Ancient history

Marmon-Herrington Mark II (South Africa)

Mark I to IV and VI to VIII
Type :armored car.
Crew:4 men.
Armament :a .303 machine gun in the turret; a 303 machine gun to the left of the hull (see text).
maximum 12mm.


length: 4.876 m;
width: 1.981;
height: from 2.209 m to 2.413 m, depending on the armament installed.
Weight in combat order :6 t
Engine: Ford 8 cyl. gasoline, developing 96 hp.


maximum road speed: 80.4 km/h;
range :322 km.
Service time: introduced into the South African Army in 1940 and used until the end of the Second World War. This model, like others, was also used by Great Britain, Greece, India, Rhodesia and other countries.

In 1938, the South African government ordered two armored cars to be mounted on its own soil. When war broke out in Europe, it soon became clear that the British, unable to meet their own needs, would be unable, a fortiori, to meet those of South Africa and other countries. The South African order for two armored cars was therefore increased several times and at the end of 1939, it amounted to 266 vehicles.

The first model was based on a classic 3 t Ford 4x2 truck chassis. The second was equipped with the American Marmon-Herrington conversion for 4x4 traction. It was the latter which, after intensive testing, was chosen for production, although a few 4x2s were also built. In May 1940, the order for 266 vehicles was again increased:this time it was increased to 1,000 units, delivered at the rate of 50 per week!
with the help of many South African companies. The chassis came from Canada, most of the armament from Great Britain, the MarmonHerrington 4x4 conversion kits from the United States and the armor from the South African Won and Steel Industrial Corporation. Final assembly was done by Ford Motor and Dorman Long, but many other companies were also involved.

The first model was called Mark I, but only 113 examples of this 4x2 had been built when it was followed by the Mark II with 4x4 traction. The body of the first models was riveted but it was soon replaced by a body made entirely of wrought steel.
The first Mark Is were delivered to South African units in May 1940 and Mark II deliveries began in November 1940. The Mark II was originally armed with a .303 water-cooled and turret-mounted, as well as a similar weapon to the left of the hull.
However, on many vehicles, this second weapon was removed and a steel plate was fixed at the place where it was From 1941, the British army used Mark II armed with a .55 Boys anti-tank rifle under turret, a Bren machine gun to the left of the Boys and on the roof a second Bren and a Vickers 203 machine gun.

We saw various local versions of the Mark II in North Africa:on some, the turret was replaced by an Italian 20 mm gun, on others, we had mounted a British 2-pounder, a German 37 mm or a 47 mm Italian, in order to increase their firepower. Special variants of the Mark II included an RAF liaison vehicle, an artillery observation vehicle, a command vehicle and an ambulance, among others.

The Mark III succeeded the Mark II in May 1941. It was based on a Ford chassis with a wheelbase of 2.971 m (instead of 3.40 m for the Mark II). Redesigned, its hull and turret were all-wrought steel assemblies but, unlike the earlier model, it had no rear door, access being through the side doors and through the turret.
The Mark III also benefited from several mechanical improvements inspired by the experience gained in combat in North Africa. Its armament was similar to that of the Mark II, except that it did not have a machine gun in the turret. Then came the Mark IV, with a new hull and a new wrought steel turret. Its engine was in the back and not in the front as on the previous models.
It was armed, normally with a 2-pounder gun, a coaxial .30 machine gun, a turret-mounted .30 or .50 machine gun for anti-aircraft defense and a smoke launcher on the side of the turret. The last models, equipped with a Canadian chassis, were called Mark IV (F),

Information about the Mark V is less specific:some reports cite it as an improved Mark III, others do not even mention a Mark V. The Mark VI, designed for North African operations, was a 8x8 powered by two Ford 8 cyl. gasoline, placed at the rear.
The first prototype was armed with a 2-pounder gun, a coaxial .30 Browning machine gun and two turret-mounted .30 anti-aircraft machine guns The second prototype had a 6 pounder, a Besa 7.92 mm coaxial machine gun and a single Browning .50 anti-aircraft machine gun on the roof.
Orders for Mark VI were very large but they were canceled when, at of 1943, it became apparent that the North African campaign would be over before they were even ready to go into action. An identical fate was reserved for the American 8x8 Boarhound armored car, designed for the same use. The two prototypes of the Mark VI still exist, one at the Royal Armored Corps Museum in Bovington Camp, England, the other at the South African National War Museum. The Mark VII and Mark VIII prototypes were never put into production. The second had a new hull and a modified turret and was armed with a 2-pounder gun and a coaxial machine gun.

It was in East Africa, against the Italians, that the South Africans first used the Marmon-Herrington armored cars. They were also
used extensively by British and South African* units in North Africa and a few still survive today in some areas! Since the Second World War, South Africa has used tannic tanks such as the Centurion, the Saracen, Le Ferre on the other hand it has built under license more than 1,200 French light armored cars Panhard A called "Eland" in South Africa. South.

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