Osprey's Early US Armor: Armored Cars 1915-40

Author:

Steven Zaloga

Publisher/Distributor

Osprey Publishing

Price

$18.00 MSRP

Reviewer:

Scott Van Aken

Notes: 48 pages, 7 x 9 inches, softcover
ISBN: 978-1-4728-2514-8

From the beginning of mechanically powered vehicles, designers have put forth those to be used in war. Indeed, one of the first attempts was steam powered though not really an armored car as the steam was used to power the gun not motivate the vehicle. It was the development of the gasoline engine that got the ball rolling, as it were.

Not surprisingly, most early vehicles were based on a truck or large automobile chassis, though there were some developed independently of this feature and some that were not really armored at all, but just mounted a gun with a shield.

This tendency to use standard chassis was the major limitation of the vehicles. Basically, they needed to stay on roads. Unlike a tank, they had very poor off-road performance even over fairly solid ground. This severely limited their use, particularly in WWI when there was very little actual movement. Still, they had their uses and all nations developed them to some extent or another.

In the US most that were made were designed for foreign sales, however, the aforementioned lack of movement. The New York National Guard at one time had more armored cars than anyone else and even those were barely more than a handful.

What did happen was there was a branching of the genre into true armored cars and scout cars. The latter had much less armor, no turrets or closed top and were able to travel at much greater speeds. These ended up being more useful and were produced in considerable numbers during WWII. The armored car just never took off and development in the US ceased by the time WWII was underway.

In this book, the author covers the rather large variety of armored cars developed in the US prior to WWII. Some of them looked quite capable while others have one wondering what the designer was thinking. Few actually saw anything close to widespread use. As usual, it is crammed full of great period photos and some very nicely done artwork. It is a book that even the non-AFV fan will find interesting. One that I know you will like and very much recommend.

January 2018

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