The Royal New South Wales Lancers
The 106mm RCL is shaped like a long tube with an 0.50 cal spotting rifle above. The spotting rifle fires a round whose trajectory closely matches that of the 106 mm round and gives off a puff of smoke on impact with the target. On the left hand side, there is an elevating wheel, in the centre of which is the trigger wheel used to fine adjust the elevation and at the same time firing the spotting rifle when pulled, and the gun when pushed. The mounting is a tripod, but the front leg has a castoring wheel. On top of the mount is a traverse wheel. On the centre of the traverse wheel is a locking wheel, when the wheel is down, the rifle is locked in traverse, and can only be moved right and left with the traverse wheel. When the wheel is raised, the rifle can be traversed by hand.
The Landrover mounting the 106 was an uniquely Australian vehicle developed to be married with the 106 mm US M40A1 Recoilless Rifle. A short wheelbase Landrover had its canopy, rear seats, tailgate, towing pintle, windscreen and centre front seat removed. Improved springs and shock absorbers were fitted and dual fuel tanks added. The front mudguards (wings) were modified and strengthened, and the rear body modified to accept stowage for 6 x 106mm HEAT rounds and 80 rounds of .50 inch tracer rounds for the .50 inch spotting rifle, used to range the main armament. A bracket was fitted between the front seats to accept the nose wheel of the gun mounting. "Aero" style windscreens for the driver and offsider were fitted, and a barrel clamp mounted on the dashboard for travelling.
The initial vehicle underwent trials in 1962 at the Armoured Centre, and a quantity of the Series 2 vehicles were modified in various RAEME Workshops. A number of the Series 2A short wheelbase vehicles were also modified some years later.
The Series 2 vehicles served with Anti-Armour units of the RAAC and Anti-Armour Platoons of infantry units. Some of these Series 2 vehicles saw long service. For example, 1/15 RNSWL had four Series 2 vehicles until the introduction of the M113A1 Fire Support Vehicle (Scorpion turret) in 1979, and at least one of these was still serving with 6 RAR in the mid-1980s. The Anti-Armour Platoon of 5/7 RAR had one of the 1/15 RNSWL vehicles in its regimental colours scheme in the late 1980s.
The nature of the vehicles gave rise to several nicknames by the troops, "Sports Car" being one and "Gun Buggy" being another.
The Museum's exhibit consists of a vehicle that had passed into private hands. It was obtained by the Museum and painstakingly restored. It is married with a 106 RCL on loan from the Department of Defence thanks to the good offices of The Hon Dr Geoff Lee MP (state MP for Parramatta 2014).
The Museum's other Land Rover was assembled by Pressed Metal Corporation, Cosgrove Rd Enfield from a C.K.D. kit [complete knock down] made at Rover works, Solihull, UK probably about 8/1966. The special fitters body was fitted to the cab chassis supplied. The old Eastern Command Workshop doing the fit out prior to 9/67 at which time the odometer showed 22 miles.
The vehicle is a standard series 2 Landrover fitted with an optional long range 11.3 imperial gallon fuel tank as opposed to the sixteen gallon tanks which reduced ground clearance by about 5.5 inches. Because the Army saw it to be more cost effective with special bodies such as this and the ambulances a system to retro fit later model mechanical sub assemblies such as engines and complete diff assemblies the vehicle was upgraded to series 2A throughout. Probably at the same time the guards were cut away at the front ,and extended spring hangers fitted to enable the vehicle to be air dropped. In accord with land rover specification the vehicle is fitted with std 109 brake drums of 11 inch dia, Lockheed hydraulics and Lucas electrics. The Solex carburettor as fitted appeared almost exclusively on Army Landrovers, and warts and all this was retained despite its relevant inefficiency.
The museum's Land-Rover and accompanying trailer [awaiting restoration] was kindly donated by the Museum of the Corps of the Royal Australian Engineers, Steele Barracks, Moorebank.
Landrovers are still in service with the Australian Army.
The Museum thanks Lancer Association member Major Paul Handel (Retd) for the detail on the 106 mm RCL Landrover.
© New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881;
Linden House, Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, PARRAMATTA, AUSTRALIA
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