive could be disconnected on the Mk III. Total production of the Mk III amounted to more than 6000 vehicles, of which some 1500 had the ‘number 5’ body. This example, coupled to the correct 25-pounder field gun and ammunition limber, was photographed at Firepower, at the Royal Artillery Museum, in 2006. Photograph from the Warehouse Collection
CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
A round-up of military-vehicle related news and products. Send news items to [emailprotected]
D e s p a t c h e s LITTLEFIELD FALLOUT W
hen it comes to selecting what classic military metal to buy, we suspect a range of factors come into play. Obviously budget will play an important part in the initial decision making process, as will the emotional link the prospective buyer has with a certain vehicle. They may well have served in the armed forces and driven a Ferret, Land Rover or Bedford and now they have a bit more time on their hands, want to relive the experience – and share it with their family, even. WW2 rarities will cost more, of course, as will anything with lots of cool, street credibility such as a Jeep. Yet that still leaves a huge choice of possibilities, and here other issues come into play like reliability and ease of maintenance. It’s reasons such as this that prompted Irishman Kieran Flynn to choose the French-made ACMAT you see on the cover. Not only is it very usable, but thanks to relatively unsophisticated mechanicals it is also as reliable as a Swiss watch and easy to keep in good health. And actually, if you intend to go to shows, visit battlegrounds – or just get out and about in your pride and joy – that counts for an awful lot. Ian Cushway
CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
With such a high profile auction as the Jacques Littlefield sale, it was inevitable that there would be a few issues to iron out in the aftermath of the buying frenzy. And, it seems, that’s precisely what’s happened. Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is currently locked in a dispute regarding the purchase of an authentic 1944 Panzer IV, one of just 38 of its kind in the world and just one of five in the US. According to reports, a representative of Paul Allen’s company, Vulcan Warbirds, bid on the rare WW2 tank but failed to meet its reserve and the tank remained unsold. However, after the sale the auction house, Auctions America, was contacted again and a sum of $2.5m was agreed for the purchase. According to a lawsuit issued by Vulcan Warbirds, that amount was duly wired over, but it seems the Collings Foundation who acquired the collection in 2009 have yet to release the Panzer. The ultra rare tank was set to join other historic military equipment in a new 26,000sq ft ‘tank arena’ at the Flying Heritage Collection aviation museum in Everett, Washington, which Allen founded and owns. The San Jose Mercury News reported that in a recent telephone interview Rob Collings said any deal made after the auction wasn’t valid. Collings is quoted as telling them: “We never sold it. It’s my understanding that Auctions America tried to return the money. The reason why it was offered at the auction is we have to raise a certain amount of funds... that amount was reached so the decision was made by our trustees that this was core to the collection and we’re going to keep it.” We suspect the issue will gather pace as lawyers continue to battle it out.
CARRIERS DOWN UNDER Kiwis are renowned for punching above their weight and a record-breaking attempt to line up more carriers than ever before serves to reinforce that notion. The record-breaking quest dates back to 2003 when there was an informal gathering of 10 carriers at an airshow near Wellington, New Zealand. This stirred their Trans-Tasman cousins to go one better and they assembled 21 carriers at Corowa in Australia in 2005 of which 17 completed a two-mile run, representing a world record. There has been no further attempt to date, and so this year NZ Military Vehicle Collectors Club (NZMVCC) president Rob Beale attended War and Peace Revival to drum up interest and tell northern hemisphere enthusiasts of its plans to attempt another world record attempt. Said Rob: “We hope to assemble not only more carriers, but more models and variants than have been seen anywhere else this century.” Continued Rob: “To date the numbers have grown well above the planned 24 carriers, and
we have confirmed examples of each of the Kiwi built local pattern models, namely the LP Bren, LP2 and LP2A MG carriers. We have also located three of the four post-war variants, the MMG, 3in mortar and 6-pounder AT tractor and have examples of Universals Mk1 and Mk1* plus 3in mortar, AOP and Lloyd. Still to confirm is a postwar LP2A flame thrower.” Rob confirms that the stars of the show are likely to be two Bren No2 MkIIs, survivors of the original six imported to NZ in 1938.
WRITE TO REPLY!
The event will be held at the Wings over Wairarapa airshow, Hood Aerodrome, Masterton which is 100km north of Wellington. The dates are 16-18 January 2015. This airshow hosted the Mosquito in 2013, and in 2015 will feature part of Sir Peter Jackson’s collection of Great War aeroplanes dog fighting overhead. There will be a ‘Warhorses’ display of historic military vehicles, living history displays and mock battles. For information about Wings over Wairarapa 2015 visit www.wings.org.nz.
FUNNIES ON SWORD
In David Fletcher’s very interesting and informative account of what happened on Sword he wonders about the ‘log carpet’ laid on Queen Red beach. He rightly says that it is not the log carpet devised by F Wing in Belgium later in the war (as featured in Geoffrey Fetter’s book). There was a lesser-known and probably even rarer log carpet devised for D-Day. I only know about this because of the research of other members on forums such as Maple Leaf Up and WW2 Talk. This link: http://www.mapleleafup.net/forums/showthread.php?t=21103 to a thread on Maple Leaf Up starts with the confusion about the two types of log carpet and ends with some good information, particularly from Michel Sabarly. It would seem, From Mike Simpson’s work on WW2 Talk, that the log carpet AVREs also had two forward projecting Bangalore torpedoes – the idea being to drive these into sand dunes, detonating them with a view to producing a more level contour, and laying the log carpet over the resulting soft sand. Each AVRE log carpet towed a porpoise. Perhaps David could put together a follow-up feature. Noel Burgess, via email
MICKEY MOUSE CAPTION! MYSTERY MACHINE
I recently purchased the attached photograph in Belgium. I was wondering whether anyone could tell me what type of vehicle this is? Graham Booker, via email
In reference to the article about the Scammell Pioneer by Pat Ware (CMV No.160, September 2014), the photograph on page 30 in said article does not carry 'the distinctive Mickey Mouse ears camouflage' as stated in the caption. It does, however, carry the distinctive Scammell factory applied scheme of 1939-41 featured in Military Training Pamphlet (MTP) 20 of June 1939 and the diagram with that document. This order specified a scheme using Nobel’s Khaki Green No.3 as the basic colour and Dark Green No.4 as the disrupter. The details of this scheme were published in CMV a few years ago. Mike Starmer, via email
CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
CMV: It’s actually quite a well known image taken close to a first aid post on the Belgian front at Pervyse. The two ‘angels of Pervyse’ are possibly Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm, who transported wounded men from the front. The vehicle itself is a Wolseley.
I have enclosed a couple of pictures that I took recently. The first was taken on 3 August at The Tibenham Air Festival, home to the 445th Bomb Group during WW2. I met up with Steve Machaye who owns The Norfolk Tank Museum and he asked me if I could move a gun for him. It turned out to be this 105 Pack Howitzer which I think looks pretty good on the back of my 1943 Dodge Carryall. The Festival was a great success with a good selection of planes, military vehicles and classic cars. The second shot is a ‘Little and Large’. The small Jeep was based on the Toylander design but built on mobility scooter running gear. It’s taken me quite a while to do but the final result doesn’t look too bad. I’ve marked it up to look like my 1944 Willys MB 8th Air force, 3rd Air Division that was based at Elveden Hall in Suffolk which is about 25 miles away from where I live. My children Natalie (81/2) and Sam (6) love driving it around and it has caused a lot of interest at shows. Dave Hines, Diss, Norfolk
RUST IN PEACE! NO TRAILER TRASH
Last year I went to rent a trailer to carry some equipment to the Yorkshire Wartime Experience. In the trailer rental company’s yard in Ashton-under-Lyne were these two Diamond-T trucks which belonged to the owner’s father. I was told they have good chassis and engines but the cabs need work. Apparently, the square one used to have a canvas roof but it was replaced by this home built affair. I do hope one day these will be restored. Mark, via email
VIETNAM VET! Love the faded star on the door… I spotted this in Cape Cod last week. It is a Vietnam vet! Neil Waugh, via email
BLITZ IN HOLLAND!
I was surprised to find this Opel Blitz in Holland. Geoffrey, via email
THAI AND DIE
Attached a few photos of ex-military vehicles rusting away at the side of the road here in Thailand. Bill, via email
Send it in! If you spot an abandoned military vehicle rusting away somewhere, grab a photo and email it to RIP at [emailprotected]
BATTLE BUS GOES GREEN As reported last issue, London Transport Museum’s recently restored London B-type bus No. B2737 has been converted into a camouflaged Great War ‘Battle Bus’ – and now we have pictures to illustrate the stark transformation. Its shiny bright red paintwork and lovingly recreated advertising have now been painstakingly hand
10 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
painted over with khaki green so it looks the part. Having gone green, the bus was all set to tour the battlefields of France and Belgium, including Arras, Passchendaele and Zonnebeke near Ypres, throughout September to commemorate the sacrifices made by transport workers during the conflict.
COMING IN NEXT MONTH’S ISSUE...
Watch out for these exciting features in next month’s action-packed issue, on sale 21 November. Don’t miss it!
LIGHTS, CAMERA… FURY!
John Blackman gets an exclusive look behind the scenes of the most anticipated war film in a decade. Ostensibly the star of ‘Fury’ is Brad Pitt but, as far as MV enthusiasts are concerned, the stars are really Tiger 131 and the host of genuine Shermans and other WW2 machinery that make the movie the most accurate and realistic, not to say visceral, of its time. We talk to some of those involved.
BEST OF BRITISH... AUSTIN GIPSY
Originally developed as a dual-purpose agricultural/utility vehicle, the Austin Gipsy was intended to steal some of Land Rover’s market share. Despite the innovative rubber suspension, the vehicle was never a commercial success and, similarly, failed to appeal to the British Army... although many were sold to the Home Office for civil defence duties. Production ceased in 1968.
FORD WOA1 AND WOA2 HEAVY UTILITY
SUNBEAM 1000CC MOTORCYCLE WITH DRIVEN SIDECAR
In 1941, AMC Sunbeam produced a prototype 1000cc motorcycle combination with an open sidecar that was equipped with a driven wheel. It was intended to replace the similarly-equipped Norton Big 4 but, sadly, never entered production and the prototype was destroyed... however, CMV has unearthed a series of rare and fascinating photographs.
Looking every inch the hot rod, Ford’s big WOA heavy utility was based on the company’s V8-powered Model 62, with almost 12,000 built between 1941 and 1947. Pat Ware has the story.
And don’t miss our regular features, including product reviews, forthcoming events, pages and pages of classifieds, the very best in military-vehicle photography... and, as regular readers will be only too well aware, far more than we can list here! These are just some of the features planned for the next issue, but circumstances outside our control may force last-minute changes. If this happens we will substitute items of equal or greater interest.
12 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
MADE TO MEASURE Most military vehicles are derived from civilian products, beefed up or upgraded to cope in a conflict situation. Not the Ateliers de Construction Mechanique de L’Atlantique (ACMAT). This French creation is custom made for the job, explains Ian Cushway
ACMAT was founded as The ALM SA (Atelier Legueu Meaux) in 1954 by René Legueu with its HQ in Meaux. It moved to St Nazaire in 1964.
ieran Flynn loves ACMATs, which is why he owns four of them – including the VLRA 420 that appears in the photographs here. It was one of seven that served with the United Nations in Somalia in 1993 – an operation made famous by the film ‘Black Hawk Down’. Three were gunships protecting food convoys from Somali insurgents, two were used as ambulances, which is what Kieran’s vehicle was employed as, one was a crane unit and one served as a mobile workshop. He bought it in 2005 at an auction, the model’s history – and how it came to restored it that winter and even got to drive Ireland in the first place. it to ACMAT’s factory in St Nazaire on the French Atlantic coast the following year. BACK TO BASICS Moreover, it’s travelled from its home in ACMAT has been making vehicles at Ireland to War and Peace every year since, its Brittany base since 1958. Produced which is where we caught up with it, and specifically for military use, the firm’s in that time it’s not missed a beat, explains ethos is ‘simple is best’, and for that Kieran enthusiastically. “Maintenance is reason the vehicles it produces are easy, it will do 25mpg and can cruise all mechanically unsophisticated with a rigid day at 50mph without a worry.” policy of standardisation – with the vast Being so obviously loved we thought majority of parts being shared across it only courteous to find out more about its entire vehicle range. That means, 14 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
as well as being rugged and very much fit for purpose, they are likely to prove reliable, simple to maintain and easy to put right when they go wrong. As a result, the products, being so well-engineered and built to last, have enjoyed a long and successful military career the world over. Not least in Ireland – where years of service even saw them play a crucial part in humanitarian operations in war-torn Somalia in the early 1990s… ACMATS IN IRELAND While the ACMAT has seen service with both the SAS and Foreign Legion, the
latter most notably in Africa, the story of how it came to Ireland makes interesting reading. For a long time, the Defence Forces had been looking for a suitable vehicle to tow its Artillery Corps field weapons and in 1979, with the imminent arrival of the new 105mm light guns, years of indecision finally came to a head. The current Bedford 4x4 already in service was deemed unsuitable as a guntower so a test programme was initiated involving possible likely candidates for its replacement. These included a Steyr Puch Pinzgauer, a Stonefield, two derivatives of the UNIMOG U1300 – and an ACMAT. Strict criteria
was decided upon to aid selection, which stipulated that the vehicle should be easily maintained, requiring a minimum of specialist tools, and have an already proven military track record. After evaluation the ACMAT seemed to provide the ideal solution. The vehicle underwent tests in early 1982, with guntowing trials carried out on the cross-country test track at Donnelly’s Hollow in the Glen of Imaal. As well as the appropriate artillery equipment (a 105mm light gun and howitzer), the ACMAT also carried six fully kitted out personnel and 30 rounds of simulated ammunition.
Miraculously, the vehicle managed to overcome all the various obstacles it encountered, including ditches, dykes, wheel ruts and scrub rising to 1.5m, with ease. Even gradients approaching 60 degrees and river beds up to a metre deep were overcome without any difficulty. Moreover, it was noted during towing stability tests that the driver hardly noticed the effect of the towed equipment on the vehicle. The fact that while at the wheel they could actually see what was in tow, something not possible when a gun is being towed by a Bedford, also went in the ACMAT’s favour. CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
The torquey Perkins 5.3-litre straight-six diesel produces 120bhp. It proved economical during intial testing, returning double the miles per gallon of its 4x4 petrol-engined Bedford predecessor.
till the world’s ld’s only nl purpose built ACMAT is still military truck maker.
Kieran was given this UNOSOM plate; it’s one similar to what would have appeared on the vehicle while on UN work in Somalia.
Power-assisted steering promised to relieve driver fatigue over rough surfaces, while on the road performance was described as being good with decent road holding courtesy of dual purpose Michelin tyres.
Better still, it was reported that the cruising speed of 43.5mph (70km/h) could be easily maintained on long journeys. The fuel consumption of its 120bhp six-cylinder 5.3-litre Perkins diesel was found to be half that of its petrol-engined Bedford predecessor.
Belo Kieran’s Below: Kie n’ vehicle hicl acted ted as an ambulance, but three gunships accompanied the Irish contingent in Somalia.
16 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
FIRST DELIVERIES The first batch of ACMAT VLRA TPK420 SM3 2.5-ton lorries were delivered in December 1983, along with a supply of meticulously boxed spare parts. Eventually, a total of 16 vehicles made their way from Brittany to the Emerald Isle. Despite the very upbeat appraisal during testing, it’s reported that there was a fair amount of negative feedback from drivers and gun crew initially, who found them slow and noisy and disliked the vehicle’s harsh ride. Moreover, the feeble fabric wet weather protection was poorly suited to the Irish climate, with cabin leaks a common occurrence. The fact that the first batch of six suffered transmission problems didn’t exactly help matters, either. After a sketchy start, it seems the vehicle soon became generally more liked. Although when one overturned on black ice in the Curragh, killing its driver, the remaining vehicles were swiftly fitted with a hefty roll-over bar behind the cabin. As for the perpetual leaks, a steel driver’s cab with steel doors was devised at the Base Workshops at the Clancy Barracks in Dublin which served to keep the ACMAT’s crew drier. The prototype cab, however, didn’t really work because it created an enormous blind spot and remained a one-off. That said, the ACMAT factory itself was more successful and indeed the last batch of four supplied to Ireland had a proper near watertight hard top. There were other modifications for these boxy steel cabbed models; a roof hatch was introduced on the passenger side to offer anti-aircraft protection and the winch on earlier models was replaced by a simple stowage box. UNITED NATIONS OPERATION IN SOMALIA USE Ten years or so after first being commissioned, some of the Irish contingent of ACMATs were used by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) –
Windscreen wipers weren’t that effective – but at least the passenger could operate theirs manually. Ki Kieran h has collected ollected the relevant el t uniforms if that would have been worn by the Irish ACMAT’s crew in Somalia.
Kieran Flynn’s example being one of seven sent on the mission. Two gunships were used on each convoy – one at the front, one at the rear. Three 7.62mm general purpose machine guns (GPMGs) were carried, one either side and one by the front passenger. A .5in Browning could be mounted on the centre mounting. Spare GPMG barrels and ammunition were stowed on the floor beside the gunner’s feet. Five mobile workshops were bought between 1988-1994, built with a zinc plated steel body and fitted with synthetic thermal insulation, hinged windows and twin rear doors. They were impressively equipped with arc and gas welders, a 50-litre compressor, jacks, grinders, power tools and recovery gear included. Additionally, doors to the side revealed a
Th ride was d The described ibed as ha harsh h on early ly ACMATS, resulting in later wreckers and workshop versions being fitted with Continental rather than Michelin tyres.
Two-hundred litre water tanks proved useful in Somalia and Kieran was pleased to have such a plentiful supply at this year’s scorching hot War and Peace Revival.
30m reel which allowed oils and lubricants to be dispensed to aid vehicle servicing. One such vehicle also saw use with the UN in Somalia, where it was converted into a radio command vehicle with additional
stowage racks above the cab, roof access ladders to the side and radio aerials. In 1989, the Irish also took delivery of three 6x6 640WRT wreckers featuring a turbocharged 165bhp 5.8-litre Perkins diesel engine and steel cab. Again, one of these was sent to Somalia where it was used for loading, unloading and crate stacking duties. Despite being brilliant off-road, these, it was reported, were equally harsh and slow on-road – something that was addressed on the wrecker and 4x4 workshop vans by the fitment of Continental combined road/cross
This is the earlier type dashboard dashboard. The later one, as on the boxy tin-topped wrecker wrecker, was a much more angular affair.
The front winch was replaced by a storag Th storage box on the last batch of metal cabbed ACMATs bo supplied to Ireland. CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
Above and below: Seven ACMAT trucks were used in Somalia by No.1 and 2 Tpt Coy forces during service for the UN in 1993. Three were gunships, two were ambulances, one a wrecker and another served as a radio car.
country tyres in place of the Michelins. Needless to say, the vehicle proved perfectly suited to the harsh conditions
18 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
in Somalia and the twin diesel tanks, allowing a range of 1000 miles (1600km), indeed proved particularly invaluable.
There was also the facility to carry 200 litres of water in a tank under the body, filled by a spout in the right rear
The 1 Ppt Coy fleet ready for deployment to Somalia in July 1993.
wheelarch and, to add to the ACMAT’s practicality, each vehicle had the ability to use an airline from the front of the rear wheelarch to inflate tyres if required. ACMAT was bought by Renault in 2006 but it remains the last true, hand-built military truck maker in the world. Vehicles are still meticulously engineered using basic tooling, with simplicity and general robustness remaining core to the brand’s ethos. It’s no wonder then that its products
The later steel cabbed ACMAT is easily identifiable on the left in this picture.
continue to be viewed with such esteem by those in need of a strong, go anywhere utility truck – but also by collectors
who take pride in owning something that is not only fun to drive, but reliable and surprisingly owner friendly.
CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
TANK DRIVIN John G Teasdale provides a lesson in the Panzerkampfwagen I driving school tanks…
ou can learn a lot from a good book. And in the 1920s and 1930s it was from books and articles by British officers such as Colonel JFC Fuller and Captain BH Liddell Hart that German officers learned that future wars would be won by concentrations of fast-moving mechanised forces. Officers in the Reichswehr – the German time for tank designs for the Panzerwaffe State’s armed forces in the aftermath of the to be decided upon, and even longer for the Great War – already had wartime experience resulting tanks themselves to enter service. of operating that ultimate mechanised And when they did, they would be valuable weapon, the tank, having deployed on the assets best kept for advanced training and Western Front tanks of their own and having for war itself rather than being worn out in reused tanks captured from the British. training raw recruits to the Panzerwaffe. Fuller and Hart’s lessons, therefore, fell on fertile ground in Germany, and an armoured TRACTOR BY ANOTHER NAME force – the Panzerwaffe – was planned and As a quick expedient for training purposes, developed. However, it would take some from about 1928 ordinary light car chassis 20 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
were fitted with sheet steel bodywork to mimic tanks; cars built by Dixi, Adler, Opel and the Kraft durch Freude organisation (the manufacturer of the Volkswagen) were all used as a basis for these Panzerattrappen. Although such vehicles could only give the vaguest impression of what it was like to operate a tank, they remained in service until at least 1939. What was needed for effective training was a proper tank, and it was needed quickly so that a large number of trained men would be available to crew the main fighting tanks when they were put into service (the future Panzerkampfwagen III and IV). Rapid
VING SCHOOL Above: A Fahrschulpanzer based on the PzKpfw I Ausf A is seen here at an unidentified tank driving school.
Above: PzKpfw I Ausf A on manoeuvres in the 1930s as illustrated on a cigarette card. (EcksteinHalpaus) Left: In the foreground are Panzerattrappen based on the Opel P4, in production from 1937-38; the photograph itself was taken in 1939. Going by the visible licence plate, the manoeuvres are being conducted by units raised in Wehrkreis VII which had its headquarters in Munich.
introduction into service of a tank with which to begin effective training implied a simple lightweight design. With such a vehicle at their disposal, trainee drivers and commanders could begin to learn how to maintain a tank day to day and how to manoeuvre it tactically across the battlefield. Once trained, crews intended to take the main fighting tanks to war would undergo the appropriate conversion courses. In 1932 the Heereswaffenamt (the army weapons office) invited companies to submit designs for just such a light tank. However, the Reichswehr was still subject to the Treaty of Versailles, and was forbidden to operate
tanks. To get round that restriction, the proposed light tank was craftily described as an agricultural tractor (Landwirtschaftlicher Schlepper, abbreviated to LaS). EARLY DRIVING SCHOOL TANKS In due course, the Heereswaffenamt chose as the basis for the light tank the chassis designed by Friedrich Krupp and the superstructure and turret designed by Daimler-Benz. Production contracts were awarded to Henschel & Sohn, Krupp-Gruson, MAN and Wegmann. A prototype was tested in February 1934 and deliveries of production vehicles began in July; the official designation
was I A LaS Krupp. However, after the repudiation of the Versailles treaty in 1935, and the decision by the National Socialist government to rearm openly, the designation was changed to Panzerkampfwagen I (MG) (Sonderkraftfahrzeug 101) Ausführung A – which translates as tank I (machine gun) (special motor vehicle 101) MkA. Thankfully, the tongue-twisting German nomenclature is often shortened to PzKpfw I. All well and good, but the design of the PzKpfw I could be simplified even more for initial driver training. To that end, versions of PzKpfw I were built without turrets and superstructures with engine covers fitted as CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
Fahrschulpanzer, but it is not certain who the men are. The two on the left may be mechanics rectifying a mechanical fault; the two on the right may be instructors wearing shortened versions of the greatcoat for ease of access to the training vehicles.
normal in order to protect the engine from the weather. The driver’s seat was also fitted as normal, but, in what would have been the fighting compartment, seating was provided for an instructor and additional trainee drivers. On some vehicles a handrail was fitted around the perimeter of the compartment to give the crews something to hang on to when crossing rough country. The resulting Fahrschulpanzer were, as the German description suggests, issued to tank driving schools.
the engine and oil cooler were installed in the rear of the hull. From the engine, a propeller shaft led forward to the clutch, gearbox and final drive installed alongside and in front of the driver at the front end of the hull. The gearbox housed one reverse and five forward gears, first gear being very low for grinding through the mud cross-country. Steering was effected by a pair of multi-plate clutch and brake units. To turn right, for example, the driver pulled on the right-hand steering lever; the right-hand multi-plate clutch disengaged
wheel and the idler wheel were arranged the same way on a third tubular axle. The ends of the second and third tubular axles were braced by a steel channel located outside of the wheels. SECOND VARIANT A total of 477 PzKpfw I Ausf A chassis numbers were allocated, and the first 15 vehicles appear to have been built for Fahrschulpanzer (tank driving school) purposes; this would make perfect sense as these vehicles were required straight away for driver training. How many PzKpfw I Ausf A were built as Fahrschulpanzer is not known. Production figures given by Spielberger and Doyle in Panzer I und II und ihre Abarten (Motorbuch Verlag, 2014) show that production of superstructures and turrets lagged way behind that of the hulls. Finished chassis may have gone to the driving schools, or, perhaps more likely, may have been stored until superstructures and turrets were available. What is known is that the PzKpfw I Ausf A was quickly deemed underpowered. The design was therefore revised to feature a Maybach NL 38 TR 3791cc six-cylinder in-line petrol engine developing 100hp at 3000rpm. This engine was water-cooled, and as it was also longer than the Krupp engine the hull was extended rearwards to accommodate it. The increased length of hull required an additional
“The Panzerwaffe was formed to wage war, but that war came in 1939 – some five years or so earlier than long-term planning had anticipated.”
TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION Ideally, PzKpfw I would have been powered by a diesel engine. Diesel was not flammable in ordinary circumstances, and in a tank was only liable to ignite after it had been struck a mortal blow anyway. However, in the 1930s the turbocharging technology that today makes a diesel engine more powerful than the samesized petrol equivalent did not exist. When a naturally-aspirated diesel engine was tried in PzKpfw I it was deemed to be insufficiently powerful. Instead, the production version of the PzKpfw I was fitted with a Krupp M 305 3460cc four-cylinder horizontally-opposed petrol engine developing 57bhp at 2500rpm. No doubt the terrifying flammability of petrol was a lesson hammered home early on in the tank driving schools. Krupp’s engine was air-cooled, so an oil cooler was provided and 22 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
drive to the right-hand track, and the brake retarded it. The tank was then forced to the right by the continuing drive to the left-hand track. The weight of the tank was borne by four road and one idler wheel each side, all fitted with rubber tyres. The front road wheel each side was fitted at one end of a swinging arm, the other end of which was attached to a tubular axle passing through the hull; suspension was by way of a helical spring attached to each swinging arm. The second and third road wheels each side were fitted at opposite ends of a swinging arm which pivoted at its centre on the end of a second tubular axle; suspension was by way of a quarter-elliptic leaf spring. The fourth road
broke out – the responsibility for tank driver training had passed from the army to the Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrkorps (national socialist motor vehicle corps), a Nazi paramilitary organisation charged with training German youth to drive and maintain motor vehicles. Some sources indicate that this had happened as early as 1935, though photographs showing the NSKK operating the PzKpfw I Fahrschulpanzer are very rare. All the photographs reproduced here show soldiers, not members of the NSKK.
This PzKpf PzKpfw I Ausf A Fah Fahrschulpanzer chul iis fitted with ith th the hori horizontal ntal guard rd (lo (located ted on the edge dg of the mudguard forward of the exhaust pipe) used to protect the radio aerial when it is folded down. Why this should be so is not known as the Fahrschulpanzer were not fitted with radios; it may that the vehicle was originally built as a radio-equipped gun tank with superstructure and turret.
road wheel; this took the place previously occupied by the idler wheel on the swinging arm attached to the third axle. To keep the length of track on the road the same (and thus to preserve the steering characteristics of the tank), the idler wheel was relocated on its own stub axle higher up the hull and no longer bore on the ground. The redesigned tank was designated I B LaS May, later changed to Panzerkampfwagen I (MG) (Sonderkraftfahrzeug 101) Ausführung B. A total of about 1900 Ausf A and Ausf B chassis were built. The production figures given by Spielberger and Doyle indicate that just over a 100 of these may have been built as Fahrschulpanzer.
had anticipated. In the absence of sufficient numbers of more powerful tanks, large numbers of the PzKpfw I Ausf A and B – first blooded in the Spanish Civil War – went to war on Nazi Germany’s behalf in Poland, Belgium, Holland, France, Denmark, Norway, North Africa and the Soviet Union. They were of marginal utility by the time of the invasion of the Soviet Union, and the surviving tanks were in due course converted to selfpropelled guns and various utility vehicles. On the home front – even before war
OTHER USES As noted already, the PzKpfw I chassis served various utility purposes. One of those was as a service vehicle for mechanics attached to armoured units; for the invasion of Poland in September 1939, there was an allocation of one or two Instandsetzungspanzer I per tank company. These vehicles allowed mechanics to go anywhere a tank could go, which was essential if they were to repair tanks that broke down far from a surfaced road. Looking at photographs, it appears that some at least of the Instandsetzungspanzer I were Fahrschulpanzer operating under a revised designation. How long the PzKpfw I Fahrschulpanzer continued in its role of training new drivers is not known. There was a continuing requirement, so when petrol became scarce the vehicles were adapted to run on wood gas. Indeed, the requirement lasted to the end of the war. However, it is not unlikely that the lack of spare parts ended the service career of the Fahrschulpanzer long before then.
OFF TO WAR The Panzerwaffe was formed to wage war, but that war came in 1939 – some five years or so earlier than long-term planning
This PzKpf chul llacks ks PzKpfw I Ausf B Fah Fahrschulpanzer the handrail round the driving compartment; it looks as though the crew could do with it…
This PzKpfw I Ausf A Fahrschulpanzer seems to be serving in the role of Instandsetzungspanzer I on the Eastern Front. CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
Best of British
DAIMLER DINGO Pat Ware takes a look at the Daimler Dingo, a fast and reliable armoured scout car that entered service in 1940 and was still being used in the early fifties
This side elevation shows off the low silhouette and compact dimensions of the vehicle; note the jack strapped to the front mudguard. (Warehouse Collection)
n 1938, the British Army tested three prototypes for a two-seat, four-wheeled armoured scout car intended for battlefield liaison and reconnaissance. The first, named Dingo after the Australian wild dog, was designed by Alvis, and embodied some of the features of the earlier Alvis-Straussler armoured car. The second, which came from Morris, was quickly eliminated due to its poor performance. The third vehicle, featuring an innovative transmission system that allowed a very low silhouette, was provided by the BSA Company, and had been designed by a team led by Daimler’s Chief Engineer Cyril M B Simpson; at the time, Daimler was a subsidiary of BSA. Daimler started design work on what 175 vehicles, and production was placed at the time was described simply as with the Daimler Motor Company, with the ‘Scout’ in May or June of 1938, and production taking place at the company’s production of the prototype was well in ‘number 2’ shadow factory in Coventry. The hand by the summer. By the early autumn of armoured hulls were constructed by the that year the prototype had been designed, Birtley Company, which had been purchased manufactured and handed over to the by Daimler in March 1939; later in the Fighting Vehicles Proving Establishment war, Birtleys also undertook repair and (FVPE) for what Daimler described as reconditioning of Dingos. ‘destructive testing’. At the end of the trials period, it was the FLEXIBLE FRIEND BSA/Daimler design that was accepted Fast, comfortable and agile, the Dingo was for manufacture, generally becoming equally at home running at high speeds known subsequently as the Dingo. The on hard surfaces, as well as travelling fast first contract, dated May 1939, called for across fields, shell craters or ditches. The 24 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
top speed was governed to 55-60mph (90-100km/h), and the vehicle could climb gradients of 50% (1 in 2). Although the later Daimler
Abov Ab Above: ove: ov e:
Overhead rear view of a Mk II Dingo with the first hinged roof panel in the open position; with the roof fully open, the panels rest on the tubular support that straddles the hull. (Warehouse Collection)
ar armoured car was of monocoque construction, the Dingo used a conventional co rectangular ladder-frame chassis, with re 11x3in 11 (280x76mm) (2 main members. ma A rigid forged I-section Imember was fitted me ted across the centre tr of the frame, attached by forked ends. fr With a maximum of 30mm of frontal armour, and 12mm at the sides, the crew ar compartment consisted of a hexagonal, co welded armoured box, with the separate we plates arranged so that almost any shot pl
would strike the hull at an angle and the vehicle was thus relatively well protected against rifle and machine-gun fire. A
below the lower flanges of the main members, and although this also allowed the Dingo to skate on its belly in soft going, there was still a tendency to be vulnerable to mine damage.
“…could be driven very fast across country without fear of overturning.” fl armouredd plat flat plate under de th the ch chassis si prevented any part of the vehicle projecting
TWO’S COMPANY TW The hull provided relatively spacious
Above: A ghost drawing of the Mk II showing the layout of the major components components. (Warehouse Collection) Left: Due to its small size, the Dingo is popular with collectors of wheeled armour; with a length of 125in (3175mm), it is hardly any longer than a Mini. The slot in the frontal armour, which can be covered when not in use, allows the observer to mount a Bren gun. (Warehouse Collection) CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
Above: Dingos were generally operated with the roof panels open and, in recognition of this, the Mk III was open-topped. (Warehouse Collection) Right: The octagonal hull was of welded construction, 30mm thick at the front, and 12mm thick to the sides. The photograph shows the hinged access door on the right-hand side, and one of the side vision ports. (Warehouse Collection))
accommodation for a two-man crew, consisting of a driver and observer, together with stowage for a Bren gun, rifles and their personal kit. A full-width stowage box across the front of the vehicle, together with side compartments, provided space for a vehicle cover, camouflage net, tools, rations, etc; below the toolbox there were brackets for stowing unditching channels. When closed down, the driver peered out through a protected Triplex-glazed
visor, but the seats could also be raised sufficiently to allow both the driver and the observer to see over the top of the hull. Access was made either through the opened roof panels or via a small hinged door on the left-hand side of the hull. RUNNING GEAR An extension at the rear of the hull housed the six-cylinder engine, placed low down in the chassis. Based on the civilian unit that had allowed a Daimler rally car to achieve 88mph (142km/h)
Ne side rear vi Nearside view off a restored Din Dingo with ith je jerrycans strapped to the engine compartment cover, and a rations box and cooking vessel on the rear mudguard. (Warehouse Collection)
26 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
at B okland before befo the war, it was a Brooklands 2520cc overhead-valve unit producing 55bhp; when compared to the civilian version, the cylinder head was modified to allow the valves to be set at an angle, and the compression ratio to be increased to 7:1. The carburettor, a three-stage Solex dust-proof unit in which the main jet was arranged to be concentric with the float, was designed to be unaffected by even the most extreme angles of operations; a
A number of Dingos of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) fell into German hands after the retreat from Dunkirk in May 1940 and were used by their new owners until they were no longer serviceable. (Warehouse Collection)
Above: Stowage diagram for the driving compartment; note the reference to ‘Lakeman’ at the bottom left: this was a springbalanced anti-aircraft trapeze mount for the Bren gun used until about 1942. (Warehouse Collection) Above top: Stowage sketch for the exterior nearside of the Mk I, IA or IB. (Warehouse Collection) Right: Stowage diagram for the interior rear compartment. (Warehouse Collection)
similar design was used for the Austin Champ in the post-war years. For starting in cold climates, there was also a Ki-gass (ether) atomiser. Engine lubrication was made by a dry-sump system, which also prevented oil starvation at extreme angles, and the radiator was placed at the very rear, protected by armoured louvres. The fuel tank was positioned inside the fighting compartment to reduce the risk of damage, and the ignition system was fully screened to reduce radio interference. Drive from the engine was passed forward to a fluid flywheel, and thence to a unit-constructed Wilson five-speed pre-selector gearbox, and to the transfer box, the latter also containing the differential, and separate forward and reverse gears. The drive-line provided permanent four-wheel drive, and the central differential was designed to prevent diagonal wheel spin. Four separate propeller shafts carried the drive to bevel gears at the wheel stations, with Tracta constant-velocity joints in the final drive shafts; the propeller shafts were protected by virtue of being carried inside the channels of the main chassis members, and it was
this arrangement nt which hich contributed tributed to t the th vehicle’s low silhouette. There was independent suspension by concentric double helical springs, with the inner and outer coils running in different directions. Equal length wishbones were provided at each wheel station, and the suspension allowed a total of 8-10in (203254mm) of movement for each wheel from bump to rebound. Mk I vehicles also had four-wheel steering, and the 18in steel
over a series ie of grass hummocks h ck two tw feet (610mm) or more high, literally leaping from crag to crag... returning backwards over the same ground at much the same speed.” High-speed reversing was made easier by the internal layout of the hull, which placed the driver at a slight angle, whilst a small hinged panel in the hull provided direct rearwards visibility. The first production vehicles were delivered towards the end of 1939 but within a few months, the city of Coventry had become a prime target for the Luftwaffe. The massive raids of the night of 14-15 November 1940, during which the main Daimler factory was destroyed, as well as later raids in April 1941, showed that the city was very vulnerable to aerial attack and steps were taken to disperse production facilities to minimise the possible effects of enemy bombing. Although all of the machining work for the vehicle continued to be carried out at Coventry in the shadow factory, from November 1940, some sub-assembly work was undertaken at Coton Road Garage at Nuneaton. In May 1941, the assembly of gearboxes was moved to the premises of
“The Dingo was an extremely successful vehicle, with many examples remaining in service with the British Army into the early fifties.” wheels were shod with 7.00-18 run-flat tyres. Lockheed hydraulic brakes were fitted at all four wheels. HIGH SPEED HERO At 10in (254mm), the ground clearance was excellent and, combined with a wide track and, despite what was described as a high centre of gravity, the Dingo could be driven very fast across country without fear of overturning. When testing the vehicle in 1943, Autocar magazine reported that “it could be driven at 40mph (65km/h)
CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
Stannards, a former hosiery manufacturer, at Leek, Staffordshire and, from September 1941, the main assembly plant and test facilities for the Dingo were moved to the Bamford’s (now JCB) site at Uttoxeter. LATER EVOLUTION Production continued throughout the war. The first modification came with the Mk IA, in which the sliding roof flaps were replaced by a pair of spring-balanced hinged panels arranged to fold laterally across the centre, whilst for the Mk IB, engine cooling was improved by reversing the air flow, allowing the fan to pull air across the radiator and engine, and discharge it through a space above the side panels. In the Mk II, the armoured louvres at the rear were redesigned, and the four-wheel steering feature, which could make the vehicle difficult to control, was omitted; many existing vehicles were subsequently modified to conventional steering. The opentopped Mk III, on which work was started in 1942, was fitted with waterproofed engine electrical equipment that allowed the vehicle to wade ashore from a landing craft through a maximum of four feet (1220mm) of water. The Dingo was an extremely successful vehicle, with many examples remaining in service with the British Army into the early fifties, when it was finally replaced by the Daimler Ferret. According to Daimler’s records, a total of 6665 examples were constructed, although Vanderveen has stated that the total was 6626. A small number went to France with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) during 1940, typically providing reconnaissance for
Above: British Dingo crew in discussions with some US Army newsmen over what appears to be a map. The photograph was taken after the invasion of north-west Europe and, for some reason, the US field censor originally classified this photograph as ‘sacred’, although it was subsequently passed for publication. (Warehouse Collection)
both infantry and armoured units. A number fell into German hands after the retreat from Dunkirk and in an ironic twist, a captured Dingo was apparently used by Field Marshal Rommel to escape following his defeat at El Alamein.
A very similar, but slightly larger vehicle, with leaf-spring suspension, was constructed by the Ford Motor Company in Canada under the name Lynx. The design was also copied by Lancia in 1944 as the Lince. Belo Dingos Din ined in i Below: remained service into the early fifties, and more than a few have ended up in private hands. This example, painted in the distinctive glossy post-war Deep Bronze Green, is a Mk III. (Warehouse Collection)
28 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
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Quick, light and with unfailing reliability – it’s no wonder the air-cooled German take on the Jeep was such an innovation. Ian Cushway looks over a rare survivor and explores the ‘bucket’ car’s evolution and history
oon after Hitler had overseen the production of the first few VW Type 38 saloons for promotional use by Nazi Party celebrities, Dr Porsche and his staff were asked to switch their attention from producing what would go on to become the world’s best-selling car in favour of a lightweight military vehicle, using an engine and chassis recently developed for the Kraft durch Freude (KdF) organisation as its platform. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing at VW’s Wolfsburg plant. Having stood virtually idle since the last Type 38 cars had been assembled, the facilities had been hastily converted to various types of weapons production and to making whatever the army needed most at the time. Unfortunately, therefore, when the VW military vehicle was ready for production, the German war department discovered that there were no adequate welding tools suitable for production of the new vehicle’s body, so they had to be built by coachbuilders Ambi Budd Presswerks in Berlin then shipped by rail, completely assembled, to Wolfsburg. So much for Teutonic efficiency! More impressive was the forward thinking of Porsche himself, who must have predicted that his creative energies would be put to use on military projects. He had already acknowledged that the new Wehrmacht vehicle would need to be simple, light and reliable with little regard for comfort and as a first step had swiftly increased the engine displacement from 995cc to 1131cc, as well as beefing up the internals and the gearbox for heavy use and mistreatment. CONSTANT EVOLUTION While time – and funding – was in short supply, Porsche made little in the way of compromise with his hastily executed design, and quality as well as detail were outstanding from the outset. For example, extensive use was made of aluminium and magnesium base alloy for lightness, while precision die castings ensured a superlative finish. Cleverly, corrugations added stiffness to the lightweight steel panels. As a result of all the weight saving, the vehicle weighed in at just 684kg, around 300kg lighter than the Jeep. Of course, for it to be successful, it had to be able to negotiate rugged terrain, ideally with four soldiers and their equipment on board – and here Porsche was able to exploit 30 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
LL OF IDEAS
CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
MG 34 fits on a special mount on the bonnet.
his vast wealth of technical experience to come up with a solution. He started by strengthening the suspension and reinforcing the chassis to enable it to proceed whether a road existed or not, and went on to design a unique hydraulic lic steering damper that would rise and fall with the undulations
of the wheel, helping the driver maintain control. In order to achieve greater ground
system and a snorkel-like extension on the carburettor air intake which extended upwards to just below shoulder height, enabled it to ford streams without the fatal embarrassment of a dead engine. Within a month of being approached by Hitler, having enlisted the services of military coachbuilder Trutz to help with the design, by the end of 1938 prototype models (Type 62) were ready for testing over various terrain. This immediately resulted in the sills being raised for improved ground clearance and the spare tyre, at first neatly recessed into the bonnet, being mounted proud to better act as a protective shield. A notable carry over from the Type 38 saloon was the instrument panel, probably the only stylised aspect of the Type 62. Rather than its official name, Kübelsitzwagen (bucket seat car), troops, on getting their first glimpse of the strange new light military vehicle with its open, box-like shape, were quick to shorten its name to Küebelwagen, or ‘bucket car’. Further modifications took place following feedback when the vehicle made its debut during the invasion of Poland in September 1939. In order to allow it to travel at slower speeds
“In the rare instances where the Kübel did get stuck, its light weight enabled even a crew of two to lug it free with ease…” clearance, the front stub axle assembly was modified and a waterproof ignition
Below: Kübel featured clever corrugations to add strength to the lightweight steel body panels.
32 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
(reduced from 5mph (8km/h) to 2.5mph (4km/h) which was more in line with the pace of marching soldiers, new axles with gear-reduction hubs giving more torque (and better ground clearance) were fitted. After fitting revised rear dampers, 16in wheels and the addition of a clever self-locking ZF limited slip differential along with countless other minor tweaks, full scale production started in February 1940. At this time, the vehicle was renamed Type 82. SLOW TO IMPRESS Despite its myriad virtues, the initial reaction to the Kübelwagen by the German military was somewhat derisory; conservative
Bootlid gives good access to the air-cooled powerplant powerplant. The shape and design of the vertical cooling vents above bare an uncanny resemblance to those of the later VW Beetle.
Prussian officers wanted little to do with such an unorthodox vehicle. Yet, despite such adverse initial opinion the car proved itself worthy, particularly during the Russian and North African offensives. Indeed, Hitler
was so impressed with the air-cooled engine and its ability to cope with extremes of heat and cold that he ordered that all Germany military vehicles at the time use standardised air-cooling. He even ordered
CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
Spare wheel was recessed into bonnet on early Type 62 prototypes.
A removable tripod would allow the MG 34 to be set up outside of the vehicle – perfect for ambushes!
Stephen Lamonby bought this totally original 1942 Kübel 25 years ago, while working in Norway. It had obviously been left there by retreating German forces…
34 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
the development of a four-wheel drive model (Type 86), as well as a half-track (Type 155). Work on these only gathered pace in the closing years of the war, and neither were advanced beyond prototype stage. Total production by the time hostilities came to a halt is thought to be around 50,000 units, although the exact number is unknown. VW resurrected the no-nonsense Kübel design in 1969 with the launch of the Type 181, developed for the German Federal Armed Force. Much to the excitement of VW lovers around the globe, it also entered the civilian market where it was known as the ‘Thing’ in the US, the ‘Trekker’ in Europe and the ‘Safari’ in Mexico. RARE SURVIVOR Despite its success, surprisingly few genuine Kübelwagens have survived and finding one in the flesh is a rare and exciting prospect. Which is precisely why we were thrilled to meet up with Stephen Lamonby at the War and Peace Revival this year who owns this
Facia was the only item carried over from the civilian Type 38 passenger car car. Note the highly practical wooden slatted floor.
1942 example. He acquired it some 25 years ago when he was employed as an oil engineer in Norway – it came in a batch of 40 German military vehicles, including Mercedes-Benz staff cars and halftracks, which prompted him to start up his own film set vehicle hire
company called Plusfilm (www.plusfilm.com). Needless to say, this particular Kübelwagen is something of a film star, having appeared alongside Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy and Terence Stamp in the 2008 film ‘Valkyrie’. “It was painted red when I got it,” remembers Stephen. “In Norway they have a rites of passage ritual with young drivers where they paint their cars red – and this one was obviously used for that purpose.” This particular example, which appears with Grossdeutschland markings, has the early pattern tyres and larger headlamps as well as the drive for the speedo on the bonnet. It came with the original 25bhp engine, but Stephen has wisely fitted a slightly later air-cooled unit for better driveability. Given that it’s over 70 years old, the condition is no less than outstanding – and it looks as if most of the bodywork is original because you can still see the reinforcement plates on the inside of the rear doors which help support the MG 34 magazine. With its skinny tyres, narrow track and exceptionally light weight the Kübelwagen resembles a fit fell runner. It’s ability to cross country at speed was its key asset and despite only being two-wheel drive, clever use of gearing and a limited slip diff made it far more versatile than the Jeep. The fact that it’s so much rarer only adds to its kudos.
ALLIES INTRIGUED Needless to say, the allies probably had intelligence about the Kübelwagen before it even reached production, and as soon as the first ones were deployed examples were captured for closer examination. One went to London in 1941 for a closer look by motor industrialists at Humber, while across the pond after disassembly, testing, photographing and tabulation of the data, the US Army issued a technical manual which was distributed to all units in 1944. Titled The German Volkswagen it carried the identification TM E9-803 and featured a vehicle captured from Rommel’s Afrika Korps, complete with emblems still stencilled on the doors and boot.
Intriguingly, the same vehicle appears in a photograph alongside a Jeep at the US Army proving grounds in Aberdeen, Maryland in 1940-1941. While the Jeep appeared from launch with four-wheel drive, the Kübel counterpart was only two-wheel drive. However, weighing far less, with narrower tyres and a smooth underbelly the German rival possessed a keener ability when it came to scrambling through mud and sand. Even in the rare instances where the Kübel did get stuck, its light weight enabled even a crew of two to lug it free with ease, while invariably the Jeep would have to be abandoned. CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
VEHICLES OF OSS DETACHMENT 101 Alain Henry de Frahan looks at the vehicles used by the formidable but poorly known Detachment 101 of the OSS (predecessor of the CIA), which played a crucial role in the reconquest of Burma
n 14 April 1942, Major General William Donovan from Coordination of Information (COI), soon to be redesignated Office of Strategic Services (OSS), signed the official activation of Detachment 101 whose tasks in Burma would include espionage, sabotage, guerrilla activities, evasion and the expatriation of personnel (mostly airmen from downed aircraft). Twenty one officers, NCOs and enlisted men combining a wide array of skills were ‘aggressively’ recruited by the COI from army units and placed under the command of Captain Carl Eifler, a rough fighter built like a grizzly bear, who would quickly be promoted to Major and then Colonel.
Colonels Hepner and Smith enjoy a Jeep ride with Detachment 101. (OSS Detachment 101)
36 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
KACHIN RANGERS When settling into its new headquarters in a tea garden in Nazira, Assam province (north-east India), the Americans were helped by the British who possessed a century-old knowledge of
Ab Above: T Two men off Detach Detachment nt 101 are assembling aerial pictures to prepare the designation of targets. (OSS Detachment 101) Left: Containers manufactured in India are loaded on a GMC to be parachuted to a Detachment 101 unit operating in enemy territory. (US NARA)
the region. Yet this didn’t make getting hold of the necessary vehicles and supplies any easier. Despite their official allocation, special units were universally unliked and Detachment 101 had to use all kinds of tricks to obtain what was due to them. Initially, vehicles included 10 GMC trucks, stationed at its Dinjan airbase (one of the numerous airfields built by the Americans in Assam) and two at Nazira, as well as a handful of Jeeps. Hundreds and later thousands of Kachin people living in the mountainous jungle of north-west Burma were recruited by the detachment and given the designation ‘Rangers’.. These fighters were equipped, armed and trained from the autumn of 1942 until July 1945, when Detachment 101 was finally disbanded. Together, using intelligence supplied by Lieutenant General Joseph Stilwell, via various sabotage and guerrilla operations, they successfully carried out the reconquest of northern Burma up to the Thai border. A key player in these operations was Brigadier General Frank Merrill and his famous ‘Marauders’, the nickname given to the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), and the regular units which contained both American and Chinese personnel.
Men of Detachment 101 with local auxiliaries near the Hungwe airstrip. (OSS Detachment 101)
OBJECTIVE: MYITKYINA By capturing Myitkyina and its airfield in the Kachin province the Japanese effectively extended the range of their fighter planes, forcing the US Air Transport Command to move its air routes northward between Assam and Kunming (Yunnan province, south-west China) in order to bring in supplies to Chiang Kai-shek’s forces. This meant navigating the Himalayas (the ‘hump’) which was more dangerous and far less cost-efficient. The situation led Stilwell to launch an ambitious project of building a road through the jungles and mountains of northern Burma, starting in Ledo (Assam) and ending in Mu Se on the India-Burma border, where it would connect to the old Burma Road stretching from Lashio to Kunming. The proposed road passed through Myitkyina and therefore, reconquering the city and its airfield defended by the redoubtable 18th Japanese Division became a crucial objective. To achieve this Stilwell decided to involve Detachment 101, along with the British,
Fr k J Ford iis relaxing Frank laxi iin hi his Je Jeep d during in th the loadin loading of a D Douglas gl C-47A Skytrain/Dakota with ith bags that will be dropped at very low altitude. (OSS Detachment 101)
a plan that would avoid political frictions. The relations with the Allies at this time were often tumultuous, always complicated... From January 1943 Detachment 101’s numbers swelled and thanks to its secret bases in enemy territory the Americans quickly gathered crucial intelligence about the Japanese. By the end of the year it had six bases in northern Burma. As well as the Kachins, the Americans also recruited agents and guerrillas from among other ethnic groups from the chosen areas of operation. When visiting the HQ at Nazira on 17 December 1943, Major General Donovan appointed Colonel John Coughlin to the head of operations on the China Burma India (CBI) theatre, while Colonel William Peers was given the role of heading up Detachment 101. Physically and psychologically exhausted,
Colonel Eifler was sent to the OSS HQ in Washington to take on other less taxing duties. STRENGTH IN NUMBERS Stilwell subsequently ordered Peers to increase his guerrilla forces to 3000 men with a figure of 10,000, corresponding to about three US regiments, mooted if operations continued to prove successful. To enable this expansion, Stilwell duly supplied eight additional officers, along with extra weapons, munitions and various other items of equipment – including a fleet of new vehicles. Four Jeeps for the Field Photo Unit arrived, as well as three Dodge WC51/52s, two Dodge WC56/57 command cars, two GMCs, two station wagons, one staff car and one motorbike (probably a Harley-Davidson WLA). In addition, Stilwell assigned six Douglas CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
In June 1945, Lieutenant General Daniel I Sultan (centre), commanding general, India-Burma theatre of operations, poses with officers of Detachment 101. Colonel William Peers stands on his right. (US NARA)
Above: Colonel Carl Eifler and Major Red Maddox in a Jeep at Nazira, Detachment 101 HQ in the Assam province, India. (OSS Detachment 101) Below: The date is 12 July 1945. Kachin Rangers armed with Thompson SMGs, M1A1 carbines and Johnson M1941 rifles, marching with men of Detachment 101 dressed with airborne uniforms or HBT, and armed with M1 and M1A1 carbines. (US NARA)
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C-47s of the Troop Carrier Command for air supply duties, an important consideration given that by March 1945 the 101 forces numbered 10,800 men. In February 1944, Detachment 101 had six bases and 12 under-stations in enemy territory, the theatre of operations being divided into four sectors (area I to IV). The final push toward Myitkyina was made on 17 May 1944 by the Galahad Force composed of Merrill’s Marauders, the 88th Regiment of the Chinese 30th Division (trained by the Americans in Ramgarh, India), and the 150th Regiment of the Chinese 50th Division airlifted from China. Detachment 101 contributed to the action by supplying two companies of Kachin Rangers assigned to reconnaissance and clearing the zones located ahead of and on the flanks of the main force. The Galahad Force took the Japanese by surprise at Myitkyina airfield which was taken after a limited resistance. On 3 August 1944, the town was also retaken after harsh th combat that resulted in casualties on both co sides: 972 Chinese were killed and 3184 si wounded and 188 injured personnel were wo evacuated. A total of 272 Americans were killed, 955 were wounded and 980 casualties we were evacuated. The Japanese suffered the loss of 790 men, 1180 were wounded and 187 we were taken prisoner. BREAKING FORWARD BR While this fighting was going on, Detachment Wh 101 extended its operations by some 90 miles southward, following Stilwell’s instructions, so carrying on reconnaissance and operational ca support to the regular units. Bhamo, Lashio and su Mandalay become the next objectives. Between the Mandalay-Mogaung-Myitkyina railway and the XIVth Army in the area of Imphal, just beyond the Indian border, was a 250-mile-wide corridor not occupied by th the Allies and offering an opportunity for th the Japanese to attack American units busy wi with the Ledo Road building. Consequently, Lieutenant General Daniel I Sultan, commanding the Northern Combat Area Command (NCAC) after Stilwell had been called back to the US in October 1944, instructed Detachment 101 to block these vulnerable routes. Most units averaged 200 men, were supplied by air, and ordered to carry out reconnaissance, ambushes and hit-and-run attacks. When Lashio and Mandalay were retaken, the area crossed by the Stilwell Road was secured and, to an extent, Detachment 101 lost its raison d’être and the order was given to disband it progressively. But the situation in south-west China suddenly became critical and the American and Chinese fighting units were quickly withdrawn from northern and central Burma to counter the Japanese offensive. In order to pursue the Japanese, who were fleeing Burma bound for Thailand, Lieutenant General Daniel Sultan ordered the continuation of Detachment 101. Colonel Peers kept the 1st and 10th Battalions, while the Kachins volunteered to extend their contract, along with the Burmese, who were organised into two additional battalions (2nd
Le A privileged reference for those who Left: are interested in the OSS, Troy J Sacquety’s ar book bo is a ‘must’! Right: The third vehicle of this Detachment 101 convoy is a Map Reproduction Re Truck on a GMC CCKW-353 chassis. ch A section of the detachment worked wo tirelessly to make and circulate military mi maps to the various commands concerned, co both American and British. The windscreen wi of the first Jeep wears the MO marking ma of the Morale Operations sections (psychological (p warfare). (US NARA)
and 3rd). The four battalions followed the classic tactics of regular units, an operational mode for which the guerrillas were not adequately trained or equipped, and this led to the bloodiest battles fought by Detachment 101 in Burma, with heavy losses. THE END OF DETACHMENT 101 On 12 July 1945 Detachment 101 was finally deactivated with some sections reassigned to China. Earlier, in May, its vehicles were needed to carry on with operations in China but a shortage of drivers available to deliver them meant members of the Detachment 101’s Morale Operations were assigned the task. As a result, four convoys were formed using the Stilwell Road (made up by the Ledo Road and the Old Burma Road). Among the impressive achievements of Detachment 101 it is important not to forget the 57 bridges destroyed, the nine
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trains that were derailed and the 277 trucks and other vehicles destroyed or captured. Additionally, 3000-tons of Japanese supplies were destroyed and 700-tons captured. They killed 5428 Japanese (counted with as much reliability as possible), wounded about 1000 and captured 78, all this at the cost of just 22 American lives. A total of 184 local fighters were killed and 86 were listed as missing. Along with the fatalities, 38 agents (spies) were killed, half of them being Anglo-Burmese. Detachment 101 is credited with the highest score in American military history in terms of enemies killed compared to its own losses: 25 Japanese for one Kachin, not counting a few Americans and British killed. More impressive still is the fact that Detachment 101 never deployed more than 120 Americans in the field at any one time, the small number being responsible for commanding some 10,000 Kachins, which
Following previous expeditions in October 1999 and March 2001 by the author, Hervé Flejo (www.gulliver-myanmar.com) and with the cooperation of Olivier Gaiemet (www.RMAgroup.net), a more ambitious expedition is planned with the objective of driving several WW2 vehicles on a larger section of the mythical Stilwell Road. It has not been achieved (nor allowed) since 1955. Anyone in good physical condition who is interested in the possibility of joining the expedition is invited to contact the author: [emailprotected]
corresponds to two-thirds of an American infantry division! The total number of American personnel assigned to the unit between 1942-45 amounts to 250 officers (131 of which were deployed in northern Burma), and 750 NCOs and enlisted men (558 of which were deployed in northern Burma). THANKS AND SOURCES The author wishes to thank Troy J Sacquety, author of The OSS in Burma, Jungle War against the Japanese for his precious assistance. SOURCES • Mails between the author and two veterans of Detachment 101: Lt.Col. Allen Richter (sergeant during the Burma campaign and co-inventor of the V-100 radios modified for Detachment 101) and Stanley ‘Sam’ Spector. • Mails between the author and Troy J Sacquety, historian of Detachment 101. Conversation involving the author with a veteran of the Kachin Rangers in Myitkyina, in August 1998. • The OSS in Burma, Jungle War against the Japanese by Troy J Sackety, University of Kansas, 2013. • Behind the Burma Road Colonel (ret) William Peers and Dean Brelis (two veterans of Detachment 101), Avon Books, New York, 1963. • American Guerrilla, My war behind Japanese lines by Roger Hilsman, Brassey’s (US) Inc 1990. • https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-thestudy-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol4no3/ html/v04i3a11p_0001.htm • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSS_ Detachment_101 • Documents of the author’s collection. History of Detachment 101 by James R Ward on www.oss-101.com • Photos of the US National Archives in Washington, collections of the author and of Troy J Sacquety. CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
AUSTRALIAN COUSINS James Taylor looks at the story of the one-tonne Land Rovers that found their way into Australian military service.
Brake testing! One of the two trials vehicles is trialled... hard!
t’s well known that the 101 one-tonne Forward Control was designed specifically to meet a requirement by the British Army, and that most of those made served with one branch or another of the British armed forces. However, that word ‘most’ is the key here: around 270, or just about 10%, of the 101s saw service with overseas military forces. Among those overseas users, by far the biggest were the Australians. In fact, the Australians had looked at air defence, and by 1977 had settled on the 101 during its design phase, and the Rapier guided missile system that was some work had been done on fitting an manufactured by BAC (the British Aircraft Australian-made Ford Falcon engine into Corporation). BAC was only too pleased to the vehicle in preparation for a possible oblige, but it must have pointed out that order. One way or another, the Aussies the Rapier system needed vehicles to tow decided against taking 101s at this stage. it, and that they had already designed the Then, nine years later in 1977, they found necessary ‘fit’ for the Land Rover 101 to themselves running acceptance trials act as a towing vehicle. on a pair of UK-specification vehicles in So the Aussies went for the whole preparation for the delivery of a large package. Land Rover delivered the 101s batch with the right-hand drive Export in GS form to BAC in Stevenage, who 24-volt specification. added its modifications and arranged for the vehicles to be shipped out to Australia TOWING THE LINE along with the Rapier trailers. All well and This situation had arisen in a roundabout good, you might think – but it rather looks way. Briefly, what happened was that the as if nobody had thought to warn Land Australians were looking at updating their Rover's Australian arm, which knew next 40 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
to nothing about the 101 and was thrown into some confusion when the Australian Army asked for the usual manufacturer support package. Nevertheless, it scrambled to meet the Army’s high expectations. The 50 vehicles were initially delivered to 41 Support Battalion, which is the ordnance and supply unit for South Australia. This was in 1978. They were allocated Army registration numbers and then shipped to user units. KEEPING MOBILE The primary user was 16 Air Defence Regiment, based at Woodside Barracks in South Australia and part of the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery. However, the point of the Rapiers was to create a highly mobile air defence system, and 16 ADR’s responsibilities in wartime included the protection of army units in the field, defence of the Royal Australian Navy’s support ships, and defence of Royal
The vehicles had to travel vast distances in Australia, and anybody who has driven a 101 will know that this can be both expensive and exhausting! So longer journeys were undertaken by rail.
... and here, seen at a later display, with wheels off and stabilised for firing.
This was the launcher trailer with its wheels on on....
Australian Air Force airfields. So the 101s went wherever the Rapiers were needed – which, over the next dozen years or so, meant on exercises all over Australia.
The full breakdown of the 101 allocation has not yet been discovered, although the Registry of Ex Military Land Rovers in Australia has done some sterling research
in this area. So far, it looks as if 28 vehicles were allocated to 16 ADR, while a handful went to training centres. There are thought to have been as many as four at the RAEME
Belo The Below: These were th the official pictures ic taken ke of a R Rapier ie tractor with its launcher trailer when first delivered in 1978.
CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
Afterlife: the Aussie 101s found willing buyers in the enthusiast community when they were sold off – without the Rapier equipment, of course. (Photo: Patrick Sutcliffe)
mechanics’ training centre, and maybe two at the RACT driver training school. Both of these were in Bandiana, Victoria. That allocation would have left a dozen or more in reserve, which seems quite a high number but is not unreasonable. WORKING IN THREES Much as in the British Army, the Rapier sections each operated with three vehicles; in the Australian case, all three were 101s. The first 101 towed the Rapier launcher, the second towed the tracking radar unit, and the third had the resupply role and carried spare missiles; British practice was to allocate this task to a normal-control Series III 109 Land Rover. The 101s remained in service until the start of the 1990s, when they were replaced as Rapier tractors by Air Defence derivatives of the Perentie 6x6 Land Rovers. Stripped of their Rapier equipment, they were then sold off onto the civilian market. Most went through a pair of auctions in Adelaide, although others were auctioned direct from army bases. A number ended up in enthusiast hands. KNOWN SURVIVORS Not all of the Australian 101s made it into civilian life. At least three were written off while in service. One hit a bus headon; one was burned out when somebody tossed a lighted cigarette into it, only to discover that it had a fuel leak; and a third disappeared into a sinkhole on the Nullarbor Plain, from where it was not (and presumably could not be) recovered. Then there is the mystery of two vehicles supplied from the UK but apparently not registered. So far, it has been impossible to find chassis numbers Right: Just as in Britain, civilian buyers saw the potential for turning these vehicles into campers. The sturdy box-body on this one is entirely home-made.
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962-00078A and 962-00090A in Australian military records. As for the two trials vehicles, they had been drawn from British military stock and came back to the UK
THE AUSSIE 101S
when the trials were over. They entered British service as 68 FL 55 and 68 FL 57, and served full lives before being sold onto the civilian market.
The Australian 101 Rapier tractors were drawn from two batches of chassis manufactured in 1968. These were 962-00035A to 962-00064A (total 30) and 962-00073A to 962-00092A (total 20). The chassis for the 962 series was for right-hand drive export-specification 24-volt vehicles, and all these were equipped with winches. They were registered as 29-405 to 29-426, and 30-238 to 30-263. Unsurprisingly, the army registrations were not allocated in an order that bore any resemblance to chassis number order. Full details of the known vehicles are on the website of the Registry of Ex Military Land Rovers (www.remlr.com). The two trials vehicles that were shipped out in 1977 were home market 24-volt vehicles, on chassis 961-00048A and 961-00050A. They were registered as 29-171 and 29-170 respectively for the duration of the trials. Special thanks for help provided by Richard Green at the Registry of Ex Military Land Rovers.
A TRUCK AND A HALF!
By the standards of the fifties, the Leyland Martian artillery tractor was a virtual monster… and it’s no less impressive today. Pat Ware has the story
ated at a modest 10 tons, Leyland’s FV1103 Martian 6x6 medium artillery tractor was intended as a replacement for the wartime AEC Matador. High, wide and handsome, it was a mightily-impressive machine, designed to tow a load of 16,500-17,600 lb (7500-8000kg), compared to a figure of 14,300 lb (6500kg) for the AEC that it replaced, and yet it weighed almost twice as much. The price of this magnificent machine to the British taxpayer was a seemingly-modest £7850… but it should be remembered that in today’s money this represents almost £200,000, and that the average price of a quality car at the time was around £500-600. The FV1103 artillery tractor was actually collectively as the FV1100 series and one of a family of similar vehicles, described developed, at enormous cost, in conjunction Below: Production Martian artillery tractor photographed at the FVRDE exhibition of military vehicles in 1954. (Warehouse Collection)
44 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
with the Fighting Vehicle Research & Development Establishment (FVRDE). A specification for the series was first issued in 1948 but it had been extensively revised by the time the first prototype, a cargo variant, appeared in 1951. For reasons said to be ‘out of the control of FVRDE’, the initial trials of the vehicle were somewhat truncated but, by October 1953, the Deputy Director, Royal Artillery (DDRA) had accepted the
Prototype Martian chassis photographed on Leyland’s articulation gauges, demonstrating the available range of axle movement at the front and rear. (BCVHT)
artillery tractor variant for service. Again, this was without proper trials but subject to a series of modifications, designed to eliminate problems that had arisen with the power steering system, as well as dealing with minor niggles, for example, over the design of the front bumper, and the body and body mountings. Production of the artillery tractor was under way before the end of the year. COPY CAT DESIGN Like the prototype, the first 25 vehicles to be constructed were powered by the original straight-eight version of Rolls-Royce’s B Series – the B80 5675cc petrol engine, which had a gross power output of 165bhp. Most of the production vehicles received the more powerful B81 variant, which was bored out to give a capacity of 6516cc, resulting in an additional 55bhp. The engine was coupled to a unit-mounted four-speed transmission via a twin-plate dry clutch, and there was a separatelymounted three-speed transfer case. Open propeller shafts conveyed the power to the front and rear axles, with a third, short shaft providing power for a 10-ton mechanical winch mounted on the chassis rails towards the rear. Under that not-insubstantial channelsection steel chassis, this Leyland would have been very recognisable to anyone familiar with the products of the Watfordbased Scammell company. Although Scammell and Leyland eventually ended up under the same ownership, this didn’t happen until 1955, which makes it all
the more surprising that elements of the Martian were so clearly copied from Scammell, including the centrally-pivoted front axle with its single transverse spring, and the walking-beam gear cases at the rear, suspended on a pair of semi-elliptical
springs and located by a pair of torque arms. Even the front mudguards on the prototypes were Scammell-style cycle wings, fitted in such a way that they were able to move with the axle. And, as if ‘borrowing’ from Scammell
Equipped with a pair of snorkels snorkels, this Martian climbs out of the deep wading tank after demonstrating its ability to traverse water to a depth of 78in (1981mm) when suitably prepared. The photograph was taken at FVRDE in 1956. (Warehouse Collection) CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
Photographed at Fleet Services on the M3, this Martian is seen towing a British 5.5in howitzer. (Warehouse Collection)
wasn’t enough, when the front axle drive was engaged, the drive to the front wheels was distinctly Mack-like, using a system of bevel gears to transfer power to a rotating kingpin and thence to the wheel itself – the advantage being a minimum ground clearance of 18.5in (465mm). Top
speed on the road was 35mph (56km/h) at a formidable fuel consumption of 3.5mpg (1.24km/litre). The body, partially constructed by Park Royal Vehicles or Mann-Egerton, was a spacious affair, with a steel cab providing accommodation for the driver and two
Below: A small removable jib was carried in the rear compartment to assist in handling the spare wheel. (BCVHT)
46 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
passengers at the front, with two bench seats behind for a further nine or ten men. The cab could be split at the waistline to reduce the overall height of the vehicle for shipping. Behind the cab was an open timber body, designed to house the
Above: Rear three-quarter view showing the massive size of the machine. There was accommodation for 12 men in the cab, together with a total of 41,104 lb (18,644kg) of stores shared between the front and rear compartments. (Warehouse Collection) Left: Interior view of the cab (of a cargo vehicle) taken from the eye level of someone on the ground. Note the standardised instrument and switchgear common to many British military vehicles of the period. The internal stowage of the jerrycan is interesting, particularly bearing in mind that most National Servicemen were probably avid smokers! (BCVHT)
With a Leyland O.600 diesel engine in place of the Rolls-Royce B81, a civilian version of the Martian shown at the Commercial Motor Show at Earls Court in the autumn of 1954. This military chassis appeared at Earls Court the previous year. Note the position of the winch towards the rear of the chassis. (Warehouse Collection)
spare wheels for the truck and the towed equipment, together with a removable loading jib to aid the handling of the wheels, and stowage compartments for tool and ammunition. There was a dropdown tailgate at the rear, and a canvas cover supported on tubular-steel hoops.
after just 1500 miles (2400km), the vehicles were generally given a clean bill of health. By 1957, the Martians had been reissued but there were still those who were unhappy and in May of 1958, the Director, Royal Artillery (DRA) was asking that the vehicles
Low-level front view of a prototype chassis showing the front suspension arrangements. The suspension consisted of a single inverted transverse semi-elliptical leaf spring, pivoted centrally on the chassis; the right-hand end was attached to a torque frame by a standard shackle, whilst the left-hand end rested on a pivoted rocker. Note the bevel boxes above and below the kingpin position. (BCVHT)
as a towing vehicle for the 5.5in howitzer, the vehicle was also assigned as the tractor for the 7.2in and 7.5in howitzers, and the 40mm anti-aircraft gun. In 1964, a second type of artillery tractor was developed designed for towing the American 8in ‘atomic cannon’ howitzer, without its limber. Designated FV1122, the resulting tractor looked very much like the cargo variant, although such vehicles as were produced were converted from obsolete FV1103 tractors. Alongside the two artillery tractor variants, the Martian family also included a heavy recovery vehicle (FV1119), and long- and short-wheelbase cargo trucks (FV1110 and FV1121). Other planned variants which were never produced included a 5-ton crane
“…this Leyland would have been very recognisable to anyone who was familiar with the products of the Watford-based Scammell company.”
RELIABILITY NIGGLES Slightly fewer than 600 examples were eventually constructed, and deliveries began in late 1953, but problems began to arise almost immediately, specifically with defective clutches and transfer boxes that led to the vehicles being withdrawn from service. REME subjected a pair of tractors to a four-month long reliability trial in Germany, where, despite the clutch on one vehicle disintegrating
once again be withdrawn from service and, ironically, be replaced by the Matador! It took until October of that year for a solution to be found to the clutch problem, with vehicles eventually being processed through REME workshops for modification. Finally, the Martian was able to earn an honest living and, alongside its original role
CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
Early Martian artillery tractor being put through its paces across country. The little fittings on the top corners of the front mudguards are not position markers but are mirror brackets. (Warehouse Collection)
(FV1114), tractor for semi-trailers (FV1101), armoured command vehicle (FV1113), and workshop and machinery truck (FV1118). There was also a civilian version, offered both as a truck and as a tractor. The civilian version was announced in Commercial Motor magazine in August 1954, and was first shown at the Commercial Motor Show later that year. The Rolls-Royce engine was replaced by a Leyland O.600 diesel but, otherwise, it was essentially the same truck, and was said to
This tired but largely complete Martian artillery tractor was originally numbered 43BM97, 43BM97 but is now identified as ‘Lot 155’ as it awaits disposal at auction. (Warehouse Collection)
be aimed at commercial users who needed all-wheel drive, combined with the ability to tow an 8-ton trailer. The price can only be guessed at, but it should be probably no surprise that Leyland was unable to generate
much interest... although, astonishingly, bearing in mind the scary rate at which the military Martian drinks fuel, we should be thankful that there are more than a handful of the latter in private hands! Below: Modest numbers of Martians, generally artillery tractors and recovery vehicles, have ended up in private hands but the fuel consumption is probably sufficient to put off all but the most enthusiastic. (Warehouse Collection)
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Left: A very cold looking civilian crew await the arrival of the King and Queen for the naming ceremony on a range just outside Birmingham. The Queen is going to name the tank Cromwell I; it had not been changed to Cavalier at this stage.
SO CAVALIER! David Fletcher recalls the largely forgotten and largely flawed boxy-looking successor to the Crusader…
he A24 Cavalier is an odd tank. It was more the victim of circumstance than bad design, but nevertheless tells us much about tank development in Britain at the time and marked the end of the early period of production which focussed on quantity rather than quality. Even so, the fact that the Cavalier relied for the most part on components already designed for the Crusader meant that, up to a point, some of the initial design work, essential in the case of a brand new tank, could be taken for granted and rather glossed over. It also means that the Cavalier was probably the last British tank to be ordered directly ‘off the drawing board’, which, if you consider the problems that were about to be revealed with the Crusader, is a bit unfortunate. The design of the Cavalier was a cooperative effort between the staff of Nuffield Mechanization and Aero Ltd and the Department of Tank Design, which is unusual in itself since Lord Nuffield had an instinctive dislike of anything which smacked of government interference. However, in this case it probably accounts for the readiness with which the Cavalier, originally known as Cromwell, project was adopted in the first place. Even so, the rival design, A23, by Vauxhall Motors, a scaled down version of its Churchill tank, was swiftly rejected. THE SAME BUT DIFFERENT The Cavalier was designed as a successor to the Crusader, using an uprated version of the same Nuffield Liberty engine and Nuffield fourspeed gearbox along with the same Wilson epicyclic steering equipment, with hydraulically activated brakes and steering gear. Armour though was to be a lot thicker – 76mm at the front of the turret and 65mm on the front of the hull, although in the case of the turret, and possibly the hull front, this thickness was only achieved by laminating two thinner plates together, which is hardly ideal. The main armament was to be the 57mm, six-pounder gun along with a co-axial 7.92mm Besa machine-gun in the turret. However, a second Besa located in the front plate of the hull, to the left of the driver, was not always fitted. The big difference came in terms of 50 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
appearance. In place of the sleek, streamlined look of the Crusader the new tank was distinctly boxy – the front of the hull being a near vertical slab, while the turret was almost literally box shaped with an opening in the front through which the gun protruded. There was not even an external gun mantlet as seen on most earlier tanks and crews complained that the shadow created by the gun aperture gave the enemy a very clear aiming point. TEETHING PROBLEMS It would be some comfort to say the Cavalier
Above: A Cavalier pilot being used as a trials vehicle. The gun mounting has been partly Ab blanked off and none of the front hull equipment has been fitted, neither has the driver’s visor bl or the hull machine-gun mounting.
Above: The contract card for Cavalier, or Cruiser Mark VII, originally to be named Cromwell I. No similar card can be found covering the Ruston and Hornsby contribution but this card suggests that all 500 tanks were to come from Lord Nuffield’s Mechanization and Aero Company in Birmingham.
suffered unjustly from the Crusader’s dreadful reputation, and that by the time it appeared the worst features of Crusader had been resolved. However, sadly that wasn’t true. In March 1942, when the first pre-production pilot of the Cavalier was undergoing trials at Farnborough, the main troubles with Crusader were at their height in the desert and some of the same problems were manifest in the Cavalier. There were concerns over cooling water circulation, fan drives and engine bearings and to make matters worse, when the tank was sent back to the Mechanization and Aero plant in Birmingham for remedial
Th same ttank The k fr from the rear, emphasising hasisi the b box-like -lik sh shape of the tturret. t. IInstruments tr ts tto record rd engine temperature have been fitted and the tank looks worn and scruffy. Even the track looks a bit slack although this may be the result of continuous running.
work, the engine broke down altogether. Meanwhile turret production had encountered delays. An initial order for six prototype tanks had been placed on 29 January 1941, but it was December of that year before the first turret was ready and one of the first pilots could be sent down to Lulworth for gunnery trials. The supply of armour plate was one problem, caused, they said at the time, by focus of effort on the huge, 130-ton earth moving machine ‘Nellie’, a Churchillian project that had the Prime Minister’s enthusiastic backing. The turret of the Cavalier was one of the few parts of the new tank to be of partly welded construction. Although welding was being considered as far back at December 1941 it would be more than a year before it was attempted on a complete tank and, by then, on the Cromwell tank only.
The A24 Cavalier’s turret, like other Cruisers of the A27 series, involved an inner box of welded plate, covered by bolt-on panels of armour. It was a similar process to the one first adopted on the turret developed for Covenanter and Crusader. The outer skin of armour was held in place by enormous bolts, the heads of which stick out very prominently on the outer surface and give them their distinctive look. It is also worth remarking at this point that Cavalier was probably the first new British tank to be designed around the six-pounder gun, although that distinction has been somehow lost amidst the cloud of indifference that seems to have surrounded the tank in other respects. BALANCING ACT The Cavalier was a little bit slower than the Crusader with a top speed of just over 24mph
Left: A picture that is believed to show a pilot model of a Cavalier in virtually new condition. It mounts the shorter, thicker Mark 3 version of the six-pounder gun and also has a hull mounting for a Besa machine-gun, as yet unfitted. CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
(38.4km/h) compared with 27mph (43.2km/h) flat out for the latter. But it was a good deal heavier, 26.5-tons against 19-tons for the Crusader. The designers at Mechanization and Aero also had to modify the suspension to suit the new tank. They did this by shortening the suspension arms, which gave the tank and the crew, of course, a harsher ride. That this was unnecessary was subsequently proved in Cromwell but it required a substantial redesign, which rather went against the initial logic behind Cavalier’s design. Remember, at the stage that all this was happening production of Crusader tanks was going on, flat out, to meet demands from the desert. One feature that the two tanks had in common and rather a controversial one in some quarters it seems, was free elevation of the main gun. The turrets featured powered traverse of course but the guns were balanced, a little on the breech heavy side so that the gunner could move them up and down to aim them. This was all in aid of the British preference for firing on the move, when a swift response was called for in order to hit the target. This meant that, in effect, the gunner was acting as a sort of human stabiliser to keep the gun on target and fire when he reckoned there was a chance of hitting anything. BEGINNING OF THE END The first sounding of the Cavalier’s death knell rang out in April 1941 when the Tank Board let it be known that the engine they had selected for future British cruiser tanks was the 600hp Rolls-Royce Meteor, a de-supercharged version of the Merlin aero engine devised by W A Robotham. All of which presented Lord Nuffield with a bit of a problem. Either he continued with the Cavalier equipped with the 410hp Liberty engine or he switched over entirely to the Merlin which would also require substantial revision of the cooling arrangements and 52 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
adoption of the Merritt-Brown transmission. Now, whether it was a case of William Morris reverting to his old habit of stubborn intransigence, or whether he entertained serious doubt about the effectiveness of the Rolls-Royce engine and Merritt-Brown transmission and felt that the British Army needed an alternative in reserve we don’t know. If it was the latter he was not alone by any means, but if, as one suspects, it was his old habits reasserting themselves then on this occasion they let him down and he shot himself squarely in the foot. Early in 1942 it was agreed that Cavalier production would be limited to just 500 tanks since the emphasis had now moved over to those fitted with the Meteor engine, and the tanks would be called Cromwell, the name originally agreed for the A24. A year later, in February 1943, the AFV Liaison Committee
announced that of the 500 Cavaliers only 160 would be completed as gun tanks armed with the 57mm six-pounder. The tank would not be adapted to carry either the dual-purpose 75mm gun or the close support weapon, the 95mm howitzer. The balance of 340 tanks would be completed as observation post tanks for the Royal Artillery and fitted with dummy guns. Despite the limited production, Cavaliers were completed with Type A and Type B hulls, the latter featuring a side opening hatch on the left side. The contract to build the new tanks was to be split between Mechanization and Aero in Birmingham and Ruston and Hornsby Ltd of Lincoln who had earlier built Matildas and Crusaders and played a large part in the development of the Crusader gun tractor. Ruston’s history One Hundred Years of Good Company by Bernard Newman hardly mentions Cavalier at all, although it does say that they
Left: A posed picture of a Cavalier, again with the Mark 3 gun but without machine-guns. However, a rather stylish portrait of a typical Cavalier has been painted on the turret.
The Tank Museum’s Cavalier being dragged off Salisbury Plain target area by a Centurion ARV 2. Not in the best of condition, but better than nothing. The tree in the back has since died.
built 220 of them. There is also a book about the Nuffield Group’s part in wartime production called Calling all Arms by Ernest Fairfax who we believe was Sir Miles Thomas, although we can’t prove it. That tome hardly mentions the Cavalier at all – it is the only book I know of that attempts a wartime history of the Nuffield organisation and was written at the end of the war or just after and is therefore rather eulogistic. A modern history is definitely called for if anyone ffeels ls lik like writing itin one.
the landscape and select targets. It carried equipment to enable them to report back to the battery they were observing for, and it looked just like any other tank from the outside so it was less likely to attract undue attention. Of course if one got close enough it could be identified by its markings while an observant watcher might notice that it never fired its gun;
eliminated and inside there was a petrol driven charging set to cope with the additional power; this was normally either a Tiny Tim or Chore Horse generator, which had its own exhaust pipe and silencer on the roof of the hull. Also stowed here were extra batteries used by the radios, and three full reels of signalling cable for which mounting brackets were provided on the rear trackguards of the tank. A number of sources claim that C Cavalier alie OP ttanks ks were used operationally in north-west Europe and we know that some at least were presented to the French Army. There is a Cavalier in the Tank Museum collection. It’s not in the best of condition since, when it was dragged off Salisbury Plain where it had been dumped as a hard target, many items were missing and there was a tree growing out of the gearbox. Still, it could be restored, at least cosmetically, to look the part and when it was recovered it became clear that it had in fact been an OP tank. It had the remains of Royal Artillery markings along with the panda’s head symbol of the 9th Armoured Division still visible on the front.
“…the gunner was acting as a sort of human stabiliser to keep the gun on target.”
SUBSEQUENT MARKS There was a Cavalier Mark II, albeit only the one, which was fitted with 15.5in wide tracks and, of course, the Cavalier ARV Mark I. The OP, or observation post tank, was a fairly common version, applicable to most types of tank. Its purpose was to carry a Royal Artillery observation team up with the leading tanks of a regiment so that they could observe Left The Left: Th purpose of the he extension si to the th right track guard is not clear. All the pictures we have show tanks with the Type A hull, with full length stowage bins on both sides. Right: A heavily retouched image showing the full-length trackguards. The picture was distributed from the Directorate of Fighting Vehicles at Chiselhurst.
that’s bbecause it couldn’t. uldn’t It was a dummy, d added to enhance its resemblance to a fighting tank but without the extra room taken up inside the turret where more space was needed. However, the co-axial Besa machine gun was normally a real one. The reason space was at a premium was that, in the Cavalier OP at any rate, the turret contained two Number 19 radio sets and a Number 18 set along with an extra wireless arial. In the front of the hull to the left of the driver the machine-gun position was
CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
OUT AND ABOUT WITH CMV…
Yorkshire Wartime Experience, 4-6 July 2014 Scott Smith was there for CMV to report on the action…
Craig Keeble owns this 1945 Leyland Hippo Mk2 which was released from military service late for a vehicle of its era, only being demobbed in 1983. Craig purchased the Hippo two years ago and it is now in a 95% restored state.
he adverts read, ‘The North’s Premier Military Vehicle & Re-Enactment Event’ and, to be fair, the Yorkshire Wartime Experience (YWE) can hold onto its claim after another explosive show this July. The event may only be three years old, but with the help of military vehicle enthusiasts, not just from Yorkshire, but from throughout the rest of the UK, there’s now a show in the north that we can truly be proud of.
This year there was a slight change in the layout with the Allied and Axis encampment areas being switched around. The site is somewhat different to other events with the main arena serving as the battlefield – so with both camps situated either side when battles ensue, visitors get a clear idea of how the enemy forces would have potentially faced off during their skirmishes. It is also worth stating that having such a knowledgeable
This 1945 Mack NO had only recently entered the UK with Mick Armstrong purchasing it from Airborne Garage in Holland just six weeks before the show. Although in a running and roadworthy condition it hadn’t been road registered and is very much an ongoing restoration. Little is known of the vehicle’s history, although Mick has been told that for some reason the Mack had been to the Falkland Islands at one point in its past.
commentator in the form of Bob Fleming, helps the show no end. Within the Allied section of the show area there was a large American camp set-up, portraying life for those involved during the D-Day time of hostilities in north-west Europe. It was also good to see a number of early WW2 British vehicles make up a strong display of the kind of machines that would’ve been around during the retreat from Dunkirk in 1940. Meanwhile, the WW1 area, which has grown in size over the years, was well visited in this 100th year of commemorations as a recreation of trench warfare was once again displayed alongside an encampment. Of course it wasn’t all about WW2 and there was also a good Left: One of the rarer pieces of post-war armour was this Abbott FV433 self-propelled gun. Dating from 1966 this example spent time with the British Army on the Rhine before being sold in the 1980s. Current owner Tim Dickinson purchased it in 2013 and has had to carry out some light maintenance in that time to make it ready to rally. The Abbott carries a 105mm gun and is completely road legal, having been driven to the event from Tim’s home in Halifax. Right: Melvyn Bean is no stranger to AEC Matadors and he acquired this 1944 example earlier this year. It served with 287 1st West Lancs Field Regiment which formed part of the 103rd Light Air Defence Regiment RA TA which had its headquarters in Liverpool. After being sold out of service at the Ruddington sales the Matador ended up working in a quarry before being acquired by the Grange Cavern museum in Wales. When the museum closed it passed into preservation in the Yorkshire area, where it is has stayed ever since. It is seen here towing a 5.5in medium gun which is also owned by Melvyn.
June 2003 2014 54 00 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November
As the show continues to grow it has attracted a number of new and interesting pieces of armour, including this 1943 M41A ‘Grizzly’ Sherman. Although it had a cast hull it was actually made up of a three-piece front. It was nice to see this one with British markings. This one was imported into the UK in the 1980s and following the end of WW2, like a number of other machines, it was used by the Portuguese Army before passing into preservation.
Caption to come
Caption to come
The universal carrier was used in a variety of roles during WW2. This Ford T-166 dates d s from f 1943 19 43 and was a significantly improved vehicle based upon those built by Ford of Canada, manufactured under lend lease by Ford in the US from March 1943-45. During WW2 it was chiefly used by Canadian forces as an artillery tractor and many saw post-war service with forces all around the globe. This example gave a show of its manoeuvrability around the arena.
number of post-war vehicles on show. Excitingly, there were a number of new pieces of armour visiting the show this year,
all of which will have helped increase the popularity of the YWE. Indeed, within a week of the show finishing the
Above: Another newcomer this year, and a rare vehicle at that, was this 1944 Marmon-Herrington H-452-11 also known as a M426 which is owned by Iain Mulley. This was one of just 3200 built by the firm and it still carries its original International Red 450D engine. Demobbed in 1946 it was acquired by French showman Albert Maton who used it to tow his dodgems from 1960 until the early 1990s. The vehicle will be the first to undergo the IJM Restorations treatment during the winter with Ian only applying a quick coat of paint for the show. Below: Representing the British side of things was Rick Wedlock’s 1944 Mk6 Cromwell which was making its first appearance at YWE. Rick started the restoration in 2011 and just 18 months later he had managed to bring the wreck of a vehicle back to life. It is one of the few pieces of WW2 British armour which can be seen on the show scene and it was great to witness it powering its way around the arena.
CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE June 2003 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014 00 55
Left: It was good to see a small area set up this year in order to show the kind of British machines which were around during the early part of WW2. Due to the number of vehicles which were lost at Dunkirk these machines are obviously rarer than others from that period of time, so it was good to see a good cross section on show. Below: This is an original M35A2 Reo which has been modified to represent the ‘Highland Raiders’ gun truck which served in Vietnam from 1968-72. Gun trucks arose after convoys of cargo trucks were prone to being attacked by the enemy when moving supplies, as such the normal cargo trucks were hardened with armour plate and additional weapons. When the enemy ambushed the convoy all the available gun trucks would rush to the kill zone and lay down fire to half the attack.
Above: There were a number of American WW2 half-tracks on site during the weekend, including this White M3A1, which can be seen here fully loaded with troops.
organisers were already talking of how they could make the show even bigger for 2015. Incidentally, the date for next year’s event is
Above: You don’t see too many 1-ton Humber wireless trucks around. The FV1604(A), as it was categorised, was basically a standard 1-ton Humber truck fitted with a two-speed generator but no winch, along with the wireless truck body. Right: Here this 1944 M36, more commonly known as the Jackson, makes its way around the arena. The vehicle only came onto these shores in 2013 after spending a number of years in Bosnia. The M36 is basically an up armoured M10 with the tank carrying a 19mm gun turret.
56 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
3-5 July 2015 – so make a note in your diary. Most importantly for the hobby itself, it is good to see that along with a number of other new shows which have appeared in the last
few years, such events are growing all the time and continue to grab the interest of the general public.
Above: The M24 Chaffee was an American light tank which was used during the latter part of WW2. Production began in 1944 and ceased in August 1945 with some 4731 examples rolling out of the assembly lines at both Cadillac and Massey-Harris. This 1944 example is seen showing the agility of the machine with it having a 25mph (40km/h) top speed off road. At one point it was used by the Above: Representing the post-war fraternity was this Belgian Army before being purchased by Tim Benton. He gave the M24 a good facelift after the M715 Kaiser Jeep. tank had been used in the film ‘Paris Burning’ as a piece of German armour! Right: Mark Farrell’s 1916 Albion A10 is no stranger to the pages of CMV and for the second year running it was in attendance at the Yorkshire Wartime Experience. With a special WW1 area this year, it was able to bring that era back to life for those who visited.
Above: ‘Big Phil’ is instantly recognisable as a Humber Heavy Utility and would have been used as a staff or command car throughout WW2. Although I wasn’t able to find out when this vehicle was built, it was discovered in Cyprus before being restored and shipped back to the UK. Above left: Nearly 30,000 examples of the T34-85 were produced between 1941-45, with this example being one of the later models rolling off the production line in Gorki as the war drew to a close. Following WW2 it spent time in Eastern Europe, and was found in Czechoslovakia before being imported into the UK in January 2013. This example of the T34 carries a 85mm gun and is powered by a V12 engine.
Above: It was good to see three Bedford QLs – a good number considering how many are left in existence. This one carries the markings of the Tyne Tees Regiment. Below: At the end of both days an explosive battle took place between Allied and Axis re-enactors. Here American infantry support the M24 Chaffee as it moves forward.
Left: An excellent portrayal of probably one of the most recognisable faces from the numerous war films which have been released – Oddball! CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE July 2007 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014 00 57
OUT AND ABOUT WITH CMV…
Combined Ops – 16-17 Augu David Gilbert reports from this year’s military extraganza at Headcorn
the occasional impromptu flypast by aircraft
Above and right: Ex-Czech Army OT-90 (previously a Russian BMP1) was built in Russia in 1967 and returning home from other display venues. converted into an OT-90 by the Czech Army in 1992. The conversion included the addition of an OT turret. This Saturday was no exception, as two short and example was bought direct from the Czechs by current owner Nick Vaughn. Its battle history is unknown. unadvertised flypasts saw a pair of vintage
he weekend of 16-17 August saw the sixth year of the popular Combined Ops show at Headcorn airfield open its gates to the public amidst glorious summer sunshine. As with the previous five years of this show it offers that rather marvellous option where one is able to watch battle re-enactors or vehicle parades in the arena
while simultaneously keeping an eye on the superb aircraft displays going on overhead. So, on this positive note, what was there to see at this year’s event? Firstly, Combined Ops is a show that takes place within the grounds of a live working airfield so it is able to offer pleasure trips throughout the day in a vintage Dragon Rapide as well as arranging for
Folland Gnats and a Vampire scream past, much to the watching public’s delight. The flying display proper included some superlative display flying by the pilot in a Mustang P51D Jumpin Jacques. Following the Mustang a skilfully executed aerobatic display was performed by the pilot of a Russian Yak11 advanced training aircraft. However, the flying
Below and right: This splendid 1943 built M8 armoured car is owned by Anthony Bendkowski whose son is at the wheel. Whether it served during WW2 is unknown, but it was used post-war by the Greek Army for police duties and crowd control. The engine is not the original as it was converted by the Greek Army to a diesel.
CLASSI CLA SSIC C MILITARY M VEHICLE November June 2003 2014 58 00 CLASSIC
Below: This Hotchkiss Jeep was built in 1960 and bought from the French Army in 1991. The vehicle is owned by Terry Wady and is attached to the Kent Desert Rats Group.
Caption to come
display highlight for the majority of the watching crowd must almost certainly have been the arrival of the two Avro Lancasters, Thumper and Vera, with their attendant Spitfire escorts. The BBMF display started with a flypast followed
Caption to come
Below: Members of the Kent Desert Rats Group sat in the two converted Hotchkiss Jeeps they own. The sand and blue colour scheme is a recent addition, only added in 2014.
CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE June 2003 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014 00 59
Left: A pair of ex-British Army Ferret armoured cars circle around the main arena. As always a good turn out of these vehicles was present at the show.
This vehicle was delivered to the British military in 1941. Its wartime service is currently unknown. It’s seen here on static display shortly after giving a public display in the arena alongside other Scammels, a Diamond T and Militant.
This Stug is often used in WW2 battle re-enactments and is seen here parading around the main arena shortly before it failed and was towed out by the Chieftain ARV (‘Shrek’).
by the traditional split of fighters and bomber. However, on this occasion we are privileged to state it was bombers rather than bomber.
The flying programme for the two Lancasters while the Canadian airframe Vera is in the UK is indeed a busy one, so the organisers of
Below: Built in 1955, this Scammell Explorer (PSY74 – 93 BD 85) belonging to Simon Baker is fitted with a 12-litre Rolls-Royce Eagle engine. It served with the British Army in Singapore but was burnt out by fire before being rebuilt and returned to the UK. Service history beyond the fire incident is unknown.
60 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
Combined Ops certainly did everyone proud by securing their appearance at this year’s show. Following a full air display by both bombers and fighters the formation reformed and made their exit to a crowd clapping loudly in appreciation to what these aircraft have come to symbolise to the nation. Not to be outdone, the land forces at this year’s show put on some highly entertaining performances in the arena, where the tracked armoured vehicles did their absolute best to ruin what was a perfectly good field of grass just hours before. Congratulations must go to
Above: This 1942 M4-A2 Sherman is owned by Gavin Copeman and still has its original Detroit two-stroke diesel engines. It served with the British Army in Africa before returning to UK prior to D-Day to be converted into a BARV. It was then reconverted to its original state after the war. It remained in Guernsey museum until the 1990s until Gavin bought it. Whether the vehicle ever saw service as a BARV is unknown. Above right: This ex-British Army Chieftain tank ARV is named ‘Shrek’. Seen here in the main arena giving a display on its manoeuvrability and power to overcome obstacles. Right: This Model T Ford pickup truck, owned by Tony George, underwent a full restoration two years ago. Sadly, its history is unknown, although if it served it would most likely have been with the British Army in Mesopotamia as a MG carrier.
Above: A Universal British Army Bren carrier in the main arena during the tracked vehicle display. Right: This Willys Jeep, sporting an RAF ground support crew colour scheme designed for guiding aircraft on the ground, was parked along the flightline.
Shrek, a Chieftain tank ARV, a Scorpian light tank and an OT-90 for their demonstration of neutral turns resulting in a spectacular display on how best to rotivate a field in under 20 minutes. Another favourite for the arena displays are the heavy recovery vehicles, and again this year they didn’t disappoint. All initially coupled
together by rigid bars we were treated to a formation of Scammell Explorers, Pioneers, Diamond Ts and a Militant leading them around. Finally, in a twist to the arena activities, the main battle of the day was not the usual Allies vs Axis from WW2, but a rather novel scenario. The day’s final battle re-enactment
was an attack by British Tommies on German held trenches from the WW1 era. The scenario
Below: A pair of Tilly utility vehicles, one in a RAF colour scheme and the other in army colours. The Tilly (reg EG5535) was built 1939 and is owned by John Simpson. This vehicle started as a Morris saloon and was converted to a Tilly in the 1980s. This example represents the 78th Infantry Division of the RWK (Royal West Kents).
CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE July 2007 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014 00 61
Above: Pilot and ground crew in RAF WW2 costume pose on the wing of a replica Hurricane fighter. Left: Re-enactors in British WW1 Army uniform prepare to form up before attacking a German MG post. Left: North American P-51D Mustang (Jumpin Jaques) was loved by the Headcorn crowd. Right: Canadian owned Lancaster bomber Vera gives an air display alongside the BBMF Lancaster thumper. Two Spitfires are in attendance bringing the total number of BBMF warbirds present up to four.
started with British forces attacking only to come under heavy MG fire forcing them to fall back to their start line. After regrouping, the Tommies renewed their attack, this time aided by a replica Mk IV tank. The scenario then came to its natural conclusion whereby the Tommies cleared the trenches with all German MG personnel being appropriately dispatched. Despite the lack of armour, mortars, bazookas and all the other usual hardware from WW2 re-enactments, this particular scenario worked very well and certainly pleased the watching public. So does the Combined Ops show deliver? It
certainly offers something a bit different from other military shows, and it appears to be attracting more vehicles year on year with well over 400 vehicles in attendance. The footfall figures this year also give an impressive return, with around 10,500 attendees over the two days. This is a 50% increase on the 2013 show figures, but I suspect some of this was due to the flying display by the two Lancasters. Having now had a few days to assess the show’s performance, it’s only fitting that I let
Below: A magnificent replica scaled down WW1 British Army tank featured in the battle re-enactment scene to demonstrate its use in attacking static German MG posts.
62 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
the final words come from IMPS president, James Baxter. “I am delighted that once again IMPS and Headcorn Aerodrome (Headcorn Special Events) have successfully combined to deliver a great, fun weekend for visitors, vehicle owners, air enthusiasts, and kids of all ages, with of course the highlight of the show – the awe inspiring sight of the only two flying Lancaster bombers, in formation with the two BBMF Spitfires.”
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' IT S SHOWTIME! The major military-vehicle and militaria events in the UK and around the world...
There are many military-vehicle rallies held in the UK and elsewhere; only the larger events are listed here but more appear in the major club magazines – or look at www.milweb.net, www.mvpa.org, or www.mvt.org. It is always wise to ensure an event is still on before setting out on a long journey. CMV can accept no liability for errors or omissions in this list. Show organisers, please send details of your event to [emailprotected] or to the editorial address at least eight weeks in advance. Unfortunately we have space only for shows with significant military-vehicle content. MILITARY-VEHICLE EVENTS October ALL OUR YESTERDAYS Date: Sat 25 Oct 2014 Location: Pinxton Village Hall, Kirkstead Road, Pinxton Derbyshire Contact: Helen Chivers, [emailprotected] TANK MUSEUM – MODERN WARFARE Date: Sat/Sun 25 Oct-2 Nov 2014 Location: Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset BH20 6JG Contact: www.tankmuseum.org November NORTHERN MILITARY EXPO & 4x4 SHOW Date: Sun 2 November 2014 Location: Newark County Showground, Notts Contact: Mark Askew, 01302 739000; www.northernmilitaryexpo.co.uk
66 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
BROOKLANDS MILITARY VEHICLE DAY Date: Sun 16 Nov 2014 Location: Brooklands Museum, Brooklands Road, Weybridge, KT13 0QN Contact: 01932 857381; www.brooklandsmuseum.com 2015 May JERSEY MILITARY VEHICLE CLUB – MILITARY MANIA 2 Date: Fri/Sun 8-10 May 2015 Location: Jersey Contact: Ricky Le Quesne, [emailprotected] VE PLUS 70 WEEKEND Date: Sat/Sun 9-10 May 2015 Location: Fisher’s Meadow, Quedgeley, Gloucester Contact: Stephen Smith [emailprotected]
July THE YORKSHIRE WARTIME EXPERIENCE SHOW Date: Fri/Sun 3-5 July 2015 Location: Cockleshaw Beck Farm Hunsworth Lane, Hunsworth BD4 6RN Contact: www.ywe-event.info THE WAR AND PEACE REVIVAL Date: Wed/Sun 22-26 July 2015 Location: Folkstone Racecourse, near Hythe, Kent Contact: Rex Cadman, 01304 813337; www.thewarandpeacerevival.co.uk August MILITARY ODYSSEY Date: Sat/Mon 29-31 Aug 2015 Location: Kent Showground, Detling, Maidstone Contact: James Aslett 07595 511981, www.military-odyssey.com November FOOTMAN JAMES 14th CLASSIC VEHICLE RESTORATION SHOW Date: Sat/Sun 1-2 Nov 2014 Location: Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 6QN Contact: www.bristolclassiccarshow.co.uk
MILITARIA EVENTS, AUCTIONS, ETC Government surplus sales Witham Specialist Vehicles Regular auctions of military vehicles and equipment are held by Witham Specialist Vehicles throughout the year at its Colsterworth, Lincolnshire site. Visit www.mod-sales. com, or call 01476 861361 for more details. RAMCO UK Ramco UK is one of the largest outlets for the sale of miscellaneous and government surplus. The company holds tender sales each month from its premises in Croft and Burgh – both in Lincolnshire. Visit www.ramco.co.uk, or call 01754 880880 for more details. FORTHCOMING MILITARIA EVENTS 2014 October CHELMSFORD MILITARIA FAIR Date: Sun 19 Oct 2014 Location: Marconi Social Club, Beehive Lane, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 9RX Contact: www.chelmsfordmilitaria.com HILDENBOROUGH MILITARIA FAIR Date: Sun 26 Oct 2014 Location: Hildenborough Village Hall, Riding Lane, Kent Contact: 01322 523531, www.bexleymedalsandmilitaria.co.uk
MARK CARTER MILITARIA & MEDAL FAIRS Date: Sun 30 Nov 2014 Location: Yate Leisure Centre, Kennedy Way, Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Bristol BS37 4DQ Contact: 01753 534777 HILDENBOROUGH MILITARIA FAIR Date: Sun 30 Nov 2014 Location: Hildenborough Village Hall, Riding Lane, Kent Contact: 01322 523531, www.bexleymedalsandmilitaria.co.uk December CHELMSFORD MILITARIA FAIR Date: Sun 7 Dec 2014 Location: Marconi Social Club, Beehive Lane, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 9RX Contact: www.chelmsfordmilitaria.com BROMSGROVE MILITARIA COLLECTORS FAIR Date: Sun 7 Dec 2014 Location: Spadesbourne Suite, (The Council House), Burco Lane, Bromsgrove, Worcs B60 1AA Contact: James Brown, 07980 608211, www.rzmilitaria.com/events.php CHATHAM FAIR Date: Sun 14 Dec 2014 Location: Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4TZ Contact: www.chathammilitariafairs.co.uk
GHQ MILITARIA FAIR Date: Sun 14 Dec 2014 Location: The Maltings, Farnham, Surrey GU9 7QR Contact: 01892 730233, www.ghq.uk.com 2015 January MILITARIA 2015 Date: Sun 25 Jan 2015 Location: The Exhibition Centre, Stoneleigh, Warks Contact: Amanda Lycett, 01743 762266; www.militariashows.com March MALVERN MIILITARIA FAIR Date: Sun 22 March 2015 Location: The Three Counties Showground, Wye Hall (Brown Gate), Malvern, Worcestershire SY4 4UG Contact: 01743 762266, www.militaryconvention.com November MALVERN MIILITARIA FAIR Date: Sun 22 Nov 2015 Location: The Three Counties Showground, Wye Hall (Brown Gate), Malvern, Worcestershire SY4 4UG Contact: 01743 762266, www.militaryconvention.com
DALLAS DIG OUT Date: Sun 26 Oct 2014 Location: Dallas Autos, Cold Ash Farm, Long Lane, Hermitage, Newbury RG18 9LT Contact: 01635 201124 ALDERSHOT MILITARIA AND MEDAL FAIR Date: Sun 2 Nov 2014 Location: Princes Hall, Princes Way, Aldershot, Hants GU11 1NX Contact: 01753 534777 ASHFORD MILITARY FAIR Date: Sun 2 Nov 2014 Location: Sellindge Village Hall TN25 6JY Contact: 07805 399132, www.dbgmilitaria.co.uk NORTHERN MILITARY EXPO Date: Sun 2 Nov 2014 Location: Newark County Showground, NG24 2NY Contact: Jeep Promotions Ltd, 01302 739000; www.northernmilitaryexpo.co.uk CHATHAM FAIR Date: Sun 9 Nov 2014 Location: Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4TZ Contact: www.chathammilitariafairs.co.uk PRESTON ARMS AND MILITARIA FAIR Date: Sun 9 Nov 2014 Location: Canberra Club, Myerscough Road, Balderstone, Lancs BB2 7LF Contact: Rober Klaas 07884 284390, www.prestonarmsfair.co.uk BEDFORD MILITARIA FAIR Date: Sun 9 Nov 2014 Location: Stantonbury, Milton Keynes Contact: Angela Hill 01832 274050, www.arms-and-armour-uk.com MALVERN MILITARIA FAIR Date: Sun 16 Nov 2014 Location: Three Counties Showground, Wye Hall (Brown Gate), Malvern, Worcs Contact: Amanda Lycett, 01743 762266; [emailprotected] GHQ MILITARIA FAIR Date: Sun 23 Nov 2014 Location: Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower, Gosport, Hants PO12 4LE Contact: 01892 730233, www.ghq.uk.com
CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
THE MILITARY-VEHICL A
ugust and September have been good months for the marketplace – perhaps the quickest sale was a superbly restored M16 half-track which sold in nine hours for a very healthy sum to a very motivated buyer. We have had good reports of vehicles selling and some excellent value ones coming up for sale – such as a very sensibly priced Land Rover IIA Lightweight at £2750. A ready to rally Ford Canada F60T at £12,500 seemed almost undervalued with its rare trailer. US VEHICLES UNDER THE HAMMER HJ Pugh’s auction on 25 October in Herefordshire has a collection of good American wartime vehicles, including Dodge, GMC, Diamond-T and Ward La France. It will be interesting to see what they make – we would suggest probably quite good money as none are ‘projects’. Even though the Littlefield auction has been and gone it continues to make the news as Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen finds himself locked in a legal dispute over the Panzer IV he purchased at the sale. Despite having paid $2.4m, he claims the Collings Foundation won’t release the vehicle. Step forward battalions of lawyers whose fees, we imagine, will make the buyer’s percentage seem like petty cash. FLOGGING A TV SHOW ‘Storage: Flog the Lot!’ is Channel 5’s new take on the hit American TV show ‘Storage Wars’. Having been asked to be the
valuation expert for a forthcoming episode featuring a Jeep I am relieved I didn’t get involved. The vary bare and battered Ford Script bodied Jeep was bought by the ‘dealer’ for £3000, despite needing a ground-up restoration. Just three weeks later there it was all finished, ‘fully restored for £7500’ and seen driving along the road unregistered to a car show where – you’ve guessed it – the owner met a classic car dealer who bought it for £17,000 giving our seller a massive seven grand profit. In my opinion, two words sum the programme up – utter rubbish. The Jeep was a very average example that was worth about £10,000-£11,000 top whack. But although, sadly, people believe what they see on TV it won’t affect Jeep prices. JEEP TRICK So what makes a wartime Jeep worth top money? Originality, obviously, and matching numbers – with attention to detail like, for example, making sure a 1944 Ford has the exact components the parts book shows it should have and not a mish-mash resulting form years of rear echelon maintenance and depot rebuilds. Of course body condition, paintwork and mechanical perfection also count. But what devalues a Jeep? So often the last bits of a rebuild budget spent on the restoration can actually reduce its saleability. Varga girl artwork plastered across the windscreen frame or on the body may well personalise it but it detracts from authenticity as in reality very few Jeep drivers actually did this, and even
Above: Business end of an outstanding M16 that sold in 9 hours – unseen!
68 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
fewer got away with it. Standard GI issue during WW2 did not include poster paints and most original photos of sloganeering show chalk or whitewash. When a buyer comes to see a Jeep like this, he is bound to think about needing to paint over the cartoon – and that’s a reason to knock the price down. We have seen many times that a good clean Jeep with every accessory known to man won’t get the same money as that same clean Jeep with all the accessories removed and photographed well for the advert. The man who wants the higher end Jeep is less likely to be interested in all the clutter – he wants the pure Jeep and maybe the accessories can be a bargaining tool. Again, look at original photos and most Jeeps went along with its mnemonic – Just Enough Essential Parts. SPARE PART BOOM As the rally season winds down now, we expect to see a lot of vehicles coming onto the market during the autumn and after such a busy year many of our classic military vehicles will need major overhauls, which is good news for the parts suppliers. We are already getting wanted adverts for tracks – after the Major 30 Corps convoys in September, tank owners are feeling the cost of 160 road miles on their tracks…
£2750 sends this IIA to a good home.
Compiled by Nigel Hay in collaboration with MILWEB
Canadian Ford F60T looked good value at £12,500. Below: Lots of factors can influence the resale value of a Jeep; originality and a good body will enhance, adding accessories and cartoons can detract.
So lovely – seems a shame to restore this ½-ton Dodge WC21.
£18,950 is being asked for this Willys M38.
CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
THE MILITARY-VEHICLE PRICE GUIDE Compiled by Nigel Hay in collaboration with MILWEB
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
YEAR ENGINE: CAPACITY; OF ORIGIN CYLINDERS; FUEL
APPROX ASKING PRICES: PRODUCTION LOW HIGH
SOFT-SKIN VEHICLES AM General HMMWV Austin Champ, FV1801 Bedford MK/MJ, FV13800 Bedford RL, FV13100 Dodge WC51, WC52 Dodge WC54 Dodge WC56, WC57, WC58 Dodge WC62, WC63 GMC CCKW Hotchkiss Jeep M201 Jeep M151 Jeep M38, M38A1 Jeep MB/GPW Land Rover Defender 90/110
USA UK UK UK USA USA USA USA USA France USA USA USA UK
1984 1952 1970 1952 1942 1942 1942 1942 1941 1957 1960 1952 1941 1983
(on-going) 12,150 50,000 73,150 141,075 26,000 37,000 43,000 562,750 14,500 175,500 100,000 627,000 (on-going)
£29,000 £5750 £3500 £4999 £9000 £9000 £19,590 £12,500 £3950 £8950 £10,995 £3895 £2800 £1750
£29,000 £5750 £3500 £8500 £11,250 £11,650 £20,500 £16,250 £5500 £12,290 £12,290 £18,950 £19,500 £5150
£29,000 £5750 £3500 £6749 £10,000 £10,325 £20,125 £14,375 £4677 £10,810 £11,571 £13,965 £13,965 £3236
Land Rover 101 forward-control Land Rover Lightweight Land Rover Wolf (incl replicas) Land Rover Series II/IIA
UK UK UK UK
1971 1966 1996 1958
2675 14,000 – 858,051**
£4500 £2750 £4800 £4850
£6000 £4300 £14,995 £8750
£5498 £3526 £9698 £6755
Land Rover Series III
M35 (etc) 2½-ton 6x6, G742
6200cc; V8; diesel 2838cc; 4; petrol 5420cc; 6; diesel 4927cc; 6; petrol 3770cc; 6; petrol 3770cc; 6; petrol 3770cc; 6; petrol 3770cc; 6; petrol 4416cc; 6; petrol 2199cc; 4; petrol 2319cc; 4; petrol 2199cc; 4; petrol 2199cc; 4; petrol 2506cc; 4; diesel; and others 3500cc; V8; petrol 2286cc; 4; petrol 2506cc; 4; diesel 2286cc; 4; petrol; and others 2286cc; 4; petrol; and others 5425cc; 6; diesel
WHEELED ARMOURED VEHICLES Alvis Saracen, FV603 (etc) UK Daimler Ferret, FV700 UK
5660cc; 8; petrol 4255cc; 6; petrol
TRACKED ARMOURED VEHICLES Alvis CVR(T) series, FV100 UK GKN FV432 (Mk 2), FV434 UK Vickers Abbott (Mk 2), FV433 UK
1971 1962 1966
4200cc; 6; petrol* 6570cc; 6; diesel 6570cc; 6; diesel
3500 3000 500
£10,000 £5500 £24,500
£18,000 £12,500 £24,500
£14,000 £8375 £24,500
AMPHIBIOUS VEHICLES Alvis Stalwart, FV620 (etc)
6522cc; 8; petrol
MOTORCYCLES Harley-Davidson WLA, WLC
740cc; V2; petrol
TRAILERS ¼-ton (for WW2 Jeep) ¾-ton British (for Land Rover)
– – – –
* Engine capacity figure refers to vehicle as introduced; other engine capacities used during production run. ** Includes civilian production.
This guide is not intended to be comprehensive – at present it covers only the most popular collectors’ vehicles. Similarly, the figures given are not valuations and do not necessarily reflect condition – they have been derived from the asking prices for vehicles recently advertised in Classic Military Vehicle magazine and on MILWEB. But remember that the price at which a vehicle was advertised is no guarantee that it sold at this price... or that it sold at all. The effect of VAT on prices has been excluded so if you are buying from a dealer you must ensure that you understand what you will pay in total.
70 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
We snatch five minutes to get the inside story on key players in the milit Watkins at top model makers Armortek…
CMV: Tell us about Armortek. In a nutshell – who are you, where you are based and how many people do you employ? How did it all start? MW: “Armortek is run by myself, Mark Watkins, and my wife Gill. We have run small engineering businesses since the late 1980s and about 10 years ago we were approached about making a model tank. And that was where it all started! We now run the business from a purpose-built factory in Dunkeswell, East Devon. Although we occasionally have a little help from friends and family, Armortek has invested significantly in the latest modern computer controlled and automatic 72 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
machinery which has enabled us to scale up the business without employing additional staff.” CMV: What were the first models you made? I guess it was a learning curve to an extent early on? Any funny stories from this time? MW: “The first model produced was a very small batch of relatively simple Panzer IVs. This was followed by a Tiger 1. Yes, it was a steep learning curve early on. We have always strived to improve the business – and you never stop learning. Nothing really funny though, sorry!” CMV: What’s important to the modeller?
We assume accuracy is high up there – how do you make sure your models are spot on when it comes to detailing? MW: “We always base our model designs on original vehicles and over the years have developed a close working relationship with The Tank Museum at Bovington. We always measure and photograph, rather than rely on previously published information. Our objective is to produce a rugged and accurate model with a good level of fine detail. We have a wide spectrum of customers: those who want to create a model with superb detail and those who want to have a model with
HE LINES… the military-vehicle world. This month we speak to Gill and Mark good cross country performance and reliability. Armortek is an engineering company, not a model making company. With the focus on the engineering design, we manufacture a kit that can satisfy all requirements. Whatever the customer’s end objective the experience of constructing the kit is often the most enjoyable aspect. Most customers will then start to think about their next Armortek build.” CMV: How are your models manufactured? Give us some stats – how many are made a week, how many different models do you make? MW: “Our models are manufactured in strictly limited production batches. Parts are machined from aluminum, steel and brass. Sheet metal parts are laser cut. All manufacturing is CNC using state-ofthe-art equipment. Most years we will manufacture one new product and also rerun one of the more popular models from our existing range. Although, of course, we do not make one model at a time, production averages out at around two to three kits a week. We have manufactured approximately 1900 kits, and a total of 26 different subjects. Recently we have launched a new range of straightforward to build, out of the box models, called Kompact Kit. It’s designed to complement the Armortek range and provides an excellent starter build for those with limited budgets or time. Unlike the Armortek range these kits are generally available ex-stock.”
features industrial motors and control gear and provides basically everything you need to get moving. ‘Sound’ – a high quality digitally recorded sound track, taken from original vehicles. ‘Smoke’ – a high pressure fan and control system, delivering smoke on start up and engine revving. ‘Recoil’ – which is linked to the sound unit, to give the sound of the gun, with barrel recoil and muzzle flash.” CMV: How do you keep your range current? How do you know what models to make next – do you receive requests for specific models? MW: “The question of what to do next is always the big one. You only have to look at our forum to see the pages of discussions on the subject! We do listen to our customers, of course, especially as over 70% of our kits are sold to existing clients. We receive lots of requests, but ultimately we have to make a judgment as to what will be popular. I guess we have not gone too wrong so far as we have always sold out of everything we have produced. Our current model is the British WW1 MkIV, launched in association with The Tank
Museum to commemorate the centenary of the start of the Great War.” CMV: Who buys models – what’s the typical customer profile? Has modelling changed over the last decade. If so, in what way? MW: “We do not really have a typical customer. However, it would be fair to say that the vast majority are male, with an average age between 45-70. Having said that we have had customers in their teens, and also in their 80s, as well as a few very talented female customers. They come from all backgrounds, including royalty! I think that modelling has changed a lot over the years; the traditional model engineer with a small workshop, who built from plans and castings is dying out. Buying a kit allows those without these traditional skills and facilities to still have the satisfaction of building and most importantly completing the model.” CMV: What models are coming next? MW: “That is the one question we never answer! You will just have to keep an eye on our website!”
CMV: What models are the most popular – and why? Is it just the one scale you produce? MW: “The most popular model is without doubt the Tiger 1, it is the iconic tank. After this the King Tiger and Panther are very popular. However, we also have many customers who much prefer British tanks and our Comet and Centurion have sold very well. The scale is always 1/6th. We choose this scale for a couple of reasons: it is impressive but will still fit into an average size modern car. Also, there is an excellent range of action figures available in 1/6th scale.” CMV: Tell us about the option kits you supply. MW: “We offer a range of options, ‘Motion’ – a 24-volt system, which
22 Flightway, Dunkerswell, Honiton, Devon EX14 4RD Tel: 01404 892956 Website: www.armortek.co.uk CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
N E W!
A British invention born out of the stalemate of the Great War, the ‘Tank’ has become a key element on the modern battlefield that is both feared and respected on all sides. Since those early days when the tanks were little more than thinly armoured boxes, the modern Main Battle Tank has evolved into a sophisticated armoured fighting vehicle that is highly mobile, well protected and heavily armed. In this 100-page special we take a look at ten of the most important tanks to have been produced since their introduction to the battlefield in 1916 including:
BRITISH MARK V TANK
Not the first tank to be fielded in WW1, but the first to give control of the vehicle to just one man.
FRENCH RENAULT FT17 TANK
The first tank to use a turret, setting the pattern for most future tank designs for decades to come.
The WW2 Sherman was the first tank to be designed to be mass-produced and went on to serve with armies all over the world, lasting well into the 20th Century.
GERMAN TIGER 1
The first of the ‘Heavy Tanks’ with near impenetrable armour, which established it as the most feared tank
The first of the modern British MBTs to use the new hightech, British-developed ‘Chobham’ laminated armour and still the British Army’s current Main Battle Tank.
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Echoes of war…
LAND ROVER SERIES I - FV18001 T
he Land Rover – of course, it wasn’t called the Series I back then – first appeared at the Amsterdam Motor Show in the spring of 1948. Although it was intended as a dual-purpose agricultural/utility vehicle, and was aimed squarely at the civilian market, it was modelled shamelessly on the Jeep and it wasn’t long before the military authorities began to take notice. Here was a vehicle that could provide a useful stopgap while development of the Austin Champ was completed. Even before the Land Rover had been shown painted in glossy blue/grey, is shown taking to the public, the War Office had purchased two part in the parading of the Queen’s Colour at of the pre-production prototype vehicles for RAF Oakington, in Cambridgeshire, on 11 June trials, following this up with an order for 1878 1960. Typical of ‘bulled-up’ review vehicles, vehicles to be delivered in batches of 50 from bumpers, bonnet catches, windscreen frame, June 1949. The RAF was no less impressed, grille, driveshaft end covers, wheel nuts, and and the first Air Ministry contracts were placed spare wheel dish have been chromium-plated, in 1950, calling for a total of 40, with a further and the vehicle runs on whitewall 350 coming the following year. tyres; there are even hubcaps on the The vehicle below, which would have been rear wheels. Features such as the
78 CLASSIC MILITARY VEHICLE November 2014
T-shaped wire mesh radiator grille, the position of the sidelights, the folding windscreen, and the external door handles, identify it as being a late-production 86in wheelbase variant with a date of manufacture of 1955 or later. The engine would be the improved 1997cc unit, with equally-spaced, rather than Siamesed, bores. The addition of sills beneath the doors is interesting, since no Series I Land Rovers left the factory looking like this. Perhaps the sills were constructed by the RAF workshops to resemble those used on the Series II as part of the conversion to a review vehicle. The Army would have described this as ‘FV18001, truck, ¼-ton, GS, 4x4, Rover Mk 3, 86in wheelbase’.
A I R B O RN E ASSAULT
A DAY-BY-DA OF THE BATTYL ACCOUNT CONTROL OF E FOR THE RHINE In Se
ptember 1944, British and American troop s undertook the largest and m airborne assaul ost ambitious t ever mounted . Their objective was to capture the bridges over th Waal and the Lo e Maas, the wer Rhine. If successful, Allied able to drive ov forces would be er Germany and b the bridges into ring the war to a rapid conclusion . This 132-page SP EC features a day-by IAL PUBLICATION -day, battle-by-ba account, includin ttle g:
Sunday, 17 Sep tember “Airborne Assau lt” Cond
itions were good and optim Before the Ger mans realised it, ism high. the bridges over the Rhine, the Meuse, the Waal and the Maas would be in into northern G Allied hands and the door ermany kicked wide open. W ith such a conc en delivered agains tration of force being t a relatively na rrow front, the Germans would be swept away.
Tuesday, 25 Se ptember “Epic of Arnhe m ” Ope
ration Market large number of Garden was over. Though a men had been rescued from Oosterbeek, th e majority of th e 1st Airborne Division had be en became prisone left behind, most of whom rs of war.
AND MUCH M ORE!
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The top 10 fighters of World War 1 are featured in detail.
The Jeep details the complete history of the vehicle and paying tribute to an American Icon.
An examination of the most crucial 24 hours of World War Two.
Ten of the most important tanks to have been produced since their introduction to the battlefield in 1916.
IBATTLES WA L K I NG T H E BAT T L E F I E L DS OF T H E WOR L D
PRHAL IC F E
BATTLES THAT CHANGED THE WORLD
PRHAL IC F E
T H AT C H A N G E D T H E W O R L D
1066 1815 1942 HASTINGS
BACKGROUND NARRATIVE • BATTLEFIELD DETECTIVE EYEWITNESS REPORTS • BATTLEFIELD TOURS HISTORY ACCORDING TO THE MOVIES • 3D MAPPING
TO L L EL A U T Q S SE AIN
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