Morris C8

Morris C8 Quad
Morris-Commercial Quad, limber, and 25-pdr field gun crossing a pontoon bridge at Slaght Bridge in Antrim, Northern Ireland, 26 June 1942.
Type Artillery tractor
Place of origin  United Kingdom
Production history
Manufacturer Morris and others
Number built 10,000
Weight 3.3 long tons (3,400 kg)
Length 14 ft 8 34 in (4.489 m)
Width 7 ft 3 in (2.21 m)
Height 7 ft 5 in (2.26 m)
Crew 1 + 5 passengers

Armour none
Engine Morris EH, 4-cylinder 3.5 litre petrol engine
70 bhp (52.2kW)
Suspension Wheel, 4 x 4
160 miles (257 km)
Speed 50 miles per hour (80 km/h)

The Morris Commercial C8 FAT (Field Artillery Tractor) commonly known as a Quad was an artillery tractor of the British and Commonwealth forces during World War II.[1] It was used to tow field artillery pieces, such as the 25 pounder gun-howitzer, and anti-tank guns, such as the 17 pounder.

Although its sloped sides suggest otherwise, the Quad was not armoured.



In 1937 the War Department identified a need for a new FAT to supplement, and then replace, the Light Dragon and Morris CDSWs then in service. A specification was issued for a four-wheeled, four-wheel drive vehicle, with winch, on a short chassis. It had to have a sloped all metal body to facilitate chemical decontamination, be able to carry a 16-inch gun wheel, or gun traversing platform, on the roof. Further, it had to be capable of carrying 24 complete rounds of 25 pdr ammunition in their boxes, and at least 8 boxed anti-tank shells, together with gun stores and kit for six personnel. Guy Motors produced their design quite quickly using existing components, and Morris followed with theirs. It was a conventional design evolved from the CS8, but included a brand-new four-cylinder engine which was mounted on a subframe and not directly onto the chassis. Like the Guy, it had a very characteristic 'beetle back' shape with numerous external and internal lockers. The first Morris C8 Quad was delivered in October 1939 and it then stayed in production until 1945. There were two major changes to the mechanical side of the vehicle, and two independent ones to the body. The engine/chassis design was used on other Morris types, such as the C8 15 cwt truck, and a long-wheelbase version was used to produce a self-propelled Bofors Light Anti-Aircraft Tractor.


As a FAT the Quad served with Field Artillery Regiments.

Each regiment had 36 Quads; 24 towed a limber and gun, and 12 towed two limbers.

It was first issued in late 1939 and first used in action in France in 1940, towing 18 pdr, 18/25 pdr and 4.5 Howitzers. Many were lost as in the evacuation of the BEF from France and as a result some of these were taken into service by the Wehrmacht. From June 1940 it was also used to tow 75 mm guns provided by the USA; these were towed both with and without limbers. It was subsequently used wherever the FA Regts went, from Iceland to Malaya, primarily as a tractor for the, then new, 25pdr gun. It was also used by most of the Commonwealth and Allied units equipped with the 25pdr. It was a popular vehicle although really too small for all the equipment that was carried. It was also underpowered when towing and loaded. Moving 9 tons with a 70 bhp engine was not ideal, and its speed uphill was unspectacular. Considerable use had to be made of the winch on hills and in mud. Later in the war, when the Anti-tank Regiments were equipped with 6 pounder and 17 pounder guns, Quads were issued as tractors. Normally these guns were towed without a limber but some 17 pdrs were towed with limbers. This can only have been for the aid of the limber's brake, and a smoother tow, as the ammunition would not fit in a limber. At the end of the War the Quad stayed in British service in the same roles. It saw extensive action in the Korean War and Malaya. Many of the Commonwealth and Allied forces took their Quads to their home Countries, and were provided with more ex British ones to fully re-equip. The Royal Netherlands Army subsequently made extensive use of theirs in the East Indies. The British rebuilt many of their Quads in the early 1950s, extending their useful life until 1959 when the last was sold off. They were replaced by 3 ton tractors, which were derived from the Bedford RL and Commer-cabbed Ford 4E.


Morris C8 GS utility vehicle.
A Morris C8 towing a 25 pounder
Mark I
Only 200 made in 1939 and very early 1940. Front axle had provision for a differential lock. Front axle mounted above the springs. Permanent 4 wheel drive. Central accelerator. 10.50 X 20 inch tyres.
Mark II.
Approx 4000 made in 1940 and early 1941. As for Mk I save for change in front axle design, removing provision for diff lock.
Mark III
Approx 6000 made from 1941 to 1945. Front axle mounted below the springs. Optional 4 wheel drive. Accelerator mounted conventionally as the right pedal. 10.50 X 16 inch tyres.

The body style appeared in three forms. Early "beetle back" was fitted to all Mk Is and approximately first 3,000 Mk IIs. Only two small windows on offside and one on nearside. All metal roof with two revolving vents. The late "beetle back" was fitted to later Mk IIs and approx. first 4,000 Mk IIIs. Additional small window on nearside. Windows in both doors. Canvas roof mounted on cruciform steel frame over crew compartment. Two square vents in roof section behind canvas section. Large filler cap surrounds. "Number 5 Body" was fitted to later Mk IIIs. A new square shaped body with complete canvas top with two circular hatches. Four doors with windows.

Quads in 25 pdr and Anti Tank Regiments had no need to carry the gun traversing platform on the roof. The brackets were duly removed, and usually substituted by a metal framework to provide an area for the storage of kit.


  1. ^ Morris C8 FAT and C8 GS history at Army web site
  • Philip Ventham, David Fletcher Moving the Guns: The Mechanisation of the Royal Artillery, 1854-1939 HMSO ISBN 0-11-290477-7
  • Vanderveen, Bart Wheels and Tracks Number 29 ISSN:0263-7081

External links

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