Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lanchester Mark II Armoured Car

The Lanchester had a purpose-built six-by-four chassis. The armoured body was similar in shape to that of the Rolls-Royce Armoured Car, its front part was occupied by the engine and the rest by the fighting compartment. The rear part of the vehicle, behind the armoured body, was used for storage of equipment. Above the fighting compartment a two-man turret was mounted, with .5 inch (12.7 mm) and .303 inch (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns in a dual mount. The turret had a cupola which could rotate independently. An additional .303 Vickers was located in front of the fighting compartment. In command versions, the hull machine gun was replaced by a No. 9 radio with a whip type antenna, and the machine gunner acted as a wireless operator.

Lanchesters had good cross-country performance and were considered reliable and easy to maintain, but too big, heavy and slow for reconnaissance missions for which they were originally developed.By 1939, most Lanchesters (13 Mk I, 1 Mk IA, 5 Mk II, 3 Mk IIA) were sent to the Far East and assigned to the Selangor and Perak battalions of Federated Malay States Volunteer Force, the Singapore Volunteer Corps, Straits Settlements Volunteer Force and the 2nd battalion of Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders in Malaya. Some of these took part in the Malayan Campaign (December 1941 - 15 February 1942) against Japan.

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