The Vault

Vintage Saturday: Wood-Spoked Technical

British armed truck in Palestine

The grandfather of today’s super-tactical recon dune buggies.

British soldiers with a Lewis-gun-armed truck in Palestine. Photo courtesy of reader Ruy A. Thanks, Ruy!

23 comments to Vintage Saturday: Wood-Spoked Technical

  • Earl Liew

    That truck has been stripped of all extraneous body work, probably to reduce weight, lower the center of gravity ( helps during off-road use ) and enable more essential equipment ( food, water, ammunition and weapons ) to be carried. It’s interesting that the hood has also been removed, exposing the engine bay and its components to sand, dust and the elements, but I think they did this as an acceptable trade-off for improved engine cooling and service access in an unforgiving environment.

  • R. Aballe

    Yes Earl, stripped down to the bare minimum! The photo was taken in 1920, btw. The vehicle looks like a Ford Model T, but I could be wrong. I am no expert on early 20th cent. cars and with all those parts removed, it ain’t so easy to identify the model.

    • Earl Liew

      Hello, Ruy :

      The quality and clarity of this photograph is outstanding by any standards. The photographer who took this certainly had the right equipment and a very high level of professional skill to match. Many thanks for sending this to Ian and sharing it with all of us!

      • R. Aballe

        Yes Earl, the original print must have been produced from a large format (l/f) glass plate negative and, yes, the photographer who took it must have had a great deal of talent. I am glad you enjoyed the picture. The photo was taken in the very early years of the British Mandate for Palestine.
        The quality of early 20th century prints made from glass plate negatives (or the glass negatives by themselves) never cease to amaze me, especially after scanning them. Last year I bought a book about photography and the Mexican revolution and the quality of some photos must be seen to be believed. It is a tome well worth having for photography and gun history buffs alike. The Mexican revolution (although I think “civil war” is a much better way to describe those ten years stemming from 1910 to 1920) was one of the first conflicts to have been fully documented by photographers and photojournalists using not only heavy and cumbersome, tripod dependant l/f wooden cameras, but also the first portable ones. And that was a true revolution, despite the very limited shutter and aperture options!

  • thomas Belcher (mike)

    Look at that Bayonet! Why the double ? That must be 23″ long. I see the SMLE.. but never realived the length of the bayonet.//Mike//

    • Big Al

      The other bayonet-looking item next to the actual bayonet is the handle of the Sirhind pattern entrenching tool. Here is a great explanation and description of it and other components of various British load-bearing equipment adopted through the years: http://www.karkeeweb.com/patterns/1908/1908_sirhind_tool.html

      On the bayonet itself (the one in the photo is a rather uncommon first pattern example with its hook-quillon guard), the Pattern 1907 bayonet’s blade is 17 inches in length.

      • thomas Belcher (mike)

        Thank you.. I know that for A very LONG TIME well after the last “lancer” the rifle was; in British thought; just a means by which you attach a Bayonet.. Bayonet Drill and use was priority ONE!!

    • Souter Johnny

      The ‘last cavalry charge of the British Army’ took place at the Battle of Beersheba (not that far from where this picture was taken), in 1917 by the 4th and 12th Australian Light Horse. They were mounted infantry who normally dismounted to fight, but this time they slung their rifles over their shoulders, used their bayonets like swords, and carried out a traditional cavalry charge.

  • Gunner Miller

    Gasp! No seat belts. what type of message does that send?

  • Chris Brosnahan

    An early iteration of the LRDG!!!

    CB in FL

    • Earl Liew

      Hi, Chris :

      I distinctly remember you mentioning in previous posts that you build and paint historically-accurate military figurines, and just thought that this photograph would provide the starting point for a really neat period diorama.

      I’m pretty sure that you are probably way ahead of me on this ( and you may already have finished model soldiers depicting the very unit above ), but I didn’t think it would hurt to mention it:).

  • Bill in Boulder

    Just as an aside; I toured a facility in Palmer Lake CO that was developing an electric dune buggy with seating for four plus gear and weapons and having a remarkable performance. Nearly dead silent it would do all of the buggy manouvres without a sound. It was intended to carry four of these in an Osprey, charging from the aircraft system. A quiet landing and silent infiltration was, I believe, the game plan. Bill in Boulder

  • Da Tinman

    It is a model T. Note the addition of a fire extinguisher on the back side of the firewall above his left leg. Safety First!

  • John McClain

    That is a “T” model, and as both a mechanic, and a retired Marine, I can say with confidence, that vehicle probably outperformed our Hmmvee in straight up performance in that environment, and adaptability to the job.
    This is a very fine picture shared, and very highly appreciated. One of my favorite guns, on a classic chassis, in one of my most important areas of concern, with the professionals obviously well established in their intent and successful management of “the issue at point”.
    A classic demonstration of working with what’s at hand, and making what is present meet the need, and a fine example of success.
    Thanks much for a great picture of an important time. There is much data to be gleaned from that one photo.
    Semper Fidelis,
    John McClain
    GySgt, USMC, ret.

  • lucky431

    Great picture. Not sure I’d want to be the driver with targets at the 11 o’clock position, though.

    • Big Al

      I don’t think so since it has been converted to right-hand drive. Though either position would be dicey to say the least.

      • Phil B

        Ford set up a plant in 1911 and initially assembled, but later produced, the Tin Lizzie in Britain. The cars were naturally produced in right hand drive for the British market.

        I have a picture in a book of an assembly line showing a Model T (dated 1914) showing what appears to be a cylindrical tank at about the drivers seat position, so the lack of a tank on the firewall doesn’t necessarily make it another make of car from the Model T.

        The soldiers in the background are Sikhs (note the turbans) from the Army of India.

  • I’m not so sure it’s a “T”. In 1920 didn’t they still have the fuel tank located up high on the inside of the firewall? During an assent of a steep incline the early “T’s” had to back their way up.
    http://www.ahooga.com/notebook/howto/3/image3.gif
    http://www.snydersantiqueauto.com/uploads/image363.jpg
    http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/46976.jpg

  • Bob Benson

    Are the two military men to the right of the photo Indian?

    • R. Aballe

      Yes, I think so. The Indian army contributed a large number of troops to the British Empire war effort in World War I. The largest contingent served in the Mesopotamian TO, not to mention the ones engaged in the Palestine and Sinai, Suez and Gallipoli. After the end of the war, the Indian army continued to play an important part in peacekeeping operations and anti-insurgency campaigns in many hot spots in the Middle East and Central Asia (notably in the Third Afghan war, in 1919 and a series of campaigns against tribal unrest in the Afghan border and Waziristan).

  • Chris Morton

    Reminds me of that old TV show “Bearcats”. If I recall correctly, the Stutz was equipped with a Lewis gun.

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