Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Beaverette

The first version of the vehicle was built in 1940 by Standard Motor Company at the instigation of Lord Beaverbrook, then Minister of Aircraft Production (hence the name Beaverette). It was based on commercial car chassis, on which a simple riveted armoured hull was mounted. The 11mm of steel was backed by 3 inch thick oak planks. The hull was open at the top and at the rear. The armament consisted of Bren light machine gun which could be fired through a slot in the glacis armour. Subsequent versions received all-around protection and a machine gun turret - an enclosed one with Bren MG or an open-topped one with twin Vickers machine guns. Some vehicles also carried Boys anti-tank rifles. Some had No. 11 or No. 19 radio set. The production was stopped in 1942. About 2,800 units were delivered.

The Beaverette was used by the British Army and Royal Air Force for home defence service and training. The vehicle is said to suffer from excessive weight and to be hard to handle.

Variants

    Mk I - original version.

    Mk II - had all-around armour and the radiator grill was moved from a vertical position to a horizontal one.

    Mk III Beaverbug - had shortened chassis, redesigned hull without curved front wings, with top armour and a machine gun turret.

    Mk IV - glacis armour was redesigned to improve visibility.

    A similar vehicle, known as Beaverette (NZ), was produced in New Zealand Railways workshops, Hutt Valley. The car used a Ford 3/4 or 1-ton truck chassis and plate salvaged from the ships Port Bowen and Mokoia for armour. They had a crew of 4 and 208 units were built.

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