AFV "Service Instruction" books - actual contents?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Gary Kennedy, Oct 17, 2019.

  1. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    I've been looking at picking up a few of the "Service Instruction" books for British AFVs, specifically for armoured and scout cars, from MLRS publishing. I've also been looking back at the list of "drawings packs" available from the Tank Museum at Bovington.

    As an example, my guess is the pack set from Bovington for the Humber armoured car Mark IV is the same eight stowage sketch drawings that are available online in at least one place for free. If I want to get them with a clear conscience it's £8.00 from Bovvy, and they'll give me a good idea of what was crammed into the Humber in terms of weapons, amn and kit. For £9.00 there's a PDF version of the Service Instruction Book for the same vehicle, circa 1943, with about 160 pages, including photos and drawings.

    I would realistically expect the Service book to devote the majority of its pages and diagrams to vehicle maintenance instruction. I don't know if they spend much, or indeed any time, on the typical combat loads of the vehicle . I've got several books that give the basics of the Humber, Daimler and AEC armoured cars in terms of dimensions and armament, but I was hoping to find something with a bit more detail.

    I don't know if anyone on the forum has any Service Instruction books, and if so could they shed a little light on the contents? Likewise if any one has any British armoured car packs from Bovington could they say what the packs cover?


  2. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    I have only looked at one of Service Instruction Books. It covers the maintenance in detail with plenty of illustrations.

    Below are the list of contents/illustrations pages.



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  3. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    Danny, thanks very much for that, I've not seen the index for one of the service book series before.


  4. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    Service Instruction Books vary widely depending upon which manufacturer designed and built the vehicle. For example, the books by Nuffield Mechnizations (e.g. for Crusader) are generally minimal effort jobs, with crappy 2D diagrams that look as though they were ripped straight off one of their draughtsmen's drawing board. At the other end of the scale, the books by Leylands are full of lavish 3D exploded views.

    Generally, you get two sections, the first explaining how the various parts of the vehicle work, and the second showing how those parts are maintained in service. For a tank, these are usually broken down into chapters on the engine, transmission, suspension and tracks, turret & mounting, armament, and electrical system. Generally thse books tend not to give details on stowage, but I think on some occasions the stowage sketches were included in a wallet in the cover of the book.

    One interesting factoid is that these books tended to be issued just as the AFV in question became obsolescent, so that the actual crews rarely got to see one of them, unless that particular vehicle type had a reasonably long post-war career.
  5. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    I decided to have a pop on the service instruction book for the Humber MkIV armoured car. The contents are very much in line with the above descriptions, and sadly no stowage sketches. It did though answer some questions on the ammunition carried and includes an interesting description of the Besa. I think I'll email the Tank Museum re their packs for the armd/scout cars I'm interested in.



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