Marmon-Herrington Armoured Car (Family)
The Marmon-Herrington Armoured Cars were a family of wheeled vehicles designed partially by the American Marmon-Herrington Company and constructed in South Africa originally for the South African Union Defense Force (UDF) but they also entered service with the British Military. In South African service they were designated as the South African Reconnaissance Car and as the Armoured Car, Marmon-Herrington by the British Military. A total of 5,747 Marmon-Herringtons were built in total from 1940 to 1944; approximately 4,500 were used by South Africa and the rest by Britain, India, New Zealand, Greece, the Free French, Poland, the Dutch East Indies, and Belgium.
Marmon-Herrington Mk VI
The Marmon-Herrington Mk VI (known also as South African Reconnaissance Car/SARC Mk VI) was a further development of the Marmon-Herrington Mk V, a prototype for an eight wheeled armoured car. The goal of the Mk VI was to reduce the weight of the vehicle, as the Marmon-Herrington Mk V was much too heavy at 16 tonnes. During the development of the Mk VI there was a debate as to what the armament should be, so two prototypes were built with the 2 pounder and 6 pounder guns respectively. They were completed in 1943.
The Marmon-Herrington Mk VI used a completely new 8x8 chassis compared to the Mk V; the same hull was used for both prototypes. Independent suspension was provided for each wheel and the first and last axles were used for steering. The armoured hull was taller than the Mk V, with a very distinctive angled and polygonal construction. The engine compartment was fitted at the rear of the hull with the crew compartment at the front; the turret was in the center of the vehicle and the driver’s station was in the front of the hull. The powerplant consisted of two 95 horsepower Ford V8 engines for a total of 190 horsepower, as well as a transmission with four forward and one reverse gear. It weighed 11,185 kg - nearly five tonnes less than the Mk V which resulted in a much higher performance in terms of mobility. The maximum attainable speed was 65 kilometers per hour and a range of 400 kilometers was attained. Despite having different turrets, both prototypes were fitted with a radio station in the turret bustle.
The first prototype was fitted with the Ordnance QF 2-pounder (40 mm) gun in an open-topped, three man turret - with gunner, loader, and commander - which brought the crew count to a total of four with the driver in the hull. A 7.92 mm Besa machine gun was fitted coaxial to the main gun and two more .30 cal (7.62 mm) M1919 machine guns were provided on a mount on top of the turret.
The second prototype was fitted with the Ordnance QF 6-pounder (57 mm) gun in a different open-topped two-man turret, giving a total crew count of three. This turret was also fitted with a coaxial 7.92 mm Besa machine gun but the two M1919 machine guns were replaced with a single .50 cal (12.7 mm) M2 machine gun on a pintle mount.
Production and Service
Both prototypes were completed in 1943. The first prototype with the 2pdr gun was sent to Britain for testing and the second was retained in South Africa. The British Army ordered 250 Marmon-Herrington Mk VI armoured cars but that order was cancelled due to deliveries of armoured cars from the United States making it unnecessary. The first prototype still exists in the Bovington Tank Museum in Britain and the second is located at the South African National Museum of Military History in Johannesburg, South Africa.