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Image Control - Desert Sand to Jungle Mud, Australian Military Vehicles of the Second World War.

ISBN Number: 978-0-6458704-0-4 Publisher: Image Control
Published: Sunday, June 2, 2024 Retail Price: $89.95 USD
Reviewed By: Chuck Aleshire

Image Control

Desert Sand to Jungle Mud

Australian Military Vehicles of the Second World War

Volume 1: Trucks, 1/4 ton (Jeep) and Trailers

This is the first volume in a new series about military vehicles used by Australian forces in World War II. This first volume covers the use of 1/4 ton trucks (jeeps) and the trailers pulled by them.

As a member of the British Commonwealth, World War II Australia was a recipient of much needed military material assistance by means of the Lend Lease bill signed into US law in March of 1941. This law enabled the then-neutral United States to supply vital military material to specified nations which were at war with Axis nations. This military aid was in the form of everything from food to railway locomotives, from small arms to vehicles, aircraft and ships.

Australia was not ready for a conflict as large and widespread as WWII, and greatly needed utility vehicles like the jeep. Australian troops were initially engaged in the North African theater, and later they were largely withdrawn back to Australia and the Southwest Pacific region as the Japanese threat there grew. Wherever it was used,  the jeep was highly prized by Australian troops. 

Vital Statistics

Format - hardcover, portrait format

 Page Count - heavyweight, glossy paper,  233 pages

 Size - 12.0" x 8.5”

Photos -  370 Black & White period images

Tables / Drawings / Diagrams - several diagrams and drawings are provided, the appendices add many tables and drawings.

All text and photo captions are in English

What’s in the Book?

Above - the books table of contents; of particular interest are the many informative appendices. 

The book’s first chapter is listed as “The First of Many” in the table of contents, but is entitled “Introduction” on its title page. Curious…

The authors outline the process that brought jeeps to Australia’s armed forces via Lend-Lease. The first two exploratory jeeps (one each from Ford and Willys) cost the Australians roughly $900 USD each in 1942. In June /July of 1942 the first major shipment of 500 lend-lease jeeps was delivered, with a total of 15,000 jeeps shipped to Australia between 1942 and the end of 1945.

The authors describe the process used to ready jeeps for Aussie use in detail, which includes readying them for the harsh tropical conditions of the Southwest Pacific where most Australian troops were engaged by 1942. 

Chapter 2, The Army Service chapter ( “In Service” on the actual title page ) contains many interesting photographs and well written, informative text. Some text is located on the chapter title page, with the bulk of the text provided via lengthy photograph captions, which are quite descriptive and complete.

The images in this chapter show Aussie jeeps in a wide range of actions and descriptions, mostly located in Australia and the Southwest Pacific (mostly on New Guinea).

The wet, muddy conditions found in the tropical jungles such as on New Guinea made tire chains a common sight, seen above in great images. When I think of chained jeep tires, I automatically think of the snows of northwest Europe, not islands in the Pacific! 

Above - limited numbers of the Ford GPA amphibious jeeps were delivered to Australia, but their performance was determined to be unsuited to the rough water conditions to be found in the Southwest Pacific.

The authors do a great job of describing and picturing the role of the jeeps in Australian service in their island campaigns. As the jeep wasn’t in  widespread use with Australians until mid 1942, don’t expect to see any North African service images, as by then, most troops had returned to serve in the Southwest Pacific. The author also does include some images of Aussie jeeps of the 1950’s.

The book’s third chapter concerns itself with the use of jeeps as ambulances. The mobility of the jeep made them a natural for this, in the rough terrain on the islands of the Southwest Pacific. 

The author includes some nice drawings of the jeep stretcher arrangements used, these would be quite useful if one wants to model Aussie jeep ambulances in the jungles of New Guinea!

Above - there are many highly interesting images in this chapter.

A General Note concerning the photographs in this book - the vast majority of the photographs used in this book are sharp and clear. There are a few that may be a bit dark, but consider the circumstances under which some of these images were made! The inhospitable jungles of Borneo and New Guinea, coupled with close combat with the Japanese would make for tough photographic conditions. The author has selected photos of great interest for this book, with most being clear and large enough for good study of detail.

Chapter 4 addresses the use of jeeps for communications purposes. Above can be seen images of the jeeps and trailers used for wireless and cabled communications methods.

Chapter 5 discusses the use of jeeps for towing artillery, and the issues that the Aussies encountered with this. With the artillery being towed by small vehicles such as the jeep over potentially rough terrain, the Aussies needed to deal with ground clearance issues. The authors do good work in describing these problems, and the solutions worked out by the Australians.

Chapter Six addresses Special purpose jeeps, above we see interesting images of jeeps pressed into duty as railway “locomotives”. Great images are here that would provide references for an interesting jeep modification. Other jeep modifications included in this chapter are jeeps modified to be mobile troop showering stations, laundry cleaning stations and small mobile machine shops! Some nice images of these examples of creative thinking are provided. Necessity IS the mother of invention…especially in the jungles of Borneo and New Guinea.

Chapter 7, Experiments, Tests and Trials outlines Australian efforts to improve the jeep’s performance and durability in the harsh terrain of the Southwest Pacific. Of particular concern to the Aussies was improving traction in muddy conditions, as tire chains were only so effective. As seen above, types of tire grousers were tried.

Also, flying jeeps called “fleeps” were experimented with. Yes, you read that right…this was an effort to land heavier equipment into forward areas, with the jeep converted into a towed auto-giro behind a C-47. This effort never got to the flight test stage, but the engineers were convinced it would work! The project was scrapped in 1943. Great images are provided on this effort, and again, here is a great idea (and reference material) for a truly unique model project.

Chapter 8 addresses RAAF and RAN ( Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Australian Navy ) use of the jeep. The bulk of jeeps used by these branches of the Australian military were employed by the RAAF for air field operations in Australia itself, or on islands of the Southwest Pacific. The RAN got very few jeeps compared to the other branches, with most coming post-war, when the Army didn’t need them. 

This chapter has some really great, classic images of jeeps at island airfields, P40 pursuit planes in the foreground,  palm trees in the background…

The volume’s concluding Chapter 9, covers the trailers hauled by jeeps. Initially, Australian forces used a home grown trailer design, these were found to lack the strength for hard service use, and the American made 1/4 ton trailer was pressed into service instead. 

The book wraps up with a whopping 80+ pages of appendices. These include many reprints of wartime Australian Military Forces documents such as various Mechanical Vehicle Field Specifications manuals. These documents include tables of performance data and general technical information, drawings, and photographs. The amount of raw information in these many appendices is honestly amazing!


When I cracked this book open for the first time, I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect. 233 pages on Australian jeeps?

This book proved to be an engrossing look at Australia’s WWII use of the US 1/4 ton jeep, filled with interesting text and great wartime images. The layout of the book is logical and user-friendly, making it very easy to find areas of special interest to the reader. The addition of such an extensive range of appendices is a bonus, providing a wealth of additional information.

The range of photographs selected by the authors is quite wide and of great interest, with only a relative few images being less than perfect.

The text and photograph captions are of a very high standard, being informative and well written. The photo captions give the reader much good information on what’s pictured. 

233 pages on Australia’s WWII use of the jeep? Given the scope and detail of this book, yes. Most definitely yes. I’d be highly interested to see the follow on volumes that the authors plan for this series of books on Australian Military Vehicles of the Second World War.

Highly Recommended!

Thanks to David Doyle Books for the review copy

Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland

AMPS 2nd Vice President, Midwest Region


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