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Hi, I was going to start this thread later but another thread I started on this vehicle's radio setup: http://hmvf.co.uk/forumvb/showthread.php?52339-Unusual-Land-Rover-radio-setup raised lots of questions veering ever so slightly off-topic, so I thought I'd strike whilst the iron is hot. I won the vehicle on an Ebay auction a couple of months ago, didn't pay a lot for it, and it was not sold as SAS. However it does have a lot of curious features: Winch bumper (believe Superwinch X6 is 12V). The winch is low profile and does not obstruct the radiator, important as the V8 engine is vulnerable to overheating. Holes for military bumperettes. Front bumper reinforced internally Bracket over winch bumper (bracket wrong size for ground anchor) Pair "U"-shape tow rings front and rear Flexible brake hoses front & rear protected with wire coils Suspension lifted? Gaitors over the chrome swivel balls (VIN apparently implies a civvie vehicle; more on this below) Military lights front & rear, incl. recessed headlamp panels V8 engine (serial 11D14325B - Range Rover Pulsair 9.35:1 compression ratio dated 1970-83, twin groove/belt with power steering fitted) Chunky angle bracket around rear steering arm fixed to back of diff LT77 or LT85 5 speed gearbox, believe the former. Black painted, but the army also had black LT85s Removable gearbox crossmember absent, so military chassis Fuel pump, fuel filter & some fuses easily accessible in engine bay Wash reservoir, heater matrix, brake servo, radiator expansion tank, hoses & radiator top camo sprayed Chequer plate wing tops screwed on + Tuaam box+transformer/spacer+aerial (VHF). Wing driver's side has vertical reinforcing stay: wing passenger side has remains of two straps on top and wear to paint but no stay. Military bonnet hooks The disruptive camoflage paint scheme is well designed: the wheel rims do not have contrasting colours and so do not flash and draw the eye when in motion; the front is asymetrical, left hand side to right hand side, ditto the rear; the sides are different but in both cases the dark grey disrupts the natural shadow of the cab area. Mud flaps painted. Traces of paint on front tyre passenger's side Rectangular section steel "rock sliders" Two single GPMG mounts. (The front one - not fitted in some photos - has a large spent case collector, presumably to prevent empty cases etc. from hitting the driver. The rear one has the traverse limited so you can't shoot the driver or front passenger. These limits are very precise, i.e. close) Coles sun compass on dash (rigid mount) Spot light driver's side bolted on (not usual army bracket) Remains of thin aluminium plate pop-rivetted in windscreen location passenger's side 24V battery warning light on dash (not unknown on 12V GS vehicles) MPH speedo Wiring a mess. Not sure if any dash lights work Convoy light + toggle switch + big red switch on centre console (latter disconnected: may have been engine starter as believe momentary action, or winch) Bendy map light Straps clip to eye bolts by dash as 'doors' (one strap each side). Front seat belts Gear lever modified Access hole cut in the gearbox tunnel to view the linkage / get LT77 gearbox to fit?? Sound matting Fire extinguisher in passenger footwell (only one check date - 1992) "Late type front seats" (driver's has some camo overspray on the frame) Welded cage between seats, believe for jerry can but may be used for man-pack radio? Two FFR cable boxes between front seats. Remains of something else in front (believe original Land Rover; maybe cubby box) Axe stowage on driver's side. Hi-Lift jack / sledge hammer - note wider strap - on passenger side Roll cage with cam net. Latter much finer than the usual big holes with scrim attached; more akin to sacking. Scrim sewn on. Grab handle(?) either side fixed to roll cage under camo net Plywood lined rear tub + fire extinguisher bracket. Former shows traces of yellow paint Two vertical SA80 mounts; one horizontal (1" further apart) Military 14v radio battery charging system on dexion racking with yellow cable running from battery box under passenger seat to distribution box(?) to 14V (NOT 24V) charging box to cab; canvas case for antennae Radio operator's/gunner's seat hooked over tub side. No seat belt Side whip anntena (not normal post mount as would obstruct rear GPMG / get shot off?). No transformer/spacer so HF Larkspur telescopic radio mast bolted along top of tailgate with fabric endcaps. May be used for bergen stowage and/or possibly deployed horizontally Jerry can stowage in tub (2 twin cages). 3 (believe there should be 4) tubs for the vehicle sides for more jerry cans (not fitted in photos). I think the shallow tub bolts to the seat box and rock slider below. Total capacity 8 jerry cans + 1 between the seats. Assuming 6 petrol + 2 water + manpack radio = 30 gallons + 10 gallon underseat tank. At 10 miles per gallon 400 miles: halve for cross-country = 200 miles, or 100 miles there and back - the same as the famous convoy op. No pointy 'cap' on hub of rear wheels, unlike front wheels Rear disc brakes as well as front (standard Defender fitment 1994+) Axle case breather rear axle (but not on front) Pioneer tools on military tailgate. (Two hinge marks+holes on right suggest a hardtop door was originally fitted. Also bracket for door retainer present) Two civvie foglights No reversing light NATO tow hitch rear + civvie caravan socket Military bumperettes The bonnet does not look original as no desert camo, no yellow paint (or any other colour) underneath, very poor condition inside, bonnet hooks have been moved so they mate with the catches on the wings, and no stowage discernible on top besides the spare wheel mount Holes etc, use unknown: Front bumper - 2 large close together (tow ball?), 3 small spaced along top (number plate?), 2 medium widely spaced apart Bracket over winch bumper has two holes enlarged. (Bracket wrong size for ground anchor) Wing just in front of spotlight - 1 large Wing passenger side has remains of two straps on top and wear to paint Seatbox passenger's side - 2 above known jerry can holder holes Box with wide strap above outside on passenger’s side - Hi-Lift jack or sledge hammer? Remains of thin aluminium plate pop-rivetted in windscreen location, passenger's side Dash top rail - 2 small pairs Big red switch on centre military console - may have been engine starter as believe momentary action, or winch. Toggle switch + 2 large holes in right hand panel Dash oval centre switch panel - 3 small holes along top + 1 large alongside, with holes in gearbox shroud below Steering column left hand side by stalk - 1 large (original lock? Probably normal as seen on another military landy) Welded cage between seats, believe for jerry can but may be used for man-pack radio Bulkhead ply lining - 4 spaced out in line + 3 close together below + 2 on right of gun bracket driver's side Tub floor parallel with bulkhead - 2 P-clip by radio seat Tub floor each side of GPMG mount - 4 in rectangular format I don't understand: Brake box VIN plate (with camo paint smears) suggests 1984 diesel vehicle with a serial number between MOD trials vehicles and first MOD production 90's (see VIN Reseach below), therefore unable to trace a military vehicle registration. Date first registered is April 1985 whereas military vehicles are usually first registered when they leave the MOD, not soon after they are manufactured. (VIN plate on seatbox missing. Plate welded over VIN location on chassis. Ringer?) Civilian(?) speakers in dash (no radio) Fat 2 spoke steering wheel (1991+ 48 spline), not older style 4 spoke with rectangular centre pad (1984 36 spline) - possibly related to fitting of power steering ("power-assisted worm-and-roller steering was optional") Poorly matched rear bumperettes. Holes from civvie 'grab handles' visible (grab handle holes often found on military vehicles). Civvie caravan socket with camo paint Paint layers: dark green, red, Airfield Yellow, OD, Airfield Yellow, sand, grey. Airfield Yellow tends to be on the outside and red inside. Some blue and white in places. More orangey sand colour underneath in places (e.g. tailgate and by spotlight). No ammo box stowage discernible Is it a civilian imitation or is it genuine SAS? I do not believe it is a Walter Mitty invention because it is 'sorted': V8 engine with disc brakes all round and power steering 12v motor with 12v winch and unusually 12v radio gear VHF aerial + HF aerial + telescopic mast There is only one TUAAM wing box whereas most vehicles (and copies) have two Front GPMG has a box to collect empty cases & links, preventing them from hitting the driver and cluttering up the cab Rear GPMG is not obstructed by the usual side aerial mast and vertical telescopic mast mounting I do not believe a SAS replica would be made and sold on like this: The builder would usually take pride in such a vehicle and want to show it off. However, some aspects like the paint preparation, rear bumperette fit and dash cut out for the front GPMG mount are crude whereas the traverse limits on the rear GPMG are very, very precise. The vehicle is purely functional Some modifications would never be seen - bumper reinforcing, brake hose reinforcing, bracket arround rear steering rod There are a lot of holes leftover from where kit has been removed. There would be little or no need to do this on a completed replica: the parts and often the gear are usually sold on with the vehicle. It is not as if some of the gear - axe, shovel, pickaxe shaft, tub fire extinguisher - is particularly valuable. And why replace the bonnet with a very rusty unoriginal one? 'Typical' SAS features are missing - steering/sump/diff guard, ammo box stowage especially between front seats, sand channel stowage, compass mast, raised gunner's seat. In particular the expanded steel mesh external jerry can stowage as per the photos of known Dinkies Atypical SAS features are present - axe stowage, rock sliders, gear box cutout, modified gear lever, radio mast on tailgate, bumper reinforcing, brake pipe reinforcing The camo net does not have the normal big holes but is very fine mesh Chassis VIN welded over whereas the rest of the chassis is not holed - why do this? (The welding looks old) If it is SAS then there are issues which need explaining: Weak LT77 gearbox used. (Ready access for repairs may explain why the gearbox crossmember has been removed.) An LT85 or LT95 box would have been stronger, but may have entailed different prop shafts, engine mounts and/or gearlever holes in the transmission tunnel - I do not know enough about this. The LT77 was fitted to V8 Range Rovers and non-V8 Land Rovers No steering or diff guards (weight? ran out of spares? delay access to weak gearbox? subsequently removed like the radios etc?) Old style Series IIa Pinkie GPMG mounts rather than modern 1980's DPV (ran out of spares?) Latest Land Rover spec seats and steering wheel Lack of discernible ammo stowage, especially in cab No raised seat box for front gunner (may not be expected as upper seat belt mount not raised either) SA80 weapon mounts (Dinkies were apparently used by B Squadron, HQ and maybe SAS reservists) An axe on desert ops!? External jerry can stowage above the rear wheels is solid not expanded steel mesh as shown on the 2-3 photos of known Dinkies (space taken up by axe & aerial etc? extended range not required for the famous convoy op?) Civvie dash speakers, caravan socket, VIN?, multiple paint colours underneath (RAF?) Research Notes - Time Line Emphasis added to highlight the contradictory accounts, even from people who were there! "Very shortly after A Squadron was committed, D Squadron also arrived and the amount of available equipment was further reduced. By The time a third SAS Squadron, B, got to the Gulf a week later, there was virtually nothing left. A plan that had been based around the use of one squadron was suddenly adapted to encompass three and a half squadrons (for the Territorial R - Reserve - Squadron had also been deployed), who were all trying to operate on one squadron's supply of equipment." Ghosts: The Illustrated Story of the SAS by Ken Connor p197 'There are,' Vince [Phillips, Bravo Two Zero] replied. 'Three of them [Dinkies]. Problem is that one of the other patrols has nabbed two already, and I doubt we can fit eight blokes plus kit into a three-quarter-size Landrover.' Soldier Five by Mike Coburn p 25 via Google Books "I know the SAS used 12v 90's "sourced" [stolen?] from the RAF" "The SAS converted ex RAF 90's due to a lack of DPV's available" http://hmvf.co.uk/forumvb/archive/index.php/t-25608.html "In what was to prove to be one of the most audacious plans in the Regiment's history, he decided to send ten 4-ton trucks, with six Land Rovers acting as escorts, some one hundred and fifty kilometres into enemy territory to bring us our essential supplies..." "Eye of the Storm" by Peter Ratcliffe p386 "The cavalry had arrived - a remarkable convoy consisting of ten 4-ton trucks, pinkies and motor cycle outriders." Source: C.Q.B. Close Quarter Battle by Mike Curtis p409 "With no escort, the four-tonners couldn't afford to get into a firefight." Sabre Squadron by Cameron Spence p334 VIN Research Breakdown of SALLDVAC7AA233767 VIN code: Europe, UK, Land Rover, 90/110, 92.3", "Truck Cab, Soft Top or Hard Top (Utility body)", 4 cyl diesel, RHD 5 speed, 1983-4, Solihull, serial No. 233797 Research from Geoff at FMW: "There were tri-service vehicles in KD (prototypes) but they have earlier chassis serial numbers. The first production military spec Nineties to enter service had VINs commencing around SALLDVAC261986 – much later in the sequence -and bore KE serials. Your chassis number is therefore between the prototypes and the first production batch. The RAF had a ‘specialist’ set of serials in AY but made no purchases of Nineties at the relevant time. Is this a military spec Ninety or a civil one? If it is civil then it would have had Asset Code 1621-3100 indicating a civil spec RHD Diesel Soft Top. The relevant vehicles are: 00 KD 34 and 00 KD 35, 18 KD 63 to 18 KD 65 I have not got the chassis number for the last three civil spec Nineties that but all five were for the Navy. Furthermore the first two were definitely a different chassis prefix and I suspect the last three were that prefix too as they were under the same contract." Squaring the Circle - a Possible History The vehicle was originally a civilian 'white fleet' spec RAF 90 hard top in dark green with white wheels, as photographed in Bob Morrison's book "Combat Land Rovers Portfolio No. 1" page 98 top plate (except for the tdi engine). During its time with the RAF it was repainted red, yellow & OD and acquired military lights. This would explain the green paint, white wheels, pointy caps missing off the rear wheel hubs, civvie 'grab handle' holes on the rear crossmember, dash speakers... The Gulf War starts. The SAS is desperately short of vehicles. The desert is very punishing on them so 'white fleet' type vehicles which have not been used & abused cross country are a tempting target. The RAF keeps quiet as it is highly embarrassing to have vehicles stolen from a war zone when sentries should be alert. The SAS and REME (unofficial moto 'adapt, improvise, overcome') raid the spares bin but there is not enough of everything to go round. Parts are fabricated and Land Rover help where they can by shipping goodies over. Modifications include the usual V8 engine for performance, parts compatibility and mechanical familiarity. The tell-tale VIN plates are dealt with. The result is the mysterious Dinky, a vehicle whose very existence is deliberately concealed in some first-hand accounts of the Gulf War. After the war the Dinkies are redundant. They lack the range, payload and equipment specification of proper Desert Patrol Vehicles and the weapons mounts are crude and obsolete. To those familiar with Land Rovers the differences are obvious; even more reason to be camera-shy. Never having officially acquired them, the SAS now has a problem: how to get rid of them? To remove all the parts would leave a body like a Swiss cheese. The RAF - who the SAS rely on for airlifts - would not be best pleased. They are quietly scrapped, but one sneaks away...
Does anyone know what make/model of snowmobile was/is used by our guys? I am guessing either Marines, Paras or Special forces. I was recently in a book store and saw an Equipment/catalog type non fiction book which included a snowmobile - in all white naturally, but I don't remember any of the details. Doubt I'll ever see one up for sale - especially now living in the states, but there are loads for sale here, so I should be able to find one that could be painted as a "replica"... Thanks in advance for any info. Howard