Australian Military Vehicles Walkaround
The Australian Dingo Scout Car by Michael Grieve
In early 1941, the Australian Army was faced with the difficulty of equipping the Armoured Division that was in the process of being raised - while obtaining tanks and armoured cars was difficult enough, such a division also required some 210 scout cars as a part of its normal establishment. As the supply of such vehicles from the traditional overseas sources was extremely unlikely, a specification for an Australian-built scout car was issued to the Directorate of Armoured Fighting Vehicles Procurement. The resulting vehicle, named the Dingo - which bore little resemblance to the similarly named vehicle produced by Daimler for the British Army - used commercially available parts (including a Ford 30-cwt commercial lorry chassis) and an angular, all-welded hull manufactured from locally produced armour plate. In all some 245 Dingo scout cars (registration numbers 77001-77246) were manufactured, and served with the Australian Army until superseded by the Canadian Mk.3* Lynx I scout car in 1944.
The primary role of the Dingo scout car in the armoured divisions was reconnaissance and liason - these vehicles were employed in a liason role in the armoured car regiments and armoured regiments, and supplemented the reconnaissance work of the MG carriers in the motor battalions, and occasionally the engineer field squadrons.
The Dingo scout car, unfortunately, was a flawed vehicle. From the outset, problems were found with the strength of the front axle assembly, driving the vehicle for any length of time was found to be exhausting due to the cramped nature of the driver's position, visibility for the driver was very poor (made worse by the driver's seat being non-adjustable), and the weight of the vehicle (at some 4.7tons when fully equipped) severely restricted off-road performance such that the type was more or less limited to roads or hard surfaces. While some modifications were undertaken during the service life of the Dingo in an attempt to correct these problems, the usefulness of this vehicle was restricted.
The Australian Dingo scout car did not see active service abroad with the Australian Army (as, by 1943, the army was primarily concerned with jungle fighting, where scout cars would play little part), but rather remained in Australia with the armoured divisions during the long years of training. Whatever its problems, the Dingo did fill a gap during a desperate time.
Cecil, Michael K. "Australian Military Equipment Profiles Vol.3: Australian Scout and Armoured Cars 1933 to 1945" (1993) [an excellent, very detailed book - highly recommended]
The following photos of a nicely restored vehicle, taken at the open day at the Australian War Memorial 16th February 2002, shows some of the unique features of the Australian-manufactured Dingo scout car
|A general "walk around" view of this immaculate vehicle. This Dingo is painted in the markings of the 2/? Armoured Regiment (white "51" on red Arm-of-Service square) of the Australian 2nd Armoured Division (white scorpion on black square). Also visible is the bridging classification sign (black "5" on yellow circle) and yellow squadron/troop symbols (2 Troop, "B" Squadron). A vehicle registration number is also painted in white on each of the sloping plates that form the vehicle nose, but these are sadly not visible in the present photographs.|
|A view of the rear of the vehicle. Most noticeable are the bases for the antennae of the No.19 wireless set - the "B" set aerial base is on the left of the rear visor, with the "A" set aerial on the right. The two brackets and leather strap along the lower edge of the rear slope would hold a pair of unditching boards in place, while the brackets on the top of the rear mudguards were for tarpaulins. The curved brackets above the rear visor were there to hold a towing cable.|
|A series of shots of the rather cramped front section of the Dingo's interior. Note the signal cartridge brackets just under the roof line, the fire extinguisher, and the mount for the Bren light machinegun|
|A look at the rear section of the interior, showing the seats, sliding roof hatch and associated mechanisms, and various stowage brackets. The No.19 wireless set would normally be fitted to the right-hand side of the rear of the vehicle.|
|A peek into the interior of the vehicle through the crew entry/exit door on the left-hand side|
|A detailed view of the front vision ports and embrasure for a Bren light machinegun (centre).|
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