What is the story behind these Land Rovers?


Mi Private
MI.Net Member
Feb 6, 2008
A consignment of 4 unusual Land Rovers has recently returned to England from Cyprus and we are trying to research their history.

The vehicles were originally used by the British Army and were disposed of locally in Cyprus at some point. All four have at some time been converted to carry a 106mm Recoilless Rifle (M40A2 we think). We have no idea where or who converted these vehicles.

Land Rover did supply a number of Air-Portable Gunships (converted by Marshall’s of Cambridge) to Saudi, but they look nothing like these vehicles.

We have been told that the British Army never used the 106mm Recoilless Rifle but we are not sure how accurate this information is.

We also believe that the vehicles may have been used by the Cypriot National Guard?

So far we have only been able to find one picture (attached) showing one of the vehicles with a visible registration number.

We would be very grateful for any pictures or information, that anyone could provide us with, regarding their conversion or the role that they performed in service.

Thank you,
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I was with 2 Para in Cyprus in the early 60's and Support Coy Anti Tanks used these mounted on land rovers. They were easily mounted on a "Heavy Drop Platform" and pushed out of a "Beverly" Aircraft ( with parachutes !) after the crews had exited. Once on the ground they were quickly 'dismounted' and sped off at a rate of knots. The cage of course was not on, so a 360 degree field of fire was possible. The weapon had a magazine of 5 X 50 cal tracer and the weapon calibrated to the gun. There was a large round button which when pulled fired the tracer, when a hit was scored the button was punched to fire the 106. The lads prided themselves on a crash stop, 106 unlimbered two 50 cal and then the big bang in double quick time. Mind you once you'd fired the first tracer the tank would be looking for you!!

I find it hard to believe that we left anything behind !?

Hope this helps.

To Bombadier

Hi Bombadier, ask your Dad about these.

I will do Airborne and thanks for the info (Y)
Thanks Airborne,

That must have been quite an experience.

The gun you describe sounds exactly like the one we are interested in that was fitted in the vehicle that we are researching. Do you know if they were used by the British Army?

I see from your profile, you are located in Australia. Were you in the Australian military? If so, was the Land Rover you used modified like the one in the black and white picture at the start of the thread, or like the one below which is an Australian version.


Well, as 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment was part of the British Army then I would say yes the Army did use them . It was known as the 106 Recoiless Anti Tank Rifle.We did not set these up as a one off ourselves, they were issued. The one in this photo is the correct mounting, or else you wouldn't be able to traverse the gun. You can see the "Spotter 50 Cal " mounted on top in this photo.

The black and white photo was not set up for "operational"

I came over to Australia long after I left the Army.

I'm in touch with some of the guys that were in during my days and perhaps one of them may have served in Support Coy. I'll ask around and see if I can get more info.

Hi Mike,

Thanks for helping with our research, it's great to get info from people who were actually there at the time....priceless.

We are going to contact the Royal Logistics Corps at Deepcut as they have all the 'B record cards' for all British military vehicles. The records were transferred to Deepcut when the Army Transport Museum at Beverley closed.

The record cards should show when the vehicles entered service with the British Army and a list of all units that the vehicles served with. You never know, they may also state when the vehicles were converted and by whom...although that's a bit too much to hope for really.

We are going to try and get in touch with the REME Museum in Arborfield as they may have records should the vehicles have been converted locally in their workshops whilst in Cyprus.

From your experience, are there any other avenues that you think would be worth following?

Best regards,

I'll put the word out around the Ex Airborne Websites and see what replies I get.

Thanks Mike.

We're trying to find a museum in the UK that has a 106mm recoilless with it's 50 cal spotter and tripod to get an appreciation of its size and take some detailed photos.

These are a couple of feedback replies I had from members of an EX Airborne Web Site.


Yes Mike i used the 106,great weapon and in my opinion better then the Mobat and the Wombat that we got later.
The Americans used them in Vietnam and had one called the "ONTOS" where they had 6 mounted on a mobile (3 each side)
You must remember them Mike in the Battalion as we had them well into the 60s.Unlike the later Mobat & Wombats which were electrically fired,the 106 was mechanical so was not affected by water,unlike the others and was very easy to repair,just fish out the spares and replace.
Tell your friend to click on the lick below,it should tell him what he wants.


I seam to recall a officer getting killed in 56/57? when someone fell against the fireing button while live fireing [he was stood in front of the 106] after which I recall a roughly made metal arched strip being bolted over the fireing button which was in the centre of the elevation wheel ?

Yes Dave i remember hearing about that incident,however there were no safety devices on the "Fine Elevation/Firing Knob" attached to those in 3 Para whilst i was with then.
The weapon was great for us as it could be lifted onto the rear of a Land rover by 3 men with ease,and once locked in position fired from the back of it,and if needed,moved quickly to a new position.We even practiced indirect firing with them in Jebal Ali.
They had 3 types of ammo,HEAT(High explosive Anti Tank)HESH(High Explosive Squash Head) and Canister which fired hundreds of freshets,it could knock out the heaviest Russian tank of the time (JS3)with no problem.
The .5 spotting rifle was ballisticly matched to the main armament,and fired a tracer round with a phosphorous tip, which on hitting the target gave off a smoke burst.From then on it was STANDBY.

Hi Mike,

We have bought two of these Air Portable Land Rovers and are trying to find out as much of their history as possible, particularly regarding who carried out the original conversion to carry the 106 (REME, Land Rover or the Cypriot National Guard).

Over the next couple of years, we will be sympathetically restoring them to a condition as close as possible as to how they would have been used in their role. As we only have the black & White photo at the start of the thread, we haven't much reference material to go on.

We will, depending on cost, try and obtain a deac 106, but if not possible we will make a replica which is why we are trying to locate one within the UK so that we can take detailed pictures/measurements for reference.

Does 2 Para have a museum?

Thanks again for your help.
I have sent an email to Land Rover asking for assistance...watch this space (Y)
Airborne Museum Contact info

For additional information, please contact the curator, Mrs Tina Pittock at the Airborne Forces Museum on 01252 349619
I have spoken with Mrs Pittock this afternoon.

We have sent all the information that we have with a link to this thread for reference.

Thanks again for all your help.
We have now received the following information from the Airborne Forces Museum -

"We are not able to help with your enquiry about Land Rovers as we do not hold the information. I can however tell you that in 1956 the MOD purchased eight 106mm RCL and that these weapons were dropped with 3 PARA into Suez. These weapons were originally mounted on the CHAMP vehicle and were returned to Cyprus at the conclusion of the action. They were again used in Jordan in 1958 by 3 PARA and i also know that the anti-tank platoon of 1 PARA used the same weapon system. It is therefore likely that with the introduction of Land Rover at a time when this weapon was still in service that vehicles were converted, most probably by the REME LAD within the Brigade, to carry the weapon in the same manner that it had been used on the CHAMP. I do not however have the imagery to back this statement".

The Museum also has an Iraqi 106mm RCL from the first Gulf War which we will be able to see when the Museum reopens at Duxford at the end of this year.

I have spoken with the Vehicle Historian at the REME Museum in Arborfield and he is 90% certain that the conversions were carried out by/or for the Cypriot National Guard.

Thank you for all the help so far. Hopefully, we may get more images of the vehicles to help with the restorations.
I'm not sure what you mean, can you explain please?

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