Wheel armored vehicles of the Second World War. Part of 19. Armored Car AEC (UK)

AEC became the next heavy wheeled armored vehicle of the British army, which was created and actively used during the Second World War. The AEC differed from other combat vehicles in that it was developed on an initiative basis by engineers of the automobile company of the same name under conditions when the British army was already preparing to use other rather powerful cannon armored vehicles produced by Humber and Daimler. Despite this, the development of the Associated Equipment Company (AEC) was able to make them worthy of competition, remaining in service with the British army until the end of the 1950-s, when the armored vehicles of the Second World War period were replaced by the new wheeled armored car Saladin.

The AES armored car was created by the specialists of the Associated Equipment Company on its own initiative without any interference from the state. At the same time, the designers of the company tried to take into account the combat experience of using armored vehicles that had been accumulated by that time. The presence of armored vehicles of the same type did not confuse the AEC engineers at all. Confidence they gave the chassis of its own design, borrowed from a very successful artillery tractor "Matador", which managed to confirm their high road performance, including in combat conditions. In addition, one of the main tasks that the creators of AES heavy armored vehicles set themselves, was not only active reconnaissance, but also the fight against enemy armored vehicles and infantry. The concept of creating a new car envisaged that it would be used together with lighter armored vehicles, giving them fire support on the battlefield. Focusing on these requirements, AES engineers designed an interesting and quite successful armored car, which stood out for its original hull shape, which had a rather narrow profile and very powerful armor.

Tests of a prototype heavy armored car AEC Armored Car were carried out in 1940 year, after eliminating the deficiencies identified during the tests, the design of the armored car was ready for adoption. The debut of the new war machine in public fell on 1941 the year when it was demonstrated to British officials as part of the parade of horse guards in London. This parade was also attended by British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, who drew attention to a new model of armored vehicles that he did not know and appreciated. As a result, in June 1941, AES received the first order for mass production of a new armored car of its own design.

Artillery tractor AEC Matador

As noted above, the base for the new British combat vehicle was the all-wheel drive chassis with the 4x4 wheel formula, borrowed from the AEC 0853 Matador artillery tractor. This tractor is well proven in the army. It was mass-produced from 1938 to 1953 year, during which time more than 9000 cars of this type were produced in the UK in various versions.

The body of the new armored car was made of sheets of rolled steel armor, which were attached to the frame mounted on the chassis frame using riveting. The frontal armor of the hull was up to 57 mm thick, the side armor was 16 mm, the roof of the hull was armored with 32 mm steel sheets. On the roof of the hull in its middle part was placed a tower from a serial infantry tank “Valentein,” the standard weapons set was kept in the tower — a 2-pound (40-mm) OQF Mk IX gun and a 7,92-mm Besa machine gun paired with it. In the vertical plane, the gun could be pointed in the sector from +15 to -15 degrees, and, strangely enough, the gunner’s shoulder was the “drive mechanism”. At the same time, in a horizontal plane, the tower rotated 360 degrees already with the help of not electric power, but brute force.

For aiming 40-mm guns at the target, the gunner had a telescopic sight N 24x1,9 Mk V. As an auxiliary weapon, which could be mounted on a special bracket and used for firing at air targets, AES armored vehicles were equipped with an 7,7-mm Bren machine gun. The loaded ammunition included 58 shots for the gun, 2950 ammunition for the machine gun paired with it, and also 600 ammunition for the Bren 7,7 mm machine gun. Also on the armored vehicle could be installed 50,8-mm smoke grenade launchers, to which the crew had 18 grenades.

Scheme armored car AEC Armored Car Mk I

The AEC Armored Car driver was located in the middle in front of the hull, he actually sat between the two front wheels. The car seat could be adjusted in height, so when moving with the hatch open, the driver’s head could protrude from it. In the combat position, the hatch was closed, and the seat went down, and the driver followed the terrain using periscopic observation devices.

In the middle part of the hull and the tower there was a fighting compartment in which the gunner’s seats (to the left) and the commander of the combat vehicle (to the right) were located. For landing and disembarking from the armored car in the roof of the tower were located two hatches of rectangular shape. The lid of the commander’s hatch was two-fold, with one of the wings opening to the front and the second to the rear. The gunner's hatch cover was made whole, it was reclined to the left. Radio stations №19 were installed as a means of communication on all armored vehicles.

In the stern of the armored car was located the engine compartment. The 6-cylinder diesel engine of AES A195 liquid cooling engine was installed here, at 2000 rpm it could reach maximum power in 77,2 kW (105 hp). This allowed a fairly heavy combat vehicle weighing about 11 tons to move on hard-surface roads at speeds up to 58 km / h. We are talking about the modification of the Mk I, on subsequent modifications put more powerful engine, and the maximum speed increased to 65 km / h. The transmission of torque from the engine to the wheels, as well as the chassis control, was carried out using a transmission, which included: a four-speed gearbox, single-plate dry friction clutch, a two-speed demultiplicator, final drives, and air brakes. Suspension on semi-elliptic leaf springs and fairly large wheels with 13,5-20 tires size inches ensured good performance for the armored car. When driving on paved roads, the rear pair of wheels could be turned off, with the result that the armored car turned into a front-wheel drive with a wheel formula 4 x2.

Wheel armored vehicles of the Second World War. Part of 19. Armored Car AEC (UK)
AEC Armored Car Mk I

Beginning with the 1942 of the year, the Associated Equipment Company launched the 122 armored car of the above construction, all of which received the designation AEC Mk I. They came to the front at the end of the 1942 of the year. Since this type of armored vehicle was relatively small, and their armor and armament corresponded to medium tanks, the military often used them as a means of fire enhancement, as originally intended by the designers. The platoons of armored vehicles of the British army were completed by them at the rate of one AES per platoon of Humber armored vehicles.

After a short time, combat experience demonstrated that the British infantry is in serious need of an even more powerful means of fire support in the face of armored vehicles interacting with them. The experience of fighting in North Africa showed that the 40-mm cannon, inherited from the Valentine tank, is able to fight only with enemy light armored vehicles, and its effectiveness against infantry was extremely low. By the time the AEC Mk I appeared on the battlefield, the Germans already had a large number of medium tanks Pz.III and Pz.IV, equipped with long-barreled 50-mm or 75-mm guns, and also received an enhanced reservation. In order to adequately withstand these tanks on the part of the AEC Mk I directly in the field by the British installed 6-pound gun (57 mm) from the tank "Crusaider III".

Thus, the combat experience and demands of the British military pushed the engineers of AES to create a new modification of the armored vehicle, which received the designation AES Mk II. It differed from the first version by changing the design of the forward part of the hull and the new turret in which the 6-pound (57-mm) OQF Mk III gun and the 7,92-mm Besa machine gun were paired with it. The mass of the new combat vehicle grew to 12,7 tons, and the crew was increased to 4-x people. To compensate for the increased mass of the armored car, a more powerful AES A197 diesel engine was installed on it, which developed the power in 158 hp. The installation of this engine allowed to increase the maximum speed to 65 km / h when driving on paved roads.

AEC Armored Car Mk II

The need to further strengthen the firepower of an armored car to solve the tasks assigned to it on fire support of infantry and combat enemy armored vehicles led to the appearance of the latest serial modification under the designation AES Mk III. Compared with the previous version, the new heavy armored car received minor changes in the hull design, the main difference was the installation of the MZ tank gun in the turret of the American 75-mm tank, which allowed the armored car to hit the enemy’s medium tanks. In addition to it, there was a powerful enough 75-mm high-explosive fragmentation projectile M48, which allowed to fight the enemy’s infantry and light field fortifications.

In combat, AES armored vehicles have been used since the end of 1942, making their debut in the North African theater of operations. In the summer of 1943, they were used during the Allied landings in Sicily and later in battles in Italy. Then new modifications of the Mk II and Mk III went into battle. At the same time, in the British units, Humber armored vehicles, which were supposed to support AES armored vehicles, were supplanted by more modern American “Staghound” armored vehicles, but the acquisition of subunits and the tactics of using AES remained unchanged. Despite a decent weight and large size, in the troops this armored car was loved for a very powerful reservation for this class of military equipment and good armament, which in some cases made it possible to use them instead of tanks.

A total of 1942 1943 year in England produced 629 heavy AES armored vehicles of all three modifications. Also in 1943, an attempt was made to create a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun on the basis of this armored vehicle, but the work on it did not leave the prototype stage. During the Second World War in 1944-1945, several AES armored cars were transferred to the People’s Liberation Army of Yugoslavia, in which they were used for more than 10 years. After the war, part of the armored vehicles was also sold to Lebanon, in which they remained in service until the 1976 year.

AEC Armored Car Mk III

Performance characteristics of the AEC Mk I:
Overall dimensions: length - 5,18 m, width - 2,74 m, height - 2,54 m.
Combat weight - 11 t.
Reservations: building from 16 mm (side) to 57 mm (forehead), booking the tower - 60-65 mm.
The power plant - 6-cylinder diesel engine of liquid cooling AES A195 horsepower 105.
Maximum speed - 58 km / h (on the highway).
Power reserve - 400 km.
Armament - 40-mm gun QF 2 pounder, 7,92-mm Besa machine gun and 7,7-mm Bren anti-aircraft machine gun, 50,5-mm smoke grenade launcher.
Ammunition - 58 shots to the gun, 2925 ammunition for the Besa machine gun and 600 machine gun ammunition for the Bren machine gun, as well as 18 smoke grenades.
Wheel formula - 4x4.
Crew - 3 person.

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  1. +3
    August 16 2017
    Thanks to the author - as always: interesting and informative! good drinks
  2. Alf
    August 16 2017
    paired with her 7,92-mm Besa machine gun. As an auxiliary weapon, the AEC armored vehicles were equipped with a 7,7-mm Bren machine gun.

    Do not get tired of wondering the scope of thought of British designers. To have machine guns of the same class and different calibers on one machine was how it was necessary to get drunk with good old English whiskey.
    The experience of fighting in North Africa showed that the 40-mm gun, ... in addition, its effectiveness against infantry was extremely low.

    Of course. It is difficult to fight with infantry, armed with only armor-piercing shells.
    1. 0
      August 17 2017
      Quote: Alf
      paired with her 7,92-mm Besa machine gun. As an auxiliary weapon, the AEC armored vehicles were equipped with a 7,7-mm Bren machine gun.

      Do not get tired of wondering the scope of thought of British designers. To have machine guns of the same class and different calibers on one machine was how it was necessary to get drunk with good old English whiskey.

      It is not from a good life. The British planned to switch to a waferless cartridge and abandon the old .303 British, but did not have time in the wake of the war. Since it was very difficult and troublesome to remodel it under the flange cartridge, they decided not to fool around, but to use the original ammunition, which was easier in those conditions: the British had plenty of captured German ammunition to supply tankers using Besu.
      1. Alf
        August 17 2017
        Quote: Mikhail_Zverev
        the captured German ammunition was more than enough for the British to supply the tankers who used Besu.

        Not serious. Does the designer create a tank with the expectation of supplying him with captured ammunition? It’s the same as saying Koshkin and Morozov put the Kursovoy machine gun with the DT, and the turret machine gun MG, and the Germans will be supplied with it.
        1. +2
          August 17 2017
          ! "7,92 X 57 Mauser made in Great Britain


          In May 1939 Great Britain adopted the 7,92x57 cartridge for use in the tank machine guns of the Royal Armored Forces. The reason for this was the lack of time and the conscious desire to change the standard cartridge .303 British.

          Cartridges 7,92x57 were manufactured in the UK by ICI Ltd., and in the 1930s this company manufactured a large number of cartridges of this type for the National Army of China. Also, military cartridges were supplied to several other countries, for example, Lithuania and Yugoslavia, and were also sold around the world as sports hunting.
          In 1934 Great Britain adopted the BREN light machine gun (Brno + Enfield), developed in Czechoslovakia under the name Zb.26. The machine gun was designed to use the cartridge 7,92x57, the standard ammunition of the army of Czechoslovakia. However, at the initial stage, machine guns intended for the UK were redone for the use of .303 British cartridges.
          Soon after, the relevant departments of the UK became interested in the Zb machine gun. 53, Model 1937, also developed by Czechoslovakia. However, in connection with the impending war with Germany, it was decided that to begin a large-scale program to replace the existing .303 Vickers machine gun is inappropriate. It was decided to accept the machine gun Zb.53 as a tank. In Great Britain, the machine gun entered service under the name BESA (Brno + Enfield + Small + Arms). In connection with the impending war, it was decided to save the machine gun under the same cartridge to save time. 7,92x57. Thus, the lack of time predetermined, to some extent, the adoption of the British cartridge 7,92x57.
          The cartridge remained in service after the war. It was finally found obsolete only in 1966.
          You can add one more interesting point. Despite the fact that the British exported the 7,92x57 cartridge long before it was put into service, they purchased the first consignments of 7,92x57 cartridges for their own needs in Greece. And after a thorough quality check of these cartridges."
          Stole from one of the FORUMS ...
        2. +1
          August 18 2017
          For tank machine guns, there was also an in-house production of Mauser cartridges, of course. Of course, this led to certain problems, but the British had no way out in that situation: there were no other tank machine guns, except for the old Vickers-Maxim with water cooling. Since the royal tankers had their own supply chains, this “smoothed out” the two-caliber to a certain extent. However, they began to install the Bren machine gun on armored vehicles later, as anti-aircraft, and it was not planned to specifically armor armored vehicles with weapons under different cartridges.
    2. 0
      August 17 2017
      Bren (Brno Enfield) - English light machine gun, a modification of the Czechoslovak machine gun ZB-26.
      BESA - British tank machine gun, a copy of the Czechoslovak air-cooled machine gun ZB-53.
  3. +7
    August 16 2017
    But the Matador truck for the pre-war time is an offset!
  4. +4
    August 16 2017
    AEC also entered the history as the creator of one of the symbols of England - the AEC Routemaster bus.

    It is probably hard to find someone who does not know the London double-decker of this company.
  5. +1
    August 17 2017
    good machine, the British good models of armored vehicles in general can not boast
  6. 0
    August 24 2017
    Matador himself is a class, he was pulling a 152-mm Vickers howitzer from the Angles, and he was supplied with a lend-lease to us, Do not tell me how much? thanks in advance
  7. 0
    10 September 2017
    Power ratio of 10,5 hp per ton.
    Goodbye, goodbye. The coffin on four wheels.

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