With the advent of the first combat aircraft on the Western Front, the air defense developed. With the Pierce-Arrow armored truck, a mobile air defense was introduced, the principle of which continues to this day.
In the fall of 1914, the British Royal Marine Artillery decided to introduce a mobile air defense. As a weapon, the Vickers Naval 2-pdr machine gun had already been selected, it was missing only the right vehicle. The High Command then decided on the Pierce-Arrow 5-tonne truck chassis on which an armored stand for the weapon should be placed. After the construction plans were submitted, on September 30, 1914, the contract was awarded to Wolseley Motors Ltd, a subsidiary of Vickers. The chassis was built in the UK, the construction was imported from the US.
The vehicle was built on a truck chassis, the wheelbase was 4.26 meters. The vehicle was equipped with a four-cylinder engine with 30 hp. The essay, which was already assembled in the USA, was placed on the chassis in the UK and bolted there. The armor plates initially had a thickness of 5 mm, after 32 built vehicles, this was increased to 7.5 mm. For their own defense against attacks by soldiers a machine gun was installed, which could be mounted in various positions in the vehicle. A 2 pounder (40 mm) cannon was used to combat the enemy aircraft. With four shots per second and a range of 2,700 meters, a large area could thus be covered. From 1917, an improved ammunition was introduced, which the range could be increased to 3,000 meters and thus low-flying bombers could be fought, but with loss of accuracy.
Between March and June 1915, the first vehicles were delivered. Since the production of the 2 pounder guns was not as fast as the production of the vehicles, the delivery was delayed by several weeks. On April 30, 1915, the first German plane was shot down with a Pierce-Arrow truck, two days after the first vehicles were brought to the front. By the summer of 1917, another 20 aircraft were shot down, then the vehicles were equipped with the new 3-inch anti-aircraft guns. The Pierce-Arrow armored trucks were in service until the end of the war.
|Designation:||Pierce-Arrow armored truck|
|Country of Origin:||Great Britain|
|Number of pieces:||48 pieces|
|Armament:||1 Vickers QF 2-pdr (40 mm / 1.57 in) anti-aircraft gun and 1 water-cooled Maxim 303 (7.7 mm) machine gun|
|Maximum speed:||ca. 40 Km/h|
|Engine:||Water-cooled four-cylinder engine with 30 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.