General Montgomery's HQ vehicles

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by 281664, Feb 27, 2016.

  1. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    They did put a commando underneath it once. Very briefly
  2. HGJohn

    HGJohn New Member

    Besides the 3 caravans, what other vehicles made up Monty's tactical HQ in Normandy?
  3. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Vehicles known to be attached to 21 Army Group Tactical HQ from 729 GHQ Car Company.
    These vehicles would come complete with drivers who were on the establishment of the Car Company.

    7 X motor cycle
    7 X car 5cwt 4 X 4 (jeep)
    2 X car 4 seater 4 X 2
    5 X car 4 seater 4 X 4
    4 X car 6 seater 4 X 2
    5 X 15cwt 4 X 2 GS
    1 X 15cwt 4 X 2 water
    10 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS
    2 X 3ton 4 X 2 Office
    4 X Class 1 Caravan
    2 X Class II Caravan
    1 X Special Armoured Car
    1 X 3ton 4 X 4 TEV
    1 X 3ton 4 X 4 cipher office

    Car 4 seater 4 X 2.
    These were standard staff cars. In 21 Army Group headquarters the following were used.

    Car 4 seater 4 X 2 Humber Snipe Mk2. This was a militarised Humber Super Snipe Saloon. Based on the pre war civilian saloon car it had wider wings to cover the wider 9.00-13 tyres. Engine was a 4 litre, 6 cylinder unit giving 85bhp. It had a roof luggage rack with canvas cover.

    Car 4 seater 4 X 2 Open Tourer, Humber Snipe. This was as the saloon but with only two doors and a folding canvas top and square windscreen. Montgomery used an open topped tourer but others may not have been so hardy. Even Montgomery may have used it only when touring troops and having his photograph taken. Although his ‘Old Faithful’ Humber Tourer from his 8th Army days is preserved this was not used in 21 Army Group. Interestingly some of the open tourers were given closed bodywork after the war by Karmann.

    Car 4 seater 4 X 2 Ford WOA1. This was the Ford equivalent of the Humber Snipe. It had 6inch shorter wheelbase and was one foot shorter overall. It used a Ford V8 engine of 85bhp. After the war Ford demilitarised it and sold it as the 3.5litre V8 Pilot.

    Car 4 seater 4 X 4 was the Humber Heavy Utility. These were a roomy four seater, with two folding seats in the rear. The rear door was split horizontally so that when it was opened up and canvas side screens fitted it could be used for sleeping. There was a map table behind the front seats. Four wheel drive and an independent front suspension gave good cross country performance. Some later versions were modified for senior officers by having a sliding roof, wind down windows, interior lighting and map reading lamp and armrests.

    Car 6 seater 4 X 2.
    Normally this nomenclature was applied to the Humber Pullman limousine. However in this case it may well be that the two car 6 seater 4 X 2 are in fact both Rolls Royce Wraiths. Montgomery had two such cars in NW Europe. In some establishments however it was used for the 4 X 2 Heavy Utility, usually a Ford WOA2. This was a estate car version of the WOA1 saloon. The new terminology presumably distinguished it from the 4 X 4 Humber Heavy Utility

    Car 6 seater 4 X 2 limousine, Humber Pullman. This was a longer version of the Humber Snipe, having a one foot one inch longer wheelbase. 7.00-16 tyres were fitted. There was a sliding glass partition behind the driver. Two of the seats were fold down seats. There was a roof luggage rack with canvas cover.

    Car 5cwt 4 X 4
    This was the US jeep. Most in British service were Ford.
    The seven jeeps listed are thought to have been used by the Liaison Officers.

    Special Armoured Car
    This was a stripped Staghound fitted as an armoured limousine for the use of Montgomery in dangerous situations. Staghounds were available in considerable quantity and were modified as wireless vehicles and battlefield runabouts. They had pretty well the same armour as a tank but were faster and more manoeuvrable. They were also roomy.

    Aixman, HGJohn and Owen like this.
  4. HGJohn

    HGJohn New Member

    Fantastic! What a comprehensive answer! Thank you.

    I would have expected some radio vehicles too. I'm guessing that these would have belonged to a separate unit from the Royal Signals Corps?
  5. HGJohn

    HGJohn New Member

    TEV = Telephone Exchange Vehicle?

    Cipher Vehicle - for ULTRA encyption and decryption.

    I'm guessing these would be Bedford QLR vehicles.
  6. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    What's the thing like a mini green house?
  7. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    I tend to be literal. There were of course other vehicles from various units attached to HQ 21 Army Group. There is no establishment since Tactical HQ was an ad hoc arrangement.

    3ton 4 X 4 TEV (Terminal Equipment Vehicle) is a telephone exchange. These were mounted on Bedford QL and came in a variety of forms. In this case since it is not Royal Signals it is probably equipped with an exchange for the internal use of tactical headquarters. It may be fitted with teleprinters.

    3ton 4 X 4 cipher office was similar to the TEV but was fitted with cipher equipment. Not Ultra.

    Vehicles known to be attached to 21 Army Group Tactical HQ from 21 Army Group Signals
    3 X motorcycle
    1 X jeep
    2 X 15cwt 4 X 2 GS
    2 X 3ton 4 X 4 wireless
    1 X 3ton 4 X 4 cipher office
    2 X trailer, Beam Wireless No 10.

    This is believed to have been from a Wireless Carrier Section, War Establishment IV/275/1. These sections formed a chain reaching from 21 Army Tactical Headquarters to 21 Army main and Rear Headquarters and ultimately all the way back to the UK. There were also spurs to 2 Army and 1 Canadian Army. Each Wireless set No 10 had ten channels. Each trailer needed a Bedford QL 3ton 4 X 4 Wireless lorry to tow it and to house personnel to operate and maintain the equipment. They were wireless equipped for communication to other links in the chain.

    The search function on the forum is very good. If you enter Headquarters 21 Army Group, TEV etc you will find more. I put a lot of it there but am not good at links or technocal stuff.

    Aixman likes this.
  8. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    I knew the WO2 (David Busby) . The vehicles were torched after the war.
    The telephone lines were coded with tuning forks.
    The 2 sets of comms equipment used to leapfrog each other, so Monty always had his telephone link home.
    I believe that they were beamed on Blandford, with the reflection, towards germany.
  9. eddy12345

    eddy12345 Member

    This story sounds similar to mine!
    My grandad was in the 8th army, royal signals and I remember him telling me he was involved in helping to carve/ make one of Montgomery's coaches/ caravan's.
    He was a cabinet maker. I wonder if there are many pictures of said caravans and any more info on who helped make them, for verification purposes!
  10. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Montgomery's three personal caravans are well documented and still exist at the IWM Duxford. The two living/office caravans were captured Italian bodies which were fitted onto a Leyland Retriever chassis and a Mack Chassis. The third was a map trailer which was built in the UK by a caravan maker.

    There were other caravans used in N Africa and I am afraid that these are outside my area of expertise.

    Signals had a lot of one off or limited production vehicles and some were used at Headquarters 8th Army and 21 Army Group but not by Monty personnally.

    4jonboy likes this.
  11. eddy12345

    eddy12345 Member

    Thanks for this. I may have been dreaming however I seem to remember a picture of a wooden kind of carriage, that was carved and was liftable from either end. That my grandad may have been involved in. But perhaps getting confused here! Could this be possible?
  12. redtop

    redtop Well-Known Member

    These pictures taken by Gnr Archer G Batt,(Mercers Troop) 5 RHA. by permission of his Son.
    North Africa
    No location but in sequence of photos pic is between Bare ridge and Medercelean battlefield if that gives a clue.


    Chris C likes this.
  13. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    A lot of photos on the IWM website photo coolection.


    PS Just seen you last question. The two caravan bodies were originally on Italian chassis. They were renovated and then fitted to the new chassis.

    eddy12345 likes this.

Share This Page