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Bedford MWD file photo [8244]


CountryUnited Kingdom
ManufacturerBedford Vehicles
Primary RoleTransport


ww2dbaseThe prototype of the Bedford MWD, 15-cwt, 4x2 General Service Truck appeared in 1937 and throughout the War years provided the backbone of the British army's transportation. It was based on a commercial 2-tonnes (2-tons) truck with a modified chassis to increase the ground clearance. The British War Office ordered 2,000 15-cwt trucks from Bedford Vehicles (subsidiary of Vauxhall Motors, Luton, which is a subsidiary of American firm General Motors) in August 1939, the early deliveries being constructed specifically to carry the 2-pounder anti-tank gun.

ww2dbaseThe MWD had a flat, full length bonnet, designed to incorporate an extra-large air filter as per War Office requirements. Originally the vehicle was fitted with a canvas hood and doors and collapsible windscreen (which led to the vehicle being universally known as the "pneumonia wagon"), but this was replaced in 1943 by an enclosed cab with metal doors and a full-width windscreen. The trucks were powered by a 3,500cc Bedford six-cylinder OHV petrol engine developing 72 hp (53.7kw) linked to a four forward and one reverse gearbox.

ww2dbaseBedford produced over 200,000 Bedford 15-cwt trucks during the war. Simple to maintain and robust, it was used by every arm of the service as a general cargo and personnel carrier (including wide usage in the North Africa campaign as the standard transport for the motorised infantry in the armoured brigades), and the type remained in service with the British army until the late 1950s. It was also the vehicle on which thousands of military drivers would learn to drive.

ww2dbaseSources: The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Military Vehicles (Ian V Hogg & John Weeks,-Hamlyn, 1980); Armoured Fighting Vehicles (Philip Trewbitt, Dempsey-Parr,1999).

Last Major Revision: Nov 2009


Bedford MWD
MachineryOne Bedford 6-cylinder gasoline engine rated at 72hp
Length4.38 m
Width1.99 m
Height1.93 m
Weight2.1 t
Speed95 km/h
Range430 km


Dead British soldiers in Calais, France, at 1330 hours on 27 May 1940; note Bedford MW truckSherman BARV vehicle towing a disabled Bedford truck, Normandy, France, 14 Jun 1944
See all 4 photographs of MWD Transport

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
8 Jan 2010 04:34:14 PM

Great article on the MW's, I own an aeroscreen one myself. You state 200,000 15cwt truck were produces, i'm pretty sure thats the total out put from the bedford works for the war effort. There were in fact 66995 bedford Mw's produced.

All the best
2. Wirecutter says:
5 Mar 2012 02:56:12 PM

The bedford MWD was far ahead .. Light,Pwerful And a large radiator,, and easy to access and maintain,, It Was British,,.. Greetings from Norway,.. I have one, and i like it down to the frame..
3. Anonymous says:
12 Nov 2012 10:32:15 AM

Nice artical .This is the first place i have found with the dimensions of mwd,hooray it will fit,now have to find one
4. pat harris says:
22 Jan 2014 09:13:51 AM

myself and 8 friends are going to normandy in june 2014 for the 70th anniversary of d-day,will any one be taking a bedford 15cwt over?,and where might you be going to visit with it,pegasus bridge on the 6th perhaps?. living in hope, p.h.
5. Eric Bannon says:
23 Apr 2016 11:23:50 PM

I had the great pleasure of learning to drive a Bedford 15cwt at Inkerman Barracks Woking UK.An exhilarating experience, never to be forgotten. The year - 1955 - National Service in RMP. Drove one in Ismailia, Egypt. Now approaching 80 but will never forget it.
6. C de jonge says:
28 Apr 2018 11:33:16 AM

Wie heeft nog zo Bedford wmd
7. Anonymous says:
30 Apr 2018 10:32:34 AM

Ik wil weten hoeveel er Bedford wmd in Nederland zijn en wie zijn de eigenaren
8. Steve says:
16 Oct 2020 07:10:05 PM

What were the US Army equivalents to the 8-CWT, 15-cwt, and 30-cwt trucks?
9. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
16 Oct 2020 10:26:23 PM

Steve (above):
In British measuring systems, 1 cwt (1 hundredweight) was 112 pounds (8 stone) so 8-cwt, 15-cwt, and 30-cwt trucks had carrying capacities of roughly 900 pounds, 1,500 pounds, and 3,000 pounds respectively. In American terms, these were half-ton, three-quarter-ton, and one-and-a-half-ton trucks. The specific US Army models varied but this is how their capacities compared.
10. Ian Armstrong says:
22 Oct 2021 08:45:02 AM

Hiya, The Bedford MW did carry the 25mm Hotchkiss Mle34 in a standard body, and also the 37mm Bofors Atk Gun in a special portee body but no Bedford carried a 2pounder.They were carried by various 30cwt Portees on CMP or Morris Chassis.

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Dead British soldiers in Calais, France, at 1330 hours on 27 May 1940; note Bedford MW truckSherman BARV vehicle towing a disabled Bedford truck, Normandy, France, 14 Jun 1944
See all 4 photographs of MWD Transport

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