Every combatant had some light vehicles designed with speed and communications as their function.
Let’s take a look at a common sight everywhere British and Commonwealth forces fought from Sitzkrieg to VJ Day and beyond.
This subject was another of those discovery sort of projects for me. I was broadly aware of the existence of light armor, but mostly ignorant on details. I started with trying to figure out what this subject actually was. The kit manufacturer calls this a “British Armored Scout Car Dingo Mk II”. Obviously the Japanese company meant this for the American market (not “Armoured”?).
Another case of no manufacturer listed. Wikipedia didn’t, at first, help me much. But I poked around on what seemed to be related posts until I came to realize Daimler was a British company. Well huh. I guess I can plead ignorance as a Yankee; but seriously, I like cars. How did I not know this? As near as I can tell the British Daimler is no relation to Daimler-Benz. Apparently in 1896 a British businessman thought it was a good idea to start his automotive engineering company by buying the naming rights from the famous German engineer’s company. This company existed until after World War II when, through a series of buy outs, the brand came to be owned by Land Rover/Jaguar. Which is where things now stand. Could this be why Daimler-Benz brands their cars Mercedes? I really don’t know! I’d love to hear from any readers who know more of the story.
This particular little beast was the result of a 1938 design competition. But the company who won the competition lost the bid to manufacture, so it became a Daimler. Funny thing, the “Dingo” name was then pilfered from a completely different design that lost the competition.
This Scout Car could almost be thought of as a Jeep with splinter protection. It is small, quick and quiet. Its large tires are run flats, mostly solid rubber with no air at all. The front armor is up to 30 mm thick, which is protection against most man-portable weapons. The Dingo had a 55 hp engine for a top speed of around 45 mph. Its suspension and AWD transmission were considered cutting edge at the time. The Mk I Dingo even featured 4-wheel steering, but this was dropped for the Mk II because it was troublesome and hard for young drivers to get the feel for.
The Dingo had a two man crew but no mounted armament. There were firing ports, so personal weapons could be used even when the vehicle was buttoned up. Its main function centered around its radios. Apart from its intended function in scouting, it became quite popular as a command vehicle, especially in armored units.
Over 6000 units were built by Daimler. When demand exceeded this, Ford of Canada acquired the rights and built the similar Lynx; which was slightly bigger in every dimension but much more powerful with a 100 hp Ford V8. 3000 Lynx were built.
This kit was by Tamiya. It was an easy and thoroughly enjoyable build.
My role as a Recce Officer in Germany in the ’70s to an Amphibious Engineer Troop involved running around in the successor to the Dingo, the Ferret. I had a mark II, which similarly had an armoured cover, which was never closed over as visibility was poor without the commander sticking his head out of the hatch. In peacetime, we were more concerned at running something over unintentionally than we were being shot at. They were pretty reliable, but the exhausts ran hot enough to cook canned food by windlassing it to the exhaust itself. On one occasion, a tarpaulin caught fire in this fashion, which is why I smile when I see models with gear covering the engine decks and exhausts. We had a steel basket to keep everything clear of the decks.
I kind of figured what you said about closing it up! While I was building it I was amazed at the lack of space and visibility.
And I’ll call it pure dumb luck about external stores. Usually if I’m doing something new or different I want to get down to the look of the vehicle itself. If I build another I may get more daring about making it look operational. And now I know, no stores around the engine or exhaust! Thank you.
In another parallel to the Jeep, the original Bantam design had 4 wheel steering as well. Quickly abandoned by the other manufacturers.
Yeah and the Sd.Kfz 232 has 8-wheel steering! Insane.
but yeah, I think too fussy for operational use.
The whole development/manufacturing story was pretty reminiscent of Jeep.
This is perhaps another example of the different approaches. The allies tended to go with equipment that was easily serviceable and needed little training to be able to operate. Outside some of the denser boroughs of the major cities (New York, Chicago, maybe Boston) just about every American of combat age knew how to drive, and a large portion knew basic maintenance. That was not true in Germany, even less so with the maintenance. An allied jeep, truck, halftrack driver gets killed a replacement could easily be found. I wonder how easy it was to find an effective replacement for one of the two drivers the Sd.Kfz 232 required to operate effectively.
Yeah you’re exactly right. Although Germany was better off than Japan or the Soviet Union in that regard (although both of those countries used simpler weapons), but Britain and the US were on a whole other plane.
During my car-spotting days, Daimler made top of the range cars, usually large, luxury saloons. with the exception of one sports car. Their trademark was a rippled, undulating top to the front radiator. Indeed, that was often the main external distinguishing feature between the Daimler and the parallel Jaguar model after the latter company bought Daimler.
A large percentage of the Queen’s cars are Daimlers, great huge things with a big rear window. Daimler’s complex story is at
Thanks John. It’s sill amazing to me that I knew none of that until three days ago. I must have just always assumed it was an alternate/foreign name for a Mercedes and breezed on by.
Reality is often far odder than I expect!