Humber Armoured Car

The Humber Armoured Car was one of the most widely produced British armoured cars of the Second World War. It supplemented the Humber Light Reconnaissance Car and remained in service until the end of the war.

Humber Armoured Car
Humber Mk 4 Armoured Car.jpg
Humber Mk IV Armoured Car
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Service history
Used byUnited Kingdom and British India in Second World War, Italy operated captured models[1], other nations post war.
WarsSecond World War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
Operation Polo
Portuguese-Indian War
Sino-Indian War
Production history
ManufacturerRootes Group (Karrier)
No. built5,400[2]
Mass5 t
Length15 ft 1.5 in (4.610 m)
Width7 ft 3 in (2.21 m)
Height7 ft 10 in (2.39 m)
CrewMk I, II, IV: 3
Mk III: 4

Armour15 mm
Mk I-III: 15 mm Besa machine gun
Mk IV: US made M5 or M6 37 mm gun
7.92 mm Besa machine gun
EngineRootes 6 cyl petrol engine
90 hp (67 kW)
Power/weight12.9 hp/tonne
SuspensionWheel 4x4, rigid front and rear axles, rear-wheel drive with selectable four-wheel drive
200 mi (320 km)
Speed50 mph (80 km/h)


Made by the Rootes Group, the Humber was essentially a combination of the Karrier KT 4 artillery tractor chassis and the armoured body of the Guy Armoured Car. The KT4 was already in production for the Indian Army, and Guy were having problems with the production levels required. The Karrier name was dropped to avoid confusion.[3]

The first order for 500 was placed in 1940. The first Humbers were more or less identical to the Guy down to the faults in the armour, but this was later rectified. Production started in 1941.

The Mark III improved upon the Mark II by providing a three-man turret. Mark III production ended in 1942 after 1,650 had been built. With a possible replacement, the 2-pounder armed Coventry armoured car, on its way, the Mark IV was designed. This put the US 37 mm gun in the turret but at the cost of one crewman. The Coventry was not ordered as a replacement and so production of Mark IV continued, for a total of 2,000, despite its flaws.

Service historyEdit

The vehicle was used in the North African Campaign from late 1941 by the 11th Hussars and other units. It was also widely used in the European theatre by reconnaissance regiments of British and Canadian infantry divisions. A few vehicles were used for patrol duty along the Iran supply route. A British Indian Army armoured car regiment, partly equipped with Humbers, served in the reconquest of Burma.[4] Portugal received a number of Humber vehicles in 1943, most of them going to the Army, but with 20 going to the National Republican Guard. After the Second World War, the Humber was employed by Egypt in 1948–49 as well as by Burma, Ceylon, Cyprus, Denmark, India, Mexico and the Netherlands.

The Humber armoured car was used in Burma Campaign by the 16th Light Cavalry, an Indian armoured car regiment, which formed part of Fourteenth Army troops.[4][5]

After Independence, an Indian Army regiment, 63rd Cavalry, was raised with Humber Mk IV armoured cars as one of its squadrons which was later hived off as an independent reconnaissance squadron and the integral squadron re-raised, the second time with Daimlers.[6] The Humbers and Daimlers of the Indian Army formed the mounts of the President's Bodyguard and were deployed in the defense of Chushul at heights above 14,000 ft during the 1962 Indo-China War.[7][8] The Humber was used against the Indian Army in 1948 by the 2nd and 4th Hyderabad Lancers, armoured car cavalry units of the Hyderabad State Forces, during Operation Polo.[9]

Humber armoured cars were employed during the Indian invasion of Goa in December 1961. These vehicle equipped the four reconnaissance squadrons of the Portuguese garrison in Goa. The Portuguese Humbers engaged the invading Indian forces in the brief fights that occurred in the border villages of Doromagogo, Malinguém and Polem, and in the break through the Indian troops surrounding the Portuguese forces in Mapusa.[10]


Several static and operational cars are distributed through North America and Europe. There is a Mk I on display at The Tank Museum, Bovington, England. A running MKIV is on display at the Australian Armour and Artillery Museum in Cairns, Australia


  • Mark I
Original version, based on the Guy Armoured Car body. Armed with one 15 mm and one 7.92 mm calibre Besa machine guns. Three man crew: driver, gunner, commander. About 300 units built.
Mk I showing its similarity to the Guy Mk IA Armoured Car
  • Mark I AA / Quad AA
The Mark I fitted with a different turret mounting four 7.92 mm BESA machine guns able to elevate to near vertical and an AA sight. The vehicle was intended to provide anti-aircraft support for armoured car units, but the Allied air superiority meant they were needed less and less as the war progressed.
Mk II with redesigned glacis armour
  • Mark II
Changes to the turret, better armour around driver and radiator. 440 units built.
  • Mark II OP
Observation post vehicle, armed with two 7.92 mm BESA MGs.
  • Mark III
Larger three-man turret with provisions for a wireless operator freeing up the wireless operation tasks of the commander.
    • "Rear Link" – gun replaced with dummy to allow installation of Wireless No. 19 High Power and its generator. Issued two per regiment for communication between front and HQ.
Mk III with visible turret overhang
  • Mark IV
Equipped with the US M5 or M6 37 mm high velocity gun in place of the 15 mm BESA. The larger gun required the removal of the third crewman in the turret (the wireless operator). Turret hatches were rearranged with the new gun and crew layout. About 2,000 units built.

Former operatorsEdit

World War IIEdit

After World War IIEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Fletcher, David (1989). The Great Tank Scandal: British Armour in the Second World War - Part 1. HMSO. ISBN 978-0-11-290460-1.
  4. ^ a b Fowler, William (26 February 2009). We Gave Our Today: Burma 1941-1945. Orion. p. 176. ISBN 978-0-297-85761-7.
  5. ^ Davies, R. Mark. "British & Indian Armoured Units Of the Burma Campaign : A Painting Guide" (PDF). Fire and Fury Games. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  6. ^ Sandhu, Gurcharn Singh (1987). The Indian Armour: History of the Indian Armoured Corps, 1941-1971. Vision Books. p. 312. ISBN 978-81-7094-004-3.
  7. ^ "The President's Bodyguard". The President of India. The President's Secretariat, Government of India. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  8. ^ Bhat, Anil (2011). "A Tryst with India's History". Salute magazine. Archived from the original on 23 March 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  9. ^ Prasad, Dr. S. N. (1972). Operation Polo: The Police Action Against Hyderabad, 1948. Historical Section, Ministry of Defence, Government of India. p. 75 – via Manager of Publications, Government of India, Delhi.
  10. ^ Mendonça, Paulp (2011). "A invasão de Goa". [. Retrieved 15 April 2015.


  • George Forty (1996), World War Two Armoured Fighting Vehicles and Self-Propelled Artillery, Osprey Publishing, ISBN 1-85532-582-9.
  • I. Moschanskiy, Bronekollektsiya, 1999, no. 02 (Armored vehicles of the Great Britain 1939–1945 part 2), Modelist-Konstruktor. (И. Мощанский – Бронетанковая техника Великобритании 1939—1945 часть 2, Моделист-Конструктор, Бронеколлекция 1999–02)[1]
  • Humber Mark IV/Fox Mark II Armoured Car
  • Fletcher, David (1989). The Great Tank Scandal: British Armour in the Second World War - Part 1. HMSO. ISBN 978-0-11-290460-1.
  • White, BT (1970), Armoured Cars: Guy, Daimler, Humber, AEC, AFV Weapons Profile, Profile Publications

External linksEdit