Six-Wheeled Armored Car
The Swedish Landsverk L-series of six-wheeled armored cars managed a great reputation for operational reliability for its time in the field.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The Landsverk L-series of armored cars originated in Sweden during the early-1930s and managed an operational existence throughout World War 2 (1939-1945), some examples amazingly not retired until the 1980s. The vehicle relied on a truck-based six-wheeled arrangement with two axles paired under the rear section. These armored cars were built atop the existing chassis of various trucks emerging from Bussing, Mercedes-Benz, and Daimler-Benz which went on to produce the L-180, L-181, and L-182 marks between them. The selection of truck also largely dictated the engine fit for each model.
As finalized, the original L-180 was a 17,250lb vehicle with an overall length of 19 feet, a width of 7.3 feet, and a height of 7.5 feet. It was crewed by up to five personnel made up of a driver, vehicle commander, dedicated gunner, artilleryman, and loader. The armored superstructure, riveted to the existing chassis, gave protection against small arms fire and ranged up to 9mm at the front hull and up to 15mm at the roof-mounted turret. The turret allowed for a full 360-degree rotation and seated a 20mm Madsen M1933 L/60 gun or a 37mm Bofors gun. Of course this also varied by local requirements for some models installed 20mm Oerlikon guns or, as in the Finnish Army model, the 20mm L-39 Lahti Anti-Tank Rifle (ATR) was used as was the 13.2mm L-35/36 heavy machine gun. Secondary firepower was from 2 or 3 x machine guns of various makes and models.
The engine was fitted to a forward compartment in the usual. The L-180 was driven by a Bussing V8 of 160 horsepower while the L-181 saw drive power come from a Mercedes-Benz 6-cylinder engine of 65 horsepower or a Daimler-Benz M09 6-cylinder engine of 80 horsepower.
L-series cars were eventually used (in limited numbers) by Denmark (2), Estonia (1), Ireland (8), Nazi Germany (unknown number captured from enemies), the Netherlands (13), the Soviet Union (unknown number), and Sweden (five undelivered examples meant for Ireland). Captured Danish and Dutch vehicles by the German Army in World War 2 were reused by their new masters under the Army designation of "Panzerspahwagen L-202(h)" for reconnaissance, policing, patrolling, and training roles before the end. These were outfitted with 20mm Madsen or 37mm Bofors main guns backed by either 8mm Madsen or 7.92mm Lewis machine guns.