WAD-22D Three Crew for Ford Model T “IMSHI” – Australian 1st Light Car Patrol 1917
The Long Range Desert Group was the brain child of Major Ralph Gagnold, Royal Signal Corps. To understand how the LRDG came about we must go back to 1916.
Italy had occupied Lybia in 1911, and although had been at war with the Senussi, an Islamic Religious sect, with Germany’s help they were able to persuade the Senussi to join the fight against the British. The Senussi were expert raiders who could seemingly strike from nowhere and then disappear. Their usual method of attack was on camel back, and the Senussi were better fighters on camel back and they knew the desert well than the British camel mounted regiments which were initially formed to combat the Senussi threat.
The senussi camels were however vulnerable to artillery and machine gun fire. But mobility was needed to chase down the raiders. The answer came from the use of armoured cars, specifically the Rolls-Royce, but they could not keep pace with the fast moving camels, and were quick to bog down in the desert. What was needed was a lighter more reliable car, that could move swiftly and carry the additional fire power.
This was the modified Ford Model T and gave birth to the Light Car Patrols.
The LCP patrols operated in modified Ford Model T’s armed with Lewis machine guns, had wider tires, radiator condensers, and primitive sun compasses. By a combination of LCP’s, Rolls Royce armoured cars, camel corps, and BE2 aircraft, the British were able to defeat the Senussi. With the end of WW1 the LCP was disbanded, however the lessons were not forgotten.