Ten crew were required to operate the large and heavy A5P Armored Car of the German Empire - three were produced in all.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Credit: Image from the Public Domain.
The armored car found its role on the battlefields of World War 1 (1914-1918) but quickly became tactically limited when the conflict bogged down into Trench Warfare heading into 1915. Bussing AG of Germany began production of military-related vehicles as early as 1910 and, once German warplanners learned to appreciate the flexibility offered by the armored car - particularly against poorly defended positions manned by rifle-wielding infantry, the concern joined other local car-makers in developing a solution for the Army. Bussing was charged in 1914, along with competitors Daimler and Ehrhardt, to devise the new vehicle around an all-wheel drive chassis.
Bussing returned with a large and heavy prototype in 1915 - built atop 4x4 wheel makeup with an armored superstructure seated atop the chassis. Straight lines and angled faces described the form used and the underlying framework of the vehicle was based on a Bussing truck. It therefore carried the in-house Bussing "Otto" 6-cylinder gasoline engine of 90 horsepower which provided the design with a range out to 150 miles and a maximum road speed of just over 20 miles per hour. Ten men were needed to crew the beast whose armor was comprised of steel and reached up to 9mm thickness in some of the more critical areas. Armament typically comprised 3 x 7.92mm MG08 machine guns and these could be substituted for MG15nA series guns as needed. A roof-mounted turret offered good firing arcs over the vehicle.
The design was accepted into service as "A5P" and serial production was ordered in 1916 but there proved little optimism for the car as it was underpowered - made heavy by its 22,600lb listed weight pushed by its armor. It also stood tall at over 11 feet high, making it an easy target to spot, and lengthy at over 31 feet long, requiring an excessive turning radius. As such, production was halted with only three examples completed though these few went on to see combat service at the Romanian and Russian fronts in 1916 and 1917 respectively.
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