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Category: Armour

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Ferret

Ferret

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Ferret Scout Car

Photo from Bruce McCann

The Ferret Scout Car was of British origin and, in 1960, replaced the Centurion tank in the 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse. The Ferret was armed with a .30 cal Browning machine gun, a six cylinder Rolls Royce petrol motor, weighed 3.75 tons, could reach speeds of 60 mph and had a crew of two. This introduction of new equipment also signalled a shift in the role of the 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse to reconnaissance. The Ferret proved to be an ideal vehicle to undertake this role, having a low profile and being a quiet vehicle. The later generation of the Ferret Scout Car had some modifications, including a turret.

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British armoured scout car. Ferret was developed by the Daimler company in 1949, production began in 1952 and continued until 1971, during which time some 4500 were built. As well as being used by the British Army, they have been adopted by 36 other countries.

The Ferret is basically a four-wheeled car with an all-welded steel body. The driver sits in the front of the hull, the centre is the commander's compartment, and the engine and transmission are at the rear. Used in every internal security campaign from Malaya/Malaysia through Aden and Cyprus to Ulster, it is a fast and handy vehicle and one of the few AFV's that is politically acceptable to use on the streets.

Length:

11'11"

Width:

6'3"

Height:

6'2 1/2"

Weight:

4 t

Engine:

Rolls Royce B-60 6 Cyl 129 hp

Speed (Forward AND Reverse):

58 mph

Range:

300 km

Armament

7.62 mm machine gun

Staghound Armoured Car

The Staghound Armoured Car was of American origin and, together with the Ferret Scout Car, replaced the Centurion tank in the 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse. It was armed with a 37mm gun, a GMC Chevrolet twin six cylinder petrol motor, weighed 12 tons, could reach speeds of 55 mph and had a crew of five. 

It offered the 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse, which had just taken on the reconnaissance role, a vehicle capable of conducting effective reconnaissance, but at the same time able to extricate itself from trouble if required.

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History

The Staghound was the product of a joint effort in 1942 by British and American military staff, to draw up specifications for an armoured car. Approximately 3,000 of the original design were produced. A further 1,000 anti-aircraft models (mounting twin .50 cal Browning Mg.) were also manufactured. The standard vehicle T17 El was named the Staghound and was a 4 x 4 car with a turret mounting a 37mm gun. Some vehicles were subsequently refitted with a 3in tank howitzer for infantry close support.

Australian Service History

The first vehicles (182) were received in May 1944, and the total number received by August 1944, amounted to 279 vehicles. The 1st. Australian Armoured Car Squadron was part Australia's contribution to the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF), Japan. This Unit was formed at Puckapunyal on 21 January 1946 and sailed for Japan in April of that year. The Unit returned to Australia in December 1948 and was subsequently renamed the 1st Armoured Regiment, so becoming the first armoured unit in the Australian Regular Army.

Both 1/15 RNSWL and 12/16 HRL began using the Staghound as a training vehicle from 1956. It was also used by other CMF (Reserve) Armoured Units namely 10th Light Horse W.A. By 1964, the Staghound was being replaced by other vehicles, for by that time, it was no longer capable as operating as an effective combat vehicle

Saladin

No enlargement The Saladin Armoured Car was introduced into the 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse during the period 1965 1966. It was of British origin and was armed with a 76mm gun and a coaxial .30 cal machine gun. Its power plant was a Rolls Royce petrol motor, bringing the total vehicle weight to 10.5 tons.

 The vehicle could reach speeds of 45 mph and had a crew of three. This vehicle offered greater firepower and mobility than had been previously provided by the Staghound Armoured Car and was effective in its reconnaissance role.

Saracen

The Saracen Armoured Personnel Carrier was introduced into the 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse at the same time as the Saladin Armoured Car, from 1965 1966.

It provided the unit with the ability to move personnel (such as Assault Troopers) within an armoured vehicle and signalled a change in role towards transporting personnel around the battlefield. 

It weighed 10 tons and could reach a top speed of 70km/h. It had a crew of two, could carry 10 personnel and was armed with a .30 cal machine gun. It complemented the capability of the sabre troops, which were equipped with two Ferret Scout Cars, two Saladin Armoured Cars and a Saracen Armoured Personnel Carrier.

The F.V. 603 Saracen is an armoured personnel carrier based on the six-wheeled chassis of the Saladin armoured car. The specification for the Saracen was issued after that of the Saladin, but the vehicle had to be rushed into service first, because British troops engaged in the Malayan Emergency needed the armoured personnel carrier more urgently. Firing ports in the sides and rear doors theoretically enable the rifle section to fight mounted, but it is policy that the infantry dismount when in action, in which case the Saracen provides fire support with its turreted .30 calibre machine gun. A ring mounted light machine gun is available for air defence. Three variants of the Saracen exist: the Mk.1 has a smaller turret than the two subsequent marks, the Mk.2 received the turret of the Ferret armoured car, and the Mk.3 is a Mk.2 fitted with a reverse flow cooling system (R.F.C.) designed for use in the Middle East.

White Scout Car

White Scout Car. White Motor Company first began producing these armoured vehicles in 1938. They were based on White's then current commercial truck chassis. The M3 filled the Army's need for a fast, agile, and light armoured scouting vehicle. 

Primary function: High speed scouting in enemy territory
Length: 221"  Width: 80"
Weight: 12,400 pounds Height: 78"
Engine: Hercules JXD 6-cyl  Horsepower: 110hp @ 3000rpm
Transmission: 4 forward, 1 reverse (constant mesh and sliding)
Electrical system: 12-volt
Brakes: Hydraulic, 4-wheeled drum
Fuel type: petrol  Fuel capacity: 30 gallons
Fording Depth: 28"
Range: 250 miles
Top Speed: 55mph Turning Radius: 28.5 feet
Tires: 9.00 x 16 NDT (non-directional tread)
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Intended to replace the venerable White Scout Car, and to a lesser extent half-tracks, in Canadian units, the C15TA Armoured Truck was Canada's answer to the need for a four-wheel drive, wheeled armoured personnel carrier. After production commenced in 1943, 3961 examples were made, and as a result of the design experience gained with the Otter and Fox armoured cars, the C15TA required virtually no modifications throughout it's production run. With it's short wheelbase and excellent cross-country mobility, the Armoured Truck was enthusiastically received by it's users, ranging from signals units to motor battalions and armoured car regiments. Designed to carry eight fully equipped troops to forward battle areas, it was also easily convertible to an ambulance configuration simply by folding the seats and attaching brackets and tie-downs to hold two stretchers in place. In fact, this configuration was so well received that a dedicated ambulance version, capable of handling four stretchers was produced by the end of 1944.

M113A1 Armoured Personnel Carrier and family

Click to enlargeAn M113 operating in Viet Nam (Also see The Tracks)

Performance trials held in 1962 63 resulted in the adoption of the US family of light armoured vehicles and gave the Army its first modern armoured and tracked vehicle for ten years. The M113 had a GMC two stroke diesel engine, weighed 11 tons, was amphibious and could reach speeds of 40 mph. The M113 was designed to carry ten riflemen with their equipment in addition to the crew of two and gave protection against small arms fire. The original model carried a .50 cal machine gun on a pintle mount, which lacked protection for the commander when firing. The Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) taken to Vietnam had a bullet proof shield fitted which gave some protection. The danger resulting from mortar fire prompted turrets to be fitted. A number of American M74C turrets were ordered and introduced into service during the second half of 1966. A further improvement, the T50 turret, which was also American, eventually became the standard turret during the period 1967 68. The T50 turret was a basic design and mounted either one .50 cal and one .30 cal machine gun or twin .30 cal machine guns, with the twin .30 cal machine gun being the initial standard fit. The most prized characteristic of the M113 was its mobility over various types of ground. The family of vehicles included the personnel carrier, mortar carrier, command vehicle, fitters vehicle, recovery vehicle and ambulance, all of which were employed in the 2nd Cavalry Regiment.

FSV/MRV

During the period that the Regiment was equipped with the M113, further unique Australian variants were developed and introduced. The loss of firepower in a troop following the withdrawal of the Saladin Armoured Car was overcome by the development of the Fire Support Vehicle (FSV). 

The FSV was an interim vehicle which was a combination of the M113 hull with a Saladin turret. The FSV had a 76mm main armament, a .30 cal coaxial machine gun and a .30 cal machine gun. There was power assisted traverse, the commander had no sight and night fighting was achieved by firing on fixed lines or with active illumination.

The Medium Reconnaissance Vehicle (MRV) see photo  replaced the FSV after the Army took delivery of 36 Scorpion turrets in 1977. The MRV was also an interim vehicle, which had a Scorpion turret fitted to an M113 hull. The MRV had a 76mm main armament, two .30 cal machine guns and an early image intensification night sight. The MRV was also fitted with flotation pods to make it amphibious. By 1978 the MRV had completely replaced the FSV in the Regiment. 

 

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