In a truly majestic snub, the British Ministry of Defence has elected to replace its forward fleet of Land Rover Defenders with American-made "Ridgback" (or "Ridgeback" depending upon source) 4x4 armored trucks. The new vehicles are said to provide better protection for troops, better handling — better "manoeuverability" in the Queen's English, and, gasp, better reliability! We're not sure if the replacement plans are a tacit acknowledgement that there is no more British auto industry left to which the government should be loyal, or if British forces were simply getting tired of Lucas Electrics letting the smoke out deep down Kandahar way, where there's not only no proper service facility, but the tea is positively ghastly. [Autocar.uk, Photo Credit: Rover Nut @ Flickr]
Well, there goes the British Army.
It's a little known fact that all British tanks in WWII were equipped with Lucas electrical bits. When British Army units were outnumbered and under severe attack, the soldiers, naturally, wanted to put them in reverse and go backwards as fast as those gigantic tank engines would take them. But in a pinch, commanders could always depend on the reliable Lucas electrical parts to fail completely, forcing the soldiers to stop in their tracks, dismount from their broken-down vehicles, fix bayonets and charge.
The effect of these sudden, inexplicable reverses upon the morale of the Reichswehr was profoundly disheartening. "Gott in Himmel!," said General Rundstedt on one such occasion, "these Englischers do not know the meaning of fear! Even mein bravest troops would have run away under such an unequal onslaught, but those Englischer madmen refused to retreat; instead they turned and fought like Der Teufel!"