1939 to 1945, the Busy War years. (Page 2 of 2)

There are too many vehicles (and still some to come) to fit onto just one page, So the 1939 to 1945 “War years” page has been split into two.

This is the second part

Armoured Scout Cars:

Staff and Utility Cars:

In 1937 the Army and RAF bought Austin 10 “C” (for the four door Cambridge model) to replace the Austin seven as a small general staff car (for Generals under four foot tall)

From it they later made a Light truck (15 Cwt) with a indented roof to take the spare wheel, door opening in a different direction (Hinges at the back) and a reworked front grill. This vehicle was made for all three services and in shadow factories (to the same construction plans) by Hilmann, Vauxhall, Ford, Humber and several others.

Half-tracks and wheeled Armoured Scout Vehicles

Several manufacturers made identical copies of the M2 Half Track, the M3A and the M5 in both Halftrack and wheeled versions, The lower drawing shows a modified US star on the bonnet and a triangle inside the driver’s door when the armour plate is up. This was a special paint that changed colour when the vehicle entered a Gas cloud. It was used on many D-day vehicles, such as on this ambulance. Many were fitted with anti-ditch rollers on the front bumper, others with extended bumper and a powerful motor-winch.

Here is a photograph of the above ambulance in combat... (Photograph from Wikipedia) Note there are eight people in this vehicle, three in the front, two on stretchers and another three sitting on the floor between the stretchers.

Larger Office Trucks and WBBs:

I had a lot of trouble getting the Perspective of the AEC drawing right and so ended up redrawing it (and the Bedford QLR) and checking it with one of many different angled Janson Perspective rasters on which in the 1980s I used to do my hand drawn drawings on.

During the War the Army commissioned the construction of a large radio office truck for the Signals. Based on the QUAD (Gun Tractor 4x4) it had a long chassis and a Radio Box Body, and so was coded QLR (Quad Long Radio)

When the first of these were delivered for “Y” section signals they were quickly called Gin Palaces due to size (“Big as a Pub”) and also because the inside was so secret many normal conscripts could only guess what went on in them.

Another part of the Signals task during the War was to detect the locations of potential German spy’s on UK soil and German forces locations on mainland Europe by the use of direction finding (D/F) which in part was undertaken in small garden-sheds disguised as trailers and towed behind Jeeps or DWCs. Two sizes existed for this use the Medium and Short, where the entrances to them changed from back to front accordingly. A larger trailer with rear axel and a moveable front axel and drawbar also exisited for towing behind the Austin K2, AEC Matador, Bedford QL or similar trucks.

The short, medium and long DF Trailers:

I saw a Brockhouse Office trailer from 1943, on the parade square and still in use by the UK’s 1st Armoured Div in Herford, Germany in 2007.

Another trailer that is seldom known about is actually (in its entirety) “just” a wireless set, is the W.S. No. 10. or “Beam Wireless” microwave radio relay.

WW2 Microwave (4 GHz).

The Wireless set No. 10 is a Trailer with two generator sleds, racks of 4 GHz equipment and a pair of Microwave parabolic dishes on the roof. There were only 100 complete sets made allowing for 50 point to point microwave links. Using Time Division Multiplex (an early form of digital transmission still used today in telecommunication circuits) eight full duplex (two way) telephone lines could be provided via each directional “Line of sight” microwave link. The power was only half a watt, but it could span link distances of 50 miles. For very long links seven radio relay stations could be inserted (each needing two WS 10 trailers to catch the link and send it on to the next leg). Thus a very long link could use up to sixteen trailer mounted sets.

With the exception of four prototypes on a reversed chassis, the entrance to the trailer for the station was via a door over the drawbar at the front. The sides could be folded down or removed (as seen above). In the vehicles section (1939-1945) a copy of this drawing with the sides in place can be found When the rear section was folded down, the generators could be drawn out (they are mounted on sleds) to be exchanged or serviced. By using two such generators it was possible to keep the link going while one was being repaired, serviced or swapped out.

The station was contained in a 4 wheel 2 ton trailer and used within a month of the D-Day landings in July 1944 to support the advance of 21 Army Group in their advance across Europe. 'Monty' called it his 'Number 10 Thingy'. Other nicknames were “Mickey Mouse Radio” due to the “Ears” and some even called it “Bette Davis Electric Brassier”. I cannot imagine why?

Here a mountain-top relay station with three WS No. 10 trailers during the advance into Germany. (The invasion of Mickey Mouse Radio) The UK station was on Ventnor Hill (close to the site of the “Chain Home” Radar that had helped detect German aircraft during the battle of Britain. The path over the English channel to Cherbourg was 70 miles.

Monty’s “No. 10 thingy”

In a 4 wheel two ton trailer that housed a complete Radio Relay No. 10 Wireless station and using 4 GHz Microwave via a pair of roof mounted parabolic aerial dishes it was almost unique. The sides could be folded down (to access the two generators or the equipment racks for major swap-outs, servicing, etc.) or as shown below removed completely allowing a comcen tent to be built on to it as a map-room and planning centre for the officers.

The closest looking relative to the above is this WW2 trailer mounted device...

...a British GL3 Radar. See this link for two more

After the war, they were presented to the Public as the future “Thingy” that every kitchen will soon need, a Microwave complete with two delicious microwave dishes... No more a Secret, the poster on the Demo version below even says “Talk to your friends about Beam wireless” in the hope they would be able to increase RS kitchen sales... (in fact it says “Talk to your friends via Beam wireless” and on the table in front of it, are eight telephones that are patched via another station into the local GPO exchange)... One of the civilian visitors seems however to have “borrowed” one of the two generators while the demonstrating Royal Signals personnel was looking in the other direction.

Only 100 WS 10 trailers were made and most destroyed after WW2.

One survivor that has been found is due to be restored by enthusiast and according to a picture in a RBL newsletter looked like this in late 2004 or 60 years after it was actually used in combat...

Information added to the WS-10 area of the
1939 to 1945 page (Second page) about the now recovered WS No. 10 trailer and links to the latest updates on its restoration.

Thanks to new information received from Geoff Leese (in January 2011), I am pleased to be able to report that the above is now nearing complete restoration and if all goes right might be finished in time to attend the 2011 D-Day anniversary events in France.

You can find the report of the progress (recovery and then rebuild - Rebuild spread over nine pages (as of Jan 2011)) under this link

http://www.goldbeach.org.uk/trailerrecovery.htm Then use the “Click here to go on to STAGE X” link on each page, to go to the Next page...

Visit the main site
http://www.goldbeach.org.uk for more WW2 and D-Day related interesting stuff and information.

One of these WS10 trailers was placed on the top of Ventnor Downs to create the link across the English Chanel for the D-Day landed Commanders to Telephone Home (on reverse charges, lol)...

This next linked Website below is not about the WS10, but about the location and the WW2 “Chain Home” Radar Station at Ventnor where the UK part of the microwave link to the D-Day location in Normandy was placed...