|Replica LRDG Ford F30|
For some time now I’ve been playing some of the desert raiding scenarios, but as until now I have not owned an LRDG force - I’ve been the one defending with the Italians. Not of course that that is necessarily a bad thing. Although the Italians don’t exactly have a reputation as the Second World War’s finest fighting force and they don’t have the best list of toys they’re not as bad as you might think in Flames of War. You do get are a lot of them, and they are a good match for the LRDG, particularly if you’re using the mid-war Bersagliere list.
That said, at last I have been putting things right and starting to get my own LRDG force up and running. And just to be different, I’ve decided to equip part of that force with Ford F30 trucks to support the Chevrolets.
Unfortunately neither Battlefront nor anyone else that I am aware of makes a 15mm model of the LRDG Ford F30. And that means an excuse to do some scratch-building. I’ll describe all that in another post, but before I do, here’s a bit of background.
The LRDG Ford F30
Before the LRDG was equipped with Chevrolet trucks, it used a wide variety of equipment, and one of the early mainstays of the force was the Ford F30. Despite being eventually replaced by Chevrolets they were much liked by the LRDG for being more robust, less prone to getting flat tyres, and less prone to getting stuck in the sand because they had four-wheel drive (which, astonishingly, the Chevrolets didn’t). They often found themselves in use alongside the Chevrolet trucks and were used during both early and mid-war periods.
“F30” actually applies to pretty much any truck made by Ford (hence the “F”) which is 30 tons in weight (hence the 30). Almost all of these looked like the standard CMP (Canadian Military Pattern) trucks used by the Allies throughout the war. But the LRDG ones were different. Customised to better withstand the rigours of long treks across the desert, the LRDG F30s had a very distinct appearance. They were made lighter by the removal of unnecessary bodywork including the passenger doors, cab roof, windscreen and engine cowling. A new truck bed was added and the suspension was jacked up. Wider tyres were that were more appropriate to soft sand were fitted, and they were equipped with a radiator condenser, sand channels and matting. And of course they were armed to the teeth with machine guns and filled with everything that would be needed for long trips through the desert.
As with all LRDG vehicles, Ford F30s were equipped with an assortment of machine guns according to the preference of their crew. Alistair Timpson, commander of “G” (Guards) Patrol of the LRDG, September 1941-December 1942 describes the situation in early 1942, when the F30s of G Patrol were in the process of being replaced by the new Chevrolets:
“By now Lewis guns had gone right out of fashion. We liked something with more punch and fire power. A number of .303 Brownings, some Vickers gas-operated machine guns, as well as an odd Spandau, Bren and Breda had been acquired. We also had … water cooled Vickers guns both .303” and 0.5”.”
- extract taken from In Rommel’s Backyard (highly recommended reading).
All of this equipment was available when the Chevrolets were introduced to G Patrol, so your F30 trucks can be armed pretty much in any way you fancy according to what you have spare in your bit box. Battlefront’s LRDG Chevrolet model is supplied with a Bofors gun option, and if you don’t use this on one of the Chevrolets you can quite legitimately fit it to an F30.
So that’s some background on the LRDG Ford F30. In Part 2 I will describe how you can build a model of it in 15mm for your raiding force.