Daimler Mark I Armoured Car, 1941
Armoured Fighting Vehicles 1918-1945
The Daimler was the best of the wheeled fighting vehicles produced by the British during the Second World War. Based on the Daimler scout car, the armoured car had fluid drive, disc brakes and four-wheel drive, and mounted a 2-pounder tank gun. First used in action in the desert war in 1942, it served as the standard reconnaissance vehicle of the allied armoured car units. Used in conjunction with a transfer box containing a reverse gear it was possible to use all five gears when driving backwards, a ploy used to disengage from an enemy dead ahead without exposing the machine’s vulnerable back armour. The car had fully independent suspension and high ground clearance. Double coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers at each wheel station allowed any one wheel to rise sixteen inches before affecting any of the others. Tyres were generally of the ‘run fiat’ type, which when punctured retained their load carrying capacities for a further forty miles or so. Their role was to roam out to the flanks and ahead of the main battle formation to pick up information about the enemy, if possible without having to engage. Nevertheless, opposing recce units did clash, and it was a prudent move to arm these cars with a gun that would give them a chance. Mark I appeared in 1941 but some gearbox trouble was experienced and it was a year later that it was operational. Daimlers were issued to cavalry and armoured car regiments. After 1942 operated in all theatres from the Western Desert to Italy, N.W. Europe and the Far East. The Mark II was produced in 1941 and though basically like the first version incorporated several improvements and modifications. The driver’s escape hatch was improved, the engine louvres and the radiator were re-designed and a different gun mantlet employed. This vehicle can be seen at The Imperial War Museum, at Duxford in Cambridgeshire, England.
|Dimensions||47.5 × 35.6 cm|