‘Get the squaddies in the CV it’s all gone for a ball of chalk’ – driving these off road military vehicles will immerse you in British Army life albeit in a quiet corner of the Dorset countryside!
You are about to be conscripted onto this military driving experience near Bournemouth. All of these off-roaders are genuine ex-Army and will have seen a fair bit of action in their careers serving with the British Forces. If these vehicles could talk we’re sure they’d be a fair few anecdotes and tales to tell of danger and heroism in the face of adversity.
Military vehicles working on your off-road day might vary but there are trucks armoured personnel carriers and jeeps to give idea of the sort of calibre of army transport you could be driving. One of the most intriguing in the fleet is the Land Rover 101 Forward Control. Known as the Land Rover One Tonne thanks to its ability to tow a field gun and carry a tonne of ammo this Landy was never produced in a civil version so it’s really quite an honour to be able to drive one.
The oldest resident at this Bournemouth-based military vehicle centre is the Austin Champ Jeep. When the British Army wanted a UK-built Jeep-style 4×4 light truck Austin won the contract. Designated the FV1801A the first one rolled off the Longbridge production line in 1951 and they were used in field combat roles as everything from field ambulances to telecoms trucks. The one here is armoured with a (decommissioned) .303 Bren gun.
And the most recognised of these off road military vehicles in Bournemouth has to be the Humber Pig. At the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland nearly 500 of these armoured personnel carriers were deployed there. Known as battle buses or battle taxis the FV1611 was a British military stalwart from the 1950s to the 1990s.
Now these off road military vehicles in Bournemouth may have retired but that’s not to say they’re treated with kid gloves. Each and every one of the fleet still has a serious amount of torque and power so much so that learning to handle it will have you properly concentrating throughout your 45 minute drive.