Great Britain, the dominant industrial and maritime power of the 19th century, played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. At its zenith, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface. The first half of the 20th century saw the UK's strength seriously depleted in two World Wars. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation. The UK currently is weighing the degree of its integration with continental Europe. A member of the EU, it chose to remain outside of the EMU for the time being. Constitutional reform is also a significant issue in the UK. Regional assemblies with varying degrees of power opened in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland in 1999. - US CIA World Factbook.


June 1899
Armored Quadricycle

Armed with Maxim Machine Gun and powered by a small motor. The vehicle is demonstrated here in June 1899 by a Mr. F.R.Simms (whoever he was).


Fowler Armored Road Locomotive
Fowler Armored Road Locomotive

Seen here complete with armored wagons in 1900.


Armstrong Whitworth Armored Car. Shown is a turretless version parked in front of a Maxim Gun.
Armstrong Whitworth Armored Car

This 1906 design was also known as the Wilson Pilcher. It came with a 1pdr gun, solid tires, and a gun shield.


Simms war car.
Simms War Car

This photo was taken in front of the Crystal Palace in London, April 1902.


Unknown Test Vehicle - Photo thanks to Ion Fonosch.
Killen-Straight 1915 Tracked Vehicle Test

The roots in what would later be claimed as the first completed tank. Killen-Straits were demonstrated to Churchill, Lloyd George and others at Wormwood Scrubs on 30 June 1915, overcoming obstacles and cutting barbed wire entanglements with a naval torpedo net cutter. In July 1915 the fighting compartment of a Delaunay-Brlleville armored car (without its turret) was placed on a Killen-Strait, making the first ever
tracked armored vehicle.


Photo thanks to Ion Fonosch.
1915 Sizaire-Berwick "Wind Wagon"

The "Wind Wagon" was a 1915 Admiralty experiment. R.N.A.S. squadrons were being withdrawn from the Western Front and sent to Africa and the Near East, where the terrain wasn't suited to conventional cars. Only one was made, and it was only tested in England.


Burford Halftrack AA - Photo thanks to Ion Fonosch.
Burford Halftrack

(no details)


Lancia
Lancia Armored Car

The Italian Lancia was a luxury vehicle that saw it's chassis used for a series of armored cars. In 1919 The British Army acquired an unspecified number from the Italians. They saw service in Albania, where they were initially the sole armored force in use by that country. Some saw service in the Spanish Civil War and Italian colonies.


Seabrook Armored Car
Seabrook Armored Car

Using a US 5 ton truck chassis, the Admiralty Air Department of the Royal Navy designed a heavy armored car that was intended to back up the machine gun armed vehicles that had been deployed to Belgium at the start of WW1. The vehicle had more of the appearance of a land based patrol boat than that of an armored car.


Talbot Armored Car
Talbot Armored Car

Known as the "Admiralty Talbots", these armored cars were among the touring vehicles acquired by the RNAS at the beginning of WW1.


Leyland Armored Car
Leyland Armored Car

Leyland Motors manufactured 4 heavy armored cars in 1915 for service in East Africa. The cars had no mud guards and had solid rubber tires. Drawbacks included a high center of gravity and a narrow wheel base. Later they were fitted with flanged wheels that allowed them to be driven on railroad tracks.


Pierce Arrow/Allen Armored Car
Pierce Arrow/Allen Armored Car

Equipped with a 3pdr (47mm) gun, the Pierce Arrow/Allen was a 4 x 2 US truck with the gun located in a bevel sided turret. The vehicle was specifically made for Locker-Lampson's expedition to Russia.


(no picture)
Pierce Arrow/Wolseley Armored Car

48 vehicles were produced. 16 had a box like hull and the remaining 32 were completely enclosed in 5mm of armor. All had a 1pdr pompom gun and a Maxim machine gun. The vehicle was specifically made for Locker-Lampson's expedition to Russia.


Men of the 17th bn. of the Tank Corps with their Peerless in the 1920's.
Peerless Armored Car

The first cars appeared in 1915. They were based on a US 4 x 2 truck chassis that the RNAS armored and armed with a pompom gun and a machine gun. The vehicle had chain drive and solid tires. Wolseley Motor Company assembled 16 for the RNAS, but by 1915 they had no need for them and turned them over to the army. The 17th Bn of the Tank Corps used these cars in Ireland for internal security. The vehicle was robust, slow, and had terrible cross country performance. The Peerless was in use as a training vehicle at late as 1939.

Specifications
Crew 4
Weight 6.8 tons
Length 20' 1"
Width 7' 4"
Height 9' 1"
Range 90 miles
Armor 10mm (max)
Armament 2 x .303MG
Engine Peerless 4cyl 40 hp
Performance 18 mph

GB-CrossleyBGV-Kegresse.jpg (147515 bytes)
Crossley BGV

The Crossley BGV truck chassis was fitted with the 2.4 liter -14hp engine, and twin axles to which was fitted a Kegresse rubber track system. Service details and numbers used are unknown.


Crossley D2E1
Crossley D2E1, D2E2

In 1929, the Crossley BGV truck chassis was used as the basis for another armored car. Two prototypes were ordered by the Army with superstructure built by the Royal Ordnance Factory. The first to specification D2E1 was armed with a .303 machine gun and operated by a crew of three. Special wrap round tracks were supplied that could be fitted round the wheels on the two rear axles to make them into a type of half track for rough terrain. Both the rear axles were fitted with twin tired wheels. In 1931 the prototype was sent to Egypt for desert testing but it was not a success. On its return it was fitted with a new turret mounting two .5 machine guns for anti-aircraft use. The second prototype to spec D2E2 was built in 1931 and included a lower bonnet to improve the drivers view and improved armor. Eventually an order for 5 vehicles was received and they were built with the D2E2 chassis below an anti aircraft turret. In spite of the previous reservations they were in 1933 sent to Egypt where again they were found to be not a good vehicle in the desert.


Austin---Photo thanks to Ion Fonosch.---Austin
Austin

(no information)

Specifications
Crew 4
Weight 4.14 tons
Length ?
Width ?
Height ?
Range ?
Armor 8mm (max)
Armament 2 x MG
Engine 50hp
Performance 35 mph
Suspension Leaf springs with solid tires

Lanchester - England---1917 RNAS Russia - Commander Oliver Locker Lampson of the RNAS confronting a Russian deserter.
Lanchester - England

Designed to support air bases and retrieve downed pilots, the Lanchester was the most numerous armored car in service after the Rolls-Royce. When the army took control of the armored car forces in 1915, it was decided to phase this unit out. Remaining units were sent to Russia - along with their naval crews. There they served with distinction in Galicia, Romania, and Persia. Considered reliable and fast, they served as reconnaissance units before being shipped back to the England.

Specifications
Crew 4
Weight 10,340 lbs
length 16'
Width 6' 4"
Height 7' 6"
Armor Unknown
Armament One .303 MG
Engine 60 hp
Performance 50 mph

Rolls-Royce---Rolls-Royce 1915 RNAS---A Rolls Royce AC can be seen here on 14 June 1940 outside Fort Maddalena in Libya (Italian) which had just surrendered. The photo is too poor to show the white flag flying from the watch tower on the left.

Color photo thanks to IonFonosch.---Picture thanks to Ion Fonosch.
Rolls-Royce

In 1914, the Royal Naval Air Service noted how the Belgians were using the Minerva armored car to carry out raids on the German Army. The RNAS decided to convert some of the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost cars in their possession. The conversion was a success, and the Admiralty gave permission for an official armored car based on the Silver Ghost chassis. With strengthened suspension and added armor, the Rolls-Royce saw service all over the world from March 1915, notably in Africa and the Arabian peninsula, were they proved to have excellent cross country mobility. They were most at home in terrain where they could roam far and wide. They were considered an important arm in the Arabic army led by the famous Lawrence of Arabia. Officially phased out of service in 1922*, some continued to serve in India during WW2. Also the the entry on the Fordson Armored Car.

I received this letter. As I learned in the military myself, there is a vast difference between "Officially Phased Out" and actual practice. I suppose the best one is that I learned of was HF radio transmitters still in use in Germany that simply had their Swastika's painted over in the late 1970's.

"Bill,

The section I was referring to was under the heading of Great Britain and 'other vehicles' It states that the Rolls Royce was officially phased out in 1922. Whilst this might have been the case within the Army and Royal Navy it definitely wasn't the case with the Royal Air Force. My granfather was a Cpl driver with The RAF in Iraq & Palestine from 1922 to 1926 Using Rolls Royce Armored Cars.

I've also referred to "War Cars - British Armored Cars in the First World War" by David Fletcher

3rd & 4th Armored Car Companies (ACC) were based at Egypt & Palestine. 1st, 2nd & 6th ACC were stationed at Iraq - The majority of these cars were the 1914 pattern R-Royces. In 1922 The RAF took responsibility for security in Iraq.. they inherited many of the older cars whilst adding to their strength WITH NEWLY BUILT R_ROYCES of their own. Fletcher even goes on to say that some of these 1914 & 1920 cars survived into the second world war - when the R-ROYCE chassis wore out the bodies were placed on Fordson chassis.

The Air Ministry finally scrapped the cars in 1944.

The Royal Air Force cars were built at the instruction of Lord Trenchard - the Father of the RAF. The War Office wouldn't authorize the use of Army Tactical vehicles by the RAF so Trenchard after a bitter dispute with Churchill authorized the RAF workshops to start building its own cars - they were delivered between 1921 and 1922. The reason the RAF were in Iraq/TransJordania was because Trenchard was trying to prove that with only a small number of aircraft peace could be maintained by a very small ground force over a massive area. The Royal Navy and Army in turn were fighting against the concept with a view to closing the RAF and regaining control ovedr their respective flying forces. (Source "Trenchard" by Andrew Boyle approx 1956)

One final story my grandfather used to tell me, since confirmed, was that they used to drag a plough across the Iraq desert as a navigation aid for the new airlines and military flights over the Middle East. Each time their was a sand storm they would have to go back out again and re plough the line!!

I hope the above has been of some interest and help.

Charles Sanderson Flt Lt RAF Retired

ps Third Generation of the family in the Royal Air Force"

Specifications
Crew 3 or 4
Weight 7480 lbs
Length 16' 6"
Height 8' 4.5"
Width 6' 3"
Range 150 miles
Armor 9mm
Armament One .303 MG
Engine 40/50hp Rolls Royce
Performance 60 mph

B.E.F. Lorry with French 25mm AT Gun
B.E.F. Lorry with French 25mm AT Gun

Shown here on deployment prior to the German invasion of France in 1940. It was necessary to load this gun onto a truck due to the gun carriage being unable to bear heavy abuse. Nothing is known of the truck.


A Morris of the 11th. Hussars is seen here 1940 towing a captured Italian L3 in North Africa.---Morris Light Reconnaissance Car as seen here in Libya in 1941 passing an abandoned Italian Spa 40 cargo truck.
Morris Light Reconnaissance Car

No details.


GB-MorrisAC.jpg (119482 bytes)
Morris Armored Car

In the 1930's, Morris teamed up with Vickers to produce a 6 x 4 vehicle that was to be told to Thailand. As relations diminished with Germany, Morris was tasked to produce a interim armored car before the new 4 x 4 designs became available for the British Army. Morris took the standard C9 15cwt 4 x 2 military truck chassis and produced a vehicle with a slab sided hull and open topped turret behind the driver's cab. Between 1936 and 1937, about 100 of these were built and sent to the BEF in France in 1939 as well as troops in the Middle East. The vehicle was in service until 1943.

Specifications
Crew 4
Weight 4.2 tons
Length 15' 6"
Height 7'
Width 6' 9"
Range 240 miles
Armor 7mm
Armament 1x .303 MG, 1x .5 Boys AT Rifle
Engine Morris 6cyl 96hp
Performance 45 mph

Fordson Armored Car
Fordson Armored Car

British Army workshops in Cairo stripped the Rolls Royce armored car body and installed it on a Fordson truck chassis. Exact numbers of this modification are unknown.

Specifications
Crew 4
Weight 4.2 tons
Length 15' 6"
Height 7'
Width 6' 9"
Range 240 miles
Armor 7mm
Armament 1x .303 MG, 1x .5 Boys AT Rifle
Engine Morris 6cyl 96hp
Performance 45 mph

Alvis Straussler Type A Armored Car
Alvis Straussler Armored Car

British luxury car firm Alvis teamed up with Hungarian designer Nicolas Straussler to develop two unusual armored cars in the period between the two world wars. Straussler had produced 3 designs, the AC1, AC2, and the AC3D. It was the AC3D that became the joint venture with Alvis. It had a faceted hull with a 7 sided turret beveled forward and angled to deflect fire. The wheels had independent suspension. It had a second set of driving controls at the rear. A turret mounted machine gun and a machine gun in the hull. Twelve cars were delivered to the Dutch East Indies Army in 1938. Three were sent to Portugal in 1938. The Alvis Straussler Type A was produced in 1939. This car was similar except that the glacis was flat and the lower half of the hull sides were vertical. The Type A had only one machine gun. Twelve were built for the RAF.

Specifications
Crew 4
Weight 4 tons
Length ?
Height ?
Width ?
Range ?
Armor ?
Armament 1x .303 MG
Engine Alvis 6cyl 120bhp
Performance 45 mph

AEC
AEC Armored Car

Associated Equipment Company (AEC) made some of the best heavy trucks, buses, and gun tractors in Great Britain. In 1941, the firm took it's Matador gun tractor chassis the made an armored car by adding plate and a 2pdr gun. The Mark 1 used a Valentine turret. The Mark 1a was an upgrade to the 6pdr. The Mark 2 saw an upgrade to a 3 man turret that included a Besa machine gun and a 6pdr main gun. The Mark 3 was a gun upgrade to 75mm. A total of 629 of all Marks were built.

Specifications
Crew 3 or 4
Weight 11 tons
Length 17'
Height 9'
Width 8' 4"
Range 250 miles
Armor 57mm
Armament 1x .303 or .31 MG. 40, 57, or 75mm Main Gun.
Engine AEC 6cyl diesel 105 or 158hp
Performance 40 mph

Guy Armored Car
Guy Armored Car

Given the name "Wheeled Tank", the Guy used a welded construction and employed 4 wheel drive. 101 vehicles were built for the British Army. Some saw action in France in 1940. After the loss of all equipment in France, the remaining vehicles were used for training.


Humber Light Reconnaissance Car
Humber Light Reconnaissance Car

This was a 1940 Humber "Super Snipe" saloon vehicle that was given a bit of armor and equipped with a Bren or Boys gun.


Humber Scout Car
Humber Scout Car

Built by the Rootes Group. The vehicle used a Guy armored car mated with a Karrier KT4 chassis. Karrier began production in 1941. The vehicle was designated a Humber to avoid confusion with Karrier trucks. The Scout Car remained in service into the 1960's.


Armstrong Siddeley Armored Car as designed for the RAF.
Armstrong Siddeley Armored Car

Three designs were produced in the interwar period. The B10E1 was a futuristic vehicle with a articulated bullet shaped hull. The B10E2 was similar with a larger square front. The final design was a 6 x 4 for the RAF. Similar to the Alvis Straussler design, it has a low conical turret and faceted hull.


Photo taken in Northern India.
Vickers Crossley Armored Car

These vehicles used the India Pattern style of doomed turret. It is unclear if they were designed as "India Pattern", as the photo above shows one operating in India, or they were standard equipment with the appearance of India Pattern manufacture.


Vickers Armstrong Wheel cum Track
Vickers Armstrong Wheel cum Track

Vickers took a Mark 1 Medium Tank and built a solid tire retractable wheel assembly at each end. The engine, using a power takeoff from the gearbox, could lower the wheels to lift the tracks just clear of the road. The system worked but the crew considered the ride to be unpleasant. The vehicle pitched for and aft on the suspension. All the external devices on the vehicle were considered vulnerable to hostile fire.


Coventry Armored Car
Coventry Armored Car

By the middle of WW2, the British Army was equipped with 4 marks of Humber and 2 marks of Daimler armored cars. Both had advantages. It was decided to develop one car that incorporated the best of both. Design work was undertaken by Humber of Coventry. An American engine was chosen and the first models were tested in late 1944. The car saw action with the French in Indochina against the Viet Minh in the 1950's.


This photo was taken shortly after Dunkirk. These vehicles are seen patrolling the British shores against a possible German invasion. ---A page from "The War Illustrated". Not much information is provided, but the story is interesting. LARGE DOWNLOAD---Beaverette Mk3 - Photo contributed by Steven Guy.
Ironsides, Beaverettes Armored Car

These vehicles were powered by a 12hp motor. The chassis was fitted with a boiler-plate box, lined in front and back with 2 inches of Oak planking as protection against small arms fire. They were armed with a bren gun firing through a slot in the front. Some were fitted with a No. 11 wireless set.  They were used for Airfield defence and Recon training. About 1395 vehicles were built. The 9th Royal Tank Regiment and the 12th Lancers were equipped with these vehicles in June 1940 in the UK. There was a Mark 3 version of this vehicle with a closed super structure and a small turret.


Armadillo Mk1 this photo shows that a Bedford ML 4x2 was the basis - Photo contributed by Steven Guy---Armadillo Mk2 was based on a Bedford OXA 30cwt chassis - Photo contributed by Steven Guy
Armadillo Mark 1, Mark 2

1940 was a time of crisis for the UK and nearly every sort of vehicle with military value was pressed into service. The Armadillo and was conceived and build at short notice in 1940 and the Mark 1s were on a variety of impressed civilian vehicles. The box, on the Mark 1, on the truck bed was wood planking 54 inches high and 62 x 48 inches around the sides. The planking was 7/8 inches think and in two layers with a 6 inch gap between them. The gap was then filled with shingle, this was found to be proof against small arms fire.


Lorry 30cwt Anti-Tank - Photo contributed by Steven Guy
Lorry 30cwt Anti-Tank

It's Anti-tank part came as it was armed with a Boyes Anti Tank rifle - which shows just how desperate Britain's plight was in 1940. I agree with Steven Guy, author of the website Thunder and Steel, that this was not the sort of weapon I would have wanted to face a German Panzer in.


Bison 1 was built on a Thornycroft chassis - Steven Guy---Bison 2 - Steven Guy
Bison 1, Bison 2

The Bison's armor was interesting, a mix of steel reinforced concrete forming a type of mobile pillbox. Bison 2's chassis is unknown, but it is also of steel reinforced concrete. These vehicles were most likely constructed at Concrete Limited's Stourton works in Staffordshire.


British troops manning a Buffalo
U.S. Buffalo

These amplibious tracked vehicles were used during the Rhine crossings and in the Scheld Estuary by British troops. Other details are unknown.


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Last Update: Thursday, February 13, 2003