HIS­TORY: LONG RANGE DESERT GROUP

4 x 4 Australia - - Driven -

RE­CON­NAIS­SANCE has al­ways been an es­sen­tial part of mil­i­tary oper­a­tions through­out the his­tory of war­fare, but the con­cept of mod­ern, long-range, largely covert mechanised pa­trolling has its roots in the Bri­tish army’s cam­paign in North Africa dur­ing World War II.

What was to be­come known as the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) was formed in June 1940, with the aim of car­ry­ing out re­con­nais­sance deep be­hind en­emy lines to covertly mon­i­tor troop and trans­port move­ments and then ra­dio the in­tel­li­gence back to Bri­tish army head­quar­ters.

The LRDG mainly used twowheel drive Ford and Chevro­let light trucks, as they were the most read­ily avail­able re­li­able ve­hi­cles. The trucks were stripped of all non-es­sen­tials in­clud­ing doors, roofs and wind­shields. They were then mod­i­fied with larger ra­di­a­tors, heavy-duty sus­pen­sion and low­pres­sure desert tyres, plus they could carry ex­tra fuel, water, sand mats and sand chan­nels. Jeep and Ford 4x4s were also used later on.

Should the LRDG get into a scrap their ve­hi­cles were gen­er­ally fit­ted with a va­ri­ety of ma­chine guns and even the odd light anti-tank gun.

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