M6 Staghound (E1949.336)
The Staghound was ordered at a time when British forces were fighting in the desert and the design included long range fuel tanks, mounted on each side, which could be jettisoned before going into action. Overall the design was well thought out. There was plenty of room inside the car, even with a crew of five, it was very easy to drive and quite fast. By he time they were delivered the desert war was over so they saw active service in Italy and \North West Europe.
Like the AEC, Staghounds were regarded as too large for reconnaissance missions and proved difficult to manoeuvre in tight corners. As a result they tended to be used at regimental and squadron headquarters as command cars where the roomy interior was a considerable advantage. Our exhibit is painted in the markings of 1st Derbyshire Yeomanry, the divisional reconnaissance regiment of 6th Armoured Division in Italy.
Weapon E1998.405.13 is the Hull gun.
* Staghound Mark I (T17E1) fitted with a 37mm gun
* Staghound A/A (T17E2) had the 37mm gun replaced by a Frazer-Nash gun turret fitted with twin 0.50in calibre machine guns, 789 vehicles (out of an order for 1000) were produced between October 1943 and April 1944; some Staghounds were converted by the British Army to command cars by removing the turret and (sometimes) fitting a windscreen.
* Staghound Mark II had the 37mm gun replaced by a British 3in close support howitzer
* Staghound Mark III were fitted with the complete turret of the Crusader Mark III tank mounting a 75mm gun in place of the tank’s 6pdr (57mm) gun.
Staghounds were also used in various experiments:
* The T17E3 was fitted with the turret and 75mm howitzer from the M8 Howitzer Motor Carriage; this was abandoned when the British produced the Staghound Mark II
* A T17E1 was used to test the British ‘Bantu’ electric mine detection apparatus; abandoned as a failure
* A T17E1 was used to trial the ‘Anti-Mine Reconnaissance Castor Roller’ (AMCR); abandoned in favour of more promising anti-mine projects.
Staghounds served with British and Commonwealth forces in Italy and North West Europe. They were also used by the Polish and Belgian forces. Staghounds remained in service with the British Army for a few years after the war and lingered on in the armies of smaller countries until the 1980s.
Hunnicutt R.P.; Armoured Car, a history of American wheeled combat vehicles; ISBN 0 89141 777 X; Presidio Press, Novato, California, 2002.
Fletcher D.; The Universal Tank, British armour in the Second World War, Part 2; ISBN 0 11 290534 X; HMSO, London, 1993.
Summary text by Mike Garth V1.0