MANUFACTURER(S): Crossley Motors / Royal Ordnance Factory - UK
OPERATORS: United Kingdom
LENGTH: 6.33 feet (1.93 meters)
WIDTH: 7.87 feet (2.4 meters)
HEIGHT: 7.94 feet (2.42 meters)
WEIGHT: 5 Tons (4,900 kilograms; 10,803 pounds)
ENGINE: 1 x Crossley 4-cylinder, liquid-cooled gasoline engine of 26 horsepower.
SPEED: 40 miles-per-hour (65 kilometers-per-hour)
RANGE: 199 miles (320 kilometers)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Crossley Armored Car Six-Wheeled Light Armored Scout / Security Vehicle.
Entry last updated on 7/13/2018.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The Crossley Armored Car was the first 6x6 wheeled armored car adopted for service in the British Army (1927). The type's three axle arrangement offered improved cross-country performance over the World War 1-inspired 4x4 wheeled forms prevalent through most of the interwar years. The Crossley series served from its adoption in 1931 up until 1940 to which, by this time, it had been relegated to training duty during the early years of World War 2 (1939-1940).
The Crossley existed as part of a new generation of British armored cars and based on a patented six-wheeled truck chassis designed and developed by the Royal Army Service Corps. For the new armored car, the chassis retained its 6x6 wheeled arrangement and to this was added an armored superstructure. The turret of the Mark II Light Tank was used to house the primary armament of 1 x 0.303 Vickers machine gun. A secondary machine gun was fitted to a limited-traverse gun port at the front of the superstructure. The driver sat at front-right with the secondary gunner to his left. The turret was fitted over the cabin roof with a full 360-degree traversal (manually-powered). The standard operating crew was initially three in the pilot vehicles but this then increased to four with the production forms. Side hinged doors offered the necessary entry/exit and any personal weapons carried by the crew could also be brought into play during a firefight.
Overall, the Crossley maintained a traditional automobile arrangement with the engine in a frontal compartment aspirated through a grille system at front. Road wheels were large, solid-rimmed, and rubber-tired with a steerable front axle and two fixed axle pairs seated under the mass of the car rear. Fenders were affixed overall all wheel installations to prevent the kick-up of mud. The armored superstructure made up of riveted plates and covered all major components. Vision for the crew was through small vision slits while the driver's position held a hinged visor which could be opened for a broader field-of-view. Armor protection reached 7mm in thickness.
Crossley Motors of Manchester handled construction of the chassis (hence the car's name) with the vehicles then sent to Royal Ordnance Factory, Woolwich to have their armor plating installed. Power was through a Crossley 4-cylinder, liquid-cooled, gasoline-fueled engine of 26 horsepower mated to a manual transmission system featuring four forward speeds and a single reverse speed. The chassis was suspended through a leaf spring arrangement across all six wheels. Road speeds reached 40-45 miles per hour with a road range out to 200 miles.
The Crossley/Royal Ordnance Factory venture initially produced two pilot vehicles from the developmental "D2E2". Five production quality forms (as the "Armored Car, Crossley Mk I) then followed and these equipped the 11th Hussars and the 12th Lancers regiments from 1928 onwards - who gave up their horses in turn, a mechanizing of the storied British cavalry regiments. With formal introduction in 1931, the cars were deployed to Egypt where they fared rather poorly, primarily due to the operating climate - the hot and dry environment wreaked havoc on the engine and its associated, oil-lubricated parts. Additionally, the 26-horsepower engine proved too underpowered with the operating weight of the vehicle (9,000 unloaded, 10,800 loaded) and its hefty armored superstructure - a common failure of nearly all of the early armored cars. Cooling flaps were added over the radiator on these models for some relief and chains fitted over the rear wheels for improved traction on loose terrain but, by and large, Army units decided against their long-term operation in the theater - the cars resided for long periods in disuse and kept under cover for the most part.
With the limited value these cars held in Egypt, the stock was returned to home soil where they were then pressed into service as training platforms in the lead-up to World War 2. Britain joined the war in September of 1939 with the invasion of Poland. The cars did not see much use beyond 1940.
A complete example of the Crossley Armored Car Mk I exists in its Egyptian form at the Bovington Tank Museum of Southwest England. The radiator cooling fins and rear wheel chain tracks are clearly visible in this example.
Where applicable, the appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Russian Ministry of Defense, Chinese Ministry of Defense or British Ministry of Defence visual information does not imply or constitute endorsement of this website (www.MilitaryFactory.com). Images marked with "www.MilitaryFactory.com" or featuring the Military Factory logo are copyrighted works exclusive to this site and not for reuse in any form.