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Armscor Hippo at the SAPS Museum, Ventersburg
Type Armoured personnel carrier
Place of origin  South Africa
Service history
In service 1974 - 1978[1]
Used by See Operators
Wars Rhodesian Bush War
South African Border War
Namibian War of Independence
Soweto uprising
Production history
Designer Armscor South Africa
Designed 1974[2]
Manufacturer Armscor South Africa
Number built 275[2]
Variants See Variants
Weight 8.8 tonnes (9.7 short tons; 8.7 long tons)[1]
Length 6.53 m (21 ft 5 in)[2]
Width 2.46 m (8 ft 1 in)[2]
Height 3.3 m (10 ft 10 in)[2]
Crew 2
Passengers 10

2x 7.62mm M1919 Browning machine guns[1]
Engine Bedford 2.5 l (150 in3) inline 6-cylinder water-cooled petrol[2]
Transmission 4-speed manual synchromesh[2]
Ground clearance 32 cm[2]
Fuel capacity 240 litres[2]
640 km[1]
Speed 73 km/h[1]

The Hippo is a South African armoured personnel carrier. Specially designed to be mine resistant, it can carry eleven infantrymen and a crew of two. The vehicle's remote-operated turret mounts dual 7.62mm machine guns, but like other improvised fighting vehicles, it is only lightly protected.

Development history[edit | edit source]

An interim solution adopted to deal with the threat of land mines deployed by the South West African People's Organization (SWAPO) in northern Ovamboland, the Hippo was simply a blastproof hull fitted to a Bedford RL chassis. Similar to the BTR-152, it offered a staggered troop compartment with seating facing inwards. Vision was restricted to narrow plate glass windows. This layout was universally unpopular and later corrected with the Buffel.[2] There were firing ports for the occupants and a powered machine gun turret could be braced on the open top, though these were seldom fitted. Passengers and crew debussed from a rear deck.[2] The Hippo Mk1R was based on a M1961 Bedford truck chassis, which was being phased from South African service in 1974.[1] Some 150 were shipped to the South African Police that year, another 5 being donated to the South-West African authorities.[2] Police units left behind several when they withdrew from Rhodesia in 1976; these were retained by Rhodesian Security Forces and later passed on to the Zimbabwe National Army.[3] In 1978, 120 Hippo conversions of M1970 Bedfords was undertaken for the South African Defence Force, which had assumed responsibility for patrols along the Angolan border and needed a new MRAP. They were replaced by the Casspir.

Variants[edit | edit source]

  • Hippo Mk1R - 1974 model, built on the 1961 Bedford chassis.
  • Hippo Mk1M - 1978 model, built on the 1970 Bedford chassis.

Operators[edit | edit source]

In popular culture[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Lesakeng". South African Armour Museum. 2012-12-06. http://www.saarmourmuseum.co.za/lesakeng.html. Retrieved 2013-06-18. 
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Heitman, Helmoed-Römer. South African Armed Forces. Buffalo Publications 1990. ISBN 0-620-14878-0 p 44.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Nelson, Harold. Zimbabwe: A Country Study. pp. 237–317. 
  4. Moorcraft, Paul L.; McLaughlin, Peter (April 2008) [1982]. The Rhodesian War: A Military History. Barnsley: Pen and Sword Books. ISBN 978-1-84415-694-8. 

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