Kangaroo (armoured personnel carrier)
A Kangaroo was a Second World War Commonwealth or British armoured personnel carrier (APC), created by converting a tank chassis. Created as an expedient measure by the Canadian Army, Kangaroos were so successful that they were soon being used by British forces.
A Priest Kangaroo of 209th Self-Propelled Battery, Royal Artillery, transports infantry of 78th Division near Conselice, Italy, 13 April 1945.
|Type||Armoured personnel carrier|
|Place of origin||Canada|
Kangaroo Badger flame tank
|Crew||2 + 8 to 10 passengers|
|1 × .50 cal MG (Early models)
1 × .30 cal MG (Later models)
|1 × .30 cal MG
(Bow or cupola MG depending on model)
(Kangaroo Badger: Replaced cupola MG)
Their ability to manoeuvre in the field with the tanks was a major advantage over earlier designs, and led to the dedicated APC designs that were introduced by almost all armies immediately after the war.
In July 1944, Lieutenant-General Harry Crerar's First Canadian Army was concerned by manpower shortages and Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds, commander of II Canadian Corps, devised Kangaroos as a way of reducing infantry losses.
The original Kangaroos were converted from 72 M7 Priest self-propelled guns of three field artillery regiments of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division that were involved in the initial assault on 6 June 1944.
(Self propelled artillery were known as 'Priests' in British service, because of the pulpit-like appearance of the artillery-spotter's position. When converted to the carrier role, they were referred to as "unfrocked" or "defrocked" Priests, but the term 'Kangaroo' was applied to any conversion of any previously gun-armed vehicle to that of a troop or general-purpose carrier.)
When the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division was re-equipped with towed 25 pounder guns in late July, their tracked vehicles were stripped of their 105mm guns, the front aperture welded over, then sent into service carrying twelve troops.
They were first used on 8 August 1944 south of Caen during Operation Totalize to supplement the half-tracks already available. When re-converted Kangaroos were returned to U.S. custody, other vehicles were pressed into service, the vast majority (some 500) being Canadian Ram gun tanks, which were standing idle after being used as training vehicles when Canadian armoured formations re-equipped with Shermans.
The Ram gun tanks were shipped to France; turrets, ammunition bins and other redundant items were removed at the Canadian base workshop and, after two bench seats were fitted into the open space formerly occupied by the turret basket, they were deployed piecemeal.
(Ram MkII versions, which were fitted with auxiliary machine-gun turrets, retained these features for self-defence and close support. Later Sherman-based versions also retained the hull machine gun.)
While 'debussing' - climbing out of the hull and jumping down, potentially under fire - was challenging, the obvious difficulty of getting into a vehicle that was designed to prevent enemy soldiers climbing onto it was quickly appreciated. Accordingly, climbing rungs were soon added as a field modification that also simplified loading the carrying compartment with ammunition, food and other supplies to troops under fire.
The Ram Kangaroo entered service piecemeal with the Canadians in September 1944, but in December these minor units were combined to form the 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment, joining the British 79th Armoured Division (whose specialized vehicles were called "Hobart's Funnies")
In Italy, Sherman III tanks and some Priests were converted for use by the British Eighth Army. Removing the turret of the Sherman and some internal fittings gave room for carrying up to 10 troops.
From 1943, Stuart tanks (both M3 and M5) had their turrets removed and seating fitted to carry infantry troops attached to British armoured brigades.
Ram Kangaroo at The Tank Museum, Bovington
- Ellis and Chamberlain AFV Profilre No 13 Ram and Sexton p16
- Livesey, Jack (2007). Armoured Fighting Vehicles of World War I and II. Anness Publishing Ltd. p. 60. ISBN 1-84476-370-6.
- Chamberlain & Ellis British and American Tanks of World War II 1969 Arco Publishing p 131-132
- Chamberlain & Ellis (1969) p 91
- The Battle for the Rhine 1944, 2005, Robin Neillands (chapter 7, "The Battle for the Scheldt")