The "Kangaroo" name in Canadian Army service covered a group of Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) that were modifications of existing tank chassis in service with the branch during World War 2 (1939-1945). The "Ram Kangaroo" was one such development, a revised superstructure hull fitted atop the chassis and running gear of the "Cruiser Tank Ram". The original Ram Tank was developed by the Canadians to serve in the war - a rare indigenous Canadian tank initiative - and, despite production reaching about 2,000 units from 1941 to 1943, the vehicle never saw combat service, instead relegated to the training role. This decision was brought about, in large part, by large stocks of American M4 Shermans becoming available. The chassis of the Ram Tank then went on to form the basis of several useful battlefield vehicles including the APC form as well as a flame tank and an artillery observation post.
The "Kangaroo" name is believed to represent the carrier's ability to carry its infantrymen in a protective "pouch", similar to how an Australia Kangaroo would carry its young.
The finalized Ram Kangaroo was driven by a Continental R975 9-cylinder gasoline-fueled engine at rear. Road speeds reached 25 miles per hour with a maximum road range out to 143 miles. Local defense was through a 0.50 caliber and 0.30 caliber machine gun pairing. In later years, the Ram Kangaroo took on a 2 x 0.30 caliber machine gun arrangement when anti-infantry service proved more vital than air defense. The Kangaroo Ram was operated by a crew of two and featured ferrying capabilities for up to eight combat troops (or more depending on desperation). Dimensions included a length of 5.8 meters, a width of 3 meters and a height of 2.6 meters. The crew compartment was rather rudimentary and no overhead protection was afforded from the elements, producing a rather rough, little-protected, ride for the men aboard.
Ram Kangaroos served at various levels in the Canadian Army command structure with a single vehicle capable of ferrying a complete infantry section and multiple Kangaroos able to transport an entire company. While little protection was given to the personnel in the vehicle, it was a mover of men at a time when all manner of mechanized vehicles were put into action.
Other Kangaroo vehicles included the "Priest Kangaroo" - utilizing the chassis of the M7 "Priest" Self-Propelled Artillery (SPA) vehicle, the "Churchill Kangaroo" - built atop the famous "Churchill" tank chassis, and the "Kangaroo Badger" - a flame tank modification of the Kangaroo APC. Conversions of vehicles were handled through the Montreal Locomotive Works and the Canadian Tank Arsenal of Canada. First Kangaroos appeared during 1943 and some 650 total vehicles were eventually completed.