Daimler Dingo (15mm BESA)

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                              Daimler Dingo (15mm BESA)

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Design and service history:

In 1938, the British War office, issued a required specification for a scouting vehicle. Three British Motor manufacturers answered this request, with Alvis, BSA Cycles and Morris invited to produce and supply their prospective prototypes. Alvis was still hot off their partnership with Nicholas Straussler, in which they had provided an series of armoured cars to the RAF, putting them at a distinct advantage, though Morris had previous experience with the trial and production of armoured cars, leaving BSA at a distinct disadvantage as they had up to now only produced a small front wheel drive vehicle, instead focussing on armaments.

Testing for the specification began in August of 1938, and all three vehicles were of similar size and layout, being rear-endined and four-wheel drive. The morris design was swiftly discarded, due to low top speed, which could not be rectified by modification by its builders. The Alvis prototype on the other hand, known as the β€œDingo” could manage a 50 mph top speed on cross country, but suffered from a high centre of gravity. By this time the BSA prototype was completed and in September it was handed over, and in a matter of months it had covered 10,000 miles, on and off road by the end of December with only a few mechanical problems.

This made the BSA design the ideal candidate, though modification was required, including the addition of an armoured roof to meet a recent requirement change from the war office. In addition to this the car needed a more powerful engine and strengthened chassis and suspension. With these changes implemented the BSA design was chosen over the Alvis design, and the first order of 172 vehicles was put out under the name β€œCar, Scout, Mark I” in may of 1939. BSA would not actually take part in the production of the Dingo though, and instead it was passed to Daimler, which was the vehicle component of the BSA group. The potential of the design was soon recognized, and it would serve as the basis for the later Daimler armoured car, and at some point early in production, it came to be known as the β€œDingo,” likely from the failed Alvis design.

The Daimler Dingo would go on to be one of the finest armoured fighting vehicles build by Britain during the war. Its design composed of a compact two man armoured car, which was well protected for its size, having a 1.2 inch armoured plate protecting the frontal arc. The vehicle was propelled along by a 2.5 litre 55 hp (41 kW) straight six petrol engine in the rear of the vehicle. An additional feature of the design was in the transmission, which included a preselector gearbox and fluid flywheel, giving the car five speeds in either direction, along with four wheel steering courtesy of its H-drive train. This design choice gave it a very tight turning circle of only 23 ft (7.0 m). ironically this innovative feature would be removed in later models, as it proved difficult for inexperienced drivers to maintain control, increasing the turning circle by 65 per cent to 38 ft (12 m).

In addition the layout of the H-drive, contributed massively to the Dingos low silhouette, along with its agility, which was a vital hard factor when it came to its intended role of reconnaissance. The engine was also noted to run quietly along with its running gear, along with a flat plate on the belly that allowed the Dingo to literally slide across uneven ground, though unfortunately, it made it very vulnerable to mines. An interesting quirk of the design was also that no spare wheel was carried, as the vehicle was fitted with run-flat tires, which were almost impervious to punctures due to being nearly solid rubber. This in combination with an independent coil suspension which gave each wheel approximately 8 inches of clearance created an armoured car which had an exceptionally smooth ride.

In terms of crew layout, the commander sat in a swivel seat beside the driver, allowing him to attend to the No. 19 wireless set or main gun as appropriate. The drivers seat on the other hand was canted slightly off to the left of the vehicle, so it sat in line with his hinged vision flap, on both the front and rear of the vehicle. This was done to allow the driver to quickly begin driving in reverse by simply looking over his left shoulder, allowing for a hasty retreat if necessary.

The dingo design would become synonymous with British Recce units during the war, and total production figures for the dingo would reach 6,626 in all marks during its production run from 1939-1945. The Dingo would first see action with the BEF in the battle of France, and due to its overwhelming success, no replacement was sought until 1952, when its successor the Daimler Ferret entered service. The dingo would ultimately serve until the mid-1960s in British service, and would go on to serve on a wide number of fronts with numerous armies.

At some point a Daimler Dingo was modified to replace its normal Bren gun with a BESA 15mm machine gun, along with two Browning 7.62 machine guns mounted on the forward fenders for suppressive fire. This was paired with a third browning mounted on the rear arc of the vehicle in order to deter hitch hikers. Not much is known of this vehicle, but 4 photos exist, and it can be inferred that this none standard configuration did not enter service, leaving it an interesting footnote in the career of this prolific vehicle.

Vehicle specification:
Mass 2.8 long tons (3 tonnes)

Length 10 ft 5 in (3.18 m)

Width 5 ft 7.5 in (1.715 m)

Height 4 ft 11 in (1.50 m)

Crew 2

Armour 30 mm front, 12 mm sides

Main armament 1 x 15mm BESA machine gun

secondary armament: 3 x 7.62mm browning machine guns

Engine 2.5 litre 6-cyl Daimler petrol 55 hp (41 kW)

Power/weight 18.3 hp/tonne (13.7 kW/tonne)

Transmission Pre-selector gearbox, five gears forward and five gears reverse

Suspension Independent, coil spring, wheeled 4Γ—4

Operational range 200 mi (320 km)

Maximum speed 55 mph (89 km/h)

Additional historical pictures:
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sources:

3 Likes

Haha, goofy car go brrr.

2 Likes

YES YES YES! I LOVE silly low-tier gremlin cars like this! But ALL the guns must be functional. I want the 15mm AND all three 7.62mm machine guns! +1

Funky little thing.

British l3 on wheels!!