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in Australian Army Service

Part Three


The 2nd Base Workshop Radar Controlled Landrover. The brushguard has been removed, as have the doors and canopy. A rudimentary roll bar of water pipe has been added to the rear compartment.


Series 2A 88 inch Wheelbase Models

by Paul Handel 


Series 2A Landrovers entered service with the Australian Army soon after the model’s civilian introduction in 1961. They had the longest fleet life of any Landrover in Australian Army service, with many of the specialised vehicles serving until 1991, a period of some 30 years. In this article we shall look at the variants of the 88 inch wheelbase model, as well as a couple of specialised models.

The Series 2A models were characterised by a number of uniquely Australian modifications, the most well known and easily identifiable being the cut – away front mudguards. The mudguards were cut higher and wider as well as being angled rather than the rounded types of the civilian vehicles. A brushguard was fitted to the front of the vehicle, and bumperrettes at the rear which also served to carry jerrycans. Twin fuel tanks were fitted, with a filler on each side of the vehicle immediately behind the doors. The spare wheel was carried on the bonnet, with fitting to carry pioneer tools on the tops of the front mudguards.

The official designation of the base vehicle was Truck, Utility, ¼ ton, GS Landrover. They were probably the most rugged and reliable of the Army’s Landrover Fleets over the years, and many service personnel, including this writer, preferred them to the later Series 3 vehicles.



Variants included the standard Cargo/Personnel carrier, Cargo with winch and Fitted for Radio. These variants were essentially similar in appearance, and were the “base models” of the Series 2A fleet.

A Ceremonial vehicle, similar to the Series 2 model which has already been described in Part 1 of this series, was also produced. Several variations existed, especially in the configuration of the rear compartment.

A Radio Controlled Version, built by 2nd Base Workshop at Moorebank in NSW was often seen at open days. This was a Series 2A vehicle without doors or canopy, which had a box-like structure built in the rear compartment, with a “radar dish” mounted on top. It was demonstrated being manoeuvred around without a driver, and with a controller standing some distance away. In fact the vehicle was equipped with a driving position inside the box, which allowed a hidden soldier to drive the vehicle without being seen by the casual observer. 2nd Base Workshop also had a train built on the chassis of a Series 2A Landrover and this was used during children’s Christmas parties and other similar events.

A Forward Area Ambulance was constructed using two stretcher frames fitted over the rear cargo compartment and having and extended canopy to cover the patients.


An example of the Forward Area Ambulance. This vehicle was used by 1/15 RNSWL and was photographed in 1975 at Singleton, NSW. It has the red crosses in the normal positions on the doors and rear.


Red Crosses adorned the doors and rear tailgate. The vehicle was meant to extract casualties from the battle area to a safe area where they could be transferred to more purpose built ambulances and medical facilities.


Landrover with 106mm Recoilless Rifle

The conversion to carry the US M40A1 Recoilless Rifle (RCL) has already been described in Part 1. Series 2A vehicles were also used in the conversion process, and many of these vehicles were amongst the last to be seen in service.

Several developments of the model took place, these generally being unit conversions rather than official modifications. In South Vietnam, they were stripped of the RCL and an M60 machine gun mounted on a pintle between the driver’s and co-driver’s position. In this role they operated as convoy escorts.


An RCL vehicle on a road in South Vietnam, with M60 Machine Gun. The crew member dismounting carries the Australian F1 Sub Machine Gun. The vehicle carries RAASC markings and the formation sign of the 1st Australian Logistic Support group in South Vietnam. Following is an Australian International truck.

When serving with the 5/7th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment ( 5/7 RAR), the spare wheel was mounted on the front brushguard, and two jerrycan holders were mounted on each side of the spare. Sometimes a wire mesh cage adorned the front bumper, carrying water and other supplies. Late in their career with 5/7 RAR they mounted a wire mesh basket on the left side of the vehicle.

5/7 RAR produced another anti-armour variant, this time mounted a Milan Missile Launcher on a post in the rear of the vehicle. Spare missiles were carried across the rear of the cargo space. Possibly only one of these was produced.

B Squadron 3/4 Cavalry Regiment also used the vehicles, and during a period when their M113A1 vehicles were grounded because of problems with the controlled differential, the vehicles were used as mounts for the 0.30 inch Browning Machine Gun in order that training could still be conducted. The 106mm RCL was dismounted, and photos show that the spare wheel was mounted on the left side of the vehicle.


A modified RCL vehicle of B Squadron 3/4 Cavalry Regiment with .30 inch Browning Machine Gun mounted on the dashboard. The spare wheel has been relocated to the left side of the vehicle.

Finally, in a conversion reminiscent of South Vietnam, an anti-aircraft vehicle with an M60 Machine Gun on a pintle mount was used by one of the Battalions based at Holsworthy in NSW.


ENTAC Mounting

In 1966, during trials of the French - built ENTAC Anti-Armour Missile System, a trial mounting was made on a Series 2A short wheelbase vehicle. A Hotchkiss mounting rack, which could carry four missiles, two per side, and which could provide swivelling for the missiles was mounted over the top of the cargo compartment. Two spare missiles and a cable reel for spooling the missile control cable were also mounted in the rear. The missiles could be fired over the front or rear, but in some cases the missile controller could not be in the vehicle during firing.


Amphibious Prototype

In 1965 in response to an Army requirement, Landrover designed and built an Amphibious Landrover, rated at 1 ton capacity. The boat shaped hull at the front with large bumper bar and winch, as well as the fold down side doors for the driver and front passenger, were distinguishing features of this oddity.


The 1 ton Amphibious Landrover by the lakeside. The modified front end is easy to spot, and the fold down doors are shown open.


Although extensively tested, including a run on Canberra’s Lake Burly Griffin, the vehicle was not adopted.



My long-time friend Norm Weeding has kindly allowed the use of some of his photos for this series of articles and Mr Laurie Wright has, as always, provided timely and accurate advice from his vast knowledge of Australian military vehicles.



All photos were taken by the author unless otherwise noted.

Click the thumbnails in the table below to view the images full size. 
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The standard Landrover Series 2A 88 inch wheelbase, Cargo/Personnel version. The distinctive cutaway mudguards are seen in this view. (lrswb2a01.jpg)
A Landrover Series 2A of 103 Field Workshop leading a column of International F5 twin Boom Wreckers. The photo was taken in 1973. (lrswb2ao2.jpg)
The winch equipped model posing for the official camera. This vehicle is painted in gloss bronze green, the colour of the day when the vehicle was introduced into service. (lrswb2a03.jpg) (Dept of Defence)
A Series 2A Landrover Ceremonial vehicle belonging to Melbourne Transport Unit around 1983. The vehicle is a simplified version, with just a chromed rail around the rear compartment and white painted windscreen and brushguard/bumper. The red plate with two stars indicates a Major General is being carried in the vehicle. The vehicle is painted in gloss olive drab. (lrswb2a04.jpg)
This Series 2A Landrover Ceremonial is seen at Holsworthy NSW. It is of the more modifies design, having a built up rear compartment with chromed grab rails and a single door with fold down steps. The vehicles in the background are Mercedes Benz Unimog UL1700L 4 tonne trucks, Mack 8 tonne trucks and a Perentie Landrover 6x6 Cargo. (lrswb2a05.jpg)
A Forward Area Ambulance napped at Townsville in 1975. This vehicle has mud camouflage applied over the olive drab paint and the red crosses are located on the rear canvas extension. (lrswb2a08.jpg)
An RCL vehicle on a railway wagon in Brisbane, 1979. The wire mesh basket and spare wheel located on the front bumper are of interest. The 106mm RCL is camouflaged with scrim. (lrswb2a09.jpg)
A heavily laden RCL vehicle of 5/7 RAR, showing the wire basket mounted on the left rear side of the vehicle. Two rounds from the 106mm RCL are displayed resting against the basket. A .30 inch Browning is mounted on a pintle on the dashboard. (lrswb10.jpg)
Almost twenty years later, a similar conversion with an M60 mounted in the anti-aircraft role. (lrswb13.jpg)
The 5/7 RAR Milan Conversion. Note the jerrycan holders at the front and the MAG 58 Machine Gun mounted on the passenger’s side. An M548A1 tracked Load carrier can be seen in the background. (lrswb14.jpg)
The Milan vehicle seen from the rear. Note how high the Milan is when mounted in the firing position. The spare missile racks can be seen at the rear and the vehicle lacks its windscreens. (lrswb2a15.jpg)
The ENTAC Missile vehicle from overhead. The Hotchkiss mount is shown with the missile boxes swung outwards and the missiles facing forward. The joystick controller and binocular sight can be seen in the left front passenger’s seat. Spare missile boxes and cable reel are in the rear. (lrswb2a16.jpg)
The ENTAC Missile vehicle from the left side. The missiles have been swung inwards and the blast shields are now facing out. This view sjhows how Australian Landrovers were often painted black underneath, including the wheel wells. (lrswb2a17.jpg)
The 1 ton Amphibious Landrover emerging from the wading tank at the Proving Ground. The winch can be clearly seen in this photo. (Department of Defence photo)



Article Text and Photographs Copyright © 2002 by Paul D. Handel
Page Created 30 March, 2002
Last Updated 30 March, 2002

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