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South Africa's Marmon-Herrington armored cars

Photos

Marmon-Herrington Mk II, with the British King's Dragoon Guards at Tobruk in 1941:
South Africa's Marmon-Herrington Mk II
Marmon-Herrington Mk II:
South Africa's Marmon-Herrington Mk II
Marmon-Herrington Mk IV:
South Africa's Marmon-Herrington Mk IV
 

Design

In 1938 the South African government ordered two types of armored cars to be developed by the South African automobile industry.2,5 Development was slow and when the war started in 1939 the designs were ordered into production.2

Assembly

The Marmon-Herrington armored cars were made from Ford truck chassis, made in Canada; a Marmon-Herrington transmission, made in the United States; and armament from the United Kingdom.2,4,5 These were assembled in railway workshops and vehicle assembly plants in South Africa.2

An armored hull was placed onto the truck chassis.2

Construction

The first vehicles had riveted construction but this was changed to welded.4

Armament

The Marmon-Herrington Mk II started out with a 7.7 mm Vickers machine gun in the turret and a light machine gun in the hull.2 After combat experience the turret machine gun was replaced by a 13.97 mm Boys anti-tank rifle.2

Armor

South Africa produced the armor for the Marmon-Herringtons.4

Production

  • Marmon-Herrington Mk I: 100, 135
  • Marmon-Herrington Mk II: ~9003
    • Middle East (ME): 3384
    • Mobile Filed Force (MFF): 5494
  • Marmon-Herrington Mk III: 2,6001
    • Production: 1941-
  • Marmon-Herrington Mk IV: 2,000, 2,1001
    • Production: 1943 -
  • Marmon-Herrington Mk VI:

Variants

  • South African Reconnaissance Vehicle Mk I: 4 x 2 drive and long wheelbase.2 After use against Italian forces in East Africa these were only used for training.2
  • Marmon-Herrington Mk I: The fully built versions entered service with South Africa in 1940. None of these were issued to British forces. Two wheel drive.4
  • South African Reconnaissance Vehicle Mk II; Armored Car, Marmon-Herrington Mk II: This had 4 wheel drive with a longer wheelbase.2,4 There were twin doors in the rear that made for easy access.4 Early models were riveted with the rest welded. These were used against the Italians in East Africa. Some had field modifications of taking the turrets off and more powerful guns mounted behind gun shields.4 Guns that were used were Italian 20 mm and 47 mm Breda, German 37 mm and 28/20 mm taper bore, and French 25 mm.2
    Other variants were artillery OP, ambulance, command car, fitters vehicle, and RAF contact car with AA Lewis gun in turret and radio antennae.
    • Middle East (ME): Had Boys ATR.4 Two Bren machine guns, one coaxial in the turret and one anti aircraft.4
    • Mobile Field Force (MFF): There were two Vickers machine guns, one in the turret and the other in a ball mount on the near side.4
  • Marmon-Herrington Mk III: It had a shorter wheelbase, single rear door, no radiator grill and no headlight covers.2 Some of the models were field modified as the Mk II was.
  • Marmon-Herrington Mk IIIA: Turret removed and 2 .303 Vickers AA fitted on a ring mount protected by a steel skirt.
  • Marmon-Herrington Mk IV: Completely redesigned using Ford and Marmon-Herrington components on a 4x4 chassis. The suspension, engine, and transmission were bolted onto the hull. Some had run flat tires installed.
  • Marmon-Herrington Mk IVF: Had rear engine facing forward with gearbox and radiator mounted at the rear. Used Canadian Ford transmission.2
  • Marmon-Herrington MK VI: 8 Wheels.

Usage

North Africa

The Marmon-Herrington Mk IIs were used in the Western Desert from 1941.2,5 In fact they were the main armored car available for combat reconnaissance units.2

Specifications

  Marmon-Herrington Mk I
Crew 4
Physical Characteristics  
Weight  
Length  
Height  
Width  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main .303" Vickers
Secondary  
MG .303" Vickers
MG - coaxial  
MG - anti-aircraft  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper 12
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom 6
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model)  
Cylinders  
Net HP  
Transmission  
Fuel type  
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road  
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Tires 4
  Marmon-Herrington Mk II
Crew 42,3,4,5
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 13,200 lb5, 13,440 lb
6 tons2,3,4
6,000 kg5, 6,096 kg4
Length 16'5, 17'3,4
4.88 m5, 5.18 m3,4
Height 7' 6"5, 8' 9"3,4
2.286 m5, 2.67 m3,4
Width 6' 4"5, 6' 6"3,4
1.93 m5, 2 m3,4
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 13.97 mm Boys anti-tank rifle2
1: 14 mm (0.55") Boys anti-tank rifle3,4,5
Secondary  
MG 1: .303" Vickers2
1: 7.7 mm Vickers MG5
2: 0.303" Bren MG4
2: 7.7 mm Bren MG4
1: Bren MG5
MG - coaxial 1: 7.7 mm Bren MG3
MG - anti-aircraft 1: 7.7 mm Bren MG3
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 0.47"4
122,4,5
Hull Front, Upper 12
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Ford2,3,4,5
Cylinders V-82,3,4,5
Net HP 853,4
Transmission (type)  
Fuel (type) Gasoline2,3,5
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 50 mph3,4,5
80 kph3,4, 80.5 kph2,5
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 200 miles2,3,4,5
322 km2,3,4,5
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Tires 4
  Marmon-Herrington Mk III
Crew 31
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 11,760 lb, 13,440 lb1
6,096 kg1
Length 17' 5"1
5.308 m1
Height 8' 2"1
2.489 m1
Width 7' 6"1
2.286 m1
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 2: 7.6 mm (.303 cal) MG1
.303" Vickers, Boys anti-tank rifle
Secondary  
MG .303" Vickers
MG - coaxial  
MG - anti-aircraft  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 121
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Ford1
Cylinders V-81
Net HP 851
Transmission  
Fuel type Gasoline1
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 50 mph1
80 kph1
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 200 miles1
322 km1
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Tires 4
  Marmon-Herrington Mk IV
Crew 31
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 14,336 lb, 14,787 lb1
6,707 kg1
6.4 tons2
Length 15', 18' 1"1
5.511 m1
Height 7', 7' 6"1
2.286 m1
Width 6', 7'1
2.133 m1
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 2 pdr (40 mm)1,2 QFSA
Secondary  
MG 7.62 MG1
7.62 mm Browning MG2
MG - coaxial  
MG - anti-aircraft  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 201
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Ford1
Cylinders V-81
Net HP 951
Transmission  
Fuel type Gasoline1
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 50 mph1
80.47 kph1
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 200 miles1
322 km1
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Tires 4
  Marmon-Herrington MK VI
Crew 31
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 24,658 lb1
11,185 kg1
Length 18' 8"1
5.69 m1
Height 8' 1"1
2.45 m1
Width 8' 8"1
2.64 m1
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 57 mm (6 pdr)1
Secondary  
MG 12.7 mm MG1
MG - coaxial 1: 7.62 mm MG1
MG - anti-aircraft  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 401
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) 2: Ford1
Cylinders V-81
Net HP 951
Transmission  
Fuel type Gasoline1
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 40.38 mph1
65 kph1
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 249 miles1
400 km1
Turning Radius  
Elevation Limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical Obstacle  
Tires  

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  3. Western Allied Tanks 1939-45, David Porter, 2009
  4. World Encyclopedia of Armored Fighting Vehicles, Jack Livesey, 2006
  5. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site

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