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Rolls Royce Mk1 Armoured Car 1941

Rolls Royce Mk1 Armoured Car 1941; picture ?Mystic Realms
Rolls Royce Mk1 Armoured Car 1941; digital illustration rendered in 3dsmax by Les Still
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Rolls Royce Mk1 Armoured Car 1941

The Rolls-Royce armoured car was a British armoured car developed in 1914 and used in World War I and in the early part of World War II.

The Royal Naval Air Service raised the first British armoured car squadron during the First World War. In September 1914 all available Rolls Royce Silver ghost chassis were requisitioned. In October 1914 a special committee of the Admiralty Air Department among whom was Flight Commander T.G. Hetherington designed the superstructure. The first three vehicles were delivered on 3 December 1914. The vehicle was based on a Rolls Royce 40/50 hp car chassis (the engine had a maximum output of about 80 hp), to which were added armoured bodywork and a single turret for a Vickers machine gun.

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Crew:- 3
Armament;- One 0.303in Vickers machine gun.
Armour;- 8mm or 9mm (0.31 in or 0.35 in)
Dimensions;- Length 16' 2" (4.92m), width 6' 4" (1.93m), height 8' 4" (2.53m).
Weight;- 7,840lbs (3556kg) - 1914 pattern; 8,512lbs (3861kg) - 1920 Pattern Mark 1; 9,296lbs (4217kg) 1924 Pattern Mark 1.
Engine;- Rolls-Royce six cylinder inline water cooled petrol engine developing 40 - 50 bhp.
Performance;- Speed 45mph (72.5kn/h), range 180 miles (288km).
History;- Produced by the Admiralty for RNAS armoured car squadrons in 1914, and modified by the War Office in 1920 for service with the Army and RAF. Supplied to Eire and various colonies and still in service for internal security duties in India in 1945.
Development;- The Rolls-Royce was the most successful of the rash of armoured cars built on to existing commercial chassis in the first days of World war 1. A simple body of thin sheer steel was built on to a Silver Ghost car chassis and a light round turret placed above the crew compartment. At the back was a short platform for carrying external loads. Twin rear wheels were fitted and two spare wheels were carried, There were no episcopes or vision blocks, the crew using slits in the armour to see out. The single Vickers gun was mounted on a yoke in the turret and projected through a hole in the armour plate. Some protection for the gunner was provided by a moving plate on the turret face. In this guise the Rolls-Royce became the most widely used armoured car in the entire war. It saw action in France, Egypt, the Dardanelles, East Africa, Russia and the guerilla warfare in Arabia. It survived to be used in police work throughout the Empire in the inter-war years. In 1920 the War Office built a batch of cars based on the 1914 Pattern, but improving on it, the wheels were disc type instead of the original spoked pattern, the turret was built up slightly and louvres were put in to the armoured doors over the radiator. In 1924 another pattern emerged with a slight variation to the body and turret, a cuploa for the commander was added to the turret top, the extra weight requiring larger wheels and wider tyres. The Vickers was given a ball mounting in the front of the turret.
In 1940 there were roughly 75 of these cars still in service with the British Army, and at least as many in the colonies and dominions. Those in Britain were used for local defence but never saw action. At Habbaniyah in Iraq a small number of RAF cars fought against Rashid Ali's uprising in 1941 and the 11th Hussars used them in the early desert campaigns in 1941. These Egyptian cars were basically 1924 Pattern but had been further modified for desert use by the fitting of an open topped turret and the changing of the armament to a Boys anti-tank rifle on the right of the turret and a large smoke discharger on the left. A Bren light machine gun was on a pintle mount at the rear of the turret. Sand channels were carried along the running boards, water and petrol cans were strapped on both sides and the platform at the back was loaded with camouflage nets and bed rolls. By this time the old Rolls was quite unsuited for modern warfare and as soon as some modern cars were delivered the Rolls cars were quietly withdrawn and scrapped.


from The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of the Worlds Tanks and Fighting Vehicles - Salamander Press

 

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