Bedford QL

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Bedford QL
Bedford Q series truck 1944 2800cc.jpg
A QLR on show
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Service history
Used byBritish Armed Forces
WarsSecond World War
Production history
ManufacturerBedford (General Motors)
No. built52,247
VariantsQL1, QLB, QLC, QLD, QLR, QLT & QLW
Mass7,225 lb (3,277 kg) (empty)
15,400 lb (6,985 kg) (loaded)
Length5.99 m (19 ft 8 in)
Width2.26 m (7 ft 5 in)
Height10 feet / 2.54m
Crew1 + 11 passengers

EngineBedford, 6-cyl 3,519 cc (214.7 cu in) petrol
72 hp (54 kW)
Payload capacitytons
SuspensionWheel, 4x4
156 mi (250 km)

The Bedford QL was a series of trucks, manufactured by Bedford for use by the British Armed Forces in the Second World War.


At the outbreak of WW II, Bedford was contracted by the British War Office to produce a 3 ton 4×4 general service truck. A pilot model was ready in February 1940 and quantity production started in March 1941.[1] The Bedford QL was in production from 1941 to 1945 and was Bedford's first vehicle series built for the military.[2]


Preserved RAF QL refuelling tanker at IWM Duxford
Bofors gun tractor.[2] Approximately 5,500 QLBs were built.[3]
Several QLBs were fitted with shortened GS bodies and recovery cranes to be used as wreckers by the Danish Army (Used until late 1960s).[4]
Fire engine.[2]
Signals vehicle.[2]
Petrol tanker.[2]

General service cargo truck and was the most numerous version in the series.[2]

Battery storage.[2]
Signals vehicle.[2] Originally mounted on the QLC chassis/cab, special QLR chassis were soon put into production, which differed from the standard type in having special electrical equipment, radio suppression, fitment of a 660 W auxiliary generator driven by the transfer case power-take-off and, like the QLT, two 16 gallon petrol tanks instead of one behind the cab. The interior furniture, partitioning and radio equipment varied from the different functions. On vehicles installed for the wireless role, a tent could be erected at the rear. Between cab and man body were lockers for aerial masts and other equipment. Beneath the body were further lockers and racks for cable drums, batteries, tyre chains, 20 gallon drinking water tank, rectifier box, tools, fuel tank for the auxiliary engine, jerrycans and other items. The basic body shells were produced by Duple, Lagonda, Mulliner, Tickford and others. A revised body was introduced in during 1944 for the Command High and Low Power and Wireless High Power roles. This body had an improved "L"-shaped tent which could be erected alongside the left-hand side and rear of the body.[5]
Troop carrier.[2] From August 1941 and until the end of WW II more than 3,300 QLTs were produced.
Air portable tipper.[2]

Lorry, 3 ton, GS Bedford half-track (Bedford-Bren - prototype only)[edit]

Following the fall of Singapore rubber was scarce and so at the request of the Ministry of Supply a Bedford QL was adapted using a Carden Lloyd suspension taken from a Bren Gun Carrier. While the Bedford-Bren was capable of impressive feats of tractive power (which could have been easily produced in its own right as a prime mover) British authorities, unlike the Americans and Germans, did not favour the half-track. The shortage of rubber was not as severe as anticipated and official interest in the project waned. Not only did this British parallel to the German Maultier not go into production, the single prototype was converted back into an all-wheel vehicle.[6]

Lorry, 3 ton, 4 x 4, Bedford, experimental (Bedford Giraffe - prototype only)[edit]

An attempt to make a motor vehicle capable of deep wading for river crossings and amphibious landing, the Bedford Giraffe was developed as insurance against the shallow wading kits under development did not prove effective in deeper water. As a 'plan B' Vauxhall adapted a Bedford GL by mounting its engine, cab and gearbox on an elevated girder frame some seven feet high, with a chain drive transmitting power to the propshaft. The ungainly but effective vehicle demonstrated it was a viable solution should hastily extemporised waterproofing kits fail but they proved effective and so no specialised type was required.[7]



  1. ^ "Danish Army Vehicles".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Ware 2012, p. 199.
  3. ^ "Danish Army Vehicles".
  4. ^ "Danish Army Vehicles".
  5. ^ "Danish Army Vehicles".
  6. ^ Coates, Robert (1994). Bedford to Berlin and Beyond QL: the Forces Favourite 4x4. Motorbooks International. ISBN 9780948358050.
  7. ^ Ellis, Chris; Bishop, Denis. Military Transport of World War II. 167 High Holborn, London WC1V 6PH: Blandford Press Ltd. p. 129. ISBN 0-7137-0702-X.


External links[edit]