The armored car played an ever-increasing battlefield role heading into World War 2 (1939-1945) as dozens of designs were eventually used in the wide-reaching conflict. The British alone were responsible for the introduction and operation of many major types that included the diminutive Humber Scout Car series. Production of the vehicle, which began in 1942, reached over 4,200 units before the end of the war in 1945 and the line went on to see service in the post-war years under the flag of various nations.
The Humber emerged in design as a light-class system utilizing a 4x4 wheeled chassis. Its crew numbered two and power came from a single Roote 6-cylinder gasoline engine of 87 horsepower output. The wheels were stationed at the extreme corners of the hull and a lightly-armored superstructure, showcasing a faceted design approach, was fitted atop the frame. Dimensions included a length of 12.6 feet, a width of just over 6 feet and a height of 7 feet. Armor protection reached 14mm only offering deflection and absorption from small arms fire and artillery "spray". A radio fit (No.19) was standard and the floor left unarmored (the latter to save on weight). The 4x4 wheeled arrangement was completely suspended for improved cross-country travel and road speeds reached over 60 miles per hour (100 kmh) with operational ranges out to 200 miles (320 km). Overall weight was 2.4 tons (long).
The armored car became a multi-role vehicle on the modern battlefield as it could be used for a myriad of mission types that included reconnaissance, harassment, and command. Typically light armor was the norm as weight worked against such a design intended to be fast and agile and armament was usually minimal - the Humber Scout Car carried one or two 0.303 in BREN machine guns.
Even after the British Army moved on the selection of competing designs to standardize its armored car force for the war years ahead, there still proved a deficit in capable vehicles available so the Humber Scout Car was also taken on to alleviate production elsewhere. The Humber Scout Car designed emerged during 1942 at a time when the British Army was already committed to war around the world.
The initial version became the Mk I and 1,698 of these were delivered. The Mk II version eventually came along and featured an improved transmission system. In practice, the vehicles were not as fondly remembered as competing types and some of the stock was eventually passed on the Poland and Czechoslovakia. It continued to stock armies of Europe even after the final shots of the war were accounted for in 1945 - seeing service in places like Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, the Netherlands and Norway. Wartime users (beyond Britain, Czechoslovakia and Poland) included Commonwealth partners in Canada and South Africa.
The end of the line for the Humber Scout Car came in the late 1950s and early 1960s when more proven forms were being introduced (or the light scout concept dropped from inventories altogether). The design went on to influence the post-war "Ferret Armored Car" of 1952 (detailed elsewhere on this site) for the British Army.
The Humber Scout Car should not be confused with the similar Humber Armored Car of 1942 detailed elsewhere on this site.
Manufacturing Humber - UK
Production 4,298 Units
Canada; Belgium; Czechoslovakia, Denmark; France; Greece; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; South Africa; United Kingdom
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