British vehicles Bedford RL (1953-1973)

Early Cold war British Medium Truck standard

The Bedford RL (later TK) represented the bulk of British motorized regiments mount for the entire cold war. The RL had the hard task to replace the otherwise excellent QL series of WW2. This was an army vehicle derived from the civilian SCL 7-ton truck. The military version had the all wheel drive and larger wheels, plus increased ground clearance. It was rated at 3 tons originally, as all RL GS (general service) trucks in the British Military. Later, they were re-rated at 4 tons, but without mechanical modifications, the figure indicating now rated cross country payload weight. The last RL left Bedford's production line in 1973, for a grand a total of 74,000 vehicle. This was even far more than the wartime QL series (52,247), and for this reason it became the standard British military truck for most of the cold war.

Development of the Bedford series R

Design and development of the R-series started in December 1950, by Vauxhall Motors Limited. A single prototype was sent to Fighting Vehicle Research & Development Establishment (FVRDE) in May 1951. There, the chassis was validated and given the FV13100 series number. Production started in April 1952 at Vauxhalls Trucks, Luton. Headlights were moved down in order to comply with British regulations and the radiator grille was later modified while it also reached the civilian marker from October 1953, declined in many body styles and variations (with/without dual rear tyres for example). The army also obtained and tried an armoured open-top cab variant.

The R-range started to appear in infantry units and other services from 1952 in the British Army, replacing advantageously the WW II Bedford QL, but also the Austin K5 and Ford WOT6. It retained its generic truck appelation "3-tons", which equates to "medium", but it was later up-rated to a 4 ton capacity in 1968. On the production line, it was replaced by the M-type.

Design of the Bedford 3-tons

Powerplant: The RL had a 4.9 litres (299.0 cu in) petrol engine, rated for 110 brake horsepower (82 kW; 112 PS). Some were equipped also with diesel engines.
This engine was mated on a Bedford 4WD chassis cab, chassis being mounted by drilling rig at the Ruston-Bucyrus facility. Specialist variants comprised recovery vehicles, mobile workshops, radio vans and cable layers and the fire engine "Green Goddess". The R-series resued the 7-ton SLC-chassis and kept both the engine and cab. The RL was the "long" version (L = long wheelbase) while the RS was the shorter version (S = short wheelbase) both produced alongside.
The basic cargo vehicle had a fixed-sided steel body, later modified as drop-sided, with a drop tailgate, and the payload protected by canvas cover supported by a tubular framework. The base vehicle was unarmed, but some users modified the cab to introduce a gunner's hatch.
There was a choice of Engines from Bedford/ At first the 6-cylinder 4.930 cm3 (300 cubic inches) in displacement, petrol, was the standard. Later a 6-cylinder 5.410 cm3 (330 cubic inches) diesel engine, liquid cooled was proposed. Te former developed 115 hp at 3000 rpm (petrol) and the latter 99 hp at 2600 rpm. Fuel capacity rested on a main tank of 118 liter (25 gallons) allowing for a range of 400 km (250 miles) - actually it was less than the Bedford of WW2. Transmission was a 4-speed model with a 2 speed transfer case. Electrical system rested on a 12 volt, negative ground (early models, positive ground) battery. For mobility the vehicle had Hydraulic brakes, servo-assisted. It mounted 11.00 - 20 tyres. On trials it was tested able to fordi about 0.76 m (30 inches) without preparation, but it was also provided with a deep water fording kit. In option, the vehicle could be equipped with a 5 ton Turner winch driven by a power take-off.

Variants

  • Bedford RLE office van
  • Bedford RLW GS
  • Bedford RLE TTY van
  • Bedford RLC Facility Control truck
  • Bedford RLH HF radio truck
  • Bedford RLC Radio HF truck
  • Bedford RLC cable layer
  • Bedford RLC telephone construction
  • Bedford RLC telegraph maintenance
  • Bedford RLC spare parts van
  • Bedford RLE spare parts van)
  • Bedford RLE Direction Finder Center
  • Bedford RLE NBC squad truck
  • Bedford RLE electronic maintenance
  • Bedford RLG Tipper
  • Bedford R-series Command and Control

Bedford RL (Long Wheelbase) specifications

Lenght6.35 m (247 inches)
Width2.45 m (95 inches)
Height3.35 m (130 inches)
Total weight, battle ready8.025 kg (17.655 lb.).
Crew2 + 12-16 infantry
PropulsionBedford 6-cylinder gas. or diesel, see notes
SuspensionLeaf springs
Speed (road)50 kph (60 mph)
Range400 km (250 mi)
ArmamentNone (personal weapons)
Production74,000 (RL+RS) 1952-73.

Service


One of the last appearance of the Bedford RL, fuel-tank version, here the NZ-built version in the NZAOD exercize in 1988 at Kerbside refuelling point.

The RL equipped all units previously given the QL series. The RL and variants continued to serve alongside the later Bedford MK and Bedford TM trucks until well into the 1990s. The mythical TL was not replaced by the TK which was built in parrallel from 1959, but by the TL range in the 1980s. The RL and variants nevertheless continued to serve alongside the later Bedford MK and Bedford TM trucks until well into the 1990s.
The Home Office also purchased many of such vehicles to be placed reserve for a national emergency. They were disposed of recently and reached the civilian market some with just 2,000 miles (3,220 km) on counter.

The Danish R type

The Bedford R-series entered service in the Danish Army in 1956, as standard medium truck. Some RLC5 chassis were delivered to GM International, Copenhagen to be refitted locally with new upper-cabs and bodies, patterned on US Army post-war vehicles. The RL saw was declined into Command and Control, Office-vans, Switchboards, Teletype and other versions as well in Danish service. There was a second batch of around 375 units bought in 1963-1967. Now all were replaced by the Magirus Deutz 168 M11FAL (IVECO 110 - 16 AWM).

It was assimilated to the Assault Class 30 trackway equipment upplied as a standard between NATO countries, all by Laird Company in UK. These were used for soft ground, up to 30 tons. The kit comprised 32 meters of trackway, setup by a team of 5 men in about 10 minutes and removed in about 15 minutes.

The Australian R type

There was also the Australian R serie used from the 1960s to the 1980s by Victoria's Country Fire Authority (CFA). They were modified wiith a 800 gallon water capacity, 4 wheel drive bushfire tankers, known as "State Spare Tankers". They were larger than most brand rural fire attack tankers, and bolstered other models. They were painted in the CFA's standard "Carnation (dark) Red", fitted with rear Godiva pumps (2,250 litres per minute output).

The Malaysian Army RL

The Malaysian Armed Force (ATM) purchased ans used Bedford RL trucks from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s. They were mostly used for logistics, troop and ammunition transport. They were given two rows of wooden bench along the entire bed, lined along opposite bed edge and a central nacl-to-back bench to maximize troops capacity. This seating compartment was covered by a tarpaulin supported by steel-tube frame like for the british version. The Driver and co-driver took place in an unchanged cab, but a machinegunner hatch was installed on it roof. The other difference with the Civilian market vehicle was its enhanced 4x4 features. They were phased out in the Malaysian army by the Mercedes Benz L Series and the Hino Ranger TK, starting frim the late 1970s. Bedford RL has been deployed in the Konfrontasi conflict and Second Malaysian Insurgency.

Singaporean Army Bedford RLs

The Singapore Armed Forces also operated the Bedford RL from the mid-1960s to the late-1970s, mostlt as troop transport and logistics (food, ammo, water and spare parts). The entire infantry platoon, including its 60mm mortar team could and ammunition crates could fit into just one RL truck. Seating was the same as for the Malayrian truck, with wooden bench facing inside and each other. The vehicles were likely handed-down from the British military after Singapore gained independence in 1965 and until 1971. They were slowly phased out by the Mercedes lorry, and in the Singaporean nomenclature they were called "3-tonners". Complete withdrawal was done in 1978.

New Zealand's Bedford RLs

The Bedford RL became also the main troop transport in the New Zealand military, from 1958 to 1989. The main difference was it was not purchased, but built locally under licence in New Zealand. Some were aso resold in the South East Asia. Arrangements were pretty similar to the British version, and unarmed. The NZ Bedford RL was gradually replaced by the Mercedes Benz UNIMOG. The New Zealand Army also used several versions such as the GS, the Tipper,and several Recovery and Mobile workshops.

Others users

Within NATO, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands also used it. The vehicle was also exported to Pakistan and South Africa.

Testimonies:

Anon

"I like this shape of truck, just reminds me when my father took me with him on his work about 40 years ago. Went from a 650 BSA to an RL in 1970 with the Marines at Eastney, passed first time, smashing to drive, still amuses folk when I tell then I have never taken a test in a car, especially the salesman who accompanied me on a test for a new car last year, thought he was about to have a heart attack. I was stationed with Royal Scots Greys in Germany and after some fiddling with the governor we actually saw 90mph out of one of them, it was quite frightening, but fun to see our ferret "escort" disappear behind us. Legendary vehicle, soldier-proof with unreal cross-country performance... The GPO registration ELP737C (Simon Polecat) is just readable. One of 60 Polecats registered in May'65. Another batch of 40 Bedfords from ELP773C up were fitted with King Tel-e-lect cranes. The easiest way to disengage four wheel drive in an RL...was to engage reverse gear, take up the clutch and then push the lever. EASY, when you knew how !."

Blue Roan.

"My memory of the RL truck in Germany in the 60's is of a lovely big softie. Powerful enough and easy to drive. No need to double declutch as I found once - rounding a very tight corner I changed down to bottom and on driving away though there was something funny about the change. I had double declutched with tha dip switch! No prob. Also, on ice, you could wind on full lock quickly and unwind it quickly, and the RL would travel straight on without a twitch. Useful?"

Eddie H.

Passed my driving test in the bedford RL in portsmouth 1964 whil`st stationed at bordon hants REME loved this vehicle.

Roelf

"I passed my HGV test in the army in 1981 in a Bedford RL. It was awful!. I passed :-)... I do remember that when trying to get the beast out of 4 wheel drive the easiest way was to try and hit 20 mph in 3rd gear (took ages !), dip the clutch, and then throw the transfer lever down. To do this you almost had to dislocate your left shoulder, as the lever was in such an awkward position high up between the 2 seat backs. If you didn't know how to double de-clutch then there was no way you were going to drive this vehicle. Power steering ? no way !. In 1984 I drove an RL down to the island of Elba from my base in Germany, two and a half days later we got there at an average speed of 40 miles per hour. The only way to keep warm in this vehicle was to prop the engine cowling open and rely on the heat from the engine filling the cab. This also had the added benefit of allowing us to heat our tinned "compo" rations by placing them on the exhaust manifold. Aaaah ! happy memories !"

Scr: https://web.archive.org/web/20170211222741/http://y2u.co.uk/%26002_Images/Bedford%20RL%2001.htm

Src/Read More

JANE's Military Vehicles and Ground Support Equipment, 1985
Army Sustainier Magazine. RNZALR. August 2010. p. 41, Issue 2.
"Repairs to the Heavy Workshop RL Bedford". armymuseum.co.nz. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
On the Bedford RLG
On armyvehicles.dk un-bedford-en-el-crater.html On wikipedia Models kits on scalemate

Gallery of models

Early Bedford RL
Early Bedford RL, late 1950s
Bedford RL used by Jordania
Bedford RL in desert tan
Northern British army Camouflage
Northern British army Camouflage green/dark grey
RL in desert camouflage
RL in desert camouflage
RL long chassis used by the RAF in the 1960s
RL long chassis used by the RAF in the 1960s. Long bed type, same wheelbase.
Beford RL early type with wooden panels
Beford RL long bed type with wooden panels
Late version
Late version, long bed type and modified bedframe

Photo Gallery

BEDFORD_ARMY-openbed
BEDFORD_ARMY-openbed
Bedford_RL
Bedford_RL
Bedford_RLgreenred
Bedford_RLgreenred
Bedford_RS_truck
Bedford_RS_truck
Bedford_Ruston-Bucyrus
Bedford_Ruston-Bucyrus
RL_GS_DROP_SIDES_UBRE
RL_GS_DROP_SIDES_UBRE
RL_GS_dropsides-nocanvas
RL_GS_dropsides-nocanvas
RL_GS_FIXED_SIDES
RL_GS_FIXED_SIDES
RL_WRECKER
RL_WRECKER

WW1 Vehicles

British ww2 WWI trucks
FR: Berliet CBA, Berliet Type M, Châtillon-Panhard, Latil TAR, Panhard-Genty 24 HP, Renault EG

allied ww2 Allied ww2 Vehicles

British ww2 British Vehicles
-AEC Armoured Command Vehicle (415)
-AEC Matador
-Albion CX22S
-Albion FT15N
-Albion WD.CX24
-Austin K2/Y Ambulance
-Austin K3
-Austin K4
-Austin K4 Dropside
-Austin K5
-Austin K6 GS
-Austin K6 Gantry
-Bedford MW
-Bedford OXA Armoured
-Bedford OXC Semi-trailer
-Bedford OXD GS
-Bedford OYC Tanker
-Bedford OYD GS
-Bedford QL series (QLD, QLR/QLC QLT TC)
-CMP FAT
-CMP Truck
-Commer Q2
-Crossley Q-Type
-Diamond T tank transporter
-Guy Quad-Ant FAT
-Guy Lizard ACV
-Humber FWD
-Karrier KT4
-Karrier K6
-Leyland Hippo Mk I/II
-Leyland Lynx
-Leyland Retriever
-Mack EXBX
-Morris 15cwt
-Morris CDSW
-Morris ML Ambulance
-Morris C8 GS/FAT
-Morris Commercial CD series
-Morris Commercial CS8
-Morris C9
-Morris GS Terrapin
-Morris PU
-Scammell Pioneer SV1S/SV2S
-Thornycroft Hathi (1924)
-Thornycroft Nubian
-Thornycroft Tartar
French ww2 French Vehicles
-Berliet DGRA
-Berliet GDC
-Berliet GDM
-Berliet VDCA
-Berliet 30
-Bernard fuel carrier
-Citroën Kégresse P14 .
-Citroën Kégresse P17
-Citroën Kégresse P19
-Citroën Type 23
-Citroën 32U
-Citroën T45
-ELMAG
-Fiat France 38R
-Ford France
-Hotchkiss PKW Type 680
-Hotchkiss 686
-Hotchkiss 686 PNA
-Isobloc W843M medical bus
-Laffly S15R
-Laffly S15T
-Laffly V15T
-Laffly V15R
-Laffly W15T/R
-Laffly 20TL
-Latil TAR H2
-Latil M2Tl6
-Matford F917
-Panhard K113
-Panhard K113
-Peugeot 202
-Peugeot 402
-Peugeot DMA
-Peugeot DK
-Peugeot DK5
-Renault AHS
-Renault AHN
-Renault AHR
-Renault AGC
-Renault ADK
-Renault ADH
-Renault AHSs
-Saurer type 3CT
-Simca 5 staff car
-Simca 8 staff car
-Somua MCL
-Somua MCG
-Talbot staff car
-Unic TU1
-Unic P107
-Trippel SG6
-Willeme DU10
Soviet ww2 Soviet Trucks
-BZ-38
-GAZ AA M1927 M1932 M1941
-GAZ–MM
-GAZ AAA M1937
-GAZ AAA M1940
-GAZ-60
-GAZ-65
-Ford Marmon HH6 Katiusha
-SU-1-12
-SU-4
-SU C-6
-SU-12
-Yag-6
-Yag-10
-Yag-10 SPG
-ZIS-5/V/BZ
-ZIS-6
-ZIS-12
-ZIS-22M HT
-ZIS-33 HT
-ZIS 41 HT
-ZIS 42M HT
-FN-Kégresse T3

Soviet staff cars
-GAZ A
-GAZ M1 "Emka"
-GAZ 11-73
-GAZ 61-73
-GAZ 67 Amphibious armoured cars
-PB-4
-PB-7
-BAD-2
US ww2 US Trucks
-Ford B3000 S
-Ford V3000S
-Ford V3000A,
-Ford BB
-Ford V8-51
-Ford m1931
-Ford V8 M1937
-T1E1(M1) half-track
-T5 half-track
-T7 half-track
-T9 half-track
-G8T 2-1/2 ton 4x2 Truck
-International B2
-International model 1937
-Chevrolet m1931
-Chevrolet m1936
-Chevrolet G-506 ​1 1⁄2-ton 4x4
-Chevrolet G-7107 4-1/2 ton 4x4
-Chevrolet 3116 1-1/2 ton 4x2
-Studebaker US6x4 U7
-Studebaker US6x4 U-6
-Studebaker US6x6 U-5 6x4
-Studebaker US6 U4 bz35S 2-1/2 ton 6x6 truck
-Dodge 1⁄2-ton Ambulance
-Dodge 1⁄2-ton Carry-all
-Dodge 1⁄2-ton (Radio) Command Reconnaissance
-Dodge 1⁄2-ton Truck, Closed Cab
-Dodge 1⁄2-ton Truck, Open Cab
-Dodge 1⁄2-ton (Radio) Panel Van
-Dodge 1⁄2-ton Telephone Service (K50)
-Dodge 1⁄2-ton Truck, Emergency Repair
-Dodge WC-51/52 (3⁄4-ton Trucks, Weapons Carrier)
-Dodge WC-53 (3⁄4-ton Carryall)
-Dodge WC-54/64 (3⁄4-ton Ambulance)
-Dodge WC-55 (3⁄4-ton Truck, M6 Gun Motor Carriage)
-Dodge WC-56/57/58 (3⁄4-ton (Radio) Command Reconnaissance)
-Dodge WC-62/43 (G-507, 11⁄2-ton, 6x6 truck)
-Dodge M6 GMC
-GMC CCKW Cargo Truck
-GMC CCKW 353 2-1/2 Ton Truck
-GMC SWB CCKW-352
-GMC 1939 ACKWX 353 3 ton 6x6 truck
-GMC AFWX-353 3 ton 6x4 truck
-GMC DUKW 353 2-1/2 ton 6x6 truck
-GMC C.O.E. AFKWX
-Diamond T Model 980/981 12-ton 6x4 trucks (G159)
-Diamond T Model 968 4-ton 6x6 truck (G509)
-Diamond T Model 967
-Diamond T Model 970
-Diamond T Model 972
-Diamond M26 Dragon Wagon
-Diamond M19 Tank Transporter
-Diamond T Model 980
-Diamond T 4-ton 6x6 truck
-Autocar U8144T 5/6-ton 4x4 truck
-Brockway/LaFrance 6-ton 6x6 truck, G512, 514, 547, 569
-White/Corbitt 6 ton 6x6 Prime Mover
-Brockway
-Corbitt
-Ward LaFrance
-Four Wheel Drive Auto Company (FWD) SU-COE 5-6 ton 4x4
-White Motor Company
-Inl KR-11 5 ton 4x2 dump truck
-Inl M5-6 318 2-1/2 ton 6x6 swb
-Mack NR15 10-ton 6x4
-Reo 28 XS 10-ton 6x4

US ww2 Small truck/car & Misc.
Bantam Reconnaissance Car
Ford GTB
6x6 Willys 'MT-TUG' ("Super-Jeep")
-Willys MB light truck
-Ford GPA ("Seep")
Buick Century Series 60
1941 Plymouth P11 Staff Car
Ford Fordor 1942 Staff Car
Harley-Davidson WLA motorcycle

Axis ww2 Axis Trucks


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Sd.Kfz 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 were half-tracks designed just before the war as prime movers, to carry supplies, ammunition, personal, and tow artillery. Many were also converted during the war as armored versions carrying AA FLAK guns (Flakvierling, 37 mm, or the legendary 88 mm Rheinmetall als used as tank hunters), or were converted as nebelwerfer (rocket launching armored vehicles). They were built by Hanomag, Steyr, Mercedes-Benz, Bussing and many other manufacturers until 1945, over 20,000 half-tracks.

German ww2 German Military trucks
-Opel Blitz
-Opel Maultier
-Mercedes-Benz L3000
-Magirus A3000
-Krupp Protze Kfz.19
-Krupp Protze Kfz.21
-Krupp Protze Kfz.68
-Krupp Protze Kfz.69
-Krupp Protze Kfz.70
-Krupp Protze Kfz.81
-Krupp Protze Kfz.21
-Krupp Protze Kfz.83
-Borgward B 3000
-Skoda Rad Schlepper
-Ost RSO Porsche 175
-Steyr Type 2000A
-Einheits Lkw Kfz.62
-Krupp LKW L3
-Bussing-Nag 4500
-Opel Blitz Omnibus
-Bussing-Nag L
-Mercedes-Benz L1500
-Beute Studebaker
-Krupp L3H
-Hanomag SS-100
-Beute Ford B3000 S, V3000S, V3000A
-Beute Ford model BB
-Beute Ford model V8-51
-Beute Tatra 111

German ww2 German Staff Cars

-Horch 81
-Horch 108
-VW 182 Kübelwagen
-VW Schwimmwagen
-Sd.Kfz.2 Kettenkrad
italy ww2 Italian Military trucks
L. Trucks (Autocarro Leggere)
-Breda-32
-Breda-40
-Breda-41
-ОМ-32 Autocarretta da Montagna
-ОМ-36DM
-Camioneta SPA TL.37
-Camioneta AS.43
-SPA CL39
-SPA ТМ40
-Fiat 618

Med. Trucks (Autocarro Medio)
-Alfa Romeo 430RE
-Alfa Romeo 800RE
-Breda Dovunque-41
-Bianchi Miles
-Ceirano-50СМ
-FIAT-626 NM
-Isotta Fraschini D65
-Isotta Fraschini D80
-SPA Dovunque-35
-SPA Dovunque-41
-SPA AS.37
-SPA-38R
-Autocarro Dovunque SPA 41/42

H. Trucks (Autocarro Gigante)
-FIAT-633NM
-FIAT-634N
-FIAT-666
-Fiat 661
-Lancia Ro
-Lancia 3Ro
-Lancia EsaRo
-ОМ Taurus
-ОМ Titano
-Autocarreta Mod.35
-Autocarri Unificati Ursus

italy ww2 Artillery tractors
-Breda 51
-Breda 52
-Breda 61 (licenced SdKfz-7)
-Fiat-SPA T.L.37
-Pavesi Р4.31 (L140)
-Fiat 727 - half-track artillery tractor
-SPA TM40 - wheeled artillery tractor

italy ww2 Staff Cars -Alfa Romeo 6С2500 Coloniale
-Fiat 508M/CM Ballila
-Fiat 1100 (1937) (Balilla-1100 Coloniale)
-Lancia Aprilia Coloniale
-Bianchi VM 6C
-Fiat 2800 CMC

italy ww2 Motorcycles
-Benelli 500 M36/VLM
-Bianchi Supermil 500
-Gilera 500 LTE
-Moto Guzzi Alce/Trialce
-Volugrafo Aermoto 125
Japan ww2 IJA/IJN ww2 vehicles
-Toyota 4x4 Su-Ki (Amphibious truck)
-Isuzu Type 94 truck
-Type 94 6-Wheeled Truck
-Type 95 Mini-truck
-Type 97 4-Wheeled Truck
-Type 1 6-Wheeled Truck
-Type 2 Heavy Truck
-Toyota KB/KC Truck
-Nissan 80 Truck
-Nissan 180 Truck
-Amphibious Truck "Su-Ki"

Japan ww2 Tractors
-Type 92 5 t Prime Mover "I-Ke"
-Type 98 6 t Prime Mover "Ro-Ke"
-Type 92 8 t Prime Mover "Ni-Ku"
-Type 95 13 t Prime Mover "Ho-Fu"
-Type 94 4 t Prime Mover "Yo-Ke"
-Type 98 4 t Prime Mover "Shi-Ke"
-Type 96 AA Gun Prime Mover
-Type 98 20 mm AA Machine Cannon Carrier
-Type 98 Half-tracked Prime Mover "Ko-Hi"
-Type 98 20 mm AA Half-Track Vehicle
-Experimental Heavy Gun Tractor Chi-Ke
-Experimental Crawler Truck
-T G Experimental Crawler Truck
-Fordson Prime Mover
-Pavessi Gun Tractor
-50 hp Gun Tractor
-Komatsu 3 ton Tractor
-Light Prime Mover
-Clarton Prime Mover
-Holt 30

Japan ww2 Staff cars
-Toyota AA/AB/AC
-Type 93 6/4-Wheeled Passenger Car
-Type 95 Passenger Car "Kurogane"
-Type 98 Passenger Car
-Model 97 Nissan Staff Car, Nissan 70

Japan ww2 Motorcycles
-Rikuo Motorcycle
-Rikuo Type 97 Motorcycle
-Rikuo Type 93 side car

Japan ww2 Misc.
-Type 94 Ambulance
-Type 94 Repair Vehicle

Cold War