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Re: S.A. Reconnaissance Car (I insist!)

June 29 2014 at 6:55 PM
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Nelson  (no login)

Response to S.A. Reconnaissance Car (I insist!)


> Yes, the army often did act in a police role and is still involved in peace-keeping operations in Africa, but its preference for wheeled vehicles is rather due to the need for mobility, as it was during the Boer war, the WW 1 and 2 campaigns that South African land forces were involved in and during the "Bush War" of the eighties. When we're talking about wheeled versus tracked vehicles, we're not only talking about troop transport, logistics and reconnaissance either, but also frontline fighting vehicles and artillery. >

I find your comments and those in the website you quote of considerable interest, not to mention the consideration by the U.S. in adopting such AFVs with mine-explosion-protecting V-shaped hulls. I like the looks of the S.A. vehicles whose photos you attached; that Vickers-made Rooikot reminds me of a great big Saladin AC.

> The South African Reconnaissance Car (I insist!), was specifically developed for the UDF's Mobile Field Force's requirements of primarily a reconnaissance vehicle (as the official name implies), that could be produced in great numbers, to suit fighting a mobile war on the vast open plains of Africa. >

You may as well insist as whistle against a strong wind. Am not saying you're wrong, as naming these ACs Marmon-Herringtons does seem incorrect and undeserved, but you're going against the grain of decades. Other than authorities on AFVs of WWII, and just mebbe restricted to South African authorities on AFVs of WWII, the average military historian knows what Marmon-Herrington ACs are/were, and wouldn't recognize by name alone a South African Recce Car or SARC. Methinks it's just graven in desert stone, my friend.

I wish you had responded to two issues in my previous, and just maybe you will yet, to wit:

I. > Thirteen years ago, Tomasz (given elsewhere as Tomek) Basarabowicz, in a response to Tom Womack's piece on the armored vehicles used in the NEI, refused to believe that the SARCs sent there were in such a sorry state.

I don't accept at least one of Mr. Basarabowicz's two premises, viz., that the British used very few Mark III SARCs in the Western Desert, and thus they could not have been the source of worn-out AFVs putatively sent to the NEI. Even if, as he contends, the Mark IIIs were substantially outnumbered by the Mark IIs in use in North Africa, there were still a goodly number of Mark IIIs to send to the NEI, not to mention for the Afrika Korps to kapture. His other argument is that the Mark IIIs were therefore supplied by South Africa, which would have been right off the assembly line or out of storage in a warehouse or from a depot in the Middle East, and thus could not have been heavily used and broken down wrecks. Yeah, okay, that be logical if true, but where is the proof that South Africa sent these AFVs to Java? The conventional wisdom is that much used and badly maintained---and unarmed---Mark IIIs were sent by the Brits to the KNIL, and to describe the recipients as angry and put out would be the understatement of the early 1940s. >

II. I postulated on whether the Mark II SARCs were both converted older ones and newly built and upgunned newer ones:

A. Moderate changes: 20mm Breda mounted; spare wheel and tire still in the middle of the hull; small door immediately adjacent to the driver. Almost certainly this car is a conversion of an originally turreted Mark II.

[linked image]

[linked image]

B. Major changes: 20mm Breda mounted, clearly displaying its butterfly or butterfly wing gun shield; a new middle door appears on the right side of the hull, replacing the original driver's door; in consequence the spare wheel/tire is now carried rearward. >

[linked image]

Which, from the shifting of the right side access/exit door alone, permits the only conclusion that the 20mm Breda-armed Mark II cars were purpose-built ones, duly modified as constructed. Which is to write, not conversions.

Hope you'll comment.


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  • follow-up - Nelson on Jun 29, 2014, 7:44 PM
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