The Registry Of Ex-Military Land-Rovers Au, NZ, etc Land-Rover Series 2 + Series 2A Gunbuggy 106 RCL

"The Australian Army's most POWerful Land-Rovers"

The Land-Rover 'Gunbuggy' variant conversions were carried out on some (existing) Series 2 and (brand new) Series 2A ¼ ton G.S. Land-Rovers in the 1963-64 for the use in the Anti Tank role. The Army procured 72 of the 106mm RCL guns for use on Land-Rovers and M113 APCs. The Gunbuggy conversions on SWB Land-Rovers were carried out by RAEME (3 Base Workshops Broadmeadows Vic) and there some 'in-service' as late as 1996 (!!!!), seeing activity in Vietnam in their first decade of service.Click pic for bigger version of photo As a typical example, the Logbook from Gunbuggy 112-655 (24303650A 13/12/63) records the conversion being carried out at an odometer reading of 185 miles and taking 301 man-hours (the logbook also refers to the whole vehicle/unit as NSN 2320-66-036-9735).

The Gunbuggy was the primary medium-range anti-armour weapon of RAR. How many Gunbuggys were made and 'in-service'? Reference info on the Gunbuggy was as good as non-existant until Mike Cecil, a researcher attached to the Australian War Memorial, published his article detailing the Australian Army's platforms for their M40A1 106mm Recoilless Rifles (Army magazine 8/02):

  • Land-Rover 88" Gunbuggys = 69 units
    • Series 2 Gunbuggys = 24 units
    • Series 2A Gunbuggys = 45 units
  • A couple of Land-Rover Series 3 109" trial units.

88" Gunbuggy Conversion details:

  • Photographs of Gunbuggy specific details can be found on the What makes it a Gunbuggy? page.
  • Fitted For Rifle 106mm -(Kit LV6/MT/C100064), aka "Gunbuggy" aka M40A1 106mm Recoilless Rifle (RCL)
    • 3.4m barrel fitted with .50 cal "spotting gun" on top
    • range 750m moving target, 1700m static target
    • Ammunition HEAT 17kg round, HEPT 17kg round
    • Traverse limit 360° Elevation limits -17° to +65°
  • seatbelts fitted (vehicle used as fast as possible) because doors were permanently removed as well as roof, tailgate etc
  • beefed up rear suspension and rear chassis (copes with extra weight and shock)
  • front face of front mudguard panels given "Minerva" treatment in Series 2 and 2A, as a reinforcement measure, and also side cutaway treatment added to Series 2A
  • seat bulkhead cut away in the centre to allow gun support at centre crossmember of chassis
  • barrel clamp ring fixed centrally to top of firewall (so no windscreen) -twin small windshields clamped on with attachments instead
  • wipers arranged thru the 2 ventilation panels (redundant in reality as windshields only used on parade)
  • weapon clamps on seatbox and ammo box on vertical area of bulkhead below dash controls
  • removal of standard spare tyre mounts
  • twin fuel tanks and joining tap fitted in seatbox, with toolbox in centre
  • fuel fillers removed to allow for shell stowage (fuel tank caps accessed under seats)
  • grab rails fitted inside top corners of rear tub
  • exhaust muffler location modified to facilitate barrel cleaning rod stowage in a tube welded in line with chassis PTO hole (swing coverplate fitted)
  • extensive rear bodywork alteration to facilitate stowage of six 106mm shells parallel within sides of rear body (shell tubes extend to seat bulkhead, 3 each side)
  • rear floor has steel channel or rut to guide front wheel of gun "tripod" and mounting for rear legs of "tripod"
  • tools to allow removal of gun to facilitate use in emplacement, airlift or "man packing" (219kg -ugh!) into high ground etc and
  • camo netting mounted various, ditto radio, jerry cans, packs.

Operational Information:

  • operated in pairs
  • bravery required here as you have zero protection from bullets, schrapnel, artillery and tank fire etc, (in common with all fellow infantry) and you are sitting on a prime target
  • hazardous when braking hard at speed in reverse
  • need to hear team members instructions means unsuitability of helmets and the use of ear muffs (many operators have some hearing loss)
  • crewed by (members selected for ability at speed)
    1. driver
    2. gun loader
    3. gunner
    4. "commander/navigator" (usually LCPL or CPL)
  • in a 1960's context this two unit team could get very close to enemy position (by virtue of SWB mobility, low silhouette, comparatively low vehicle noise & weight -not tracked), and either dig-in and surprise ambush (then leave scene ASAP) or, in open action, come to a screaming stop and fire, reload and move off ASAP. The latter action would be over in 15-20 seconds. There is strong motivation to get "out-of-range" as mentioned above, not to mention air attack/retaliation: strictly "shoot 'n scoot"...
  • Gun by Springfield U.S.A. carried 7 shell capacity divided usually to 4 armour, 3 soft target
  • ex-crew comments...
    • "It's a pig to drive."
    • "Anywhere in a 30m radius to the rear is a no-go area -severe shock or bleeding ears or else."
    • "The buggy was good till the first shot - after that the fuel gauge, indicator and brake light filaments, and panel lights were all U/S."
    • "Tankies get upset on exercises. We "knocked out" heaps of Leopards in 2 hours. That's worth millions."

The Australian engineered and built Gunbuggy variant is the longest serving Land-Rover conversion to date. There were withdrawn from service in the middle of the 1990's. Expensive conversions were not replaced as often as G.S. variants of course, but this is also a case of not needing or not having something to supercede the 106mm RCL. It is the "relatively perfect" anti-armour weapon, in that a 106mm slug will penetrate armour; deeply and profoundly. So mechanical components were replaced (such as motor and drivetrain) as the years went by. Another example of long service is the Ambulance conversion (aka blood box) that spent years 'in-service' from 1963 to 1991, also because of the prohibitive replacement costs of the bodywork.

Vehicle Layout:

The below photos illustrate the layout of a Gunbuggy and are taken from RAAC Training Vol 3 Pam 2 106mm recoilless rifle M40A1 1963.

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Land-Rover Series 2 Gunbuggy


The Series 2 Gunbuggy pictured below was with the 8/9 RAR (Royal Australian Regiment) "Heavy Weapons Platoon" until taken "out of battle order" in 1995/96. This gunbuggy (sometimes called 'sportscar') is the first / earliest issued; Army Registration Number, 110-395. ref Gunbuggy ARN's

It is only part of the fascinating and extensive Infantry Corps weaponry, uniforms, maps, diaries, battlefield souveniers and memorabilia collection at The Royal Australian Infantry Corps Museum (website) RAINF Insignia

Lone Pine Barracks Singleton Camp
New South Wales 2330 Australia (fax 02 65703427)
Open Wednesday thru Sunday.
Follow roadsign directions from New England Highway intersection near Whittingham.

Make Land-Rover (Rover Australia P/L) Model SWB 88" Series 2
Manuf. date 16/12/58 Production CKD RHD export
Army Census 6005 Engine Petrol 2286cc
Contract number C104337
Chassis 143901279B ARN 110-395

Rifle dated 16/08/61 serial 13564 weight 465 lbs


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Land-Rover Series 2A Gunbuggy


Bandiana Series 2A exhibit
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John's Series 2A Gunbuggy pics
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Series 2A on exercise
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Dennis' Series 2A Gunbuggy pics
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Land-Rover Gunbuggy "In Service"


The below photographs came from John Schroeder and this is what he had to say about the photos and the vehicles as he recalls them.

I have attached the 106 RCL photos for you to put on REMLR. The ARNs of those that were resident in Gippsland (A Sqn 4/19 PWLH) were 112-510 112-655 & 113-253. As far as I can work out they arrived in 1973, but had been at 4/19 PWLH depot at Park St. Princess Hill for a couple of years before that.

They would have left about 1980, I’m not too sure on that I had left the Tpt supervisor’s job and transferred to RAEME and took on the tech sect.


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Copyright John Schroeder

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Copyright John Schroeder

A list of known Gunbuggy ARN's
More details on Australian Military Land-Rovers fleet numbers and paint schemes.


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