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For many many years the Army's cross country utility vehicles have been predominantly from the stables of Land Rover. The familiar 'Lanny' has been used all over the world in shapes and sizes and series. They have been GS and FFR, soft top and hard top, short wheel base (SWB) or long wheel base (LWB), ¼ ton, ½ ton ¾ ton and 1 ton versions.

More recently we have seen the TUL and TUM in the Wolf series which were uprated with armour and air conditioning for service in Iraq on Operation TELIC.

One of the major selling points of the Land Rover is that the whole vehicle is built out of aluminium alloy, which prevents corrosion and vehicle life in its natural off-road environment. The question has to be asked then, why is it that the MoD don't buy stainless steel nuts, bolts, screws and rivets to attach the myriad of add-ons and extras that they put on the outside of their 'rust-proof' waggons? The only rusty bits on a 'Lanny' are the bits that the MoD have attached after it was bought. Surely a case of 'Best four by four by far... until the MoD get their hands on it?'.

It may be an example of 'perspective' but it did seem that in the time before the 1990s, every regiment had Land Rovers all over the place. You couldn't move for the buggers. The CO had two: one to travel around with on exercise and one to sleep in; every officer had at least one; most Warrant Officers had one and anyone else not on a vehicle crew had one. In fact when the regiment went on exercise most of the waggons were left behind as they weren't needed and besides, the regiment didn't have that many drivers.

Now it's gone completely the other way. The regiment only has three, two of which are VOR and the last one is booked up until Christmas block leave. If you complain to MT they give you the line that "... if you give six weeks notice we can order a 'Lanny' from the RLC pool fleet. What's the problem?"

The problem is this: if it's anything bigger than a troop exercise, every other bugger puts in an order for the 'Lannys' in the RLC Fleet - and it's first come, first served for the four they have available! The SQMS's mail run, Recces and resupply runs are done in his own Shogun, the officers drive round in some subaltern's beat up Mini and the British Army gets a reputation of being rank amateurs.