Lanchester 6x4 armoured car and Vickers LMG(?) in Malaya

Lanchester 6x4 armoured car and Vickers LMG(?) in Malaya

Nelson
Nelson

June 1st, 2014, 7:33 pm #1

Although the statement is routinely made that no British Commonwealth tanks fought in Malaya from December 1941 to February 1942, there is considerable disagreement about their presence on Singapore Island, specifically as manned by 100th [Indian] Independent Light Tank Squadron. While still in India, the unit manned Indian pattern Marks IV and VI light tanks, armed with .5-inch (12.7mm) and .303-inch (7.7mm) Vickers machine guns. What the squadron was equipped with during its presence in Singapore, however, differs among various sources, with more than one account claiming their vehicles were Carden-Loyd tankettes or machine gun carriers that had seen hard service in the Middle East. These sources assert the vehicles were shipped as-was to Singapore, and their state of repair was not, in short, first-rate. Again, accounts differ whether any of these vehicles were committed to action on the island, but if any were, they were introduced piecemeal in a pitifully small number and had no effect on the outcome of the battle at any point.

What is not at issue, however, is the presence of armored cars, in both Malaya and Singapore. The vehicle most conspicuous there remains the Lanchester 6x4 Mark I armoured car, whose first development dated from 1928. It was by any measure a large and heavy vehicle, equipped with a 6-cylinder in-line, gasoline-fueled engine. Specifically, the car's dimensions were 20 ft (6.1 m) in length, 6.6 ft (2 m) in width, and 9 ft (2.8 m) in height, though that height may or may not include the commander's cupola atop the turret. The armor rather consistently ran to 0.35 inch (9 mm) in thickness, and the vehicle weighed between 7.7 and 8.2 short tons (7 to 7.5 metric tons), one presumes whether empty or loaded. Its armament consisted of one each Vickers .5-inch and .303-inch machine gun in the turret and another .303-inch MG facing front on the left side of the hull, i.e., opposite the driver's side.

Four marks appeared during its developmental and building history: the Marks I and IA (22 or 23 built) and the Marks II and IIA (13 built); the 'A' versions were command vehicles, with a radio set in lieu of the hull MG. The two basic marks differed thus: the earlier one had dual wheels on each side of its two rear axles (both powered), carried a pair of spare tires flush on its left side above the footboard, and displayed a vertical-sided commander's cupola; the later mark car had single wheels on its two rear axles (both powered), one spare tire mounted on each side of the vehicle above the footboard, and presented a slope-sided cupola.

The Lanchester 6x4 armoured car, Mark I, is shown below.



The AFV underwent initial field testing with two regular cavalry regiments, 11th Hussars and 12th Lancers. But however one slices it, the Lanchester armoured car was a heavy vehicle, underpowered, and too slow---top speed 45 mph (or 72 km/h)---for a vehicle engaged in reconnaissance and rear guard action. Sources differ on its off-road capability, but generally all agree that a larger engine and a 6x6 power arrangement would have served it better. [I remain confused about the standard engine provided this vehicle: some sources indicate 40 hp (30 kW), others declare 90 hp (67 kW), and yet others claim 40 hp that developed 88 hp (65.5 kW) max at 2300 rpm.]

Accordingly, the Lanchester 6x4 armoured car was soon relegated to Territorial units at home (typically Yeomanry), and colonial and volunteer units abroad. In Malaya, the Lanchaster armoured car went to a number of volunteer units, but most notably to a regular infantry battalion, 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (photos of the Argylls in training show the armoured car remaining on the road, while crew members deploy into the scrub). Alas, I have little information on its combat history in Malaya-Singapore, so if someone is able to fill in that void, it would be much appreciated.

Following, a series of three photos showing members of 2nd Bn, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, training with the Mark I Lanchester 6x4 armoured car in Malaya. Note the water-cooled Vickers "light" machine gun being deployed by the crew, and the water chest visible in each of the images.







My question is on the curious and to my knowledge little seen Vickers light MG, presumably .303-inch, equipped with a bipod near the muzzle and a monopod on the butt-stock, in the manner of a Boys .55-inch (14mm) antitank rifle. I cannot tell if the ribbed water jacket is the same length as on a standard Vickers water-cooled infantry machine gun, but I am able to say that in my memory, I've not seen this type of Vickers MG before. I have consulted various websites and the hard copy of Smith & Smith's Small Arms of the World, 1973 edition, but no luck in finding this gun. Can anyone shed light on this seemingly rare Vickers LMG? Was it provided only to armored car crews? Its use was clearly dependent upon the provision of a water chest, hardly an asset for an LMG.

Nelson
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Joined: December 27th, 2007, 10:57 pm

June 1st, 2014, 11:06 pm #2

"Can anyone shed light on this seemingly rare Vickers LMG? Was it provided only to armored car crews? Its use was clearly dependent upon the provision of a water chest, hardly an asset for an LMG."

Not really rare and not really a LMG.

from WW2 FACT FILES MACHINE GUNS (Peter Chamberlain and Terry Gander)(1974)

'.303" Vickers Tank Machine Guns
The Marks of the Vickers Machine Gun developed for use in AFVs were the 4B, 6, 6* and 7. The 4B and 6 entered service in 1934 and the other two after 1938. They were all very similar adaptations of the basic Vickers design, with the main change being that pistol grip and trigger were fitted in place of the usual spade grips. The water jacket was retained and connections provided on the Mark 6 for an internal header tank for coolant water. The mountings differed from mark to mark but they were all rather heavy, bulky and expensive. Most British AFVs carried a .303in machine gun between the wars and the gun served mainly as a co-axial gun on cruiser and heavy tanks and as the main armament of many light tanks and armoured cars. They were eventually replaced by the 7.92mm Besa guns.'

DATA (Mark 7)
Calibre 7.7mm 0.303 in
Length 1100mm 43.3 in
Barrel Length 790mm 31.1 in
Weight 21.4 kg 47.2l lb
M.V. 744 m/s 2440 ft/sec
Rate of Fire 45-500 rpm
Type of Feed 250 round fabric belt

Similar data can be found in MILITARY SMALL ARMS OF THE 20th CENTURY - 7th Edition (Ian V. Hogg and John S. Weeks)(2000)

Mark VI



Mark VII



Above photos from this site

http://www.vickersmachinegun.org.uk/

which notes

"The Mk. VI, Mk. VI*, and Mk. VII Vickers MGs were the secondary armament for all Tanks in British Service until the gradual introduction of the Besa and Browning MGs in the early 1940s. This meant that they were being produced in line with the developments and demands of the Tank 'fleet'. As well as being produced from scratch, they were also being converted from Mk. I guns, either from guns that needed repair anyway or from new production stock. The majority of components were common to all guns in .303-inch."





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Joined: January 26th, 2005, 9:51 pm

June 1st, 2014, 11:28 pm #3

Although the statement is routinely made that no British Commonwealth tanks fought in Malaya from December 1941 to February 1942, there is considerable disagreement about their presence on Singapore Island, specifically as manned by 100th [Indian] Independent Light Tank Squadron. While still in India, the unit manned Indian pattern Marks IV and VI light tanks, armed with .5-inch (12.7mm) and .303-inch (7.7mm) Vickers machine guns. What the squadron was equipped with during its presence in Singapore, however, differs among various sources, with more than one account claiming their vehicles were Carden-Loyd tankettes or machine gun carriers that had seen hard service in the Middle East. These sources assert the vehicles were shipped as-was to Singapore, and their state of repair was not, in short, first-rate. Again, accounts differ whether any of these vehicles were committed to action on the island, but if any were, they were introduced piecemeal in a pitifully small number and had no effect on the outcome of the battle at any point.

What is not at issue, however, is the presence of armored cars, in both Malaya and Singapore. The vehicle most conspicuous there remains the Lanchester 6x4 Mark I armoured car, whose first development dated from 1928. It was by any measure a large and heavy vehicle, equipped with a 6-cylinder in-line, gasoline-fueled engine. Specifically, the car's dimensions were 20 ft (6.1 m) in length, 6.6 ft (2 m) in width, and 9 ft (2.8 m) in height, though that height may or may not include the commander's cupola atop the turret. The armor rather consistently ran to 0.35 inch (9 mm) in thickness, and the vehicle weighed between 7.7 and 8.2 short tons (7 to 7.5 metric tons), one presumes whether empty or loaded. Its armament consisted of one each Vickers .5-inch and .303-inch machine gun in the turret and another .303-inch MG facing front on the left side of the hull, i.e., opposite the driver's side.

Four marks appeared during its developmental and building history: the Marks I and IA (22 or 23 built) and the Marks II and IIA (13 built); the 'A' versions were command vehicles, with a radio set in lieu of the hull MG. The two basic marks differed thus: the earlier one had dual wheels on each side of its two rear axles (both powered), carried a pair of spare tires flush on its left side above the footboard, and displayed a vertical-sided commander's cupola; the later mark car had single wheels on its two rear axles (both powered), one spare tire mounted on each side of the vehicle above the footboard, and presented a slope-sided cupola.

The Lanchester 6x4 armoured car, Mark I, is shown below.



The AFV underwent initial field testing with two regular cavalry regiments, 11th Hussars and 12th Lancers. But however one slices it, the Lanchester armoured car was a heavy vehicle, underpowered, and too slow---top speed 45 mph (or 72 km/h)---for a vehicle engaged in reconnaissance and rear guard action. Sources differ on its off-road capability, but generally all agree that a larger engine and a 6x6 power arrangement would have served it better. [I remain confused about the standard engine provided this vehicle: some sources indicate 40 hp (30 kW), others declare 90 hp (67 kW), and yet others claim 40 hp that developed 88 hp (65.5 kW) max at 2300 rpm.]

Accordingly, the Lanchester 6x4 armoured car was soon relegated to Territorial units at home (typically Yeomanry), and colonial and volunteer units abroad. In Malaya, the Lanchaster armoured car went to a number of volunteer units, but most notably to a regular infantry battalion, 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (photos of the Argylls in training show the armoured car remaining on the road, while crew members deploy into the scrub). Alas, I have little information on its combat history in Malaya-Singapore, so if someone is able to fill in that void, it would be much appreciated.

Following, a series of three photos showing members of 2nd Bn, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, training with the Mark I Lanchester 6x4 armoured car in Malaya. Note the water-cooled Vickers "light" machine gun being deployed by the crew, and the water chest visible in each of the images.







My question is on the curious and to my knowledge little seen Vickers light MG, presumably .303-inch, equipped with a bipod near the muzzle and a monopod on the butt-stock, in the manner of a Boys .55-inch (14mm) antitank rifle. I cannot tell if the ribbed water jacket is the same length as on a standard Vickers water-cooled infantry machine gun, but I am able to say that in my memory, I've not seen this type of Vickers MG before. I have consulted various websites and the hard copy of Smith & Smith's Small Arms of the World, 1973 edition, but no luck in finding this gun. Can anyone shed light on this seemingly rare Vickers LMG? Was it provided only to armored car crews? Its use was clearly dependent upon the provision of a water chest, hardly an asset for an LMG.

Nelson
Nelson

The machine gun in question is one of several versions of the Vickers machine gun modified for use on Armored Fighting Vehicles. It could be one of the following versions - Marks 4B, 6, 6*, or 7. It is most likely a Mark 4B or 6 as these entered service in 1934 while the other two types entered service in 1938.

These types were also used on British light tanks of the 1930s thru WW2. The following website will give you info and pictures on each of these versions of the Vickers.

http://www.vickersmachinegun.org.uk/

As far as dimensional data is concerned, I only have a small blurb on these guns in the WW2 Fact File - Machine Guns by Peter Chamberlain and Terry Gander. There is also some comparative data on Mark 1.

Mark 1 Data

Overall Length - 45.5 in
Barrel Length - 28.4 in
Weight w/water w/o tripod - 40 lb.

Mark 7 Data

Overall Length - 43.3 in
Barrel Length - 31.1 in
Weight w/water - 47.2 lb did not use tripod

Caliber for both is .303 in.

I hope that this helps.

Pat Brennan
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Joined: January 26th, 2005, 9:51 pm

June 1st, 2014, 11:31 pm #4


Sorry for the second entry of the same info. Next time, I need to look back at the forum before I hit the respond button.

Pat Brennan
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Joined: December 27th, 2007, 10:57 pm

June 2nd, 2014, 12:41 am #5

Just goes to show that great minds run in the same circles (and have the same books in their libraries).
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Nelson
Nelson

June 2nd, 2014, 5:48 am #6

Nelson

The machine gun in question is one of several versions of the Vickers machine gun modified for use on Armored Fighting Vehicles. It could be one of the following versions - Marks 4B, 6, 6*, or 7. It is most likely a Mark 4B or 6 as these entered service in 1934 while the other two types entered service in 1938.

These types were also used on British light tanks of the 1930s thru WW2. The following website will give you info and pictures on each of these versions of the Vickers.

http://www.vickersmachinegun.org.uk/

As far as dimensional data is concerned, I only have a small blurb on these guns in the WW2 Fact File - Machine Guns by Peter Chamberlain and Terry Gander. There is also some comparative data on Mark 1.

Mark 1 Data

Overall Length - 45.5 in
Barrel Length - 28.4 in
Weight w/water w/o tripod - 40 lb.

Mark 7 Data

Overall Length - 43.3 in
Barrel Length - 31.1 in
Weight w/water - 47.2 lb did not use tripod

Caliber for both is .303 in.

I hope that this helps.

Pat Brennan
Guys,

Thanks for the prompt responses. Note that while I got the rarity part wrong, I did doubt these Vickers guns were actually LMGs (I put quotation marks around "light" when first introduced). Think I know how these MGs were deployed.

> The water jacket was retained and connections provided on the Mark 6 for an internal header tank for coolant water. >

Note in the first of the three photos taken of the members of 2nd Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the crew member is leaping pretty nimbly from the rear of the armored car, handling the Vickers machine gun (Mark VI or VI*?) with ease. I conclude from that and the second photo that no water is in the gun's water jacket, which otherwise would have increased substantially the burden on the carrier. The other soldier in the first photo is consolidating the contents of a second water chest into the first one (on the ground). There is no drainage tube shown in the third photo, of the gun in place ready to fire, so the water chests shown were likely not condensation cans. In regular Vickers infantry MGs, water vapor produced by the increasingly hot gun barrel within the water jacket---roughly 1.5 pints evaporated for each 1000 rounds fired---drained into and condensed within the drainage tube, after which it collected in the condensation can. Rather, the water from the chest shown in the photos was poured into the water jacket of the machine gun once the gun had been emplaced, and likely that's where that internal header tank came into play. Also, the probability was that only brief delaying fire was anticipated before the crew returned to their vehicle and moved on.

The first and third photos of the Lanchester Mark I armoured car deploying their Vickers MG are repeated here for convenience in viewing.





Again, does anyone have any details on the actions involving Lanchester or other types of British armoured cars in 1941-1942, particularly on the Malayan mainland?

Nelson
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Nelson
Nelson

June 6th, 2014, 5:52 pm #7

Although the statement is routinely made that no British Commonwealth tanks fought in Malaya from December 1941 to February 1942, there is considerable disagreement about their presence on Singapore Island, specifically as manned by 100th [Indian] Independent Light Tank Squadron. While still in India, the unit manned Indian pattern Marks IV and VI light tanks, armed with .5-inch (12.7mm) and .303-inch (7.7mm) Vickers machine guns. What the squadron was equipped with during its presence in Singapore, however, differs among various sources, with more than one account claiming their vehicles were Carden-Loyd tankettes or machine gun carriers that had seen hard service in the Middle East. These sources assert the vehicles were shipped as-was to Singapore, and their state of repair was not, in short, first-rate. Again, accounts differ whether any of these vehicles were committed to action on the island, but if any were, they were introduced piecemeal in a pitifully small number and had no effect on the outcome of the battle at any point.

What is not at issue, however, is the presence of armored cars, in both Malaya and Singapore. The vehicle most conspicuous there remains the Lanchester 6x4 Mark I armoured car, whose first development dated from 1928. It was by any measure a large and heavy vehicle, equipped with a 6-cylinder in-line, gasoline-fueled engine. Specifically, the car's dimensions were 20 ft (6.1 m) in length, 6.6 ft (2 m) in width, and 9 ft (2.8 m) in height, though that height may or may not include the commander's cupola atop the turret. The armor rather consistently ran to 0.35 inch (9 mm) in thickness, and the vehicle weighed between 7.7 and 8.2 short tons (7 to 7.5 metric tons), one presumes whether empty or loaded. Its armament consisted of one each Vickers .5-inch and .303-inch machine gun in the turret and another .303-inch MG facing front on the left side of the hull, i.e., opposite the driver's side.

Four marks appeared during its developmental and building history: the Marks I and IA (22 or 23 built) and the Marks II and IIA (13 built); the 'A' versions were command vehicles, with a radio set in lieu of the hull MG. The two basic marks differed thus: the earlier one had dual wheels on each side of its two rear axles (both powered), carried a pair of spare tires flush on its left side above the footboard, and displayed a vertical-sided commander's cupola; the later mark car had single wheels on its two rear axles (both powered), one spare tire mounted on each side of the vehicle above the footboard, and presented a slope-sided cupola.

The Lanchester 6x4 armoured car, Mark I, is shown below.



The AFV underwent initial field testing with two regular cavalry regiments, 11th Hussars and 12th Lancers. But however one slices it, the Lanchester armoured car was a heavy vehicle, underpowered, and too slow---top speed 45 mph (or 72 km/h)---for a vehicle engaged in reconnaissance and rear guard action. Sources differ on its off-road capability, but generally all agree that a larger engine and a 6x6 power arrangement would have served it better. [I remain confused about the standard engine provided this vehicle: some sources indicate 40 hp (30 kW), others declare 90 hp (67 kW), and yet others claim 40 hp that developed 88 hp (65.5 kW) max at 2300 rpm.]

Accordingly, the Lanchester 6x4 armoured car was soon relegated to Territorial units at home (typically Yeomanry), and colonial and volunteer units abroad. In Malaya, the Lanchaster armoured car went to a number of volunteer units, but most notably to a regular infantry battalion, 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (photos of the Argylls in training show the armoured car remaining on the road, while crew members deploy into the scrub). Alas, I have little information on its combat history in Malaya-Singapore, so if someone is able to fill in that void, it would be much appreciated.

Following, a series of three photos showing members of 2nd Bn, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, training with the Mark I Lanchester 6x4 armoured car in Malaya. Note the water-cooled Vickers "light" machine gun being deployed by the crew, and the water chest visible in each of the images.







My question is on the curious and to my knowledge little seen Vickers light MG, presumably .303-inch, equipped with a bipod near the muzzle and a monopod on the butt-stock, in the manner of a Boys .55-inch (14mm) antitank rifle. I cannot tell if the ribbed water jacket is the same length as on a standard Vickers water-cooled infantry machine gun, but I am able to say that in my memory, I've not seen this type of Vickers MG before. I have consulted various websites and the hard copy of Smith & Smith's Small Arms of the World, 1973 edition, but no luck in finding this gun. Can anyone shed light on this seemingly rare Vickers LMG? Was it provided only to armored car crews? Its use was clearly dependent upon the provision of a water chest, hardly an asset for an LMG.

Nelson
Managed to find more a bit more info on armored car use in Malaya/Singapore in the Allied WWII AFV discussion group, specifically in network54.com/Forum/47208, taking place in April 2001. I don't know if that forum survives these 13 years since. Anyway, the discussion, "Singapore/Malayan armoured cars 1941/1942", includes the following thread between the two individuals named. Other than my italicizing periodical and ship names, and correcting a handful of typos, what follows is virtually word-for-word, including Mr. Taylor's mixture of British and American spellings. I have also added bold-faced numbers to flag my own editorial remarks following their discussion (given the length of the thread quoted here, I'll add my comments and illustrative photos in a following post, and my apologies for that necessity).

Tomek Basarabowicz, April 11, 2001:

"According to Raymond Surlemont's article in Armored Car No. 10, twenty-two Lanchester armoured cars were sent to Malaya, of which thirteen were Mk.I's, one Mk.IA, five Mk.II's and three Mk.IIA's.
Four Lanchesters were taken over by 2nd A&S Highlanders (together with three Marmon-Herrington A/C's).1
The rest went to both armoured car companies (Singapore and Malay), as well as Straits Settlements detachments."

Mike Taylor, April 16, 2001:

"The following extracts and comments are from two books. The first is the 2 Argyll's regimental history, HISTORY OF THE ARGYLL AND SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS 2nd BATTALION (The Thin Red Line): Malayan Campaign 1941-1942, Brigadier I. MacA. Stewart, DSO, OBE, MC, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1947.2
The second is MOON OVER MALAYA: A Tale of Argylls and Marines by Jonathan Moffatt & Audrey Holmes McCormick, Coombe Publishing, 1999 (no ISBN).
The 2nd Argylls' basic organization at the beginning of the campaign was as follows.
'The Battalion was organized and equipped on generally the same scale as for other theatres [i.e., BHQ, HQ Coy. & 4 Rifle Coys], with the notable exception that it had an armoured car platoon [No. 4 Platoon, HQ Coy.] of seven cars, of which four were old and temperamental Lanchesters armed with two Vickers and a .5 anti-tank machine gun, though for the latter there was scarcely any ammunition. In their young days they had been in Palestine. The other three were South African built Marmons, armed with a single Vickers and an anti-tank rifle.1 Used as mobile forts, the armoured cars became the framework on which the Battalion tactics were built up. Without them, there is no question that the 93rd would not have had its repeated successes in meeting the Jap encircling attacks and quick follow-ups. There were four 3-inch mortars and a few newly arrived 2-inch ones on establishment.' (Regimental history, page 5)
The Lanchester cars, of which the Battalion initiallty had five, were at one point taken from the Battalion to provide vehicles for 3rd Indian Cavalry Regiment, recently converted to a recce regiment and assigned (at least initially) to III Corps, but who had arrived minus all its vehicles. Four of them were returned before the Argylls saw action as their new owners could not make them work!3
The Battalion fought its way down Malaya and reached Singapore on 13 January, by which time they were reduced to just one armoured car. (This car met 'a gallant end in the last dark days engaging a Jap medium tank in the dark on the road to Bukit Timah' {Regimental history, page 12}). However, 'within ten days [the Battalion] had acquired two 3-inch mortars and 700 rounds of ammunition, four carriers, six armoured cars, and all the light machine guns and tommy guns that it could use for its 250 men.' (Regimental history, page 93). The vehicles were mostly those which had been abandoned by other units, but in one case outright theft was attempted when the Argylls' armoured car platoon sergeant arrested the crew of another unit's car and locked them in the guardhouse on the basis that they should have been fighting the Japs! The other unit's CO appears to have been quite understanding about it.
The 250 Argylls were made up from the survivors of the fighting in the Malay peninsula plus just about every member of the regiment who had been drafted to other units or the staff, and those in hospital who could walk or stagger to join the Battalion. They formed a HQ and two weak rifle companies. They were subsequently reinforced by 200 Royal Marines, survivors from Prince of Wales and Repulse, who made up two more weak rifle companies and manned one of the mortars and an armoured car. (Regimental history, page 94). The RM contingent thereafter styled themselves 'The Plymouth Argylls'.
MOON OVER MALAYA contains a couple of useful photos of Lanchesters. On the front cover there is one showing licence plate W[WD arrow]468 and a large letter B or figure 8 on a light coloured circle on the right mudguard. In the body of the book there is a picture of a line of about 5 Lanchesters, the front one licence number W[WD arrow]465. Other markings are obscured. In addition, the Argylls' history states that the cars 'bore the names of the castles of Scotland on their turrets, and Stirling Castle, the home of the Regiment, need feel no shame at the achievements of its namesake.' (Regimental history, page 12). MOON provides additional information, saying that the Marmons were not named but used the last two numbers of their registration plates, as in Car 24 or Car 68. The Lanchester car names are identified as Stirling Castle, Dumbarton Castle, Glamis Castle, Inverness Castle and Blair Castle. (MOON, page 24). Blair Castle seems to have been the car never returned to the Battalion and so presumably fought with 3 Indian Cavalry Regt.3,4
There is a useful passage on page 23 of MOON OVER MALAYA. 'The armoured car situation [of 2 Argylls] compared favourably with the two Indian battalions [4/19 Hyderabad and 5/2 Punjab] in the Brigade [12th], who had only three armoured cars and eight carriers each with no armoured car platoons as such. The [Argylls'] Lanchesters were among twenty two delivered to Malaya before the war. The Marmons, of which some 175 were delivered to Malaya, were brought down from Kuala Lumpur by Lt. Montgomery-Campbell and four drivers early in 1941.' There were no wireless sets in any of the cars. All cars carried a .45 Thompson smg.
MOON also states that the original establishment of the Argylls' carrier platoon was 14 carriers, each with a Bren and a Thompson smg. This was rather more than might reasonably be expected of an infantry battalion of the period, which usually fielded no more than ten carriers.

3 Indian Cavalry 'took delivery of sixteen Marmon Herrington armoured cars at Singapore in December 1941.3 These vehicles were new, not run in, and were without machine gun fittings, spares and tools. During the journey to III Corps area, the inexperienced drivers and mechanics either ditched or rendered unserviceable thirteen of them.' (UK Official History, THE WAR AGAINST JAPAN, Volume 1: The Loss of Singapore, Major General Woodburn Kirby, HMSO, 1957, page 217 fn 1). It seems they [the 3rd Cavalry troopers?] may have been mounted mainly in 15cwt. trucks.

18 Recce. Regiment, converted from 5 Loyals, arrived off Singapore on 5 February 1942 when their ship, the liner Empress of India, was sunk by Japanese aircraft. They lost all their equipment and had to be re-equipped from local resources, but it is not clear what that was. There is a reference in their regimental history to the Battalion leading an attack on Bukit Timah village on 10 February and that the attack was led by 'ten wheeled carriers'. However, it is not entirely clear that these carriers belonged to the Battalion.5 (THE LOYAL REGIMENT (North Lancashire) 1919-1953 by Captain C. G. T. Dean, Private by the Regiment, 1955, pages 151-2 & 154)

2 Loyals were also in Singapore, part of 1st Malay Infantry Brigade, and on page 131 of the Regimental history, reference is made to an unspecified number of armoured cars being on establishment on 5 September 1939. An issue of nine armoured cars was made on 7 December 1941 (page 134), but it is not clear whether these were in addition to the existing cars. There seems to be no mention of type of car. The Battalion fought its way down the Malay peninsula and reached Singapore on 21 January 1942. On 1 February it formed a detachment including four armoured cars for internal security duties (pages 150-151). It is not clear whether these were surviving cars or a new issue.

MOON refers on a couple of occasions to a FMSVF Armoured Car 'Regiment' (e.g., pp. 104 & 105), but not to its organization or its equipment. Similar references are made to the SSV, but again no details of organization or equipment. No references found to a Singapore Volunteer Armoured Car Coy. However, given the numbers of Lanchester versus Marmons in theatre, it seems likely that the majority were the latter."

Tomek Basarabowicz, April 17, 2001

"Another reference, i.e., 'A STUDY IN ARMORED EXPLOITATION, The Battle of the Slim River, Malaya, 7 January 1942,' by M.N. Stanton says that all Highlanders' armoured cars (Lanchesters and Marmon-Herringtons) were lost to the Japanese tank company which fought in support of 42nd Japanese Infantry Regiment.
Supposedly no single armoured car managed to cross the Slim River, which seems contradictory to the regimental history you quoted.
However, regimental history is [the] more reliable source in this case, I believe."

End of the April 2001 thread.

Nelson
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Nelson
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June 6th, 2014, 6:50 pm #8

My editorial notes on the preceding posting:

1. The Marmon-Herrington armored cars of World War II, hardly the best of the breed that fought in that war, nonetheless remain fascinating vehicles. Using a drive train purchased from the American automobile firm of that name and chassis imported from Ford Canada, South Africa produced a self-defense vehicle that would see wider use, not only by British Commonwealth forces---in the Western Desert, Middle East, and Malaya-Singapore---but also by the KNIL in the Netherlands East Indies. Despite my including images of two "typical" Marmon-Herrington armored cars, there really did not exist a typical vehicle. There were several marks produced and used, and their armament varied enormously. Although initially armed with machine guns of different types and the Boys .55-cal (14mm) AT rifle, Marmon-Herrington armored cars were later equipped with the British 2-pounder and captured weapons as well, including the Italian Breda 20mm and German 2.8- and 3.7cm guns, often with the cars' turret removed. The two images that follow show Vickers and Bren .303-inch MGs and a Boys AT rifle aboard, likely similar to those cars serving in Malaya-Singapore.





2. Brigadier Ian MacAlister Stewart commanded 2nd Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, at both the beginning and the end of the 1941-42 campaign for Malaya-Singapore, taking command of 12th Indian Infantry Brigade in between. Due to his foresight (some claimed eccentricity), his troops were better trained than most in jungle warfare, and as a result, tended to be shoved into the breach whenever....frequently....critical situations arose, and thus suffered terribly high casualties during the two-months' battle, particularly during the debacle at Slim River. Because of his knowledge and tactical successes, Stewart was evacuated to India and did not share the PoW experiences of his surviving men. He retired in 1947, wrote the book about his battalion, and died in 1987, aged 91. His book seems to exist with slightly different titles and subtitles. I found this dust jacket: I. MacA. Stewart [1947], The History of the 2nd Argylls, Malayan Campaign 1941-42, with no mention of "The Thin Red Line", at least on the dust cover. See

http://singaporeevacuation1942.blogspot ... chive.html

3. 3rd Indian Cavalry was equipped with Marmon-Herrington and Lanchester armoured cars, wheeled troop carriers of the Indian pattern, and almost certainly Universal or Bren carriers as well. 100th Indian Independent Light Tank Squadron was attached to the cavalry regiment, both units seeing initial duty in guarding the airfields on Singapore Island. There exists no real agreement on what vehicles were issued to the light tank squadron. Some sources claim its Indian pattern light tanks---with little agreement on which precise marks the unit had manned back in India---accompanied the unit personnel arriving at Singapore on Empire Star in late January 1942. The transport reportedly brought along "16 tanks of an obsolescent type". Other sources claim that nine Carden-Loyd tankettes or MG carriers, transported to Singapore after seeing long and hard service in the Middle East, and having no maintenance beforehand, were given to the squadron after its arrival. Bren carriers were of course plentiful as well. Whatever, it seems neither the squadron nor its vehicles had much of a role in the battle for Singapore. Here are two images of earlier Carden-Loyd tankettes, the first type in Polish hands, the second one having the hinged armored domes to protect the driver and gunner. I have no idea if what the 100th Indian Independent Light Tank Squadron was equipped with was remotely similar to either of these Carden-Loyd types.





According to a 2012 posting elsewhere,

http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/44245-1 ... singapore/

Jim Broshot has contributed information on 100th Indian Independent Light Tank Squadron in the past. Just maybe he has picked up even more info in the last few years.

4. > MOON OVER MALAYA contains a couple of useful photos of Lanchesters. On the front cover there is one showing licence plate W[WD arrow]468 and a large letter B or figure 8 on a light coloured circle on the right mudguard....In addition, the Argylls' history states that the cars "bore the names of the castles of Scotland on their turrets....identified as Stirling Castle, Dumbarton Castle, Glamis Castle, Inverness Castle and Blair Castle." (MOON, page 24). Blair Castle seems to have been the car never returned to the Battalion and so presumably fought with 3 Indian Cavalry Regt. >

The photo described may be one of the three I used in my posting at the beginning of this thread. The number 8---not the letter B---appears on the right mudguard (fender in American), and I'm thinking its license tag reads 465 rather than 468, but I concede the series of three photos I used could show two different Lanchester armoured cars (the second and third images do show the same armored car, with the number 8 on its right front fender). Anyhow, the vehicle with tag W[arrow] 465 has "Blair Castle" painted on the right side of its hull, rather than on the side of the turret.

5. According to the Tomforce website, 18 Recce Regiment was re-equipped with the rarely thereafter seen lightly armored troop carriers, Indian Pattern Mark II. I know virtually nothing about them, but here is one of the 4-wheeled vehicles:



Nelson
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Joined: January 26th, 2005, 9:51 pm

June 6th, 2014, 9:43 pm #9

Hi Nelson

The following are a few comments on your two posts.

1. Armoured Car Journal Issue # 10

For those who are interested, all issues of this journal are available online. The URL for Issue #10 is as follows:

http://www.warwheels.net/images/ACJFinal10.pdf

The URL for the top page is:

http://www.warwheels.net/ACJwwINDEX.html

The top page gives access to all 36 issues.

2. Armoured Carrier, Wheeled, Indian Pattern, Mark II thru IV

The Wheeled Carrier was manufactured in India. The bulk of the units were built at the Tatra Iron and Steel Factory and the East Indian Railway Workshops. A total of 4655 carriers were manufactured. Armor plate was made by Tatra. The Mark II and subsequent Marks were built on Ford 4x4 rear engine chassis supplied by Canada. These carriers were used the same as tracked Universal Carriers in the Middle East, Italy and the Far East.

(This comment essentially plagiarized from booklet British Armoured Cars 1914-1945 by B. T. White)

3. 100th Light Tank Squadron

The following comments are opinion and not based upon direct or indirect knowledge of the equipment of the 100th Light Tank Squadron.

I personally do not believe that the 100th Light Tank Squadron was equipped with Carden-Loyd tankettes.

First, Universal carriers were available at Singapore. The Universal carrier did what the Carden-Loyd could do and more. Why equip a unit with junk when better equipment was available.

Second, the British had light tanks available that were much better than the Carden-Lyod. At this time, American tanks had arrived in the Middle East and largely replaced the Mark VI light tank by this time. The earlier Models had been removed from front-line duty way before this. These were true light tanks and not machine gun carriers.

Third, The official British history says that the unit had 16 obsolescent light tanks. The Carden-Lyod was never called a light tank. It was called a machine gun carrier. Some may have called it a tankette. I dont think that the British history would call it a light tank.

Fourth, The term obsolescent light tank fits the Mark VI and earlier Marks. Limited quantities of these were available to send to Singapore. I believe that the light tanks sent to Singapore were true light tanks of the Mark IV to VI types

However, I cant find any proof either way. (end of rant)

Hope items 1 and 2 help
Pat Brennan
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Joined: December 27th, 2007, 10:57 pm

June 6th, 2014, 11:17 pm #10

Managed to find more a bit more info on armored car use in Malaya/Singapore in the Allied WWII AFV discussion group, specifically in network54.com/Forum/47208, taking place in April 2001. I don't know if that forum survives these 13 years since. Anyway, the discussion, "Singapore/Malayan armoured cars 1941/1942", includes the following thread between the two individuals named. Other than my italicizing periodical and ship names, and correcting a handful of typos, what follows is virtually word-for-word, including Mr. Taylor's mixture of British and American spellings. I have also added bold-faced numbers to flag my own editorial remarks following their discussion (given the length of the thread quoted here, I'll add my comments and illustrative photos in a following post, and my apologies for that necessity).

Tomek Basarabowicz, April 11, 2001:

"According to Raymond Surlemont's article in Armored Car No. 10, twenty-two Lanchester armoured cars were sent to Malaya, of which thirteen were Mk.I's, one Mk.IA, five Mk.II's and three Mk.IIA's.
Four Lanchesters were taken over by 2nd A&S Highlanders (together with three Marmon-Herrington A/C's).1
The rest went to both armoured car companies (Singapore and Malay), as well as Straits Settlements detachments."

Mike Taylor, April 16, 2001:

"The following extracts and comments are from two books. The first is the 2 Argyll's regimental history, HISTORY OF THE ARGYLL AND SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS 2nd BATTALION (The Thin Red Line): Malayan Campaign 1941-1942, Brigadier I. MacA. Stewart, DSO, OBE, MC, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1947.2
The second is MOON OVER MALAYA: A Tale of Argylls and Marines by Jonathan Moffatt & Audrey Holmes McCormick, Coombe Publishing, 1999 (no ISBN).
The 2nd Argylls' basic organization at the beginning of the campaign was as follows.
'The Battalion was organized and equipped on generally the same scale as for other theatres [i.e., BHQ, HQ Coy. & 4 Rifle Coys], with the notable exception that it had an armoured car platoon [No. 4 Platoon, HQ Coy.] of seven cars, of which four were old and temperamental Lanchesters armed with two Vickers and a .5 anti-tank machine gun, though for the latter there was scarcely any ammunition. In their young days they had been in Palestine. The other three were South African built Marmons, armed with a single Vickers and an anti-tank rifle.1 Used as mobile forts, the armoured cars became the framework on which the Battalion tactics were built up. Without them, there is no question that the 93rd would not have had its repeated successes in meeting the Jap encircling attacks and quick follow-ups. There were four 3-inch mortars and a few newly arrived 2-inch ones on establishment.' (Regimental history, page 5)
The Lanchester cars, of which the Battalion initiallty had five, were at one point taken from the Battalion to provide vehicles for 3rd Indian Cavalry Regiment, recently converted to a recce regiment and assigned (at least initially) to III Corps, but who had arrived minus all its vehicles. Four of them were returned before the Argylls saw action as their new owners could not make them work!3
The Battalion fought its way down Malaya and reached Singapore on 13 January, by which time they were reduced to just one armoured car. (This car met 'a gallant end in the last dark days engaging a Jap medium tank in the dark on the road to Bukit Timah' {Regimental history, page 12}). However, 'within ten days [the Battalion] had acquired two 3-inch mortars and 700 rounds of ammunition, four carriers, six armoured cars, and all the light machine guns and tommy guns that it could use for its 250 men.' (Regimental history, page 93). The vehicles were mostly those which had been abandoned by other units, but in one case outright theft was attempted when the Argylls' armoured car platoon sergeant arrested the crew of another unit's car and locked them in the guardhouse on the basis that they should have been fighting the Japs! The other unit's CO appears to have been quite understanding about it.
The 250 Argylls were made up from the survivors of the fighting in the Malay peninsula plus just about every member of the regiment who had been drafted to other units or the staff, and those in hospital who could walk or stagger to join the Battalion. They formed a HQ and two weak rifle companies. They were subsequently reinforced by 200 Royal Marines, survivors from Prince of Wales and Repulse, who made up two more weak rifle companies and manned one of the mortars and an armoured car. (Regimental history, page 94). The RM contingent thereafter styled themselves 'The Plymouth Argylls'.
MOON OVER MALAYA contains a couple of useful photos of Lanchesters. On the front cover there is one showing licence plate W[WD arrow]468 and a large letter B or figure 8 on a light coloured circle on the right mudguard. In the body of the book there is a picture of a line of about 5 Lanchesters, the front one licence number W[WD arrow]465. Other markings are obscured. In addition, the Argylls' history states that the cars 'bore the names of the castles of Scotland on their turrets, and Stirling Castle, the home of the Regiment, need feel no shame at the achievements of its namesake.' (Regimental history, page 12). MOON provides additional information, saying that the Marmons were not named but used the last two numbers of their registration plates, as in Car 24 or Car 68. The Lanchester car names are identified as Stirling Castle, Dumbarton Castle, Glamis Castle, Inverness Castle and Blair Castle. (MOON, page 24). Blair Castle seems to have been the car never returned to the Battalion and so presumably fought with 3 Indian Cavalry Regt.3,4
There is a useful passage on page 23 of MOON OVER MALAYA. 'The armoured car situation [of 2 Argylls] compared favourably with the two Indian battalions [4/19 Hyderabad and 5/2 Punjab] in the Brigade [12th], who had only three armoured cars and eight carriers each with no armoured car platoons as such. The [Argylls'] Lanchesters were among twenty two delivered to Malaya before the war. The Marmons, of which some 175 were delivered to Malaya, were brought down from Kuala Lumpur by Lt. Montgomery-Campbell and four drivers early in 1941.' There were no wireless sets in any of the cars. All cars carried a .45 Thompson smg.
MOON also states that the original establishment of the Argylls' carrier platoon was 14 carriers, each with a Bren and a Thompson smg. This was rather more than might reasonably be expected of an infantry battalion of the period, which usually fielded no more than ten carriers.

3 Indian Cavalry 'took delivery of sixteen Marmon Herrington armoured cars at Singapore in December 1941.3 These vehicles were new, not run in, and were without machine gun fittings, spares and tools. During the journey to III Corps area, the inexperienced drivers and mechanics either ditched or rendered unserviceable thirteen of them.' (UK Official History, THE WAR AGAINST JAPAN, Volume 1: The Loss of Singapore, Major General Woodburn Kirby, HMSO, 1957, page 217 fn 1). It seems they [the 3rd Cavalry troopers?] may have been mounted mainly in 15cwt. trucks.

18 Recce. Regiment, converted from 5 Loyals, arrived off Singapore on 5 February 1942 when their ship, the liner Empress of India, was sunk by Japanese aircraft. They lost all their equipment and had to be re-equipped from local resources, but it is not clear what that was. There is a reference in their regimental history to the Battalion leading an attack on Bukit Timah village on 10 February and that the attack was led by 'ten wheeled carriers'. However, it is not entirely clear that these carriers belonged to the Battalion.5 (THE LOYAL REGIMENT (North Lancashire) 1919-1953 by Captain C. G. T. Dean, Private by the Regiment, 1955, pages 151-2 & 154)

2 Loyals were also in Singapore, part of 1st Malay Infantry Brigade, and on page 131 of the Regimental history, reference is made to an unspecified number of armoured cars being on establishment on 5 September 1939. An issue of nine armoured cars was made on 7 December 1941 (page 134), but it is not clear whether these were in addition to the existing cars. There seems to be no mention of type of car. The Battalion fought its way down the Malay peninsula and reached Singapore on 21 January 1942. On 1 February it formed a detachment including four armoured cars for internal security duties (pages 150-151). It is not clear whether these were surviving cars or a new issue.

MOON refers on a couple of occasions to a FMSVF Armoured Car 'Regiment' (e.g., pp. 104 & 105), but not to its organization or its equipment. Similar references are made to the SSV, but again no details of organization or equipment. No references found to a Singapore Volunteer Armoured Car Coy. However, given the numbers of Lanchester versus Marmons in theatre, it seems likely that the majority were the latter."

Tomek Basarabowicz, April 17, 2001

"Another reference, i.e., 'A STUDY IN ARMORED EXPLOITATION, The Battle of the Slim River, Malaya, 7 January 1942,' by M.N. Stanton says that all Highlanders' armoured cars (Lanchesters and Marmon-Herringtons) were lost to the Japanese tank company which fought in support of 42nd Japanese Infantry Regiment.
Supposedly no single armoured car managed to cross the Slim River, which seems contradictory to the regimental history you quoted.
However, regimental history is [the] more reliable source in this case, I believe."

End of the April 2001 thread.

Nelson
*** "According to Raymond Surlemont's article in Armored Car No. 10, twenty-two Lanchester armoured cars were sent to Malaya, of which thirteen were Mk.I's, one Mk.IA, five Mk.II's and three Mk.IIA's.***

That is interesting, that is almost 3/4 of the total number of Lanchesters that were manufactured.

Two prototypes (D1E1 and D1E2), ordered July 1927 and ready for testing March 1928.

D1E1 - 1x .303in Vickers MG and 1x .5in Vickers MG in turret and 1x .303in Vickers MG in hull to the left of the driver
D1E2 - 1x .303in Vickers MG in turret and 1x .303in Vickers MG in hull

35 ordered between 1928 and 1932

Mark I - as D1E1 with roomier turret

Mark IA - identical with Mark I except no hull MG to create space for wireless set

Mark II (ordered 1929) - similar to Mark I but single wheels on rear axle and "Bishop's Mitre cupola"

Mark IIA - Mark II without hull MG to create space for wireless set

No individual production numbers given in this source for each Mark.

from MECHANISED FORC BRITISH TANKS BETWEEN THE WARS, by David Fletcher

P.S. and FWIW Fletcher gives the Lanchester engine horsepower as 38hp
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