Charron-Girardot-Voigt Model 1902 War Car / Armored Car
Only two Charron-Girardot-Voigt 1902 series armored cars were produced - these for the Russian War Ministry.
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Before the age of the "tank" came to be in World War 1, there was the age of the "war car" - today more formally recognized as the armored car. These early examples were quite crude in their overall approach, essentially militarized commercial automobiles or light trucks though, in either case, they were generally underpowered for the role. The militarized nature of these vehicles often meant that slabs of armor plate and heavy machine guns were affixed to the unmodified chassis which presented a much heavier vehicle than anticipated. These mobile weapons platforms were hardly serviceable on rough terrain but proved of value in the security, scout and support roles to an extent.
The Charron-Girardot-Voigt of 1902 was one such early attempt at utilizing a combustion engine vehicle and fitting a traversing machine gun mount to the rear of the chassis. There was seating for three though the driver and the passenger resided in an open-air cockpit that held no armor protection. The steering wheel sat high on the steering column which made for an awkward reach. The third occupant was charged with managing a single Hotchkiss 7.7mm machine gun on a raised platform at the rear of the vehicle. This position was partially covered in a 7mm thick armored shield and little else. A later version incorporated a steel surrounding drum though still open-air in its nature. The vehicle sat upon four rubber-tired spoked wheels which offered little comfort and robustness. The engine (of 50 horsepower) was situated in a forward-mounted compartment.