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The Cars of World War One

Recently came the passing of the WW1 Centenary. This marks the 100th year anniversary of the very moment when Britain committed itself into one of the biggest conflicts in recorded history. To honour the true courage and sacrifices of so many during this time we will now drive through the automotive archives and bring back some of the most interesting cars produced for World War One.

The Rolls Royce Armoured Car

Kicking it off with a very well known luxury brand of the past and present, we have the Rolls Royce. Designed and produced in 1914, this British built armoured car was an inventive contribution to the war effort. Developed specifically for World War One it not only saw action in this war but also made it to the early stages of World War Two.

Originally built on the Silver Ghost chassis, the finished design was far from luxurious or easy on the eyes. Weighing in at 4.7 tonnes, and requiring a crew of 3 it certainly wasn’t built for speed. In fact it maxed out at measly 45mph provided by the mere 80hp engine. Defence wise the Rolls Royce has you covered, quite literally with 12mm of armour plating and a .303 Vickers machine gun.

Austin Armoured Car

Yet another fine addition to the war effort from Britain was the Austin armoured car. Although initially British built and designed it was actually made to order for the Russian Army. The car then earned its stripes through Russian use in World War One and other forces during the Russian Civil War. 

With the first edition being built in 1914, the Austin went through numerous revisions through the coming years which incorporated improvements and upgrades to armour and capabilities. Eventually Russia began to produce them in their own country as Austin-Putilov.

The car itself tipped the scale slightly compared to the Rolls Royce at 5.3 tonnes. The crew required to man the vehicle was also slightly larger at 4-5 people. However the engine fitted was just over half as powerful at a disappointing 50hp, resulting in a snail pace 35mph. Armour plating was much thinner at around 3-6mm but twin machine guns compensated.

Ehrhardt E-V/4

Having suffered major loses when encountering the Belgian own Minerva armoured car, the Germans decided to produce their own version. Taking a slightly different approach to the rest, the result was much bigger, heavier and heavily armed. The Ehrhardt weighed in at almost 9 tonnes, took on a crew of 8/9 and featured an array of three machines guns. You would think this is bordering on ridiculous for an armoured “car”. This monster used 4 wheel drive, 9mm thick armour and 80hp to try and propel the brute.

The Original prototype model was developed in 1915 but the performance in the war was a little disappointing. When deployed on the Western front they were of little use due to conditions and poor mobility. Later it was deployed to the Russian section of the Eastern front, but still did not manage to see a great deal of action.

published: 11/11/2014 09:59:32

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