1/35 LRDG  F30 Wireless Truck , Standard Edition

Introduction - by Charlie Down, The LRDG Preservation Society

“Only men who do not mind a hard life, with scanty food, little water and lots of discomfort, men who possess stamina and initiative, need apply”

The Long Range Desert Group was the first and ‘arguably the most dashing and successful irregular formation on either side in the entire war’.  Their role was deep penetration reconnaissance, road-watching (observing Axis forces movements along the coastal roads to establish logistics and military unit movements to and from the front line hundreds of miles away), and raiding (they attacked airfields long before the British Special Air Service thought of it). They also transported allied agents and the SAS on their initial raids behind enemy lines, recovered downed aircrew and lost soldiers, and were the first to accurately map the North African desert. They were often referred to as the ‘Libyan Taxi service’ by those who benefitted from their skills, and were highly respected for their ability to get to any point in the desert at a given time.

The LRDG were masters of the Libyan Desert during the War in North Africa. Experts in desert navigation, driving, signals and survival. Their operational requirements were unique in the British Army and initially they chose the civilian 2 wheel drive Chevrolet WA trucks, robust and simple, and with the right driving techniques and equipment capable of passing over the majority of desert terrain encountered. After a year of operations these trucks desperately needed replacing, but there were no more Chevrolets, the best option in North Africa being the CMP Ford F30 with the No11 cab.

Like the Chevrolet truck before and after their operational period, the Ford F30’s were modified specifically for LRDG desert operations. The cab was removed for a lower profile, the bonnet panels were usually discarded to allow greater cooling for the engine and transmission, Power take off air compressor fitted to the transmission, a condenser tank added that condensed steam from the radiator to save water, racks for sand mats and channels to help extricate the trucks from soft sand, Vickers MKI (no water can and hose connected, and water jacket filled with oil) and Lewis guns, as well as Boys Anti-Tank Rifle mounts for self-protection and raids, and sand tyres. Another feature is that these early Ford trucks were fitted with Chevrolet ‘Banjo’ type axles due to Ford having initial production issues with their axles. The different makes of axles were designed to be interchangeable on these trucks.

There were 3 main variants, the standard Patrol truck, the 37mm Bofors anti-tank gun truck with a special gun mount in the rear body, and the wireless/navigator truck fitted a Bagnold Sun Compass, with a civilian Philips 635 radio receiver for the time signal required for accurate navigation by the stars, and the standard No 11 Wireless set for sending intelligence back to base. When used with the Windom dipole aerial mounted on 16 ‘ /4.6m poles they could often ‘skip’ a signal over a 1,000 miles directly back to Cairo.

The Ford F30’s had the advantage of 4 wheel drive, a more powerful 95HP V8 engine, and a bigger load area compared to the Chevrolet trucks. However they were harder to camouflage due to their height, louder with the 4x4 transmission and V8 engine, heavier, had a shorter range due to their poorer MPG (Miles per Gallon) and were less reliable. Some of the trucks had their bodies moved back 12”/300mm on the chassis for better centralisation of the load over the rear axle. These can be identified by 2 spare wheels fitted between the body and the cab.


1/35 LRDG F30 Wireless Truck, Standard Edition
-5 plastic sprues with 280 parts
-clear parts
-resin cast wheels, radio Philips and No.11 Wireless set
-PE detail sheets
-5 marking option decal with instruments placards
-3D decals for  No.11 Wireless set
-accurately reproduced to the highest detail standard
-developed in partnership with the LRDG Preservation Society
-informative booklet included