armoured personnel carrier

Kangaroo (armoured personnel carrier)

A Kangaroo was a World War II British or Commonwealth armoured personnel carrier (APC), created by conversion of a tank chassis. Created as an expedient measure by the Canadian Army, the Kangaroos were so successful that they were soon being used by British and US 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 1944, Crerar's First Canadian Army was concerned by manpower shortages and Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds, commander of the II Canadian Corps, devised Kangaroos as a way of reducing infantry losses.

The first Kangaroos were converted from 102 M7 Priest self-propelled guns of the artillery regiments of the 3 infantry divisions invovled in the initial assault on 6th June 1944. These were no longer needed, as the artillery regiments were re-equipped with towed 25 pdr guns in late July. At a field workshop (codenamed Kangaroo, hence the name) they were stripped of the artillery equipment and the front aperture welded over, then sent into service carrying twelve troops. They were first used in Operation Totalize south of Caen and subsequently in Canadian attacks on the various Channel ports, operated by the 1st Canadian Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron.

The Priests were subsequently returned to US custody and other vehicles used. The majority of vehicles converted were Canadian Ram tanks or Shermans and other Priests (which were sometimes referred to as "unfrocked" or "defrocked" Priests). The name Kangaroo was applied to any similar conversion. In Normandy they were operated by the 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment (1CACR) and the 49th Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment under the British 79th Armoured Division (whose specialized vehicles were called "Hobart's Funnies"). Kangaroos were then used throughout the campaign in northwest Europe.


During the Second World War, most mechanized infantry were carried in light vehicles such as the Universal Carrier 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. The Kangaroo was the first attempt to solve this problem and, though they were expedient conversions, they largely solved the problem. The Kangaroo can be seen as the forerunner of the modern armoured personnel carrier.


  • The Battle for the Rhine 1944, 2005, Robin Neillands (chapter 7, The Battle for the Scheldt)

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