Casemate's US Army Ford M8 & M20 Armored Cars

Author/Artists: Didier Andres


Casemate Publishers


$39.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 160 pages,  hardcover, over 100 photos and illustrations. 7x 10 inches.
ISBN: 978-1-63624-310-8

When the US entered WWII, they were fairly limited in terms of armored cars. What they did have were called scout cars and anything with even a modicum of armor plating were basically old, prewar designs that were not very useful. Probably the most reasonable was the M1, the first US armored car that was built in more than a handful of examples.

As something more modern was required, and with the war going on in Europe, in 1941 a requirement for a wheeled vehicle that used an anti-tank gun was developed. Though a few manufacturers produced inputs, it was the one by Ford that was accepted. They had the manufacturing capacity to provide the vehicles needed. Of course, the prototypes required a fair amount of massaging to be ready for combat. One of the early changes was to make the vehicle open topped as there was insufficient room with a full roof. By the end of 1942 the design had been finalized.

Production began in early 1943 and after some more testing of the production versions, a training regimen was developed and crews were trained in the proper operation and maintenance of the vehicle. As such it wasn't until mid 1944 that the vehicles finally entered combat in Europe. They were not only used by the US Army, but vehicles were provided to the French as well. In addition to the 37mm armed M8, the M20 was developed. This was more of a radio car as well as one that was used to tow ammunition trailers. It had a single .50 cal machine gun for self defense. A fairly large number of M20s were supplied to various military services after the war. This vehicle was nearly identical to the M8 save in main armament and the radio suite.

Typical of the series, we get a fairly complete introduction to US armored cars. Then we have the development of the vehicle before going into the details of both the M8 and M20. This latter section is quite comprehensive and relies mostly on period photos. It covers the differences between not only the two vehicles, but also the early and late production. The last portion covers its use in Italy, mainland Europe, and postwar. Since this is part of Casemate's illustrated series, there are a ton of well chosen period photos of all the types mentioned. In all it is a great reference on the type and a book that I actually enjoyed reading quite a bit. I learned a lot and isn't that what these books are for? Most highly recommended.

October 2023

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