The Russian Empire Izhorsky Mgebrov-Renault was one of the more unique developments of armored car to appear in World War 1 (1914-1918). The design was from the mind of Russian Army Captain Mgebrov and built atop an existing French Renault chassis with assembly handled at the Izhorsky Plant (hence the three-name designation of "Izhorsky Mgebrov-Renault"). The key characteristic of the vehicle was its heavily-sloped frontal section which led to a flat superstructure roof over the rear. At this position was fitted machine gun armament with an unfettered 360-degree view of the surrounding action. Original vehicles were crewed by four - a driver, commander and two machine gunners. Original vehicles were also heavy with armor at 3.4 tons while a later redesigned model emerged with improved performance as a 2.75-ton vehicle. With two prototypes setting the foundation for the line, about eleven total Izhorsky Mgebrov-Renault cars were eventually manufactured. The revised versions were still undergoing their conversion process during the Russian Revolution of 1917 - the event marking the beginning of the end for the Russian Empire and the birth of the Soviet Union.
The Izhorsky Mgebrov-Renault car was the result of testing undertaken by Captain Mgebrov into the value of sloped armor versus traditionally-accepted flat panels. Sloping meant inherent ballistics protection with far less armor required to cover an area though this sort of protection was only really achieved at certain angles so experimentation was key. For expediency, the general configuration of the Renault car was retained and this included the driver's position established at midships and the engine compartment at front. This allowed the rear section of the chassis to be fitted with the gun tub and its corresponding 2 x machine gun armament (7.62mm Vickers or Maxim types were used). The original vehicle design held a three-turret arrangement and drive power came from the original Renault 14HP series 4-cylinder, air-cooled engine of 30 horsepower. This drove just one of the axle sets. As can be expected with the superstructure armor, armament and ammunition in place, the vehicle was a slow, plodding instrument with terrible battlefield performance - reaching a paltry 12 miles per hour on ideal road surfaces.
In 1916, the vehicle was redesigned in an effort to exact maximum performance gains from the chassis at the expense of armor protection. The triple-turret arrangement was abandoned and, in its place, a two-turret configuration adopted instead. Engineers then stripped some of the armor thickness at "lower-risk" facings to help lightened the vehicle's road operating weight. With the same engine in place, the car could now reach upwards of 34 miles per hour on road while also alleviating stresses placed on the chassis components. Conversion work then spanned into 1917 before the Russian Revolution disrupted work for a time.
Beyond their service in World War 1, Izhorsky Mgebrov-Renault cars fell into use by both the Red and White sides of the ensuing Russian Civil War. Following the conflict, the remaining stock of vehicles managed an existence into the 1930s to which they were then given up for good in the face of new, more modern Soviet designs heading into World War 2 (1939-1945).
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