and Equipment - Heavy Section and Royal Artillery
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Overview / Patrol Cars / Heavy Section/Royal Artillery / Weapons and Equipment / Patrol Structure and Camouflage Schemes
On this page: Heavy Section / Royal Artillery Section
The responsibilities of Heavy Section were the
transport of large amounts of supplies from Cairo to outlying base camps
and the stocking of supply dumps in the middle of the desert to effectively
enlarge the patrols' range. The Section's achievements are quite astonishing:
after relatively short training periods, drivers routinely crossed terrain
that only a few years before had been considered impassable to all but
the lightest vehicles in huge 6- to 10-ton trucks. The Section's overall
capacity increased from originally 40 tons to well over 100 tons at the
end of the African campaign, highlighting the importance of carrying supplies
to the often-changing LRDG camp locations.
As the available literature almost exclusively
focusses on patrol cars, detailed information on and images of vehicles
used by Heavy Section are hard to come by.
These are various images of the vehicles employed
by Heavy Section:
Ford Marmon Herrington 6to
Ford F60 CMP (various cab styles and wheelbases)
Lancia 3RO 6to (captured)
The Ford F60 with the earlier No.12 cab, a small but
A number of No.13 cab Ford CMPs of various wheelbases at Bisharra. The vehicle to the left might be a Mack truck.
This mysterious Ford F60 is supposed to be on display somewhere in Libya and might be an ex-LRDG vehicle. Feel free to tell me more about it if you have any information.
The Marmon Herrington 6-tonner
A Marmon Herrington bogged down
in soft sand. Despite the vehicle's weight, its six-wheel drive made it
comparatively easy to get it going again.
A White 10-tonner, the heaviest
vehicle ever used by LRDG
Two captured Italian Lancia trucks.
These were shortly used by Heavy Section after being captured at Jalo,
but most of them were abandoned or destroyed when LRDG had to move out
of Jalo before the German's advance.
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Royal Artillery Section
From the earliest days of LRDG, there had been various attempts to equip
patrols with more firepower than was provided by the 37mm Bofors A/T gun. As a result, March 1941 saw the addition of the Royal Artillery Section to LRDG, the section consisting of an infantry gun porteed on a Mack truck and a light tank and commanded by Paul 'Blitz' Eitzen. The Section was used only once in LRDG's attack on the Italian fort at Gtafia. While the heavy artillery proved to be very effective against the Italian fortifications, transporting the heavy guns through the desert proved to be pretty difficult - the truck constantly bogged down and slowed the whole patrol, on the way back it finally broke down and had to be abandoned. After this short episode, the whole concept of carrying around heavy field guns was judged faulty and the Section was disbanded.
- Upon the Section's inception, it was first equipped with a 4.5in Howitzer. This gun was porteed on a Mack NR4, but the combination proved way too heavy to be of any use. The howitzer was consequently handed over to Leclerc's Free French Army, who presumably put it to better use, and the experiments continued with a 25pounder. It was this gun that was carried to Gtafia and caused so much trouble on the way.
A 25pounder porteed on a White
truck. Actually, this image does not show an LRDG vehicle (unfortunately,
there are no images of the original LRDG vehicles with porteed guns), but
it gives a good impression of how the LRDG artillery truck might have looked
Note: I have recently been informed that the truck in this picture might indeed be an LRDG vehicle; I hope to find out more about that soon.
M3 Stuart - The story of LRDG's tank is something of a mystery - nothing except for the existence of the tank is known for certain. From the brief references found in several LRDG texts, it seems that LRDG's tank was an M3 Stuart, but this is far from certain since no actual photos of the tank exist. From the available sources, it also remains unclear if the tank was actually used in RA's only combat mission or if the idea was given up before taking off on that mission. Like the gun mentioned above, the tank also seems to have ended up with the Free French after LRDG gave up on the idea.
It is also unknown if the tank was supposed to be porteed to its location by a Heavy Section truck (quite a daring idea, carrying a 13ton tank on a 10ton lorry over sand dunes) or if the tank was supposed to be driven to its destination on its own tracks (which would have required a truckload of fuel).
Armament: 1 37mm M5 gun, 2 7.62mm machine guns
(plus external A/A machine gun)
Max. Armor: 44mm
Max. Speed: 60km/h (on roads)
Engine: 7cyl. Continental 250hp
Range: about 120km
For further information, including
very detailed descriptions of all the interior workings of the Stuart,
visit AFV Interiors' pages
on the M3 Stuart.
The M3 Stuart
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