As the effectiveness and versatility of the US medium walkers was proven repeatedly in combat, the British Army requested larger numbers through the Allied Lend-Lease arrangement. Deliveries of Grizzly and subsequently Mudskipper medium walkers were welcomed, but the British General Staff procurement officers were hesitant about the more specialised Kodiak and Bruin variants.
Instead, the British developed the Hornet based on the reliable Grizzly chassis. The Hornet has a reduced anti-aircraft capability due to its more restricted field of fire, but it is primarily designed to support infantry in close, urban terrain. By retaining the Grizzly’s powerful utility arms it can clear obstacles, build improvised defences and rip apart light vehicles, all of which allow it to maintain its momentum in close or urban terrain.
Armed with a fearsome array of four .50 cal HMGs and a short-barrelled, heavy automatic cannon, it is more than capable of suppressing dug-in infantry and vehicles at close range. Trials with a longer barrelled automatic cannon produced mixed results as the increased weapon range was tempered by manoeuvrability problems at close range and in tight urban spaces. Whilst the Hornet lacks genuine anti-tank capability beyond the reach of heavy duty fists, a platoon of Hornets would normally include a standard Grizzly as a ‘gun-walker’ to provide some anti-tank protection.
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