|World War II, German SdKfz 234/4.|
A military armored (or armoured) car (see spelling differences) is a wheeled armored vehicle, lighter than other armored fighting vehicles, primarily being armored and/or armed for self-defense of the occupants. Other multi-axled wheeled military vehicles can be quite large, and actually be superior to some smaller tracked vehicles in terms of armor and armament.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, a number of military armored vehicles were manufactured by adding armor and weapons to existing vehicles. The first manufactured one was the "Motor War Car" in 1902. The Italians used armored cars during the Italo-Turkish War. A great variety of armored cars appeared on both sides during World War I and these were used in various ways.
World War IEdit
Generally, the armored cars were used by more or less independent car commanders. However, sometimes they were used in larger units up to squadron size. The cars were primarily armed with light machine guns. But larger units usually employed a few cars with heavier guns. As air power became a factor, armored cars offered a mobile platform for anti-aircraft guns.
In 1914, the Belgians fielded some early examples of armored cars during the Race to the Sea. The British Royal Naval Air Service dispatched aircraft to Dunkirk to defend the UK from Zeppelins. The officers cars followed them and these began to be used to rescue downed reconnaissance pilots in the battle areas. They mounted machine guns on them and as these excursions became increasingly dangerous, they improvised boiler plate armoring on the vehicles provided by a local shipbuilder. In London Murray Sueter ordered "fighting cars" based on Rolls-Royce, Talbot and Wolseley chassis. By the time Rolls-Royce armored cars arrived in December 1914, the mobile period on the Western Front was already over.
World War IIEdit
By the Second World War, there were different classes of armored car: at one end "Light Reconnaisance" or "Scout" cars used for scouting and liaison work between units and generally lightly armed such as the [[Daimler Dingto, at the other, heavy armored cars with armament equivalent to that carried on tanks such as the 6 pounder armed AEC Armoured Car.
The British RAF in the Middle East was equipped with Rolls Royce armored cars and Morris tenders. Some of these vehicles were among the last of a consignment of ex-Royal Navy armored cars that had been serving in the Middle East since 1915. In September 1940 a section of the No. 2 Squadron RAF Regiment Company was detached to General Wavell’s ground forces during the first offensive against the Italians in Egypt. It is said[by whom?] that these armored cars became ‘the eyes and ears of Wavell’. During the actions in the October of that year the Company was employed on convoy escort tasks, airfield defense, fighting reconnaissance patrols and screening operations.
During the Anglo-Iraqi War, some of the units located in the British Mandate of Palestine were sent to Iraq and drove Fordson armored cars. "Fordson" armored cars were Rolls Royce armored cars which received new chassis from a Fordson truck in Egypt.
The American M8 Light Armored Car was a 6x6 armored car produced by the Ford Motor Company during the Second World War intended initially as a fast wheeled tank destroyer. Its design style and excellent cross-country performance earned it the nickname of 'Greyhound'. However, the small 37 mm gun would not be effective against the front armor of German tanks so as an armored car, designated M8 Light Armored Car, it was used for reconnaissance instead. Its small 37 mm gun and light armor was seen as a flaw, but was produced in such a large volume and, coupled with its off-road capability, that this shortcoming was largely overlooked. The M8 Greyhound was a supportive element to the advancing American and British armored columns. It was used by the U.S. and British troops in Europe and the Far East until the end of the war.
- See also: List of military armored cars
A military armored car is a type of armored fighting vehicle having wheels (from four to ten large, off-road wheels) instead of tracks, and usually light armor. Armored cars are typically less expensive and have better speed and range than tracked military vehicles. Most are not intended for heavy fighting; their normal use is for reconnaissance, command, control, and communications, or for use against lightly armed insurgents or rioters. Only some are intended to enter close combat, often accompanying convoys to protect soft-skinned vehicles.
Light armored cars, such as the British Ferret are armed with just a machine gun. Heavier vehicles are armed with autocannon or a small tank gun. The heaviest armored cars, such as the German, World War II era SdKfz 234 or the modern, US M1128 Mobile Gun System, mount the same guns that arm medium tanks.
Armored cars are popular for peacekeeping or internal security duties. Their appearance is less confrontational and threatening than tanks, and their size and maneuverability is more compatible with tight urban spaces designed for wheeled vehicles. They can also be much more easily air-deployed in cargo planes.
Many modern forces now have their dedicated armored car designs, to exploit the advantages noted above. Examples would be the M1117 Armored Security Vehicle of the USA or Alvis Saladin of the post-World War II era in the United Kingdom.
Alternatively, civilian vehicles may be modified into improvised armored cars in ad-hoc fashion. Many militias and irregular forces adapt civilian vehicles into AFVs (armored fighting vehicles) and troop carriers, and in some regional conflicts these "technicals" are the only combat vehicles present. On occasion, even the soldiers of national militaries are forced to adapt their civilian-type vehicles for combat use, often using improvised armor and scrounged weapons.
See also Edit
- Gun truck
- Armored personnel carrier
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- Crow, Duncan, and Icks, Robert J., Encyclopedia of Armored Cars, Chatwell Books, Secaucus, NJ, 1976. ISBN 0-89009-058-0.
- ↑ Macksey, Kenneth (1980). The Guinness Book of Tank Facts and Feats. Guinness Superlatives Limited, 256. ISBN 0851122043.
- ↑ Crow, Encyclopedia of Armored Cars, pg. 102
- ↑ Crow, Encyclopedia of Armored Cars, pg. 25
- ↑ Band of Brigands p 59
- ↑ First World War - Willmott, H.P., Dorling Kindersley, 2003, Pg. 59
- ↑ Lyman, Iraq 1941, pg. 40
- ↑ Lyman, p. 57
- ↑ Lyman, Iraq 1941, pg. 25
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Zaloga, Steve (2002). M8 Greyhound Light Armored Car. Osprey, 6. ISBN 1 841 76 468 X.