The Humber APC is one of those Military vehicles few recognise the name of but most will identify as knowing it on sight. It appeared regularly on the news through out the 70’s due to its use in Northern Ireland with the IRA tensions.
The Royal Ulster Constabulary and other government agencies used it constantly as part of their patrols protecting their staff. The Humber “Pig” was nicknamed the ‘Pig’, not because the Police used it, but due its snout nose and it’s poor handling performance (it was a pig to drive) hence the squaddies shortened the name to the pig. Being classed as a lightly armoured truck it had a low power to weight ratio, the Rolls-Royce B60 6-cyl 4.2 litre petrol I-6 120 hp had poor acceleration with a top speed of just 40mph. Weighing in battle ready at 4.8 tonnes this weight caused problems for the 4×4 independent coil spring suspension along with the chassis and brakes.
The Humber Pig was based on a FV1601 a four-wheel drive truck with a 1-tonne payload originally supplied to the British Army from 1952. J Sankey and the Royal Ordinance Factories developed the FV1611 an armoured version to aid divisions of the military for immediate armoured response carrying a total of 8 crew and a machine gun until the big boys the Alvis Saracens could be deployed.
A Mark 2 was developed from 1972 to 1973 with heavy duty bull bars designed to barge through barricades and additional armour protection now able to withstand small-arms fire and rocket propelled grenades, this version weighed in at 6.5 tonnes and required a more powerful engine which finally came its way in this version.
It’s Northern Ireland duties saw many Humber Pigs adapted for specific proposes and renamed accordingly reflecting the British humour, the Flying Pig had extended riot screens on the roof and sides, The Holy Pig was fitted with a Perspex rooftop hatch and looked like a weird variant of the ‘Popemobile’, a Kremlin Pig was fitted with wire screening, the Squirt Pig had a water cannon fitted for riot control, a Foaming Pig had a foam generator to diffuse bomb blasts and lastly the Felix Pig was modified for bomb disposal.
The Pigs remained in military service from 1955 until the 1990s with 1700 being produced up till the 1980s. Proving a valuable asset, with it size at 16’2” x 6’8” x 6’11” ft it was ideal for urban internal security duties; the Pig outlasted the larger and heavier Saracens that were original designed to replace them. The AT105 Saxon APC from 1992 to 2000 eventually replaced the Humber Pig.
The Humber Pig can be seen at Aldershot Military Museum, and Bovington Tank Museum.