Being in a war gives one license to get creative and here are the proofs — ten vehicular oddballs birthed during the Second World War [from the years 1939 to 1945].
1: The Rhino
The Rhino Heavy Armored Car, or simply known as Rhino, was developed in the early part of World War Two – 1941 to be exact – by the Australian government in part because the UK failed to meet the needs of the Commonwealth nations regarding supplying armored fighting vehicles.
The Rhino was fitted with an armored hull about thirty millimeters thick out on the front, and eleven millimeters thick on the rear and the sides. It was, then, completed with a turret and a thirty-millimeter cap on all sides. The Rhino’s armament was comprised of a two-pound gun (40 mm) and a 7.7-mm Vickers machine gun.
However, the project had to be scraped out by 1943 as the Rhino suffered from too much weight and of course, enemy action. This vehicular oddball never went past the prototype stage.
2: The Fox Armored Car
This four-wheeled, armored fighting vehicle was manufactured by General Motors, Canada, during World War Two. Its design was based on the British Humber Armored Car Mk III though the Fox’s was adapted to the Canadian Military Pattern [CMP] truck chassis.
Four men could fit inside the Fox Armored Car — the commander of the fighting vehicle, the driver, a gunner and a wireless operator.
Unlike the Rhino, the Fox saw combat extending to beyond the Second World War. There were about 1,506 of the Fox armored cars manufactured.
During WWII, it was used in operations in Italy, UK and even in India. It was used extensively by the Polish 15th Pułk Ułanów Poznańskich while the unit fought in Italy between 1943 and 1944. After the war had ended, most of the models of this vehicular oddball went to the Portuguese Army who, in turn, used them during counterinsurgency measures in Mozambique, Angola, and Guinea from 1961 to 1975.
The Netherlands also used these vehicular oddballs in the face of Humber armored cars vehicle shortage which the country was going to use in the Dutch East Indies.
The Netherlands was able to get thirty-nine of these Fox Armored Cars, thirty-four of which were hybrids as they were fitted with Humber Mk. IV turrets. The hybrids, called Humfox proved their worth and became very popular. They were eventually passed on to Indonesia after the country gained its independence.
3: The Ironside
The Humber Light Reconnaissance Car [ Humber LRC Mk IIIA] – more commonly known as the Humberette or Ironside – is another armored car in our vehicular oddballs of World War Two. More than three thousand units of this said British vehicle were produced between 1940 and 1943.
The design for the Ironside was based on the Humber Super Snipe chassis as well as the 4×4 Humber Heavy Utility car. Built by Humber, the Ironside was equipped with the No. 19 radio set and was employed by the RAF Regiment and the Infantry Reconnaissance Regiments while in Western Europe, Tunisia, and Italy.
Three Ironside units were eventually converted for use by the British Royal Family and some of the cabinet members. They came to be known as the Special Ironside Saloons.
4: The Otter
The Otter or the Otter Light Reconnaissance Car [Canadian GM Mark I] was a Canadian-built light armored car for the use of the British and Commonwealth troops during the Second World War. Based on the design of the Chevrolet C15 Canadian Military Pattern truck chassis, the armored unit used many components standard to GM.
The Otter was fitted with hull-mounted bhoys, an anti-tank rifle and a Bren light machine gun which was placed in a small open-topped turret.
The Otter was a more powerful armored car compared than the Humber. However, as it weighed more, its overall performance was lesser.
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