12 Nov 2019

Monty's Caravan from Pithead Miniatures

I have always wanted to make a set of Monty's Caravan ever since I saw them on display at the land warfare museum at Duxford. The three vans were used as an office van, a living van and a map lorry. Unlike most allied generals Montgomery did not stay in requisitioned houses or Hotels but lived a frugal life close to the front in what he called his tactical headquarters which comprised of these three specialist caravans.

Monty used similar command methods to the Duke of Wellington, he had a group of young intelligent junior officers known as “Gallopers” acting on his behalf who were sent out each day to gather information on what was happening at the front and they would return each evening and brief the Field Marshall on their findings, this method of command meant the Montgomery “kept a grip” on what was going on so was the best informed of all allied Generals because nothing could be concealed from him.

Monty first acquired the office van which was originally used by Italian General Annibale “Electric Whiskers” Bergonzoli and was captured in 1941. The second vehicle was the Living van which was previously owned by Field-Marshall Giovanni Messe, commander of the Italian First Army in which Montgomery hung portraits of his opposition Generals, these two van bodies were originally mounted on the beds of Lancia trucks so had to be remounted on allied chassis so respectively a US Mack truck and a Leyland Retriever were used.

Following the invasion of Italy Montgomery mentioned he would like to acquire a third vehicle to be used as a map lorry so when he returned to the UK in 1943 he was presented with a coach built articulated lorry based on a Fordson chassis specially made by the British Trailer Company in Manchester England and this was used throughout the North West European campaign. All three Caravans were donated by Montgomery to the nation following his death in 1976.

Monty's Caravan

Monty's Caravan picture 1

Monty's Caravan picture 2

Pithead Miniatures               

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