From the period of 1918 to 1920, the British-originated Austin Armored Car (detailed elsewhere on this site) was constructed for the Russian Empire and became locally known as the "Austin-Putilov". These vehicles emerged from a 1916 commitment to fielding a local armored car for Russian Army service during World War 1 (1914-1918). Since Russian industry lacked the capabilities to generate such a product from scratch, some sixty Austin Car chassis (with engines) were purchased from the Austin Motor Company to provide the basic foundation for the machine. The Putilov Works of St. Petersburg was charged with manufacture and installation of their armored hull components and production was set to begin as soon as possible. However, the February Revolution of 1917 did much to hurt the Russian war effort and work on the type was delayed for a time. Instead of the planned 1917 fielding date, the first cars were not available until 1918. From there, thirty-three total cars were delivered.
As built, the Putilov cars had a running length of 4.9 meters with a width of 2 meters and height of 2.8 meters. Weight was 5.2 tons. The crew numbered five and included the driver, commander, a loader-mechanic and a pair of dedicated machine gunners. Power was from an Austin 4-cylinder gasoline fueled engine of 50 horsepower providing road speeds of up to 34 miles per hour and operational ranges out to 125 miles. Armament was typically 2 x 7.62mm Maxim machine guns and approximately 5,000 rounds were carried - the vehicle was more an anti-infantry measure than anything else. The guns were fitted in two individual rotating, cylindrical turrets set over the rear section of the hull roof. Off-road travel was aided somewhat by use of a 2x4 leaf spring suspension system but the Putilov car was no off-road warrior. Armor protection reached up to 7.5mm thickness and riveted over the bow, driving compartment and rear section. A four-wheeled stance was used in which the rubber-tired wheels were set to the extreme corners of the design.
The "Austin-Kegresse" became another Russian-inspired offshoot of the Austin Armored Car line - its major difference was in its reliance on the Kegresse tracked system fitted under the rear of the vehicle. These essentially marked the first instances of a half-track military vehicle, types that proved popular in the Second World War still to come. Cross-country travel was improved considerably with the tracked component added - particularly in snowy and muddy terrains.
With Russian out of World War 1 in March of 1918, the existing stock of Austin-Putilov Armored Cars fought on into the Russian Civil War years (1917-1922) and the Soviet-Polish War (1919-1921) (one example being captured by enemy forces) but their use and numbers dwindled at a rapid pace during the 1920s. By the early 1930s, all were gone from service.
Manufacturing Austin Motor Company - UK / Putilov Works - Russia
Production 33 Units
Poland (single example; captured); Russia; Soviet Union
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