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Old 10-11-04, 15:34
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Default Canvas-covered square roof hatch

I found the picture shown below in Bellona's Military Vehicle Data Number Four, and it is credited to the R.E.M.E. Museum. It seems to have been pictured in either the North African or Italian theatre. Why I have posted it here is because this Dodge T-110-L-4 3-ton 4x2 Stores Truck has a canvas-covered square roof hatch. The booklet mentioned also shows the same type of hatch on a Karrier K6 3-ton 4x4 GS truck in a desert paint scheme. I have also seen pictures of American half-ton Dodges in British service in North Africa fitted with these type of hatches.
It looks like a North African campaign modification, done at a time when most trucks were not yet delivered with factory-fitted roof hatches even though they were operated in vast, open areas without air superiority - in other words: urgent need for some crew member to keep an eye on the sky.




I have never seen any of these hatches on preserved trucks, although Erwin's Dodge D15 probably used to have one fitted:



Question: who knows more about these square canvas-covered roof hatches? I suspect they were made as retrofit kits to be fitted by workshops in-theatre.

Thanks & regards,
Hanno

Last edited by Hanno Spoelstra; 03-01-13 at 23:23. Reason: fixed links
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  #2  
Old 12-01-05, 22:18
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Default Re: canvas-covered square roof hatch

Here's a picture of a Dodge D8A/T212 with one of these hatches (note the sun visor!):



Picture source

The Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War Online! hosted by the The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre
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  #3  
Old 15-02-05, 22:56
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Default Re: canvas-covered square roof hatch

Quote:
Originally posted by Hanno Spoelstra
... canvas-covered square roof hatch ... looks like a North African campaign modification, done at a time when most trucks were not yet delivered with factory-fitted roof hatches ...
Looks like another example of this type of hatch:

Source: Chevrolet C60L with early GS body

Last edited by Hanno Spoelstra; 03-01-13 at 23:24. Reason: fixed links
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Old 16-02-05, 00:44
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Default Re: canvas-covered square roof hatch

Quote:
Originally posted by Hanno Spoelstra
who knows more about these square canvas-covered roof hatches? I suspect they were made as retrofit kits to be fitted by workshops in-theatre.
Hanno,

As a quick answer, No. 4 Base Workshops REME in the Middle East, based around Cairo, produced 38,700 observation hatches for B vehicles in the period between Jan 42 and Aug 44.

Richard
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  #5  
Old 16-02-05, 09:05
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Default Re: Re: canvas-covered square roof hatch

Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Farrant
No. 4 Base Workshops REME in the Middle East, based around Cairo, produced 38,700 observation hatches for B vehicles in the period between Jan 42 and Aug 44.
Richard, thank you!
Any more where this information comes from?

Hanno
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  #6  
Old 16-02-05, 10:09
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Default Re: Re: Re: canvas-covered square roof hatch

Quote:
Originally posted by Hanno Spoelstra
Any more where this information comes from?
Hanno,

Any more what ?

It was late last night when I sent that, with a little more time, I may find something else relating to this. It comes from an official report in REME and predecessors activities during WW2.

Richard
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  #7  
Old 16-02-05, 11:42
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Default Re: canvas-covered square roof hatch

Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Farrant
Any more what ?
Richard, more information like the name of the report it came from. Any mention about the type of B vehicles they were fitted to? Pictures, sketches?

Thanks!
Hanno
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Old 16-02-05, 19:51
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Default Re: Re: canvas-covered square roof hatch

Quote:
Originally posted by Hanno Spoelstra
Richard, more information like the name of the report it came from. Any mention about the type of B vehicles they were fitted to? Pictures, sketches?
Hanno,

From one of a series of "restricted" books published by The War Office in 1951, titled Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Volume 2 - Technical.

No other info other than that, if it had been a more complex task such as engine reclamation or some such, there would have been more interesting facts. No pictures, either.

Richard
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  #9  
Old 02-03-05, 22:57
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Default Re: Re: Re: canvas-covered square roof hatch

Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Farrant
No other info other than that, if it had been a more complex task such as engine reclamation or some such, there would have been more interesting facts. No pictures, either.
Richard, thanks for the background info.
With 38,700 observation hatches produced and the huge numbers of Canadian vehicles in the Middle East and North African, I'm surprised I haven't come across more pictures of these hatches. Maybe it's because it's hardly know the cab with hatched roof was optional on all models?

H.


Source: Interesting pic of CMP

Last edited by Hanno Spoelstra; 03-01-13 at 23:22. Reason: fixed links
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  #10  
Old 02-03-05, 23:13
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: canvas-covered square roof hatch

Quote:
Originally posted by Hanno Spoelstra
Richard, thanks for the background info.
With 38,700 observation hatches produced and the huge numbers of Canadian vehicles in the Middle East and North African, I'm surprised I haven't come across more pictures of these hatches.

Hanno,

Don't forget that at this period, practically all British vehicles did not have a roof hatch or cupola ring. It could be these that were converted.

Richard
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  #11  
Old 14-02-10, 14:24
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Ford F15 with canvas roof hatch, pictured in the Western Desert. Note the air recognition roundel on the roof and roof hatch.

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Old 07-02-18, 08:22
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Default

Photo via Les Freaty:

Note the canvas roof hatch on the CMP Cab 11/12.

Also, one of the roofs has a sun compass bracket fitted.

Therefore I reckon this photo was made in North Africa, or shortly thereafter in Italy.

Click image for larger version

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