The Otter

History :

The Canadian Forces had been supplied with the British Humber MkIII Light Reconnaisance Car (L.R.C.) which was the basis for Canada's own attempt at an armoured wheeled vehicle, the Otter. It was designed on a 101" wheelbase 15cwt Chevrolet 4x4 chassis, and being more heavily armoured than the Humber LRC it weighed an extra 1. 1/2 tons.

Due to the extra weight, the GMC 270 engine was transplanted in place of the underated 216 engine and even then was less powered then the LRC.

It was coded as the RAC-1 and given a chassis number code of 8447. In total 1,761 Otters were produced, all in 1942, so the chassis codes were all prefixed with a '2', i.e. they all had 28447***** chassis serial numbers. The chassis was produced by General Motors of Canada and the Hamilton Bridge Co. of Hamilton, Ontario produced the hulls.

There was a crew of 3. The turret was operated by the gunner and contained a Bren machine gun on an A.A. mount. The driver and commander had front seats. There were variations on the standard Otter, mostly in the UK for airfield defence. Some had twin .30 cals fitted into the turret and also a .5 cal machine gun or a 20mm cannon in the hull. Others had the turret removed and replaced with a .5 cal and shield.

Operational Role :

Used by the RCE field squadrons and companies and by RCASC br coys for special recon. Also by RCASC MT coys and tpt patrols for AA protection.

Equipment :

.303 Bren machine gun on AA mount, Boys A/T rifle, sub-mg, 2 .303 rifles, 4" smoke discharger and No19 wireless set.

Armour thickness :

Turret 8mm, hull front 12mm, sides 8mm, rear 10mm, roof 12mm.

Otter 1 Specification :

Bridge classification3
Fording depth24"
Maximum speed45 mph
Fuel consumption8 mpg
Fuel tank capacity30 gals
EngineGM 6cyl petrol
Engine rating106 bhp @ 3000 rpm
Electrical system12V
Handbrakemechanical (transmission)
Footbrakehydraulic (all wheels)
Laden weight11,000 lb
Turning circle49'
Ground clearance8"
Dimensions177" x 85" x 96"
Maintenance manualRAC-C2
Parts bookVAOS LV7/GMC

Photo is courtesy of the National Archives of Canada.(e000761400)