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Tough Truck! - Australian Army Land Rovers 1949 to 2012

Written by Michael K. Cecil


From small beginnings of just one Series 1 in 1949, the Land Rover slowly rose to become the dominant marque in Australian Army service until 2012. Even then, it will be some years before the last of the specialist Land Rovers leave service.

A few Series 1 acquired during the 1950s became a flood of Series 2 and 2A in both ¼-ton short wheelbase and ¾-ton long wheelbase versions during the 1960s. These were followed by the ¾-ton Series 3 and finally the locally developed Perentie series of 1-tonne 4x4 and 2-tonne 6x6 vehicles. With each Series came a suite of unique, locally developed variants, including mobile workshops, anti-tank gun carriers, and special forces vehicles.

It was the Land Rover that the Australian Army took to war and on war-like operations from South Vietnam in the 1960s and early 1970s, to East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2000s.  
Despite some attempts to replace or supplement the Land Rover, first with the FV1801 Austin Champ, later by a locally developed 1-ton vehicle, and later still with the Toyota Land Cruiser, Land Rover was able to meet the challengers and continue to supply what the Army needed and wanted.

This book details many of the Land Rover variants used by the Australian Army, providing a chronological sweep through each Land Rover Series, detailing each variant, when it was introduced and why. It also examines the challengers to provide the broader context of the Army’s light truck fleet from the 1950s to the 2010s.

The Land Rover’s period of continuous service with the Australian Army spans an impressive 64 years. It is indeed one Tough Truck! 

What is in the book?
What do you say?

The Land Rover is one of the most important military vehicles of the second half of the Twentieth Century, but - to residents of the United Kingdom at least - it is so ubiquitous that its importance is often overlooked. Michael K. Cecil has produced a truly monumental study of the Land Rover in Australian service.

This book chronicles how the Land Rover was chosen to replace the Jeep in the years after World War II and then goes on to describe in great detail all their variants. It also covers the long and illustrious story of the Land Rover in campaigns from United Nations missions in Cambodia, Somalia and Rwanda to the rigours of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. The book is sumptuously illustrated with dozens of archival photos, from both official and private collections, and the coverage of the Land Rover's combat service is really extraordinary. The book ends with a series of exhaustive technical appendices which really do speak to the author's deep knowledge of and empathy with these veterans of the Australian Army and the men who served in them. This is a superb publication, its 276 pages are an unrivalled source of information for the Land Rover enthusiast and modellers alike. Very highly recommended and congratulations to Trackpad Publishing for publishing such a well-researched and well-presented volume on what is a too-often overlooked military stalwart.

Military Modelcraft International magazine, September 2020

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