The armored car was a critical component of field actions concerning World War 2 (1939-1945) ground-based warfare. The British Army alone fielded a plethora of armored cars to fulfill a variety of roles with the most important being that of forward reconnaissance. This role required speed above all else while crew protection and armament became secondary. One of the collection of armored cars in British Army service during the conflict became the Guy Armored Car which appeared in limited numbers.
Design work on the vehicle began in 1938 during the build-up to World War in Europe. Initially a car based on a design submitted by the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich was used and, from there, a variety of four-wheeled systems emerged. For expediency's sake, a pilot vehicle completed by Guy Motors was selected for adoption - producing the "Guy Armored Car" name.
Serial production of 101 examples began in 1939 as evaluations were also underway and this lasted until 1940. Originally the design called for riveted construction but reasons were given to promote the safer and more effective use of welded sections and assembly lines were accordingly brought up to speed. The switch to welding made the Guy Armored Car the first in British Army service to feature this beneficial technique.
The end product was a useful, compact armored car offering. The front section of the hull featured sloped angles for basic ballistics protection with the glacis plate leading up to the straight frontal wall of the hull superstructure housing the driver (its crew consisted of three and included the driver, commander, and gunner). Radio gear - a "No. 19" set - was standard. The hull superstructure supported a 360-degree traversing turret emplacement on its roof line which was outfitted with a Vickers 0.5" heavy machine gun and Vickers .303 medium machine gun pairing. Armor protection measured up to 15mm - good enough against small arms fire and artillery spray. Dimensions included a length of 13.5 feet, a width of 6.8 feet, and a height of 7.5 feet. Overall weight was 5.2 tons.
The engine, a Meadows 4ELA 4-cylinder gasoline fueled system of 55 horsepower output, was installed in a compartment at the rear of the hull. This was mated to a transmission system featuring four forward and one reverse speed. Road speeds reached 40 miles per hour with ranges out to 210 miles. The wheels were well-spaced and held under large fenders while also providing excellent ground clearance when traveling over uneven terrain.
When war was declared by Britain and France against Germany in September of 1939, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) formed the British ground commitment to maintaining a free Western Europe. About six of the Guy Armored Cars were shipped to the European mainland for service. With Poland finally conquered, the Low Countries and Norway followed and this led to the Battle of France in May of 1940. However, this campaign met with similar results for the Allies as French nation capitulated and the six cars were lost in the fighting. The remaining stock of Guy Armored Cars remained on British soil fulfilling a variety of roles and were in use until 1943 when replaced by more effective, modern car types having emerged after the start of the fighting.
The limited nature of the vehicle's production was tied directly to Guy Motors' inability to produce the car on a grander scale as the company was already committed to production of other much-needed systems (including artillery tractors) which left the Guy Armored Car to suffer. However, not all was lost for some of the car's design and construction methodology was passed on to the design of the "Humber Armored Car" (detailed elsewhere on this site) which followed in 1941. Production of this useful car numbered around 5,400.
The original production run was the Mk I with 50 units completed (Vickers machine gun armament). The Mk 1A featured a BESA 15mm paired with a BESA 7.92mm machine gun in the turret. 51 of this variant were built.
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Guy Armored Car Mk 1 production model)
1 x Meadows 4ELA 4-cylinder gasoline engine developing 55 horsepower.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Guy Armored Car Mk 1 production model)
40 mph (65 kph)
211 miles (340 km)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Guy Armored Car Mk 1 production model; Compare this entry against any other in our database)
1 x 12.7mm Vickers machine gun
1 x 7.7mm Vickers machine gun
1 x 15mm BESA machine gun
1 x 7.92mm BESA machine gun
Ammunition: 500 x 0.5" ammunition (estimated)
1,000 x 0.303 ammunition (estimated)
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Guy Armored Car Mk 1 production model)
Guy Armored Car - Base Series Name
Mk I - Original production model of 1939; 2 x Machine Gun armament in turret; 50 units completed.
Mk IA - Second production model; turret featuring 15mm BESA HMG along with coaxial 7.92mm BESA MMG; 51 units completed.
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