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White Armored Car (Armored Motor Car No.2)

Infantry Support Vehicle

United States | 1915

"The White Armored Car appeared with French and American forces during World War 1."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/26/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The White Motor Company's contributions to the American war effort of World War 2 (1939-1945) became well-documented but its support went back much further than that - developing and producing a series of armored cars for the Army and Marines during World War 1 (1914-1918). Known simply as the "White Armored Car", the first vehicles were revealed in 1915 and issued to French Army forces desperate for any mechanized systems in their defense of Western Europe. White Motor Company production of its cars continued until the end of the war in November of 1918 and some forms managed a service life in the post-war years for colonial security efforts - actively used until about 1941.

The armored car of World War 1 was a far cry from the purpose-built vehicles encountered in the subsequent World War. These systems were typically generated by reconstituting an existing civilian car or lorry and applying an armor-plated superstructure over the chassis. Rear axles were usually double-tired as a result of the added weight. The internal arrangement, with its driver's seat and steering wheel, were completely retained as was the original front-mounted engine compartment. The mass of the superstructure weighed down the rear of the vehicle and to this was typically seated a traversing turret mounting a machine gun. While the concept on paper was sound, field practice usually showcased a vehicle too heavy and clumsy for tactical frontline service as the civilian-minded chassis was not built for the rigors of warfare. However, with few options available, most forces pressed these vehicles into service nonetheless.

The original "White No. 1" of 1915 was a 4x2 wheel drive offering and served with French forces for a time. In 1916 came the "White No. 2" which was issued to United States Army and United States Marine Corps (USMC) forces as available. Some were shipped to the El Paso region to support the Pancho Villa "Punitive Expedition" headed by General John Pershing - though the operation largely revolved around cavalry due to terrain. It was during this time that future American Army General, George S. Patton, would used a mechanized assault to take down Villa's bodyguard - Julio Cardenas - during a raid.

The Model 1917 - appearing the following year during America's entry into the war - was developed to a specific American Expeditionary Force (AEF) requirement which ultimately became the Model 1918. The Model 1918 (also known as the "White AEF") retained the same 4x2 wheeled capability and was also delivered to AEF units as well as the French Army. While given up in short order by the Americans, the Model 1918 stayed in the rebuilding French inventory until the early 1930s where they gave needed security service across French-managed colonies overseas.

The Model 1918 became a 3.4-ton vehicle with an operating crew of three. Its armor plating provided 3.8mm to 6.35mm of protection for the crew and the vehicle's vital internal components. This was effective against small arms fire but could not content with armor-piercing ammunition, artillery, and land mines. Power was through a 4-cylinder gasoline-fueled engine of 45 horsepower output. The chassis utilized a leaf spring suspension system to provide for some off-road support. Road speeds could reach 65 miles per hour on ideal surfaces. The primary weapon on these American cars was the Colt-Browning M1895 machine gun. All versions used the White 4x2 wheeled arrangement.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the White Armored Car Model 1918 Infantry Support Vehicle.
1 x White 4-cylinder gasoline engine developing 45 horsepower.
Installed Power
65 mph
104 kph
Road Speed
186 miles
300 km
The physical qualities of the White Armored Car Model 1918 Infantry Support Vehicle.
12.5 ft
3.8 meters
O/A Length
6.1 ft
1.85 meters
O/A Width
7.7 ft
2.35 meters
O/A Height
6,746 lb
3,060 kg | 3.4 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the White Armored Car (Armored Motor Car No.2) Infantry Support Vehicle.
Variable: 1 x M1895 Colt-Browning machine gun (USA models).
Dependent upon armament fitting.
Nightvision - NONE.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - NONE.
Notable series variants as part of the White Armored Car (Armored Motor Car No.2) family line.
White Armored Car - Base Series Designation
White No. 1 - Model of 1915; French Army usage
White No. 2 - Model of 1916; US Army and USMC usage
Model 1917 - Model of 1917; built to American Expeditionary Force requirement; becoming the "White AEF" model.
Model 1918 ("White AEF") - Model of 1918 for use by the AEF in Europe.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the White Armored Car (Armored Motor Car No.2). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 50 Units

Contractor(s): White Motor Company - USA
National flag of France National flag of the United States

[ France; United States ]
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Image of the White Armored Car (Armored Motor Car No.2)
Image from the Public Domain; the Model 1918 White Armored Car is shown.

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to battlefield requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The White Armored Car (Armored Motor Car No.2) Infantry Support Vehicle appears in the following collections:
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