Kangaroos entering s'Hertogenbosch, Holland, in October 1944 Bovington Tank Museum (Mark Holloway)
In 1940 the Montreal Locomotive Works designed a tank based on the turret from an American M3 Lee with a cast steel hull.4,7 Some believe this is where the US designers got the idea for the Sherman.
Had a cast hull with the driver on the right in the front.
Machine Gun Turret
There was a machine gun turret on the left side. This had a .3" machine gun and could traverse 120° left and 50° right.
The turret was also cast with the mantlet being bolted on. A few of the vehicles were produced with shoulder controlled 2 pdr guns as the 6 pdr wasn't available.
The Canadians had converted some Priests to be infantry carriers, however, these were too tall so an alternative was needed.5 The Canadians had used Ram tanks as training vehicles in Britain and were not being used.5 500 of them were moved to a Canadian workshop in France code named "Kangaroo."5 These had the turret and other equipment removed and two bench seats were installed.5
Climbing rings were welded on the sides to assist the infantryman in getting into the Kangaroos.5 The infantrymen's weapons couldn't be used from inside the Kangaroo and there was no overhead protection.5
By June 19416 the first prototype was completed at the Montreal Locomotive Works and sent to the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland for evaluation.
1941: 1,094, 2,1504
Ram Mk II: 1942-1943: 1,899
Kangaroo: 500 converted5
Cruiser Ram Mk I: It was intended to be produced with a 6 pdr gun, however these weren't finalized so the first 50 were with 2 pdr guns.
Cruiser Ram Mk II: Full production version which began in January 1942 and ended in July 1943. Eliminated the hull side doors, improved the suspension, modified the clutch, and installed new air cleaners. The MG turret was replaced by a more traditional ball mounting. The gun also had a gyrostabilizer.
Ram Kangaroo: Turret was removed and benches were installed.5 11 men plus 2 crew carried. Hand and foot grips were added to outside hull.5
Ram Gun Tower: Kangaroo with towing hook for 17 pdr anti tank gun. Crew and ammo carried in vehicle.
Ram Ammunition Carrier "Wallaby": Like Kangaroo but carried 25 pdr ammo for Sexton.
Ram OP/Command: Ram II used for command or observation. Used dummy gun which could only be traversed 90° by hand, and had extra radio equipment. The rotating hatch was calibrated so that the hatch periscope could be used as a direction finder. Browning machine guns were installed in the bow and the turret hatch. 84 built in 1943. Crew of 6.
Ram GPO: Like OP but with special equipment for gun position officers of SP artillery regiments. Had Tannoy loudspeakers mounted.
Ram ARV Mk I: Ram I converted to ARV by adding winch.
Ram ARV Mk II: Ram II fitted with fixed dummy turret and dummy gun. Jib and earth spade added.
Ram AVRE: 2 vehicles converted by Royal engineers in 1943. Churchill was used instead.
Ram QF 3.7" AA: Mount for 3.7" AA gun.6 Project abandoned.
Ram Flame throwers "Badger": Converted by Canadian Army to use Wasp II flame throwing equipment installed in place of the bow MG. Used in Holland in 1945.
Ram with 75 mm gun: Installed American 75 mm M3 gun. Project abandoned.
Ram Searchlight: Units in Europe added 40" searchlights and used for night operations.
By the end of 1941 they were being shipped to Canadian units in England.4 Used by the 4th and 5th Canadian Armored Divisions until they were replaced by Shermans. Most of the tanks were used for training in Canada and Britain as the US was able to start producing enough tanks for Canadian use.4,7 Many were converted to special tanks.
Many were used by the British 79th Armored Division and Canadian Divisions. The Kangaroos started reaching the frontline units in September 1944.5
Kangaroos were first used at Le Havre.5 The 7th Infantry Division used them last on May 3, 1945, at Hamburg.5
Occasionally the Kangaroos were used to carry ammunition and fuel to troops that were under fire.5