XII Manitoba Dragoons
Marco Hogenkamp
Part II

Now work could start on the outside of the vehicle, such as making the 4 fenders and the 2 stowage boxes on the side of the hull. Rather staightforward, but nevertheless it took a couple of months to finish. After this, the outside of the vehicle was fairly complete, only some small details had to be done.

Also the first test-drives were made to see if everything was working properly. Some minor leaks in the cooling system had to be corrected and there was a fault in the generator/regulator circuit causing the batteries to overcharge. I disassembled the generators and regulators again and checked them and also
checked the wiring. No result, the same problem again.

This problem kept puzzling me for weeks, before I found out that the fault was neither in the generator nor the regulator, but in a simple resistor in the electrical circuit. I had a new one on the shelf, and exchanging the faulty resistor with the new one was done in half an hour..... Sometimes that is the way things go!

Making Fenders

Making Fenders

With the outside of the vehicle completed, time could be spent on the interior.

First, the turret had to come off again in order to install the turret basket. I deliberately had not fitted this basket because it is much easier to make repairs/adjustments on the vehicle without it. The transfer case is hidden right underneath the basket. After 700 miles of driving without problems, I thought it was safe enough to fit it in.

The turret hydraulics/electrics were installed and are fully functional, the maximum rotation speed of the turret is 3 revolutions/minute --.after which you get dizzy! The elevation of the 37mm gun is done by a hand-operated wheel.

Also the complete radio installation (a Canadian-build Wireless Set No19 MkIII) with all the connection boxes, headsets etc. has been fitted and is in working condition.

There are a tremendous lot of boxes, ammunition clips and stowage brackets and the fun is to find all equipment which belongs there. At this moment I collected nearly all of this equipment and it really does look good! Up to this moment about 3500 hours of work have been spent on the vehicle.

Now, I also got the licence to collect the guns which go in/on the vehicle so that is the next step to complete this project.



In January 2000 the car was ready to parcipitate in events (internally it was not finished by then). The first serious trip was a 4-day tour (at the end of March/beginning of April) through the eastern part of Holland (Gelderland and Overijssel) in which we came through some towns liberated by the 12th Manitoba Dragoons (such as Vriezenveen). The second one was a 3-day tour ending with the big parade in Apeldoorn in May 2000.

Photo "Stag2" shows the Staghound and the Sherman on a outing on the "Harskamp" shooting range. Photo "Stag3" was taken during the fantastic celebrations in May 2000 in Apeldoorn, together with some 10,000 Canadian veterans of which 2 took a seat in the turret during the parade. I had about 10 bottles of Grolsch beer stowed in the turret. When the parade was over, most of the bottles were empty and it took us some time to get the veterans on mother earth again.......

So, what's it like to drive a Staghound?

First of all, to get in the drivers seat is at least tricky. There is almost no space to move or turn in order to get in (or out). I'm not so big, that is an advantage, but if you are more than 6 ft in length, then things get really nasty. Once you are in the seat it is o.k.

You have to get used to the fact that it is very wide, nearly 2.7 meters. From the driving position you can't see the oudside corners of the front fenders, but after a while you get the "feeling" and then it is no problem anymore.

Also, when crossing another road, you only have vision to the left and the right if you stick your head out of the drivers vision port. So I never drive with the window fitted in this vision port. You can imagine that when it is raining, and it often does here, you're getting a unwanted and continuous shower. The wheels throw up a tremendous amount of water/mud, which first bounces against the stowage boxes and then ends on you back! This might explain why, in wartime photos, you see the additional splash-guards fitted to the bottom of the fenders. As an extra, the water leaks from the hull periscopes on your head!

While driving, you don't notice the weight of the car, which is 14 tons. When braking, you notice!  Then you feel the weight wanting to push through the brakes, especially downhill. Also the car has a tendency to move to the right when braking. I found this remark also in a wartime English manual. They also noticed this 60 years ago!

When observed from the outside, the vehicle is very quiet -- almost no sound can be heard. I remember approaching a traffic-regulating policeman from his back. I stopped right behind him and stood there for two minutes before he finally turned around, nearly got a heart-attack, and asked where the .... I came from?!

On the inside, however, it is very noisy. The transfer case, especially, makes a lot of noise, which is amplified by the fact that this case is bolted directly against the armour plates. So I fitted rubber insulators and now the noise is bearable. 

The car is equipped with power steering, and this is no luxury! At standstill or parking speeds it is just not possible to turn the steering wheel without the power steering switched on. At higher speeds itis no problem to steer with the power steering switched off.

The most striking thing about the car is its speed. With a 3/4 ton Dodge or 2-1/2 ton GMC you have to go flat-out to keep up with it on acceleration. On a quiet morning we took a good road and clocked the top speed at 62 miles per hour! In very soft sand, however, it handles like a fork-lift. A load of 3500 kg on each wheel is too much for this sort of terrain. You get stuck very easily and the slightest hill is going to give you a lot of problems.

But moreover, this vehicle is important because of its history. It keeps the remembrance alive of all those brave men who fought (and died) in a foreign country in order to drive the enemy out. And this remembrance is what really matters and has to be kept alive!

I hope I have written sufficiently about the "restoration part", but if anyone has any questions or would like additional information/photos please send me an e-mail.

A Tribute to the XII Manitoba Dragoons
by Marco Hogenkamp

Marco Hogenkamp
Lievelderweg 36 ~ 7131 MC ~ Lichtenvoorde
The Netherlands


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