Friday, August 10, 2018

Western Desert Force: Rolls Royce Armoured Car (Part 1)

One of the few advantages to being deployed overseas unaccompanied (and there really aren't many) is the time I have on my hands to chip away at my long accumulating stock piles of models and figures. I have a multitude of projects and ideas for my hobby which repeatedly swirl to the forefront of my thoughts only to be filed and re-filed to the back of my mind for when I ever get time to put them into effect. Years ago I bought all the necessary elements for an early war Western Desert Force for the British - a combined armed battlegroup many of you will be familiar with as a 'Jock Column.'
Coincidentally, the last addition I made to the group was my cruiser tank and the artillery observation crew (see previous postings) the last time I was in Tonga. Well, I am getting all worked up again about WWII and I am about to embark on a Dieppe build with nine tanks and few extras in the pipeline. Before I can proceed with that in all conscience I have reasoned I need to finish my Jock Column first.
1938 at Lydda railway station
For my Reconnaissance company I have a pair of what I believe are 1920 pattern Rolls Royce armoured cars and a Morris C9 armoured car all made in resin by Cromwell Models. When I consider the difficulty (read failure) in procuring Cromwell Models products recently, I consider myself fortunate in possessing these items at all. I really don't know if they are resin or plastic but I can tell you they glue very nicely with Humbrol poly cement.
British Army armoured car convoy in Palestine - The daily 10:30 Jerusalem-Afuleh convoy leaving for the North - circa 1936
Now a little word on the Rolls Royce Armoured Cars. My models appear to me to be the MkI 1920 pattern. More commonly, the 1924 open-topped pattern is depicted in North Africa during WWII. Having said that, the images (of which there are several) from the Library of Congress clearly shows the 1920 pattern in use up to 1938 in Palestine and Egypt with the RAF and 11th Hussars.
The Osprey New Vanguard 189 The Rolls-Royce Armoured Car tells us many of the 1920 builds were deployed to the Middle East and ended up in the possession of the RAF who do not appear to have adopted the 1924 pattern rebuilds or the open-topped turret.
British Army Eleventh Hussars arriving at Ludd. Train load of armoured cars etc. arriving at the Lydda Junction from Egypt with the 11th Huzars on July 15, 1938

The 11th Hussars retained their Rolls-Royce armoured cars most of which appear to have been the 1924 pattern (most obviously identified with a high cylindrical turret). Whilst many of these were retrofitted with the open turret, the practice does not appear to have been universal.
My Jock Column has the older 1920 models present in the region pressed into service. In the days before Operation Compass the 11th Hussars D Company comprised Rolls Royce armoured cars seconded from No:2 RAF company and the following images show nicely the mix of variants present in operation at that time.
The above and subsequent shots are taken in Maadi, Cairo in July 1940. In fact the RAF also had hybrid 1920/24 pattern vehicles - it was all about extending the service life and making do.


1 comment: