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The Gen on this Cold War Era Saxon APC

To paraphrase the immortal words of the late and lamented Gunner Milligan, "a tin full of squaddies." Normally Mechanised Infantry, although you could find them full of REME or medics.

Saxon Armoured Personnel Carrier

AT105 Wheeled APC - The Cheap Battle Taxi

According to the MOD

" a battlefield taxi ... Essentially a mine-proof lorry"

Oh dear, where do we start?

  • Well, this is clearly before the MOD discovered "anti-tank mines", which actually take out really heavily armoured vehicles (and not just the tracks, so stop it).
  • You try getting a section of infanteers, and all of their kit, into a taxi - even a London black cab. You'll get complaints (even from 3 Para Mortar Platoon).
Brief Stats (allegedly)
* AT-105 Saxon 4x4 armoured vehicle personnel carrier
* Developed by the British Company GKN Defence 
* Successor to the AT-104
* Standard: Bedford 500 6-cylinder diesel engine developing >160 bhp 
* Patrol/Ambulance: Cummins 6BT 5.91 diesel 6-cylinder >160 bhp
* In service from 1976 - 2008
* Technical Data Sheet online
* Armoured against 7.62 AP rounds at point-blank range
* Deflect or retard incoming 155 mm artillery shell fragments
* Further information on the Saxon AT105 APC is on

A cynic (moi?) might say that it was a cheap way of getting the Infantry in to one place so they can be wiped out by a single RPG or HE tank round. Maybe some Cavalry Officer's daughter had an interesting night out with some toms while he was running a major MOD project.


   * AT105A - Armoured Ambulance
   * AT105E - Turret armed with one or two machine guns
   * AT105MR - 81 mm mortar
   * AT105C - Command vehicle
   * ARV - Recovery vehicle

A Tom's Opinion

Never a forward battlefield wagon per se, with space for eight bods or ten sardines the Saxon APC was in fact a cheap and limited, lightly-armoured Cold War personnel carrier. Built for standardised 'economy of spares and repairs' and based on a revised Bedford M series 4x4 truck chassis: other commercially available odds and sods were added on. Bottom line: the Saxon APC was a bastardised, lightly-armoured Bedford lorry.

It gained a bad reputation in Bosnia, but Saxon could be versatile - if used wisely - in hostile urban roles. It was used in N.I. on OP BANNER, modified with 'wing' attachments for troop protection. The AT105 N.I. Patrol version had several extras including floodlights and a detachable ram for use against barricades. Also sold to other countries, this was a viable and versatile battle wagon in its day. However, it will always be a sort of limited armoured lorry best kept off the front line.

Saxon Armoured Personnel Carrier (OP BANNER)


* "Top-heavy, with weak protection"
* Vulnerable to enemy AT weapons 
* Big problems with its CofG with the MG turret
* Taken out of service after roll-overs in Bosnia
* Troop carrier blamed for deaths of troops

Provider of the effect known to cavalry officers as 'saxon drag', whereby their tracked vehicles leave the infantry so far behind they serve no practical purpose (and we all know what happens to armour when they don't have infantry support!).

According to CGS in Soldier magazine - link defunct - Saxon's replacement was delayed for a couple of years. Isn't life fine.


* Saxon was put out to grass in 2008, ODHSNM.
* "'Useless' Saxon Vehicles Surprisingly Useful In Ukraine" (2016).
* Sir Richard Dannatt called the AT105 APC "useless" (2015).
* A decent article on the Saxon APC can be read here. 

External references

The Independent:

Military Today:

SAXON Bovington Tankfest 2008.

Defence 24:

Daily Telegraph: