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Design, Development, Engineering and Production
Of Armored Cars (1940-1944)
This edition, edited, annotated and illustrated by David R. Haugh - Oregon USA
As has been stated, the
Special Armored Vehicle Board in December 1942 outlined the general
characteristics of the armored car of the future. On 12 December 1942,
in accordance with this report, the Chief of Ordnance received direction
from Headquarters, Service of Supplies, that a project be begun for the
development of an armored car having the characteristics outlined by the
Special Armored Vehicle Board.
Designs of light armored
cars conforming to the specifications laid down were secured from the
Studebaker Corporation and the Chevrolet Division of General Motors
Corporation. The Studebaker design was an 8x6 vehicle and the Chevrolet
design a 6x6 vehicle. The General Motors Truck Division, General Motors
Corporation, also considered a design of an 8x8 vehicle, which proved
impractical within the weight limitations outlined.
It was recommended in March
1943 that pilots of these two vehicles be procured. Contract was entered
with Studebaker Corporation, South Bend, Indiana for the design and
manufacture of one pilot armored car T27, the 8x6 vehicle. Contract was
also entered with the Chevrolet Division, General Motors Corporation for
the design and manufacture of one pilot armored car T28, the 6x6
|Car, Armored, T27. Designed by Studebaker, the vehicle was an 8x6, with the third axle from the front being a non-powered unit. (Photo: US Army)|
The armored car T27 weighed
15,200 pounds (6901kgs) with load, had a road speed of 61 miles an hour
(98.2km/h) and was an 8x6 vehicle incorporating 9.00x16 combat tires.
The car was powered by a Cadillac V-8 engine of 130 horsepower, located
in the rear. Transmission was hydromatic, and steering was mechanical
through the four front wheels. The car was armed with a 37mm gun, turret
mounted, with an elevation from minus 10 degrees to plus 20 degrees and
a traverse of 360 degrees, a caliber .30 machine gun mounted above the
turret for antiaircraft use and a caliber .30 machine gun coaxially
mounted with the 37mm gun. The car had eight speeds forward and four
reverse. It was 204 inches (5182mm) long, 78 inches (1981mm) high, 90
inches (2286mm) wide, with a ground clearance of 14 inches (356mm),
wheelbase of 132 inches (3353mm), and a safe fording depth of 48 inches
(1219mm). The armor was .375-inch (9.53mm) on front, sides, and rear,
while the turret armor was .75-inch (19.05mm) and that of the top
.25-inch (6.35mm). The car was designed to carry a crew of four men.
The pilot [T27] was
demonstrated at General Motors Proving Ground, and with the light
armored car T28 was compared in performance with the
armored car M8 with
the standard JXD Hercules engine, and with an armored car M8 with the
JXLD Hercules engine. Further tests were made at Aberdeen Proving Ground
and Fort Riley, Kansas, by the Cavalry Board. A report by the Cavalry
Board of 9 May 1944 recommended that no further consideration be given
this vehicle as a replacement for, or a vehicle supplementary to, the
armored car M8. The project was terminated in July 1944.
The armored car T28 (Also
called the M38 Wolfhound) weighed
14,500 pounds (6583kgs), loaded, and had a road speed of 59 miles an
hour (94.9km/h). This car, like the T27, was powered by a Cadillac V-8
engine of 130 horsepower, located in the rear of the vehicle and was a
6x6 incorporating 12.00x20 special combat tires.
|The armament was identical with that of the T27, while the car itself was slightly wider than that vehicle and had a wheelbase of 118 inches (2997mm). The armor was the same as that of the T27. The car had eight speeds forward and two in reverse, and carried a crew of four men.|
|Car, Armored, T28. Impressed by the carís performance, the Cavalry Board recommended that the vehicle be standardized as the M38 Wolfhound. (Photo: US Army)|
At the conclusion of tests,
the Cavalry Board, on 5 May 1944, submitted a partial report
recommending that, subject to successful modification as recommended,
the vehicle be placed in early production and replace the armored car
M8; and with suitable modification of the hull, replace the armored
utility car M20. The Development Division, Office, Chief of
Ordnance-Detroit, outlined to Headquarters, Army Service Forces, a
recommended procedure regarding modifications, pointing out the time and
expense involved in making the changes in a second pilot model, and that
none of the changes demanded service testing to prove its tactical
suitability. To date, no decision has been received. Action is being
withheld early in 1946 pending further advice.
The pilot T28 has been
shipped to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for a cross-county test to determine its
ruggedness and durability.
The winterization of
armored cars was begun 5 July 1942, and work was started on armored cars
T17, T17E1, T17E2, T18E2, upon light armored car M8 and upon armored
utility car M20. Work on armored car T18E2 was dropped when it became
apparent that this car would not reach production.
Pilot vehicles were
diverted from production. Each vehicle was prepared by the manufacturer
of the vehicle itself, making use of the experience and recommendations
of Armored Force Board Report 259-1 and the S.A.E. Cold Starting
Committee. All work was coordinated by the Ordnance Department. A
typical winterization kit for this class of vehicle consists, in
general, of heaters for engine, battery, and crew compartment, engine
primer, special windshield with built-in defrosters, clear-vision turret
cover, and engine air inlet and outlet shutters. Each vehicle was given
a cold room test at minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit at the Oldsmobile
Engineering Laboratory, Lansing, Michigan, under the supervision of
personnel from General Motors Proving Ground.
The armored car T17 was
tested during the winter of 1942-43 by the Winter Test Detachment at
Camp Shilo, Manitoba, Canada. The armored car M8 and
armored utility car
M20 did not become available for pilot installation until the spring of
1943. Improvements found desirable were applied to these vehicles.
Development on the armored
car T17 was dropped since only a few vehicles were to be produced. The
kit for the armored car T17E1 was completed, and this car and the
armored car M8 and the armored utility car M20 were tested at Dawson
Creek, British Columbia, during the winter of 1943-44. Minor
improvements in winterization kits for these vehicles were made. The
project on armored cars T17E1 and T17E2 was dropped due to lack of
interest on the part of the British.
The winterization Section,
Development Division, OCO-D, is acting in an advisory capacity to the
vehicle project engineer on winterization kits for armored cars T27 and
Development work on fording
kits for armored cars is being carried on as a phase of Project KG-260;
Fording Equipment for Transport Vehicles.
In June 1943, a kit
applicable to light armor car M8 was completed and demonstrated.
Materials for this kit included intake and exhaust extensions,
ventilating hose and tubing, sealing and insulating compounds, wire,
clamps and adapters, waterproof tape, and asbestos grease. This kit is
also applicable to the armor utility car M20.
|No work has been done on providing permanent waterproofing equipment for any specific model of armored car, except the application of waterproof components and permanent sealing devices.|
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|Copyright: David Haugh - August 2006|