From a stopgap product after WWII to one of the longest service life vehicle in military history, the Land Rover is by now a living legend used by most of the armies worldwide. Although not intended for military use, The British army soon enough tried and bought a first batch of this Jeep clone vehicle. In the middle east region the Land Rover is used by armies in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Iran.
The Land Rover can be divided into five major types by time frames:
- The Series I built from 1948 till 1958
- The series II built from 1958 till 1971
- The Series III built from 1971 till 1985
- The 90/110 Series built from 1985 till 1990
- The Land Rover Defender built from 1990 onward.
Along the British built vehicle, Middle Eastern armies and militias used also the Spanish version of the Land Rover Lighweight, the Santana Ligero Militar. A note can be added that the Spanish UNIFIL troops in Lebanon use the Santana Series IV/PS-10/ Anibal vehicle. A detailed review on all land Rover types can be found on this excellent website dedicated to Land Rovers:
We will focuse for now on Land Rovers used in Lebanon and Syria. The utility vehicle was adopted by the Lebanese Army as soon as the early fifties with the Series I been commonly used by most of the Army units along with the M38 Jeep, an updated version of the WWII Willy’s Jeep (not to be mistaken with the M38A1 Jeep). All the series can be found in Lebanon throughout history whether with the Army or with the different militias. In Syria the Army adopted the Land Rover in the seventies (maybe used in the early fifties as well although no photographical proof are available till now) originally being civilian vehicles or captured ones. Moreover some of today’s vehicles in use in the Syrian Army are Iranian made Morattab Land Rovers.
Land Rovers in Militias use, civil war 1975-1990: