Armoured Car, Humber Mark IV

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                                  Armoured Car, Humber Mark IV

Design and service history:

The Humber Armoured Car was one of the most widely produced British armoured cars of the Second World War with over 2000 examples being constructed by the time production ended in 1945 with the cessation of hostilities. The Humber armoured car was to replace the subpar Humber Light Reconnaissance Car on production lines and remained in service with Commonwealth forces until the end of the war and with some nations into the early 60s, which is rather impressive when one realizes that the Humber armoured car came into being as an unplanned necessity of the struggling British war economy at the start of 1940.

The inception of the Humber Armoured car came when it became clear that the Guy company lacked the sufficient production capacity to produce the required number of Guy Armoured Cars as well as other vehicles to meet demand after the losses at Dunkirk. Because of this, shortly after the outbreak of the war, the Rootes Group were approached for the request of an armoured car, which at the time was termed a “Tank, Light (Wheeled)” for use by the army. Using the Guy design as a base, Karrier designed a vehicle using the basis of their KT 4 artillery tractor chassis, which was already in production for the Indian army, mated with the armoured body of the Guy armoured car. In order to accommodate this, Karrier moved the KT4 engine to the rear of the chassis and fitted the welded bodies and turrets provided directly by Guy. Due to the fact the new vehicle was fully based on proven elements, trials and prototypes passed without serious issues, and an order for 500 vehicles was placed in late 1940, with the first deliveries made in 1941.

At this time the Karrier name was dropped to avoid confusion with the British Universal Carrier tracked vehicle, and instead, the armoured car was designated the “Armoured Car, Humber Mk 1” using the name of Humber Limited, which was another member of the Rootes Group, even if the production would be carried out by the Karrier plant at Luton. This fast-production turnaround meant that the first Humbers were more or less identical to the Guy armoured car down to faults in the armour, though these weaknesses were soon rectified as production went into full effect after around 300 MK 1 Humbers had been produced.

In terms of design, the Humber was a relatively standard armoured car, possessing a rectangular chassis frame with a rear-mounted engine. The gearbox was mounted to the front of the engine and fed a centrally mounted transfer box, which distributed power to both the front and rear axles. These rigid axles were mounted on leaf springs in the front and hydraulic dampers for the rear axle. The welded armoured hull was then mounted upon this chassis at four points, one front, one rear, and one on either side, giving some flexibility, with precautions in place to prevent excessive movement of the hull on the chassis.

For forward vision, the driver was equipt with a flap in the front of the cab, similar to light tanks in service with the army at the time. This would later become part of the glacis from the Mark II onwards, though the function remained the same, as the flap could be shut during combat while maintaining visibility through a Triplex bulletproof glass block. This block could be replaced when damaged and was supplemented by a pair of flaps on the sides of the driver’s position. In order to see what was behind though the driver needed to use a combination of a flap in the rear bulkhead between the fighting compartment and engine bay, along with a mechanism to manually raise the engine cover in order to see. In the MK 1 Humber, the turret was armed with one 15mm and one 7.92mm Besa machine gun, in a hand-traversed turret, with the vehicle commander acting as the wireless operator.

This armament and design was deemed successful, leading to the production of 300 Humber armoured car MK.1’s, though the Rootes Group were keen to improve the design of the base vehicle and were fast to begin producing the Humber Mark 2 armoured car. The most logical read for improvement was the modification of the main hull, which included a new front glacis plate housing the driver’s cab, and the rear radiator armour now being of a louvred design. This design was deemed successful but the Rootes Group saw room for improvement, which lead to the next major variant the MK.III.

The mark 3 retained the engine, modified KT 4 chassis and the hull of the Mark 2, along with the main and secondary armament. However, the MK 3 saw a major change in the fact it was equipt with a new larger turret able to accommodate an extra crew member, who would serve as a wireless operator, a role previously assigned to the commander of the vehicle, reducing his workload. The revised turret is easy to spot both due to its increased size and its sloping sides compared to the Mark 2’s straight and parallel sides. This design was deemed fit for service, though the lack of firepower was deemed an issue, resulting in the development of what would become the final major derivative of the Humber armoured car the Humber MK IV.

The Mark 4 succeeded all previous Humber derivatives, though it used the same engine, modified KT 4 Field Artillery Tractor chassis and hull of the earlier Mark 2 & 3 vehicles, as well as retaining the larger turret mounted on the Mark 3. The big difference however was the fact that the Mark 4 was up-armed with the US-produced M6 37mm Cannon instead of the previously mounted 15mm BESA gun. Due to the addition of this larger gun, the crew size again dropped back down to three, despite the larger Mark 3 turret being used. This design was deemed a success and would instead outlive its planned replacement the Coventry armoured car with a production of almost 2000 vehicles, which would go on to serve into the mid-60s with various nations, along with seeing extensive service in ww2 with British, exile and commonwealth forces.

Vehicle specification:

Mass 5 t

Length 15 ft 1.5 in (4.610 m)

Width 7 ft 3 in (2.21 m)

Height 7 ft 10 in (2.39 m)

Crew: 3

Armour 15 mm (0.59 in)

Main armament M6 37 mm high velocity gun

Secondary Armament 1 x 7.92 mm Besa machine gun
2 x .303 Vickers K machine guns

Engine Rootes 6 cylinder petrol engine 90 hp (67 kW)

Power/weight 18 hp/tonne

Suspension Wheel 4x4, rigid front and rear axles, rear-wheel drive with selectable four-wheel drive

Operational range 200 mi (320 km)

Maximum speed 50 mph (80 km/h)

Additional photos:
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2 Likes

I may be a bit of a downer here, but what role would this vehicle perform in game that is not already done by the Diamler and the South African one?

I would love a Humber in game for completions sake, but I don’t know if its inclusion would be justifyable

The fact its better than either of those armoured cars is a good start. It has a better armour layout, and a more spacious interior so harder to knock out. The daimler is more comparable to it, but its infinately better then the first Harrington, as that thing is honestly the worst 2 pounder armoured car we produced during the war. It also has a top mounted dual machine gun, which is something the daimler doesnt have, so it fits a nice middle ground and is an easy 1.7.

I do not agree with the statement that the humber is better than the daimler.

the Humber, theoretically, has better armor than the Daimler due to its front slope. I dont know because there is not a readily availible armor diagram of the two tanks. The diamler has a marginally better gun with the two pounder. Apart from that they are essentially analogous apart from the fact that the Daimler has 5 reverse gears, something the Humber dosn’t.

You bring up a fair point, though, with the Herrington. If Gaijin is willing to add a strictly worse Daimler to the game for a south african tree, why not add a humber to start off a british armored car tree?

The way i see the brit armoured car tree, is it starts with something like the guy IA, and pans into the numbers, with the III and IV being the logical two, followed by the Coventry/AEC, before we get into the post-war stuff. The British have armoured cars and light tanks for days, but going through them all i have selected the once i think are most viable for the game. The best 2 pounder/ 37mm armoured car we made though is arguably the staghound, and my suggestions for that are currently pending. It is a shame the 3 inch version only had he though, so unfortunately i have not found it suitable for suggestion. Right now i am debating one of 3 boys at rifle armoured cars to start a potential line, though i think i will settle on the morris just due to its additional machine guns.

The horse power to ton ration in the humber is also quite a bit better then the daimler, which is what makes up for the transmission, so it should be more nippy. The fact the front armour is given as 15mm though lets you know that entire front is 15mm, and i would assume that the drivers port is the same thickness as the daimler, as the british armoured cars from the start tried to standardize certain things for ease of production,which would come to a head with the aborted Coventrys

Also just realized the transmission for the daimler is wrong in game, pretty sure its 5 speed either direction, not 8 forward.

The humber and the daimler are both good armoured cars, and there is a reason they served in such large numbers. You basically trade a marginal bit of penetration on the Humber for a more uniformly armoured chassis, which is more nimble. The Daimler has a smaller profile, but more places machine guns can rake through it. both have stabilized guns, so the preference comes from if you think that 5 gears of reverse is important. It is also worth noting the Humber has an anti-air machine gun, something that is always nice to have and is rather rare on British vehicles at that br.

regarding the number, for armour i have seen the following listed Armor 15mm front, 15mm turret, 10mm sides, 10mm rear

I am still trying to get a good read on the HP/ton ratio, as 5 tons for the car seems like it could be light, considering that it is a larger overall vehicle than the Diamler.

However, for armor, I did find this.


Which seems to show that there is not a lot of daylight between the Daimler and the Humber in terms of armor.

Also, the Vickers K mount is not unique to the Humber, most armored cars and even most tanks could mount it. armored cars mounted them far more.

1 Like

The Humber is a weird armoured car, it has literally half a ton of empty space inside it (0.560 tons off the top of my head), unlike the Coventry or Daimler, hence it’s much lighter weight which is comparable to the Harrington even if it initially seems larger in size. The AA bren gun/ single Vickers K was common for most of the british armoured cars, the double vickers k though seems to be relativly unique to the humber due to the way the turret on the mk III and IV was so large, so it allowed it to be mounted.

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My post for the Humber AA illustrates the stowage of the inside, and there is literally nothing going on inside there, compared to the cramped interior of the Daimler.

It reminds me of something i found regarding the Matilda with the cruiser turret, that wot erroniously calls the black prince. In that even though the turret is significantly bigger, it weighs a ton less then the normal matilda 2 turret, which is obscene when you think about it, but its the joys of empty space

Still not sold on the weight though. Warwheels has the Mk III Humber being 15,620 pounds when in combat load, or 7 long tons.
The Daimler Workshop manual has the Mk II with a battle weight of 17, 304 pounds. or 7.75 ish long tons.
I know that the MK IV Humber loses a crewman, but I don’t know how replacing the Besa with a 37mm cannon affects things.
So the Daimler has a HP/long ton ratio of 12.3 and the Humber Mk III has a HP/long ton ratio of 12.85.
That Humber is better, but not by a overwhelming amount.
I have bought a Humber Mk IV Service Instruction Book that I hope will include the combat weight

I would assume a lot of the weight comes from ammunition and personal effects, I have read things regarding the Humber that they would cram so much stuff in them due to the massive amounts of empty space. A weight around 6 or so sounds more realistic with combat load,as it would put it in line with the harrington, which was comparable in size. I rapidly found out when i was calculating the amount of ammunition in the AA there is a veritable magazine inside the armoured car, with the number of rounds literally cresting into the 5 digits.

That would also make sense for the weight markings, as they tend to have a 7 painted on them, which is in line with the British army rounding up when it comes to bridge weights.

also useful video

compared to the daimler, just the fact how closed up all the shots are should indicate the space difference between them

Love the look of the Humbers

It’s a shame that this beauty is still not in the game :D
Especially one with the 15mm HMG :3

I have suggested all the decent armoured cars with the 15mm besa, i really want it in game. Currently i have a vickers VIc suggestion pending, but i just want to see at least one get into the game ;)

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Humber Mk III gang represent!

2 Likes

Could simply add the Humber Mk. I - III instead. The 15mm Besa is slightly better than the M2 .50cal so it could make a nice 1.0.

Humber IV could maybe work as a premium/reward vehicle instead.

1 Like

+1, the UK needs its armoured cars

Well, I finally got the service instruction book, and while the Daimler armored car gives a battleweight to the pound, whoever wrote this for the Humber has written, and I quote.

“Weight of the vehicle ready for the road with crew - between 5 and 8 tons”

So I guess whoever wrote this was a bit more practical than the Daimler guy.

other things of note. The illustrations from the stowage diagram and the included addendum on the PLM Mount (identical to what you posted) show the mount using 1 Bren gun. this is probably because each armored car was issued with a Bren gun as standard, so it would make sense to mount it on the PLM. I suppose that getting 2 Brens or Vickers K was less an issue of getting the mountings (as it appears that by the start of 1944 when the PLM addendum was issued that PLM mounts would be on every Humber) and more a issue of scrounging Vickers K’s or extra Bren guns. Also worth mentioning that while the PLM seems standard on Humber III’s and IV’s by the start of 44, the PLM is not mentioned at all in the Diamler handbook published in 45.

Between 5 and 8 tons

“Such a small difference, no need for clarification” - The writer, probably.