Military Review

South African armored cars Marmon-Herrington Mk.I - Mk.-IV

Marmon-Herrington is a family of South African armored vehicles from the Second World War. As a base for the South African armored car, a Canadian three-ton Ford V-8 was used, which was modified by the American company Marmon-Herrington to the all-wheel drive version. As a result, cars also began to be called Marmon-Herrington. Until August, 1944 produced more than 5700 units in various modifications.

History Marmon-Herrington’s armored cars began in 1938, when Germany was just starting to inflame war in Europe. Already at that time, the Government of the South African Union, dissatisfied with the frankly weak supplies from the metropolis of new technology, decided not to lose time in vain and issued an order to build two prototypes of reconnaissance armored cars. One of the companies that had its own design team and assembly enterprises was Marmon-Herrington. It was the employees of this company who were entrusted with the development of a South African armored car.

From the very beginning, the work was rather slow. By 1939, only part of the working drawings was ready. However, after the start of World War II, the machines were put into production. The pace accelerated after learning about the Marmon-Herrington project in the UK. New car interested representatives of War Office, who wanted to get it to equip the colonial forces. The number of prototypes increased to 7 units, and in October an order was issued for the creation of 266 armored vehicles. Soon, order quantities were increased to 1000 units, although in South Africa there was no basis for large-scale production of such machines. South Africans bought armored Ford truck chassis in Canada, gearboxes from the Marmon Herrington company in the United States and weapons in the United States. The assembly of Marmon-Herrington armored cars was carried out in railway workshops and at local car assembly plants, while local metallurgical enterprises produced armor plates.

The first machines, which had a large wheelbase and drive 4х2, received the designation Marmon-Herrington Mk.I (South African reconnaissance vehicles Mk I).

18 September 1939, the first prototype was introduced in Johannesburg. Over the next three months, the prototype Marmon-Herrington was held in the eastern part of the province of Transvaal enhanced sea trials. After the end of the test, some modifications were made to the suspension of the chassis and the engine cooling system. In January, the 1940 of the year passed the next series of tests. These tests were completed quite successfully. The military department, on the basis of the available characteristics, increased the number of production vehicles to 1000, but the German blitzkrieg in France, which took place in May 1940, became a more tangible impetus to this step.

The first modification of the armored vehicle was equipped with a chassis from Ford's 3-ton commercial truck. Wheel formula 4x2. Shed wheels equipped with pneumatic tires. Suspension on leaf springs. Power transmission from the engine was carried out on the rear axle through the 4-speed gearbox. The rear wheels were protected by special metal beams that were mounted on the wings of the wheels.

The body of the South African armored car was designed and built far from artisanal conditions. Given the importance of the project to develop, they identified qualified military specialists who, together with the engineers at Marmon-Herrington, created a successful design that was not inferior to counterparts from the metropolis. With a booking thickness from 6 to 12 millimeters, it was difficult to achieve high survivability in the current combat conditions. This circumstance led South African developers to the fact that the armor plates need to be installed at the most rational angle of inclination. It turned out to perform in full. The layout of the Marmon-Herrington Mk.I was typical of this type of machine.

Under the armored hood in front was the engine compartment, which serves to accommodate the Ford V-90 8-strong liquid-cooled engine. Front hood flaps in the stowed position opened to provide acceptable cooling and ventilation of the power plant. In addition, they protected the high beam headlights, which were mounted inside the hood on the frame.

Department of management and combat department were combined. Inside were placed jobs for three crew members: the commander, the driver and the gunner. On the sides of the hull fixed entrenching tools, spare wheels and tools. The landing and disembarking of the crew was carried out through a double door in the stern broneliste and two side doors. Four small manholes in the sides of the hull and one frontal manhole with viewing slots served for observation.

The armament of the Marmon-Herrington Mk.I armored car was very modest: two Vickers 7,71-mm machine guns. One of them was installed in the frontal part of the hull, the second machine gun - in a single conical turret mounted on the roof of the fighting compartment.

The serial production of Marmon-Herrington Mk.I continued until the autumn of 1940, inclusive. The initial plans for the production of 50 machines per month were difficult to implement, since the South African industry had never been engaged in the release of military equipment in such volumes. The situation was corrected after the South African Railways Workshops railway workshops were connected to production.

Total collected 113 machines modification Marmon-Herrington Mk.I. It is alleged that they were not exported and were used by the South African army only within the country.

Currently, only one copy of Marmon-Herrington Mk.I is preserved and is an exhibit of the National Museum of Military History (South Africa, Johannesburg).

Technical characteristics of Marmon-Herrington Mk.I:
Chassis - Ford, wheel formula 4x2.
Maximum speed on the highway - 72 km / h.
The thickness of the armor plates - 6-12 mm.
Armament - 2 x 7,71-mm Vickers machine gun (one in the body, the other in the tower).
Crew - 3 person.
Manufactured - 135 units.

Having experienced Marmon-Herrington Mk I in East Africa during clashes with Italians, South Africans began using this model mainly for training purposes. The main emphasis in the combat use made on the machine Marmon-Herrington Mk II.

Modification of the armored car Marmon-Herrington Mk.2 had all-wheel drive and a shortened wheelbase. The weight of the car increased to 6000 kg, but the ride quality has improved for the rest. In addition to improving the cross-country ability, the maximum speed has also increased - up to 80 km / h. Armored car Mk II was quite simple, but quite effective. The car was a successful combination of truck chassis, armored hull and new all-wheel drive transmission.

The first samples of Marmon-Herrington Mk.II were armed with two Vickers machine guns caliber 7,7 mm in front of the hull and the tower. Later, an anti-tank gun Boyes caliber 13,97 mm was installed in the turret near the machine gun. The crew of an armored car consisted of four people. In Marmon-Herrington Mk.II, as well as in the previous modification, the 8-cylinder Ford was used.

The first deliveries of the Mk.II armored car modification began in November 1940, immediately after the completion of the production of the Marmon-Herrington Mk.I. These machines after the entry into service of the South African units and the British in North Africa - the main mobile means of intelligence units at the initial stage of this campaign. Marmon-Herrington Mk.II proved to be effective in solving tasks. However, poor booking (thickness 12 mm) and light weapons limited their use. In this regard, in parts of the machines often installed captured Italian Breda guns (caliber 20 mm) or German and Italian guns caliber 37 and 45 mm.

Marmon-Herrington Mk II armored car was produced in two main versions:

1) Mk II MFF (MFF - Mobile Field Force, Mobile Field Forces). Intended for actions in the composition of armored or mechanized formations. The hull and the tower are basically similar to the Mk I, but not riveting, but welding was used to make them. Combat weight - 6 tons. Ford / Marmon-Herrington chassis, wheel formula 4x4. 549 pieces were produced;

2) Mk II ME (ME - Middle East, Middle East). Intended for reconnaissance, patrolling and other independent actions in the Middle East. The weapons used were: Bren 7,7-mm machine gun mounted in the turret and Vickers or Bren anti-aircraft machine gun. The case could be mounted 13,97-mm anti-tank gun Boys. Manufactured 338 pieces.

The main theater of operations for Marmon-Herrington was North Africa, where at the beginning of 1942, British Commonwealth troops were able to seize the initiative. By this time, the Mk.II, as well as a later modification of Marmon-Herrington Mk.III, were part of the South African forces that operated as part of the Eighth British Army. In particular, these machines were equipped with the Fourth and Sixth armored car regiments, as well as the Third and Seventh reconnaissance battalions of the South African army. Among the connections that used Marmon-Herrington, was also King's Dragoon Guards (Royal Guards Dragoon Regiment).

South African armored cars Marmon-Herrington Mk.I - Mk.-IV

The first combat experience of Marmon-Herrington Mk.II showed that the all-wheel drive chassis is not an absolute guarantee of high combat performance. Machines for their class turned out to be somewhat over-heavy, so it was possible to move confidently on them only on roads with a hard surface. The booking was also insufficient. In this regard, sandbags were hung on the sides of these armored cars. However, weapons remained the most pressing issue. From some machines during the operation of the tower completely dismantled. A large armored shield with an embrasure was installed in its place. Instead of machine guns installed a variety of weapons. In some cases, machine guns and cannons did not have armor.

As weapons used:
- Italian automatic guns Breda caliber 20 mm;
- anti-French guns Hotchkiss caliber 25-mm;
- German anti-tank guns PaK 35 / 36 caliber 37 mm;
- German anti-aircraft guns FlaK 38 caliber 20 mm;
- German anti-tank guns 2.8cm sPzB 41 caliber 28 mm;
- British gun caliber 40 mm.

On the basis of the armored car Mk II, a large number of different modifications were made, ranging from repair and command vehicles to versions with X-Numx Bren machine guns mounted in the turret. Over time, some of the vehicles were converted into armored tractors. To do this, dismantled the tower, weapons and some equipment. Basically, these machines were used to tow captured captured German and Italian artillery pieces in North Africa.

Marmon-Herrington data supplied by Greece is also available. At the end of 1940, the British army transferred several armored units to the Balkans, among which equipment there were Marmon-Herrington Mk.II armored vehicles. These vehicles were handed over to the Greek army and were used in April 1941, in battles with the Germans. After defeat the whole mat. part went to the enemy.

Marmon-Herrington Mk.II production was discontinued in the second half of 1941 after the release of 877 units. To date, Marmon-Herrington Mk.II armored cars have not survived. They were probably scrapped.

Technical characteristics of Marmon-Herrington Mk.II:
Combat weight - 5993 kg.
Crew - 4 person.
Length - 4877 mm.
Width - 1981 mm.
Height - 2362 mm.
Ground clearance - 279 mm.
Wheelbase - 3404 mm.
Armament - one Vickers machine gun and one anti-tank gun Boys.
Aiming devices - machine gun optical sight.
Body - 12 mm.
Housing roof - 6 mm.
Tower - 12 mm.
Engine - petrol, 8-cylinder, Ford V-8, hp 95 power
Fuel capacity - 174 liters.
Transmission - manual 4-speed gearbox, propeller shaft, mechanical brakes.
Speed ​​on the highway - 80,5 km / h.
Cruising on the highway - 322 km.

The next modification of the car was the armored car Marmon Herrington Mk. III, the main weapon of which was the British caliber gun 40 mm. The new armored car was basically the same as the Mk.2, but its chassis was slightly shortened and there were no rear double doors. All wheels were single, equipped with bullet-resistant pneumatic tires 9,75x18 dm. Suspension - on leaf springs. The power plant did not change - Ford's gasoline 8-cylinder engine (HP 95 power) liquid cooling. The tank contained a liter of fuel 151.

Significantly changed the shape of the body, which became shorter and acquired angular outlines. The working conditions of the crew were increased due to installation at a lower angle of inclination of the stern armor plate and increasing the height of the crew compartment. The stern door was liquidated, and the dimensions of the side doors were increased.

Wehrmacht Trophy - South African armored car Magtop-Herrington Mk III. On the hood of the car stretched the so-called Fliegersichttuch - "identification plate aviation»

Another innovation was the new design of the tower: instead of the conical - faceted with a small niche in the stern. The composition of weapons has also changed. Now it included the Boys anti-tank rifle, the Vickers machine gun of the 7,71 caliber mm and the Bren anti-aircraft gun of the same caliber. Given the insufficient cooling of the engine, the front flaps on the Mk.III ME modifications were replaced with adjustable three-section louvers. This was the reason for the transfer of headlights on the wings of the wheels in the armored covers. At the same time, the Mk.III MFF retained the “wedge-shaped” frontal part of the hood, which consisted of two armor plates. For communication, a radio station №19 with a whip antenna was used.

The production of the Mk.III was launched in May 1941 and continued until August 1942. During this period 1780 machines of the MFF modification, 798 modification of the ME, 52 modifications were modified to the requirements of Light Aid Detachment. The total number of Mk.III, therefore, is 2630 units.

Marmon-Herrington Mk III armored vehicle was produced in two main versions:

1) Mk III MEF - welded body, with rational angle of inclination of armor plates. Ford chassis base is 2985 mm (less than Mk II on 420 mm). Combat weight 6 tons. Armament was installed only in the tower. Could be used: Boys anti-tank rifle, Bren anti-aircraft gun or Vickers machine gun. The crew of the armored car was 4 man;

2) Mk III ME - identical to the MEF. The main difference was armament. In the tower were installed Bren machine gun and anti-tank gun Boys.

Marmon-Herrington Mk.III received baptism of fire in North Africa, where South African units acted in the interests of the Eighth British Army. These armored cars were mainly used for their intended purpose, but since the 1942, they began to be transferred to the second line. There they were accompanied by convoys, carried patrols of the occupied territories, as well as general security functions. The new Marmon-Herrington, as in the case of the Mk.II, was partially retooled with captured weapons - anti-tank rifles were replaced with 20-millimeter Italian or German semi-automatic guns. At least one Marmon-Herrington Mk.III was converted into armored rubber - this vehicle was used for patrolling the railways of Libya and Egypt. Mk.III MEF armored cars were also shipped to India (255 units), Malaysia (175 units), Dutch West Indies (49 units), to Congo in the “Free France” zone (10 units), to British West Africa (60 units) , Mozambique (6 pieces). Mk III ME armored cars were received by the Free French forces in Southern Rhodesia (24 units) and North Africa (48 units). Part of the machines of the Indian army and the Dutch armored cars captured by the Japanese and used against the former owners.

Currently, two Marmon-Herrington Mk.III are exhibits of museums in South Africa and two more armored cars of the policeman are exhibited in Zimbabwe in open museum grounds. Several cars of this modification were bought out by private owners, but data on their further fate is not available.

Technical characteristics of Marmon-Herrington Mk.III:
Combat weight - 5675 kg.
Empty weight - 5339 kg.
Crew - 3 person.
Length - 5309 mm.
Width - 2299 mm.
Height - 2502 mm.
Ground clearance - 279 mm.
Wheelbase - 2896 mm.
Armament - anti-tank rifle Boys caliber 13,97 mm, machine gun Vickers caliber 7,71 mm, machine gun Bren caliber 7,71 mm.
Body - 12 mm.
Housing roof - 6 mm.
Tower - 12 mm.
Engine - petrol, 8-cylinder, Ford V-8, hp 95 power
Transmission - Manual 4-speed gearbox.
Chassis - wheel formula 4х4: single wheels, pneumatic bullet tires of size 9,75х19 dm, leaf springs.
Speed ​​on the highway - 88,5 km / h.
Cruising on the highway - 322 km.

In 1942, it became obvious that the previous modifications of the South African armored vehicles Marmon-Herrington, which performed well in North Africa, were outdated. They were replaced by an improved version with cannon and machine gun weapons and enhanced booking. In fact, South African engineers have developed a new car, which was distinguished not only by weapons, but also by the layout of the hull.

Armored car Marmon Herrington Mk.IV was created by the type of German four-axle armored cars. This modification was significantly different from its predecessors, because it had a rear engine and a monocoque body. The mass of Mk.IV was 6,4 tons.

A casing was assembled on the chassis frame, assembled from sheets of rolled bronestali (thickness 6-12 mm) by welding. A further increase in the thickness of the reservation would lead to a significant increase in mass and reduced driving performance. Installed on the Mk.IV 8-cylinder petrol engine Ford V8 (power 95 hp) installed in the rear of the case. The driver's cabin and a spacious fighting compartment was in front of him. The crew consisted of 4-x people: the commander, driver, loader and gunner.

To view the terrain, the driver had three large hatches on the sides and in the frontal part of the cab. In the stowed position, the side hatches leaned down, frontal - up. An octagonal tower with an armor thickness of 12 mm was installed on the roof of the fighting compartment. The first prototype of the Mk.IV was armed with the coaxial installation of a 2-pound field gun and a 7,62 mm standard Browning machine gun tank mask. However, during the tests it turned out that when firing the recoil is too strong and causes deformation of the tower. Therefore, the gun was mounted on a pedestal installation. On serial machines, the gun pointing angles were –5 ° .. + 20 °. An additional 7,62 mm Browning machine gun was used as an anti-aircraft gun. For its installation, a pin was provided near the tower top hatch. The tower was rotated by a manual drive, it made a full revolution in 22 seconds.

Marmon-Herrington Mk.IV armored car was produced in two main versions:

1) Mk IV - new welded tower and hull. Chassis with carrying case. 936 vehicles were assembled, of which 310 had gun armament;

2) Mk IVF - using units of the Canadian Ford F60L. Engine power - HP 95 The armament is a twinning Browning 7,62-mm machine gun. The rest is identical to the Mk.IV. Collected 1180 units.

The serial assembly of Marmon-Herrington Mk.IV was launched in March of 1943 and continued until the year of 1944 inclusive. During this period, collected 936 machines. After that, we started the release of the next modification.

Model Mk.IVF began to produce due to a shortage of chassis, supplied by Canadian enterprises Marmon-Herrington. It was replaced by the Canadian Ford F60L 4 American chassis, which was almost identical to the previous one. In total, 1180 machines of the Mk.IVF modification were created, but not all of them took part in the Second World War.

Compared with previous models, the geography of Marmon-Herrington Mk.IV was less broad due to the end of hostilities. After 1945, the army of the British Commonwealth began to get rid of the surplus by transferring them to the new allies. Among the "friends" was Transjordan, in which the famous Arab Legion was located. The Jordanians received independence in May 1946 received a few dozen armored vehicles from the British - mainly Marmon-Herrington Mk.IVF (10-12 units), as well as the Canadian Otter. During the first years of service, armored cars were used for their intended purpose - they performed security functions on the border with Palestine.

In May-July, the 1948 of the "legionnaires" from the Second Mechanized Regiment took part in the first Arab-Israeli war, defending Jerusalem. In addition, Marmon-Herrington Mk.IVF also had armies of Syria and Egypt, which were considered allies of Great Britain at that time. The actions of the Arabs were not very successful: in addition to losses in manpower, several Marmon-Herrington were lost, which were introduced into the Israeli army after the repair. The trophy machines, given the weakness of their booking, were mainly used to escort convoys and patrols.

Specifications Marmon-Herrington Mk. IV:
Combat weight - 6250 kg.
Crew - 3 person.
Length - 5435 mm.
Width - 2134 mm.
Height - 2286 mm.
Armament - gun Mk.IX caliber 40 mm (37 rounds of ammunition), 7,7-mm Vickers machine gun (750 ammunition), 7,62-mm anti-aircraft gun Browning M1919A4 (1000 ammunition).
Reservations - 12 mm.
Engine - V-shaped, carburetor, 8-cylinder, Ford V-8, horsepower - 85 hp
Transmission - four-speed gearbox, hydraulic brakes, transfer case.
Chassis - wheel formula 4x4, tires 10,50 —16 or 9,75 —18, leaf springs.
Speed ​​- 80 km / h.
Cruising on the highway - 320 km.

Based on materials:
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  1. realist
    realist 19 December 2013 10: 04
    Thanks to the author, detailed and interesting article
  2. AVV
    AVV 19 December 2013 20: 11
    Very similar to the armored car on which Lenin spoke !!!
  3. bask
    bask 20 December 2013 00: 34
    Thank you for the article.
    So, the creation of the LEGENDARY armored vehicles of South Africa began.
  4. Bongo
    Bongo 20 December 2013 16: 11
    German and Italian 37 and 45 caliber guns.

    Since when did Germans and Italians have an 45-mm caliber in artillery?