Military Wiki
Hillman Gnat
Hillman Gnat.jpg
Hillman Gnat armoured car
Type Armoured car
Place of origin United Kingdom
Service history
In service 1940-1942 (trialed only)
Used by British Army
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Hillman
Designed 1940
Manufacturer Hillman
Number built 4

.303 in Bren gun
Suspension Wheeled 4x2

The Hillman Gnat was an experimental World War II era light armoured car developed in Britain.


The Hillman Gnat was designed around 1940 as a two-man light armoured car, it was intended to replace machine gun armed, unarmoured motorcycles that were fielded in significant numbers by the British Army, but were going out of favour at the time. The Gnat's development, along with the Morris Salamander, was sponsored by the then Brigadier Vyvyan Pope.[1][2]

The vehicle was based on the Hillman 10hp Utility (which was in turn derived from the Hillman Minx) with the engine relocated to the rear of the hull and the transmission rearranged. The driver sat at the front while the crew commander sat behind and above, the latter was supplied with a tiny, open topped turret. The vehicle was armed with a single Bren gun and was not provided with a radio.[1][3][4]

Trials of the Gnat and the Salamander revealed they were too underpowered to perform in their intended role without four-wheel drive, the Gnat was particularly handicapped. Impetus for the project waned upon the death of the now Major General Vyvyan Pope in 1941, and both it and the Salamander were cancelled in 1942.[1][3]

In total four Hillman Gnats were produced.[1]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 David Fletcher, MBE, "The Gnat and the Salamander", retrieved 20 June 2018.
  2. Brian Terence White, British tanks and fighting vehicles, 1914-1945, London: Ian Allan, 1970, ISBN 0711001235.
  3. 3.0 3.1 David Fletcher, The great British tank scandal: British armour in the Second World War, London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1989, ISBN 0112904602.
  4. Olyslager Organisation, British cars of the early forties, 1940-1946, Ed. Bart H. Vanderveen, London: Frederick Warne, 1974, ISBN 0723217556.

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