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THE RAM KANGAROO
by Hanno Spoelstra
After the Priest Kangaroo had proven itself, a replacement vehicle had to be found since there were no further supplies forthcoming and the initial batch needed replacement soon.
Canadian armoured units had been training on the Ram Cruiser Tank in Great Britain, and were converted to Sherman tanks before D-Day. This left a sizeable number of Ram tanks available for conversion into Kangaroos. During the latter part of September 1944 the Ram Kangaroos arrived near Rouen, France.

The Ram Kangaroo was converted from the late Ram II. After removal of the turret, the interior was rearranged. Work entailed the removal of 6-pdr. ammunition stowage boxes and associated equipment. The No.19 wireless set was relocated from the rear of the turret into the left-hand sponson. Eight to eleven infantry could be carried in the open topped compartment. (Contrary to popular belief, the Ram Kangaroo was not fitted with bench seats in the interior nor with hand and foot grips welded to the hull sides). 
Often fitted with a British type towing hook (on a vertical bar over the rear hull engine doors), the Ram Kangaroo could alternatively be used as a gun tower.

The crew consisted of the driver on the right and a vehicle commander on the left, operating both the radio and the Browning M1919A4 .30 cal. machine-gun. Extra machine-guns were often fitted in the bolt holes of the turret ring.
No weather equipment was fitted, but crews often improvised with tarpaulins to keep out the worst of the weather when not in action.

Apart from being used by the 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment, the Ram Kangaroo was used by the 49 Royal Tank Regiment. On paper, each Regiment consisted of 2 squadrons of four troops each totalling 106 Ram Kangaroos and thus capable of "lifting" 2 battalions of infantry. Both units were part of the specialized armour of the 79th Armoured Division.
 

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Ram Cruiser Tank
Ram Cruiser tank
Ram Kangaroo interior
Ram Kangaroo interior
Ram Kangaroo stowage sketch
Ram Kangaroo stowage sketch
Ram Kangaroo
Ram Kangaroo rushing forward
late Ram Kangaroo interior
late Ram Kangaroo interior
crew in interior
Tpr Schultz inside his Kangaroo
late Ram Kangaroo interior
late Ram Kangaroo interior
late Ram Kangaroo ready to move out
late Ram Kangaroo ready to move out
late Ram Kangaroo in Belgium
late Ram Kangaroo in Belgium
late Ram Kangaroos near Groningen
late Ram Kangaroos advancing 
to Groningen, Holland
late Ram Kangaroos in Germany
late Ram Kangaroos in Germany
Continental R975 radial engine
Continental R975 radial engine

Sources and recommended reading:
  • Fletcher, David. 'Ram Tank Variants. Command/OP, ARV, Kangaroo and other versions.' Wheels & Tracks, no.52, July 1995, p.14-21.
  • Hunnicut, R.P. Sherman: A History of the American Medium Tank. Second edition. Novato: Presidio Press, 1978.
  • Ramsden, Kenneth R. The Canadian Kangaroos in World War II. Cavan: Ramsden-Cavan Publishing, 1997. ISBN 0-96996-97.
  • Storey, Ed. 'The 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment, 1944-1945'. Militaria Magazine, No.20, October 1995, p.36-41.

  • Hanno Spoelstra is the founder of the world-acclaimed SHERMAN REGISTER, and was the driving force behind the establishment of the 1CACR MEMORIAL  at Mill, the Netherlands. Hanno is also the European Representative of  MAPLE LEAF UP and remains active in many aspects of the preservation and dedication of historical military artefacts.

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