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Home > Features > Military Land Rovers > MLR 37 ~ Armoured Czech Army Defenders

MLR 37 ~ Armoured Czech Army Defenders

Czech Armoured Land Rover Mk.2 near FOB HADRIAN, Afghanistan, October 2008 [ ©Yves Debay† ]
In the Czech Army Defenders Part 2 (MLR 35) article I made passing reference to an Armoured Czech Army Land Rover D110 spotted at IDET 2005 in Brno, writes Bob Morrison.

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That article had hardly been published when, as is often the way, I discovered some images which add to the story during a search for a totally different subject on an archive hard drive. However rather than editing the original article and further lengthening it, I have created this separate mini-feature on the discretely armoured Defender 110 version as deployed by the Czech contingent to ISAF in Afghanistan in 2008.

These images were captured by our much-missed photojournalist friend Yves Debay, who was assassinated in Syria in 2013. Back in October 2008 Yves visited the small Czech contingent deployed with the Dutch-led Task Force Uruzgan at the remote FOB (Forward Operating Base) HADRIAN some 60km to the west of the Uruzgan Province capital of Tarin Kowt. According to notes Yves included with the images, the 63-strong Czech unit was from an NBC battalion and they had exchanged their BRDM-2 armoured personnel carriers for armoured Land Rovers. Their mission at FOB HADRIAN was to guard the compound and monitor the surrounding area from Observation Post JAVA. Knowing of my interest in armoured Land Rover variants, Yves ensured he grabbed a few shots of one for me for possible future use.

Czech Military Police Armoured Land Rover Defender 110, Brno 2005 [©Bob Morrison]

The original discretely armoured Defenders procured by the Czech MoD, seen above at IDEX 2005, were intended for Military Police use and externally looked very much like standard hard top versions but with four blue beacons on the roof, STOP lights front and rear, and blue occulting lights behind the brushguard. These vehicles were visually very similar to standard MP Defender 110 hard tops, but close inspection revealed an angular rather than barrelled strip where the front doors narrowed beneath the windows. Fixed side door windows with black edging were another clue, but you would need to be really close to spot this.

The armoured Defenders deployed by the Czechs to Afghanistan were a second batch and differed by having a removable roof section over most of the rear compartment and a pulpit mount for a 7.62x54mm PKB machine gun. This ring mount clamped to the internal roll cage of the Land Rover and could be removed to allow soldiers with assault rifles to provide top cover instead. The Czech Mark 2 Armoured Land Rover seen here has a bumper-mounted WARN winch, pierced steel Wolf-style wheels, side lockers, pioneer tool clips and straps, raised air intake, and mesh guards over the glazing. Note also the belly plate under the cab for landmine and IED protection.

The observation post at FOB HADRIAN can be seen on the ridge behind the armoured D110 [ Yves Debay† ]

It is noticeable that the numberplate on this vehicle has AMT Motor contact details, suggesting it was this local dealership which supplied the batch to the Czech MoD. However some sources give the converter as being SVOS of Přelouč, manufacturers of the PERUN MPMV developed to replace the D110 KAJMAN, and this makes sense to me.

Conventional Czech Defender 110 in Uruzgan Province [ Yves Debay† ]

A few days later, probably at the Kamp Holland Main Operating Base in Tarin Kowt, Yves also snapped the above conventional Czech Defender 110 soft top with two-piece front doors and side-hinged rear tailgate. Although it has a raised air intake and pierced steel wheels which are more usually found on later Czech Defenders, the front bumper, lack of pioneer tool fixtures and that swing tailgate make me suspect it is actually from the same early batch as those I photographed in Poland in 2002. Unfortunately Yves only sent me this single photo and from this angle it is impossible to see if it had military bumperettes.

Czech soldiers manning Observation Post JAVA, FOB HADRIAN, 2008 [ Yves Debay† ]

[Images © Yves Debay† unless noted]

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