Austin K2 Ambulance BEF France 1940

Discussion in '1940' started by Colonel Durnford, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. Colonel Durnford

    Colonel Durnford Junior Member

    Hi Guys,

    Does anybody know what colour was the Austin K2 Ambulance, used by the BEF in France 1940?
    I have recently bought a model kit of one, and wonders were they painted in overal standard Khaki Green No3?

    Hope you can help?
    The Colonel
  2. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Certainly any produced from mid-1939 left the factory in KG No.3 and those in service should have been repainted. I would suspect variation in disruptive camouflage depending on unit and the further down the lines of communication, the less likely to have a disruptive finish.
  3. braggbloke

    braggbloke Member

    I am going to get an Austin K2 Ambulance model too, I want to base mine on a 1943 46 Div Fd Ambulance in Italy. I know they were camouflaged for use on the GOTHIC LINE but up till then they were a plain colour, would this be desert sand ? Also any info on Markings would be good to know
  4. Lofty1

    Lofty1 Senior Member

    Can anyone answer why an ambulance with huge red crosses, covered by the Geneva convention, crosses so large in war zones to be very visible, would then be painted in camouflage mickey mouse, so they could not be seen, The only ambulance I have ever seen with camo was in Hendon and I thought it looked silly. Still I stand to be corrected with a plausible explanation.

    The Hendon k2 below does not have the largest of Red Crosses on it, some were painted on up to the roof line and took in the side vents also,-------------------- Now you see it, now you dont!!!

    Attached Files:

  5. Colonel Durnford

    Colonel Durnford Junior Member

    Thanks Lads for the info, now gives me something to aim for. Very interesting too regarding variation of paint colours. Aleran Decals have a new BEF set out now, so that is the sheet I am going to use on my kit. It has a K2 Ambulance transfer section amongst it.

    All My Very Best,
    The Colonel.
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  7. Lofty1

    Lofty1 Senior Member

    Well done Owen, never seen that picture before, however I still have never seen a k2 Ambulance in camo in a war zone, or in fact anywhere, and I would really like someone more knowing than myself to explain why they would try to camouflage it.
  8. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I understand your logic, Lofty but by the same criteria, why finish them in service colour at all ? I would think that although an ambulance, they were still a military vehicle and at times, in order to avoid giving away troop movements, convoys etc., it would be preferable not to be seen than to be recognised as an ambulance.

    The BEF was 'different' ...camouflage etc. was all new to most units and the interpretation of Army Council and GHQ instructions seems to have varied from the literal interpretation such as cutting off centrally-located motorcycle tail lamps and re-welding them on the French 'off-side' to ignoring orders completely if it interfered with regimental tradition.

    Although not a particularly good image, this Morris Commercial looks to have a two-colour disruptive pattern on the cab.


    The red cross marking is noticeably small.
  9. Lofty1

    Lofty1 Senior Member

    Thanks for your input Rich, the cross size on your picture was the size used in non war zones such as here in England (front cross over screen missing) and British airfields, and yes it does appear to have disruptive pattern, Another picture I have never seen before, is this an early picture
    Not sure you will find an ambulance in a war zone so insignificantly marked, No doubt Owen will LOL

    Attached Files:

  10. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Lofty, it is a picture which was on German eBay....I have to assume that it was 'BEF Abandoned''s not possible to see if the driver is one of ours or one of theirs.

    No Formation sign or Arm of Service serial visible and a pre-September 1939 civilian registration number. It has a large area of the (bright) yellow gas detector paint though.

    Unfortunately, there was no BEF Formation Sign (what might they have chosen ?) so GHQ vehicles were only identifiable by the reverse of the 'PASS' plate with a white bar under or, if lines of comunication, with a divided white bar above. Could this have been allocated to one of the three RASC Ambulance Car Companies ? As LoC BEF, they were not actually expected to be in a 'war zone' but as we know only too well, the speed of the German breakthrough at Sedan resulted in most of France falling into this category.

    I suspect that it once again highlights the difference between the defensive BEF and an offensive force such as 21st Army Group and also perhaps reflects that 21st Army Group expected to have, and gained air superiority whilst the BEF knew that they would be vulnerable in this regard.
  11. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member


    The Ambulance Car Companies did indeed have AoS (with double white bars at the top to indicate LofC units - and the Motor Ambulance Convoys did, too (with white bar below), but this ambulance is in pre-war markings (not uncommon with the BEF, but in which AoS played no part). The military vehicle number can be seen behind the door (or doorway), but it is not legible to me. Underneath it is something else which might well, if we could read it, indicate the unit.

  12. rewdco

    rewdco Senior Member

    The burned out wrecks of a line up of BEF Austin ambulances left behind in Saint Nazaire:


    No usable information on the colours I'm afraid, but it is one of the better pictures that I've seen from this area...

    Waddell likes this.
  13. Austin k2y

    Austin k2y Member

    Hi all,
    note Gas patch. dunkirk amblance A24409 aos 104 A4.jpg default-1.jpg
    Note cover for Red Cross,
    France Early Austin WD Ambulances had two, 9"dia headlights up to 1941ish
    small headlamps(Blackout) from April 1942
    Red cross was small from the factory up to about 1943,
    in service, from about 1942 they got larger, all shapes.
    painted over for D-day on Red Cross ambulances.

    Of course all bets were off when it came to the Far East

    Attached Files:

    Waddell likes this.

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