Kangaroo (armoured personnel carrier)
Overview
 
A Kangaroo was a World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 or British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 armoured personnel carrier
Armoured personnel carrier
An armoured personnel carrier is an armoured fighting vehicle designed to transport infantry to the battlefield.APCs are usually armed with only a machine gun although variants carry recoilless rifles, anti-tank guided missiles , or mortars...

 (APC), created by conversion of a tank
Tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

 chassis. Created as an expedient measure by the Canadian Army, the Kangaroos were so successful that they were soon being used by British forces as well. 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, Harry Crerar
Harry Crerar
Henry Duncan Graham "Harry" Crerar CH, CB, DSO, KStJ, CD, PC was a Canadian general and the country's "leading field commander" in World War II.-Early years:...

's First Canadian Army
First Canadian Army
The First Canadian Army was the senior Canadian operational formation in Europe during the Second World War.The Army was formed in early 1942, replacing the existing unnumbered Canadian Corps, as the growing number of Canadian forces in the United Kingdom necessitated an expansion to two corps...

 was concerned by manpower shortages and Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds
Guy Simonds
Lieutenant General Guy Granville Simonds, CC, CB, CBE, DSO, CD was a Canadian Army officer who commanded the II Canadian Corps during World War II. He served as acting commander of the First Canadian Army, leading the Allied forces to victory in the Battle of the Scheldt in 1944...

, commander of the II Canadian Corps
II Canadian Corps
II Canadian Corps was a corps-level formation that, along with I Corps and I Canadian Corps , comprised the First Canadian Army in Northwest Europe during World War II.Authorization for the formation of the Corps headquarters became effective in England on...

, devised Kangaroos as a way of reducing infantry losses.

The first Kangaroos were converted from 102 M7 Priest
M7 Priest
The 105 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7 was an American self-propelled artillery vehicle produced during World War II. It was given the official service name 105 mm Self Propelled Gun, Priest by the British Army, due to the pulpit-like machine gun ring, and following on from the Bishop and...

 self-propelled gun
Self-propelled gun
A self-propelled gun is form of self-propelled artillery, and in modern use is usually used to refer to artillery pieces such as howitzers....

s of three field artillery regiments of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division
3rd Canadian Infantry Division
The Canadian 3rd Infantry Division was an infantry division of the Canadian Army from 1940 to c.1945.- History :The formation of the division was authorized on 17 May 1940...

 who were involved in the initial assault on 6 June 1944.
Encyclopedia
A Kangaroo was a World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 or British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 armoured personnel carrier
Armoured personnel carrier
An armoured personnel carrier is an armoured fighting vehicle designed to transport infantry to the battlefield.APCs are usually armed with only a machine gun although variants carry recoilless rifles, anti-tank guided missiles , or mortars...

 (APC), created by conversion of a tank
Tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

 chassis. Created as an expedient measure by the Canadian Army, the Kangaroos were so successful that they were soon being used by British forces as well. 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.

History

In July 1944, Harry Crerar
Harry Crerar
Henry Duncan Graham "Harry" Crerar CH, CB, DSO, KStJ, CD, PC was a Canadian general and the country's "leading field commander" in World War II.-Early years:...

's First Canadian Army
First Canadian Army
The First Canadian Army was the senior Canadian operational formation in Europe during the Second World War.The Army was formed in early 1942, replacing the existing unnumbered Canadian Corps, as the growing number of Canadian forces in the United Kingdom necessitated an expansion to two corps...

 was concerned by manpower shortages and Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds
Guy Simonds
Lieutenant General Guy Granville Simonds, CC, CB, CBE, DSO, CD was a Canadian Army officer who commanded the II Canadian Corps during World War II. He served as acting commander of the First Canadian Army, leading the Allied forces to victory in the Battle of the Scheldt in 1944...

, commander of the II Canadian Corps
II Canadian Corps
II Canadian Corps was a corps-level formation that, along with I Corps and I Canadian Corps , comprised the First Canadian Army in Northwest Europe during World War II.Authorization for the formation of the Corps headquarters became effective in England on...

, devised Kangaroos as a way of reducing infantry losses.

The first Kangaroos were converted from 102 M7 Priest
M7 Priest
The 105 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7 was an American self-propelled artillery vehicle produced during World War II. It was given the official service name 105 mm Self Propelled Gun, Priest by the British Army, due to the pulpit-like machine gun ring, and following on from the Bishop and...

 self-propelled gun
Self-propelled gun
A self-propelled gun is form of self-propelled artillery, and in modern use is usually used to refer to artillery pieces such as howitzers....

s of three field artillery regiments of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division
3rd Canadian Infantry Division
The Canadian 3rd Infantry Division was an infantry division of the Canadian Army from 1940 to c.1945.- History :The formation of the division was authorized on 17 May 1940...

 who were involved in the initial assault on 6 June 1944. These were no longer needed, as these regiments were re-equipped with towed 25 pounder guns in late July. At a field workshop (codenamed Kangaroo, hence the name) they 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 during Operation Totalize south of Caen
Caen
Caen is a commune in northwestern France. It is the prefecture of the Calvados department and the capital of the Basse-Normandie region. It is located inland from the English Channel....

.

The Priests were subsequently returned to US custody and other vehicles used. The majority of vehicles converted were Canadian Ram tank
Ram tank
The Tank Cruiser, Ram was a cruiser tank designed and built by Canada in the Second World War, based on the U.S. M3 Medium tank. Due to the entrance of the United States into the war and the superior design of the American Sherman, it was used exclusively for training purposes and was never used in...

s or other Priests (which were sometimes referred to as "unfrocked" or "defrocked"
Defrocking
To defrock, unfrock, or laicize ministers or priests is to remove their rights to exercise the functions of the ordained ministry. This may be due to criminal convictions, disciplinary matters, or disagreements over doctrine or dogma...

 Priests). The name Kangaroo was applied to any similar conversion. In the fall of 1944 they were used in Canadian attacks on the various Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

 ports, operated by the 1st Canadian Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron and the 49th Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment under the 79th British Armoured Division (whose specialized vehicles were called "Hobart's Funnies
Hobart's Funnies
Hobart's Funnies were a number of unusually modified tanks operated during World War II by the United Kingdom's 79th Armoured Division or by specialists from the Royal Engineers. They were designed in light of problems that more standard tanks experienced during the Dieppe Raid, so that the new...

"). Kangaroos were then used throughout the remainder of the campaign in northwest Europe.

Significance

During the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, most mechanized infantry
Mechanized infantry
Mechanized infantry are infantry equipped with armored personnel carriers , or infantry fighting vehicles for transport and combat ....

 were carried in light vehicles such as the Sd.Kfz. 251 or M3 Halftrack. These vehicles had much better tactical mobility than a truck, but far less armour or mobility than a tank. This presented a tactical problem: if the carriers were needed so that infantry could accompany tanks, they needed to be just as mobile and just as well protected, particularly since the Canadian and British formations had difficulty in replacing losses. After the Mark IX
Mark IX tank
The Mark IX tank was a British armoured fighting vehicle from the First World War, the world's first specialised Armoured Personnel Carrier .-Development:...

 of the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the Kangaroo was one of the first attempts to solve this problem and, though they were expedient conversions, they largely solved the problem. The Kangaroo can be seen as a Second World War forerunner of the modern armoured personnel carrier
Armoured personnel carrier
An armoured personnel carrier is an armoured fighting vehicle designed to transport infantry to the battlefield.APCs are usually armed with only a machine gun although variants carry recoilless rifles, anti-tank guided missiles , or mortars...

.

External links

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