ARM: Book Review - Ferret in Canadian Service

Book Review: =93Weapons of War=94 Series; The Ferret Scout Car in Canadian
Service by Colin MacGregor Stevens; Service Publications, Ottawa,
Ontario, Canada, 2009; 24 pp. with B&W photos and 1/35 scale plans;
price CDN $9.95; ISBN 1-894581-55-4
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Advantages: nice little book on the history of the vehicle and its use
in Canadian service
Disadvantages: may not have enough information for modelers
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all wheeled armored vehicle fans
When one goes to military vehicle rallies and meets today, one of the
most common armored vehicles encountered is the diminutive Ferret
scout car in one of its many forms. Small and easy to maintain, it is
popular with preservationists and reenactors for those reasons.
Since the British Army had been very partial to wheeled armored
vehicles of all sorts during WWII, it was only natural that their
development and use would continue after the war. As such, the Daimler
company proposed the FV700 to replace its popular wartime Dingo scout
car in 1947. The new car, smaller, more compact and better armored
than the Dingo, was accepted for service in 1951 as the FV701C.
Originally called =93Fieldmouse=94 somebody apparently thought better of
it and renamed it the Ferret Mark 1.
From 1954 to the late 1960s the Ferret Mark 1 was the main Canadian
Army reconnaissance vehicle. While British service and foreign sales
saw the vehicle go through five different marks and also be fitted
with a small turret, the Canadian Army stuck with the Mark 1 and
ignored most of the armament options except for a 7.62mm Browning
weapon on a swivel. As it was a reconnaissance car, the Canadian view
was keeping it low meant avoiding having it spotted, and as the turret
added about 18 inches to the overall height of the vehicle it was seen
as compromising that stealth. (There is also an old US Army adage that
if you give a lieutenant a weapon to fight with he will be dumb enough
to use it and not recall what his primary mission was supposed to be,
namely recon.)
A total of 124 Mark 1s were purchased by Canada and served with the
Army, given registration numbers 54-82500 to 54-82623.
In the 1960s the Canadian Army bought the US M113 APC, and it was
soon found that the Ferrets had trouble keeping up with them in the
field. The Canadian Army then purchased the =93M113 =BD" or Lynx tracked
reconnaissance vehicle built from M113 parts, but while more mobile
this vehicle was found in service to have some serious drawbacks.
While used for a number of worldwide duties, it is probably with the
Canadian UN peacekeeping missions that their Ferrets are best known.
Starting in Egypt in 1956, they were used in many different areas and
missions .
Over the years the Ferrets underwent several refinishings and wound
up with the registration numbers carried on license plates starting in
1970.
But all things come to an end, and beginning in 1980 the 117
remaining Ferrets were =93pensioned off=94 with at least 81 sold to a US
vehicle dealer (the source of many belonging to preservationists!)
with many now in the hands of Canadian preservationists coming from
BATUS stocks of British vehicles used for training. Go figure.
Overall a fun read and one that puts the little beast in a new
light.
Thanks to Clive Law for the review copy.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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