British Military Vehicles - Soft-Skin CT and GS Vehicles of the 1950s, by Pat Ware

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British Military Vehicles - Soft-Skin CT and GS Vehicles of the 1950s, by Pat Ware
Published by Military Trucks Archive in 2021, 98 pages. Softback - c.20cm by 27cm (N8301)

Brand New Book


At the end of WW2, the British Army had something like 1.25 million soft-skin vehicles, consisting of around 600 different types arranged in 55 categories. They were a motley mix of home-grown and US designs, with many well past their sell-by dates. Clearly this was not a situation that could continue, and with the Cold War looming, it was time to step back and take a good look at what was going to be required during the next decades.

The War Office had gradually come around to the view that 'the design of military vehicles had become sufficiently divergent from mainstream commercial vehicles', that all soft-skin - or 'Category B' vehicles - should be designed by government agencies. And so there began a great rationalisation. Thousands of WW2 vehicles were sold at auction or passed to the newly-liberated European nations, to be replaced by a range of new, standardised vehicles, planned in six weight classes. Within each class there were to be 'combat' (CT) and 'general service' (OS) types. The CT class was described as 'specialised military vehicles with multi-wheel drive, manufactured from components not used for commercial purposes, and required to give the best possible load-carrying capacity and cross-country performance, with or without the appropriate guns or trailers'. The OS class consisted of 'militarised versions of standard civilian products', described by FVRDE as being 'for the less spectacular, but equally important, supporting roles'.

It was a splendid idea but, predictably, whilst the CT vehicles were technically innovative, they proved to be expensive and generally unreliable, and the OS vehicles could generally do the same job at a far lower cost. Within less than a decade, the whole idea had been dropped. Ah ... the misplaced optimism of those post-war years!


The book is illustrated throughout with black and white photographs