Staghound Mk III
Vehicle design and service history:
The story of the Boarhound armoured car begins in July of 1941, when the U.S. Army Ordnance issued a specification for a medium armoured car, in order to fulfil a request by the British Purchasing Commission which was currently looking for Armoured Cars for use in the war in North Africa. Because of this British requirements were a driving force in the armoured car’s design, including the requirement of at least two crew members in the turret, along with a radio in the turret so that it would be close to the vehicle commander.
The British were pleased with the 4-wheel drive design presented by Chevrolet and allocated the name Staghound to the T17E series with the intent of acquiring them for service in the British army. The British liaison officers were in contact with the Chevrolet engineer in charge of the project, and were happy to report they had influenced him sufficiently to produce something that met all their requirements. Due to this the British British Purchasing Commission “formally requested” the production of 300 vehicles in December of that year, with the US Army authorized production of 2,000 units in January of 1942. The British confirmed their order in March of 1942, and the Pilot was delivered to Aberdeen Proving Ground for testing. The testing showed flaws, but these were negligible and expected to be corrected, and the British confirmed their order contract along with a further 1,500 units.
Production began in earnest in October of 1942, though at this point the US Army had lost any interest in the multitude of armoured car projects then on the table, and in December of 1942 requested the cancellation of most of the designs in favour of a standardized smaller vehicle that would become the m8 greyhound. The British applied for the T17E1 production to be continued and successfully stopped the termination of production, so the armoured car could be provided under Lend-Lease. Because of this demand, 3,844 Staghounds were produced in total with the vast majority being delivered to the British.
Despite its nature as an export vehicle, the Staghound was of innovative design and incorporated quite a number of advanced features. The first was two rear-facing 6-cylinder engines equipt with automatic transmissions providing 4 forward and one reverse gear, that fed through an axel case to drive both axles. This configuration allowed two or four-wheel drive to be easily selected, and either engine could be shut down whilst in motion, and taken out of the drive train. This in combination with power steering made the driver’s job significantly easier, as steering and suspension components were directly attached to the hull, resulting in a smoother ride, as the structure was rigid enough to dispense with the need for a separate chassis.
The Staghound MK I was equipt with a three-man fully rotating turret, armed with a 37 mm M6 gun, a coaxial .30 cal M1919A4 Browning machine gun along with a 2-inch smoke mortar in a rotating turret. A second .30 cal M1919A4 Browning was mounted in a bow position in the hull, along with an additional .30 cal M1919 machine gun mounted on the top of the turret for anti-aircraft defence. The turret also possessed power traverse and featured a turret basket, though this limited the amount of internal crew stowage. The 37mm gun was also gyroscopically stabilized in the same manner as the start tanks in service at the time.
Unfortunately for all these merits, Staghound entered service too late for use in the North African Campaign where it was initially intended. This was not much of a setback for the vehicle though, as due to its combination of armour, range and main armament it was still deemed a useful asset for use in the British army in the light reconnaissance role. Because of this it saw its first operational service in Italy, where its small size was found to be advantageous for navigating narrow roads too tight for larger units to traverse. This trend would repeat into the streets of Europe, where the Staghound saw service at the squadron and regimental headquarters level. Conditions for the staghound continued to improve, and the armoured car was used into 1944 in Italy along with taking part in the war in north-west Europe.
Even with this successful initial debut attempts were made to up gun the Staghound, firstly with the 3-inch howitzer on the Staghound MK II for close support, though the armoured car’s anti-tank potential was still lacking. Because of this in 1945 it was decided to fit some vehicles with turrets taken off now obsolete Crusader MK III tanks, which were becoming available in quantity due to the Crusader being superseded by Cromwell and Sherman tanks. This resulted in between 32 and 100 of the vehicles being upgraded to this standard out of an initial order of 300. The main difference between the MK III and other variants along with its new 6-pounder gun, was the removal of its bow machine gun, which received an armoured cap over the gun position. Staghounds modified to this standard would later be sold to the Danish and Lebanese after the end of the second world war, and would see service into the 1960s before being discarded for more modern vehicles.
Mass 14 t
Length 17 ft 10 in (5.49 m)
Width 8 ft 10 in (2.69 m)
Height 7 ft 9 in (2.36 m)
Armor 9 to 44 mm
Main armament 1 × Ordnance QF 6-pounder
Secondary armament 1× .30 (7.62 mm) M1919 Browning machine guns
Engine 2 × GMC 270 rated at 97 hp (72 kW)
Power/weight 13.9 hp/tonne
Suspension wheels, 4 x 4
Operational range 450 miles (724 km)
Maximum speed 55 mph (89 km/h)
Additional historical photos:
- T17E1 Staghound - Wikipedia (wiki page for type)
- WarWheels.Net-Staghound Mark 3 Armored Car Index ) (Additional info)
- Panzerserra Bunker- Military Scale Models in 1/35 scale: Staghound Mk I, Mk II CS and Mk III (6pdr. and 75mm) T17E1 - case report (more info on their development)
- T17E1 (Staghound) (additional source)
- Staghound Mk III - Danish Army Vehicles Homepage (another source)