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Re: The Dutch Mk IIIs were new!

February 25 2015 at 1:01 AM
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Nelson  (no login)

Response to The Dutch Mk IIIs were new!

Jacques, old chum [stolen from “Jock, old chum” in Tunes of Glory (1960)]:

> New evidence suggests that the upper image is the more correct - dinos were indeed colourful and fond of small children! >

Yep, methinks the larger the dino, the greater the fondness. But I just wish the converse were true. Take the other day: I put a bunch of them (small children) in the same room with my pet T. rex, imagining they would have a heckuva time together, but when I returned, all the kids were gone. Guess they just got bored and wandered off. Short attention spans, huh? What can ya do with kids today!

To respond next to your message title, didn’t we at least strongly suspect these Mark III vehicles were new to the NEI?

As regards the January 1942 letter you posted, good stuff! Archival research is its own reward when you find the answer, or at least part thereof, to a long-sought question. Makes worthwhile all that accumulated grime under your fingernails...because you’re the first guy looking at the letter file in 65 or 70 years, or maybe ever...not to mention the raps on the knuckles because you’re guilty of infringing some obscure rule that the staff has caught you doing. Anyway, no mention of “South African Reconnaissance Car”, and the two references to “Marmon Herrington” have to do with axle assemblies, parts, and instruction books. At that point in the war, these AFVs are referred to on the sender’s end as Mark III, M.F.F. [for Mobile Field Force] type armoured cars, and on the receiver’s end as Panserwagens [I believe Pantserwagens is the correct spelling in Nederlands].

As regards numbers of such vehicles sent east, and combining the data from both the Williams and Gaylor books, it would appear that as of mid-November 1941 (late in the game), 164 SARCs had been sent to Malaya (let’s be non-sanguine and assume the 11 vehicles outstanding did not arrive in time). Of that total, 30 were issued to 3rd Indian Cavalry and—let’s be generous—four went to 2nd Argylls to supplement their old Lanchesters. That would then leave 130 such armored cars unaccounted for. At this point we can weave in the large elephant still in the room—or back in my Cretaceous hacienda, Tyrannosaurus (purple oder nicht)—which is the report that when the Japanese waltzed into Malaya, the SARCs/Marmon-Herringtons were mostly still in storage (I think up in Kuala Lumpur). See

Now as regards the disparity in cars issued to these two units, your first estimation was of 16 vehicles provided to 3rd Indian Cavalry—mostly untrained other ranks who promptly wrecked 13 of them. If...I did write IF...the depot immediately issued replacements on a 1:1 basis, that would give us pretty close to the 30 cars in toto putatively provided to 3rd Indian Cavalry. Yeah, I’m just playing with the numbers here. Speaking of numbers, I’m aware of two photographs of SARCs in Malaya/Singapore, one of the row of about 16 such armored cars taken from their left side, and the other of the one overturned in the ditch on the Bakri road, its presence not explained in either Australian or British histories mentioning that battle in detail. Thus more and more I’m thinking the vehicle was a captured one, in the hands of an IJA recon (recce) unit. Whadiya think? By the by, you mentioned a second photo of those armored cars while still in storage somewhere in Malaya. Care to post it? And I should mention if you need to access the sequence of photos of the Bakri aftermath again, Andrew Warland’s site has been changed to

You just wrote:

> On January 4 1942, a convoy of 19 SARC Mk III MFFs left the Premier Mine Vehicle Depot near Pretoria....with Tandjong Priok as the ultimate destination. Item "D" refers to 30 cars dispatched on 30-12-1941, together making up the full complement of 49 NEW "Zuid Afrikaanse Panserautos" sent to the NEI. They were sent sans armament as was the practise, but were to be packed before shipping, with mountings for Vickers machine guns, Boyes AT rifles and Bren guns. >

But...BIG BUT...eight months ago you posted:

> The MFF type had an armament of two .303 Vickers machine guns whereas on the ME [Middle East] type, the turret was modified to accept a Bren machine gun and a Boys anti-tank rifle with an additional mounting for a Bren gun in an anti-aircraft role. Once in the battle zone many modifications (mostly unauthorised) were made and captured weapons fitted. >

IF one of the defining differences between the M.F.F. and M.E. types was the armament, with the former armed with only two Vickers MGs, and the latter provided (among other armament) a Boys AT rifle, then Jo’burg we have a problem. At the least, we have a hybrid in the type sent to the NEI; at the most, we have the disappearance of the signal difference between the two types of SARC. And the letter you posted is clearly not describing battlefield mods. Comment?

[Note to Jacques: Boys, nicht Boyes. Note to Nelson: Boys, nicht Böys.]

> With regards to the positioning of the side door on the Mk II cars, I'm still waiting for conclusive answers but in the meantime I have it that the "car-style door" adjacent to the driver was a carryover from the first rivetted models and changed to a square(ish) hatch positioned further aft sometime during the early production-life of the Mark II which also necessitated the spare wheel to be moved further aft. >

I agree that the earliest Mark II SARCs were riveted and had that driver’s side car-style door; I also agree that the Mark III SARCs were non-riveted and had the driver’s side hatch farther aft, with the consequent shifting of the spare wheel to the vehicle’s rear. And I’ve seen more than one photograph of a non-riveted Mark II, or at least largely so, with the original car door forward and the spare wheel in its original mid-hull location, as well as of somewhat later vehicles with the mid-hull hatch and the spare wheel farther aft. Thus the correlation does not appear to be 1:1, and yes, we need to know more.


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  • Warland provides a bit more - Nelson on Feb 25, 2015, 7:45 PM
  • M.F.F. vs. M.E. - Jacques on Feb 28, 2015, 9:33 AM
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