The humble jeep (more properly the Willys MB and Ford GPW), known in US service parlance by the rather long-winded designation ‘US Army Truck, ¼ Ton, 4×4, Command Reconnaissance’ is without doubt one of the most iconic vehicles of the Second World War. Used extensively by the US and Allies throughout the war and afterwards, over 650,000 were produced – compare this to the roughly 50,000 Kübelwagen produced by Germany! Beloved for its simplicity, reliability, and endless utility, it spawned a series of four-wheel drive vehicles that endures to the present day – its descendants still serve in militaries around the world!

Throughout the war, the jeep served in all theatres with distinction, in every conceivable role, from reconnaissance and light cargo carrying to casualty evacuation and even artillery towing. On the Bolt Action tabletop, it’s just as versatile, and we make a lot of variants – today, we’ll take a look at them.

We’ll start with the basic model, from Armies of the United States:

What we have here is a cheap and cheerful light transport, perfect for getting small teams such as officers and flamethrowers around the board. It can also tow a light anti-tank gun, which makes it a fantastic utility vehicle to have in your list if you’ve got a gun that needs moving. Alternatively, it can be fielded in the Armoured Car slot, replacing its transport capacity with either a Medium or Heavy machine gun. This can be a great way to get some cheap, mobile firepower into your force, especially if you’ve got a few points spare. Our range includes both MMG and HMG variants, as well as a version crewed by paratroopers for all you Airborne players out there.

Also for the US Airborne we have two variants of the armoured jeep – this rather ad-hoc modification consists simply of a regular jeep with armour plate welded to the front, sides, and windshield. Various weapons were carried, but the most common were an MMG (rules for which can be found in Campaign: Market Garden) or the rather concerning anti-tank punch of a pair of bazookas, from Campaign: Battle of the Bulge. Both variants are immune to small-arms fire from the front, and have the ever-useful Recce special rule, perfect for ‘shoot-and-scoot’ attacks.  While a little more costly in terms of points, they’re well worth the investment if used well. Our model represents the MMG-armed version, and with a couple of US Weapons sprues can easily be modified into the bazooka-toting tankbuster.

The jeep’s use was widespread throughout the Allies – the British Army made good use of the type in many roles, particularly the legendary British Airborne units. All British forces can use the same ‘generic’ jeep as the US (adding a British driver to the standard US model achieves the desired results nicely), while the Airborne can make use of the Recce jeep, armed with a Vickers gun and (of course) the Recce rule. These frequently towed small cargo trailers for the lightly-equipped paras, and our model represents this. We also have the British Airborne Signals Jeep – the perfect transport for any brave Airborne officer.

The Soviet Union received many thousands of jeeps under the Lend-Lease programme. While they also produced their own models (most notably the Gaz 64 and 67 series), a Soviet army would be just as likely to field a jeep as a home-grown vehicle in many cases. As with the British, a simple driver swap and coat of paint is all that’s needed to get it looking just right!

Finally, the most shadowy and perhaps infamous operators of the Jeep were the British Special Air Service – the legendary SAS. These hard-bitten daredevils specialised in raiding deep behind enemy lines, sowing chaos and destruction and tying up entire regiments with just a handful of men, and the jeep was perfect for their use. Heavily modified for rough terrain and bristling with as many guns as could be crammed on to them, the SAS jeeps saw service in both Africa and Europe. As these modifications were entirely ad hoc, no two SAS vehicles were the same – for this reason, we have two different sculpts for the desert variants, as well as another for North-West Europe. You could also really go to town and modify one of the standard models for even more variety! On the tabletop, they boast no fewer than three LMGs, as well as a powerful HMG, along with the Recce rule. For a mere 60 points at Regular, they’re a great way to fill an armoured car slot in any British list including the feared SAS.

Soldiers, start your engines! It’s time to add everyone’s favourite utility vehicle to your armies!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like