The original model of the Lanchester 4 × 2 armored car was used by the Royal Naval Air Service to rescue crashed pilots. Only in December 1914 when Dunkerque one of these vehicles was converted into an armored car, its value was recognized and given a larger number in order.
In addition to Rolls-Royce, Lanchester was one of the major manufacturers of military utility vehicles. For the Royal Naval Air Service Lanchester built already light trucks, which should be used to rescue crashed pilots as quickly as possible. The vast majority of these vehicles stood at the end of 1914 near Dunkirk. There was fortified to test one of the vehicles with armor plates and equipped with a tower for arming. Although this vehicle still lacked parts such as the fenders or the electronics, but the soldiers were quite quickly convinced of the ability of such a tank car that the British High Command gave the company the contract to build a total of 36 vehicles.
Since Lanchester already had experience in the construction of trucks, a truck chassis was taken for the armored car and built a 38-hp engine, but could afford up to 65 hp. Due to the low center of gravity and the two vertical shock absorbers on the front axle, the vehicle was very stable. The armor plates had a thickness of 8 mm, the upper and lower plates up to 4,5 mm, which were fastened with rivets to the chassis. The tower had two smaller gaps at the rear and a larger one at the top that could be split. Forward was a recess for the built-in water-cooled Vickers-Maxim Kal. 303 machine gun. The windshield was foldable and provided with small slots, there were also smaller holes for pistols, which the driver could shoot as well. Between the driver's compartment and the rear, there was no separation, storage space had the vehicle through several storage boxes at the rear.
After the delivery of the 36 armored cars they were used in three squadrons with 12 vehicles each in Belgium. After a short time, the Belgian army received one of the squadrons, a second followed later. The Russian army received at the end of of 1915 22 of these armored cars, whereby the machine gun was exchanged against 37 mm Hotchkiss QF naval guns.
After the western front got stuck, the armored cars could hardly be used. The British army therefore moved them to Russia to fight in the south against the Ottoman Empire. Because of the large distances that the vehicles had to cover, they received the reputation of being very reliable and not prone to error.
|Designation:||Lanchester 4 × 2 armored car|
|Country of Origin:||Great Britain|
|Number of pieces:||36 pieces|
|Armament:||1 water-cooled Vickers-Maxim Kal. 303 (7,69 mm) machine gun|
|Maximum speed:||ca. 80 Km/h|
|Engine:||Six-cylinder Gasoline Lanchester engine with 60 hp|
You can find the right literature here:
British Armoured Car Operations in World War I
Readers have come to expect a level of detail and critical rigor from the established military historian and author Bryan Perrett. They will not be disappointed at all here by this new publication. Focussing predominantly on the British armored car units of World War One, it also untangles many fascinating strands forming the history of modern warfare. Full of detail, it acquaints the reader with the complete history of the armored car, from invention onwards, setting the history of its Great War service career firmly in context. Well written in an accessible style, this publication serves as an impressive tribute to the armored car, one of the most effective weapons utilized by the allies during the course of the Great War.
British Battle Tanks: World War I to 1939 (General Military)
When British soldiers charged across the Somme in September 1916, they were accompanied by a new, revolutionary weapon--the tank. After a stuttering start, armored behemoths such as the Mark IV, Mark V, and Whippet Tank played a crucial role in bringing World War I to an end.
Marking the centenary of their battlefield debut, this comprehensive volume traces the design and development of the famous British weapon system, from the initial concept of a steam-powered tank during the Crimean War, to the role the British military played in creating the infamous German Blitzkrieg tactic of World War II. Bolstered by historic photographs and stunning illustrations, author David Fletcher brings us the thrilling history behind British tanks of the First World War.
The Rolls-Royce Armoured Car (New Vanguard)
The first Rolls-Royce armoured car was a privately owned vehicle fitted with a machine-gun and a limited amount of armour plate at a dockyard in France. It was used by a squadron of the Royal Naval Air Service in Flanders in 1914. Backed by First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill more and better versions followed until, by 1915 there were about 100 of them which were then handed over to the Army. "They searched the world for War" as Sir Albert Stern said of them and before long there were Rolls-Royce armoured cars operating as far apart as German South West Africa, the Western Desert, Gallipoli, all over the Middle East and the north west frontier of India.
All of them used the classic 40/50hp Silver Ghost chassis. They were fast, silent and reliable but above all strong. "A Rolls in the desert is above rubies" said Lawrence of Arabia and the Duke of Westminster would have agreed with him following his famous raid to rescue the kidnapped crew of the steamship HMS Tara. At least one car accompanied the adventurous MP Oliver Locker-Lampson on his adventures in Russia.
After the war, unable to find a better model the War Office simply copied the original Admiralty design with minor improvements. If that was not enough the Royal Air Force also acquired some to support their operations in the Middle East. A new design with a larger body and dome shaped turret also appeared for service in India. They also served in Ireland and even, briefly in Shanghai.
The 11th Hussars still had Rolls-Royces in Egypt when the war against Italy began and the youngest of these was over fifteen years old when they went into action, but after that their numbers dwindled as newer vehicles came along. But then history repeated itself. Britain was threatened with invasion and a new army of veterans was raised to assist with defence. Some battalions built home made armoured cars, on private chassis and at least three of these were based on Rolls-Royces.
Armoured Warfare in the First World War (Images Of War)
A hundred years ago, on 15 September 1916, on the Western Front during the Battle of the Somme, the tank made its debut on the battlefield. The first tanks were crude, unreliable, vulnerable weapons, but they changed the character of land warfare forever, and Anthony Tucker-Jones's photographic history of these pioneering armored vehicles is the ideal introduction to them.
In a selection of over 150 archive photographs he offers a fascinating insight into the difficult early days of this innovative new weapon, describing its technical history and its performance in combat. While the Battle of Cambrai in 1917 is often held up as the first large-scale tank battle, tanks had already served at Flers-Courcelette on the Somme, during the Nivelle offensive and the battles of Messines and Passchendaele.
His book shows that the development of the tank was fraught with technical obstacles and battlefield setbacks. It was invented by the British and the French at almost the same time to help break the deadlock of trench warfare, and the British deployed it first in 1916. Belatedly the Germans followed the British and French example. The initial designs were continuously refined during two years of intense warfare. Finding the right balance between power and weight, getting the armament right, and working out the best tactics for tanks on the battlefield was a tricky, often deadly business.