Mechanized warfare was born through the practical battlefield use of armored cars in World War 1 (1914-1918) and it behooved national armies of the time to invest in such types going forward. The Peugeot Armored Car was developed in France and, like other armored cars of the period, was based on a commercial four-wheeled truck chassis. Introduced early in the war in 1914, it was rushed to the front lines to help stem the German advance towards Paris and some 270 of the type were produced in all. Unlike other armored cars of the period, the Peugeot vehicle could be heavily armed by way of a 37mm Puteaux SA 18 cannon (many such vehicles fielded simpler machine gun armament). Alternatively this could be replaced by a machine gun for better anti-infantry performance.
As completed, the Peugeot Armored Car weighed 4.9 tonnes and showcased an length of 4.8 meters, a width of 1.8 meters and a height of 2.8 meters. Internally it was crewed by four or five personnel that include the driver, commander and dedicated gunner. The vehicle was powered by an in-house Peugeot gasoline fueled unit of 40 horsepower output which provided road speeds of up to 40 kmh and operational ranges out to 140 kilometers.
The main armament was set within a traversing turret atop the hull roof line. The turret design featured an angled front roof section and cylindrical sides for basic ballistics protection. The gun's barrel protruded through the frontal face of the assembly and was given more-or-less unfettered engagement angles of the area surrounding the vehicle.
The car's armor make-up was consistent with the time - armor plating ran from the engine housing, over the driver's compartment and over the rear of the vehicle. Only the underside of the chassis was left unarmored as were the four rubber-tired roadwheels. The heavily-spoked roadwheels were positioned at the corners of the design, owning their placement to their original commercial truck origins which were hardly military-grade systems. This generally made armored cars of the war poor cross-country performers which limited their overall effectiveness to an extent.
This car line was still being evolved even after its entry into practical wartime service and this ultimately improved capabilities. The vehicles were of greater value mostly early in the war when the various fronts remained quite fluid. Once all sides dug-in and accepted "Trench Warfare" as the norm, the cars saw much less frontline work due to their poor off-road performance, limited armor protection and heavy operating weights. Additionally, the arrival of the tank later in the war further limited the value of armored cars at frontline positions which relegated many to security and patrolling actions away from direct harm. Nevertheless, the Peugeot series was in operational service into the war's final year - taking part in the major campaigns of early 1918 with the French Army.
Peugeot Armored Cars were eventually fielded in the post-war period by the army services of Poland, Serbia and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In Polish Army service, they were used in anger during the Soviet-Polish War (1919-1921) and this stock was made up entirely of ex-French Army cars. Similarly the Serbian examples were handed down by the French and these were later passed on to Yugoslavia where they ended their service.