Cold War relic: Land Rover 109 Ambulance

In 1989 the Cold War came to an end, fortunately we still have the pictures!

These are some previously unseen images of the Land Rover Series 3 ambulance in Dutch Army service. The government of the Netherlands purchased 534 examples of the Mickleover Transport Co. Ltd built battlefield ambulance. That battlefield would have been Germany, where an attack by the Russians was imminent every moment between the second world war and 1989. Thankfully these underpowered Land Rovers never saw proper action.

The first example for Holland was delivered in 1979 and they were used – or kept in storage – until the late 1990’s, when they were replaced by the Mercedes 290 GD ambulance, which entered service in 1992. All Land Rover ambulances received a registration number starting with KX and then 4 digits. The lowest was KX-47-00 going up to KX-52-11, another batch was issued with KX-52-64 to KX-52-84.

Most were sold through government sales. Some found their ways to other armies abroad, quite a few were transformed to camping vehicles and others were stripped from their ambulance body and fitted with a regular 109 ‘pick-up’ backside. These days it is extremely difficult to find an example that has not been modified, and prices for good, original examples are finally on the way up.

Dutch conscripts training for a Russian attack
This Land Rover ambulance is flanked by a Daf YP-408, a Dutch made armoured infantry vehicle

Images from Ronald Janus’ private collection

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