Production of the Staghound T17

production1The initial production contract for the T17 E1 was signed in November 1941 and called for delivery for the first pilot model on February 1st 1942 and a second thirty days later. These two units were built in Chevrolets engineering experimental laboratories and delivered as specified.

The initial production order called for 1,000 Staghounds. In June 1943 the Ordnance Department approved a procurement of an extra 1,000 Staghounds at British request but these vehicles were fitted instead with a Fraser Nash designed twin .50 calibre electrically operated turret closely based on the British turret by the same manufacturer fitted to a mid upper position on the Lancaster bomber but substantially beefed up for vehicle use.

These vehicles were designated “ Car armoured T17 E2” The guns could be elevated from minus 10 to plus 75° at a speed of 30° per second and could be traversed 360° at a rate of 43° per second. The only other difference between the T17 E2 and the E1 was that the large casting housing the bow machine gun was omitted and the gunners position removed. This electrically operated turret was manufactured by the Warner Corporation Norge Division in Detroit using an electric control motor from Leyland Electric Co in Dayton Ohio. Traverse and elevation were by electrically operated hydraulic control and the gun was fired by electric servo.

In December 1943 a bird variant was approved known as the T17E3. This was a basic Staghound T17E1 upon which the turret of an M8 howitzer motor carrier (with a 75mm howitzer) was fitted, intended to act as a close support vehicle for the British Army. It remained in the prototype stage because by that time production of the Staghound was being terminated. The British however modified some of these vehicles to carry instead a 3” howitzer. During 1942 to 1943 the US Ordnance Department placed orders for a total of just over 3,900 Staghounds. The majority were covered by Contract W374-ORD-1315.

The first 300 were ordered on behalf of the British Tank Mission and these were supplied under the Defence Aid Contract DA-W-374-ORD-281. Practically all subsequent production was delivered under their lease.

Other Staghound Contract Data

production2Other contract data is as follows:

Contract No. DA-W-374-ORD-281 covered 300 vehicles. 157 were delivered in late 1942 and 143 in early 1943. Chevrolet serial Nos. AC-1-001 to 1300 were applied. A typical USA registration would be W6024839.

Contract No. W-374-ORD-1315 was for 2,000 vehicles. 1,500 were delivered in 1943 and 500 T17E2 in late 1943 (211) and 1944 (289). Chevrolet serial Nos. AC-1301 to 3300 were applied.

Production Order T3795 was for 1,000 T17 E1’s which were delivered in 1943 and Production Order T10093 for 500 T17 E2’s which were delivered in 1944 with Chevrolet serial Nos. AC-3301 to 4800. Production Order T7097 was for 44 vehicles delivered in 1943 of which few details are known. They were possibly supplied to Ordnance and used by the desert warfare board and remained in the USA for research and development. Ordnance serials allocated to the 3,800 Staghounds were 0005 to 2004 and 4265 to 6064.

As far as is known all Staghounds carried US Army registrations when they were delivered and known examples range from 6023295 to 6032220. All Staghounds have a nomenclature plate mounted inside naming the vehicle ‘Medium Armoured Car M6’ but as they were never standardised by the US forces, T17E1 remains the most common model code.