Humber Light Reconnaissance Car file photo

Humber Light Reconnaissance Car

CountryUnited Kingdom
ManufacturerHumber
Primary RoleArmored Car

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

The Humber Light Reconnaissance Cars were lightly armored wheeled vehicles built on the chassis of Humber's 1938 Super Snipe passenger sedans. Production of the Mk I variant, known as "Ironside" (after General Edmund Ironside) and as the nickname "Humberette" (as a counterpart to the contemporary vehicle design Beaverette), production began in Jul 1940; although 1,200 Mk I vehicles were ordered, only 200 were built as Mk II was ready for production in 1941, which offered better protection with an armored roof and had a machine gun turret in the design. Later in 1941, Mk III, the definitive variant, went into production. Mk III vehicles had four-wheel drive, slightly shorter wheel bases (by 2.25 inches) and overall length (by 2 inches), and slightly wider wheel tracks (by 1 inch). The final Mk IIIA variant called for an improved carburetor and a two-stage oil bath. They served in Tunisia, Italy, and northwestern Europe during WW2, and the first Allied vehicle to cross into the border of Tunisia was likely to be a Humber Light Reconnaissance Car of 15 Troop, C Squadron under the command of Lieutenant Graham Whatley. Fast and light, they were known for making constant contact with the enemy so that commanders back at the field headquarters could have the intelligence on enemy troop movements. They were engaged in many combat situations through the Allied invasion of Normandy, France, but by the time Allied armies marched across the German border in 1945 Humber Light Reconnaissance Cars had been made obsolete and were gradually moved to rear areas.

Canadian, Czechoslovakian, and Polish units that served under the British banner had also used these vehicles. At least one of the Humber Light Reconnaissance Cars operated by Czechoslovakian units took part in the victory parade in Prague, Czechoslovakia on 31 May 1945, as recorded on film.

Several Humber Light Reconnaissance Cars were also custom-built as VIP transports within the United Kingdom. These Special Ironside saloons were generally Mk I vehicles with armored roofs added, with hide upholstery and other objects of comfort installed in the passenger cabin. The British royal family members were among the VIPs who traveled within Special Ironside saloons during the war. Additionally, a number of them were assigned to the RAF Regiment, which was created to defend airfields.

Between 1940 and 1943, 3,600 Humber Reconnaissance Cars were ordered but only about 2,400 were actually built. After the war, they served in the British Mandate of Palestine and in British colonies in Asia.

Source:
Richard Doherty, Humber Light Reconnaissance Car 1941-45

SPECIFICATIONS

Mk I Ironside
MachineryHumber 4.1L 6-cylinder liquid-cooled gasoline engine rated at 80hp
Suspension4x2 wheel
Armament1x7.92mm Bren Mk I machine gun
Armor10mm front, 7-9mm sides
Crew3
Length4.37 m
Width1.88 m
Height1.88 m
Weight2.8 t
Speed72 km/h
Range305 km

Mk II
MachineryHumber 4.1L 6-cylinder liquid-cooled gasoline engine rated at 80hp
Suspension4x2 wheel
Armament1x13.9mm Boys anti-tank rifle, 1x7.92mm Bren Mk I machine gun, 1x4in smoke discharger
Armor10mm front, 7-9mm sides, 7mm rear, 6mm turret, 7mm roof
Crew3
Length4.37 m
Width1.88 m
Height2.08 m
Weight3.2 t
Speed120 km/h
Range305 km

Mk III
MachineryHumber 4.1L 6-cylinder liquid-cooled gasoline engine rated at 80hp
Suspension4x4 wheel
Armament1x13.9mm Boys anti-tank rifle, 1x7.92mm Bren Mk II machine gun, 1x4in smoke discharger
Armor12mm front, 8mm sides, 7mm rear, 8mm turret, 7mm
Crew3
Length4.32 m
Width1.88 m
Height2.08 m
Weight3.4 t
Speed95 km/h
Range280 km

Mk IIIA
MachineryHumber 4.1L 6-cylinder liquid-cooled gasoline engine rated at 80hp
Suspension4x4 wheel
Armament1x7.92mm Bren Mk II machine gun, 1x4in smoke discharger
Armor12mm front, 8mm sides, 7mm rear, 8mm turret, 7mm
Crew3
Length4.32 m
Width1.88 m
Height2.08 m
Weight3.6 t
Speed95 km/h
Range280 km

Photographs

Humber Light Reconnaissance Car Mk I Ironside, date unknown, photo 1 of 2Humber Light Reconnaissance Car Mk I Ironside, date unknown, photo 2 of 2British Army trainees on exercise with No. 19 wireless set and weaponless Humber Light Reconnaissance Car Mk II, Reconnaissance Training Centre, Catterick, England, United Kingdom, date unknownHumber Light Reconnaissance Cars Mk II of 29th Independent Squadron of British Reconnaissance Corps, date unknown
See all 16 photographs of Humber Light Reconnaissance Car Armored Car



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Humber Light Reconnaissance Car Armored Car Photo Gallery
Humber Light Reconnaissance Car Mk I Ironside, date unknown, photo 1 of 2
See all 16 photographs of Humber Light Reconnaissance Car Armored Car



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