Monday, December 13, 2010


The Sd.Kfz 250/5 "GREIF" - Shots of Rommel in his SdKfz 250/5 "GREIF". GREIF translates as GRIFFIN or CONDOR or ATTACK!
1-35 Scale Model from TAMIYA from Verlinder Publications 1984

The Sd.Kfz 250 "IGEL" Another Rommel's Command Car
IGEL translates as HEDGEHOG

The Sd.Kfz 250 "ADLER" Another Rommel's Command Car
ADLER translates as EAGLE.


The Dorchester 4 X 4 Armoured Command Vehicle was manufactured by A.E.C. around the Matador chassis. It had a cab-over-engine design (95 b.h.p. A.E.C. diesel) and was designated either H.P. (high power) with an RCA receiver and one No. 19 Wireless set, or L.P. (low power) with one No. 19 and one No. 19 H.P. set. The H.P. typically had an air vent grill on the left side while the L.P. type the air vent grill on the right. Some H.P. vehicles also had a square projection on the bonnet to attach camouflage as a lorry.

Being very popular with the troops, the Dorchester was used extensively throughout W.W.II from 1941 and on into the 1950s. The driving compartment and radio area in the front of the vehicle was sometimes separated from the rear of the vehicle by a wall with a door on the left side, and this main compartment in the rear could be configured in any of a number of seating/map table arrangements. There is currently at least one Dorchester on public display; it is preserved in Duxford's Land Warfare Hall in England.

The Dorchester was used by British armored formation headquarters and is found in North Africa from 1941 on. At least three of these vehicles were captured by the Germans early in the North African campaign and used with great joy by the DAK, being christened "Mammoths" by them. The first two vehicles captured probably came from the hapless 2nd Armored Division (number "2" and another) during one of Rommel's lightning strikes in April of 1942. Both were presented to Rommel's HQ, one being WH819834, named "Moritz" by his officers, and showing the black-white-red corps standard of the Afrika Korps on the front fender.

Other photos of the time period identify vehicles being used by General Cruwell (perhaps one of the original two given to Rommel), one marked as 21st Panzer Division on the front fender, and one used by the G.O.C. of 5th Light Division to the end of the North African campaign. There are other desert photographs of Dorchesters while still in British hands, such as L4426428 (number "5") in Tobruk. All of the photos show vehicles painted in the British "counter" striped camouflage pattern of the time (dark gray, sky blue and sand tan), sometimes covered with crude washes of mud or with camo nets.

Among the vehicles captured by the DAK on the outskirts of Mechili during 7 - 8 April, 1941, were three Armored Command Vehicles. These originally belonged to Maj.-Gen. Gambier-Parry, commander of 2nd Armoured Division; Lt.-Gen. Sir Phillip Neame V.C., commander of 8th Army; and Lt.-Gen. Sir Richard O'Connor, Assistant Commander 8th Army. Two were captured when their drivers made a wrong turn and ran right into advance elements of the German 3rd Recce Unit.

The Germans named one Moritz and another Max, after characters in a children's story by Wilhelm Busch. When Rommel landed his Storch at Mechili to inspect the two vehicles, he found in one of them a set of Perspex sun and sand goggles. Rommel is reported to have said, "Booty is permissable I assume; even for a general". The goggles became the hallmark of Rommel in the desert campaign, often seen above the visor of his cap. Or so says H.W.Schmidt in "With Rommel in the Desert".

In David Irwin's "The Trail Of The Fox", the German war reporter Fritz Lucke describes it as: "An armored box as big as a bus, on giant balloon tires as big and fat as the undercarriage wheels of a Junkers transport plane. The walls are windowless and painted in blue-gray camouflage shades. Only the driver and his co-driver have windshields, protected behind armored visors".

MORITZ: After its capture this ACV numbered 2 was used by Rommel in its original condition for a short time. It was then painted German Sand with a mottle of of light grey or blue. However, the rear of the vehicle was left in the original British "dazzle" camouflage of Sand, Light Blue and Dark Blue. Large German crosses were added to front, sides and rear. The German tank company rhomboid was added to the front right-hand mud guard and on the opposite fender it carried the 21st Pz.Div. symbol with the DAK palm below it. Moritz later received another coat of Desert Sand, but the rear still remained untouched. Now the lower portion of the engine bonnet was painted white and a brand new number plate added, which was WH-819-834. The side crosses were also enlarged. The name "Moritz" now appeared on the bonnet sides in white. The Corps HQ sign was mounted in a metal sleeve welded to the front left wing with the DAK palm in black above it. To the left and lower appeared the Bn. HQ sign in black.

"Moritz" on the move, taken in June of 1941, the original being a Bundesarchiv photo. The name "Moritz" has been painted over the British vehicle ID number, and the German number appears at the bottom of the bonnet as WH 819834. You can see the lower sand color af the cammo and it's junction with the sky blue on the side.
This shot is a close-up frontal view of the same vehicle, showing the name "Moritz" on the side, just above the fender headlamp, and the command emblem on the mud guard with a black DAK palm symbol directly above it. (The National Archives).
MAX: the ACV numbered 3 became "Max", and seems to have remained in its original British colors. Over this was added the German crosses, plus the DAK palm on the front right-hand mud guard. Its number plate became WH-819-835.

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  1. A great general and a professional army. Hats off to 19 and 21 Pz Divs, you wrote textbooks in North Africa. I wish I had a chance to pay respects to these two divs and their astounding FM Rommel.

    "Tobruk....every commander on the leading tank....." here we come....soldiering at its best.

  2. Such a nice Blog indeed! color scheme is just awesome! used cars houston

  3. Apparently Herr Rommell also used a Morris or Ford FAT (Field Artillery Tractor) with the gun limber emptied of 25pdr shells and loaded with his maps! I have only recently seen a model of this and as yet no photos of the real thing.

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  5. an excellent site, thanks for the research and presentation!