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RAF vehicles in Iraq, 1938

Ivor Ramsden

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These droolworthy photos have recently come into the museum. I used to spend hours looking in my reference books to identify things like these but now I post them on here and let the experts give me chapter and verse!


They are associated with No 30 Squadron, which was using Blenheims in 1938-39. What can you tell me?

Armoured Car 2.jpg

Crash site 1.jpg

Broken Lorry.jpg

Armoured Car 1.jpg

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Great War truck

Not heard of the Dragon before. Very unusual.


They had a long history in the British Army starting in the early 1920s the Mk1 was developed to tow 18pdr and limber. It was based on the Vickers medium tank suspension. As it was a bit of a waste towing 18pdrs by 1925 the Mk3 had developed for towing 60pdr and 6in howitzers and continued its development until 1932 with the Mk3b. In 1935 the Mk 4 a new design based on components of the Vickers 6ton tank was developed, it had an AEC diesel engine.- very similar to later 7Tp Polish prime movers. The mk4 was the end of a rather lack lustre series of designs.


In 1928-1930 a cheaper more practical design Light Dragon Mk1 was developed and had suspension looking similar to the much later T16 Universal carrier but with the sprocket drive at the front and with horizontal springs. By 1933 it had further developed Mk2c and Mk2d with suspension units that was almost identical to the later T16.


In 1934 the most important development, developed from a Vickers design VA D50 which was built as the basis for both a machine gun carier (to replace the Vicker Carden Loyd Mk6 M.G. carrier) and as a prime mover the design was again revised and took on the appearance of an unarmoured Universal carrier without the Bren pulpit, the suspension with the sprocket at the rear was almost identical to the yet undesigned Bren carrier, although due to a policy change requiring light field guns be towed by wheeled vehicles only 69 Mk3 Light Dragons were built within a year plans were made which developed the Light Dragon into the Bren carrier and then the Universal carrier.


While the Medium Dragons were all but dead ends, the later light dragon Mk3 went to war with the BEF towing various guns such as 18pdr, 18/25pdr and 4.5in how. The term Dragon is supposed to be a distortion of Drag gun or Drag on.

Edited by steveo578
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Thanks for the upload of photos

they are

1). Light Dragon Mk2c

2). Medium Dragon Mk3c

3). Light Dragon Mk2

4). Medium Dragon Mk4 possibly configured for different gun type or load than that shown in 6.

5). Light Dragon Mk3

6). Medium Dragon Mk4 configured for 60pdr

7). Light Dragon Mk2

8). Light Dragon Mk2c

9). Light Dragon Mk2c

Edited by steveo578
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les freathy

i wonder if this was some form of experimental vehicle put together in Iraq


The Armoured Dragon's story appears in Mechanised Force by DavidFletcher. page 99-100.


The RAF commisioned a pair of Medium Dragons with modifications from the outset, in that they were built with an armoured drivers cab (which is shown in the photo) and an open tray where the gun crew and equipment was normally carried. There seem to have been a specific intention from the outset to load the fighting compartment and turret of a 1921 R/R armoured car as a straight lift into the load tray as is shown in the photo.


As a type they lasted into the 1930s and one became a dedicated APC complete with firing ports.

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  • 5 years later...

There is an interesting photo of a Crossley streamliner being swung out of a ship's hold in Greece currently on eBay. It shows, if nothing else, just how much care stevedores needed to take in order to avoid damage to the wheel enclosures.





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