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Ford 917s in British service?


bootneck

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I've just been reading the response, by @Kingsman in the WW2 British Home Guard Improvised Vehicles thread, where there is a photo of a Ford 917 in British service.  I would be interested to learn how many types of this vehicle, either military or civilian, could have been in use in Britain?  I have the ICM Ford 917T kit and have been looking to use in a British setting. If there were both military and civilian types then I may get another kit and do both.

cheers,
Mike

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The ICM kit is a Cologne-spec 1939 G917 or 997 (the difference was the engine).  G for Germany, 9 for 1939, 1 or 9 for engine and 7 for 157" wheelbase.  Can't remember what the T is for.  Germany did not adopt the 1940 model 018 with 158" wheelbase, but did adopt the 1941 model with the vertical slatted grille as the V3000 just before the USA entered the war.  Henry Ford had done a dirty deal with the Nazis over his continued ownership of Ford Germany, as indeed had GM with Opel.

 

I believe there were some slight differences in the cab pressings between German G917 and UK E917 production, but I doubt you will find anyone who knows the difference. But the ICM nose is the wrong profile and slightly too long forward of the front wings, but there is no correction for that other than DIY.  The Dnepro models' 1/35 resin cabs and Ace's or Hunor's in 1/72 might be more accurate, if a lot more expensive in 1/35.

 

That cab and "barrel nose" bonnet design had been used on the earlier Ford GB 1938 models too.  The one in this brochure photo (lower left) is a shorter (134") wheelbase E814.  FYI the 018 (lower right) was the chassis used on the Rolls-Royce-Fordson armoured car conversion, with a single 014.  The butt-ugly COE 7V (top right) was a GB-unique Ford model.  The WOT series rapidly replaced the militarised commercial products so Ford GB did not produce civilian models other than the 7V after 1940.

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One of the most common uses of the barrel nose Ford 817/917/018 was as a balloon winch or GS truck by the RAF.  IIRC the trucks were originally intended as searchlight carriers.  They had a tandem rear bogie 6x4 conversion and extended rear chassis by County Tractors as the Fordson Sussex.  I believe the RAF might have had some 4x2 817s or 917s, being more dependant on civilian-pattern lorries pre-WW2.  Once war began, many were impressed for Armadillo conversion.  All 4 of the trucks shown in the photo @bootneckmentioned are different, and none are types recognised as miltary use.  Probably all impressed civilian.  Vanderveen says the E018 30cwt 4x2 was in use in addition to the 817/917 6x4 but fails to specify with whom or in what role.  I would lean towards RAF.  They seem to have been particularly camera-shy.

 

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This one is definitely a searchlight carrier, and therefore Army.  I believe the one above is too.  Different body and tilt cover from the GS.

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These 2 are being used as improvised fire tenders.  The right hand one apparently at a USAAF base.  Hard to tell if the rear setups are the same.

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The V3000 is actually more useful for Commonwealth than the 917 as that 1941 model was built in Canada and Australia and supplied to the UK by Canada as Modified Commercial Pattern.  A Marmon-Herrington 4WD conversion would be exceptionally useful here, especially for Australian use.  However, Dnepro do have a 4x4 chassis cab - but hard-top.

 

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1939 and 1940 models together.  Australian artillery tractor variant as above.

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Edited by Kingsman
Correction
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