Bagnold repurposed civilian trucks for his Long Range Desert Group
In early 1942, brand-new Chevrolet 1.5-ton trucks rolled out of an Oshawa, Canada, automobile plant and into the war zones of North Africa. Workers had modified the pickups to meet the specifications developed by Ralph Alger Bagnold. His Long Range Desert Group required vehicles that could operate in the harsh Sahara, enabling them to raid enemy outposts. Chevy removed the tops of the cabs, and military mechanics nixed the windshields to reduce vehicle weight (1). They attached canvas mats and perforated steel panels along the sides (2) to lay down for traction in deep sand. Each truck filled one of three roles in the desert patrols: carrying supplies, including spare tires and parts, fuel, food, and water; housing radio and navigation equipment, like a sun compass mounted on the dash; and toting weapons, like a 180-degreeswiveling Breda anti-aircraft gun (3) poking out the back.