AEC Mk. II (L/43 6-Pdr Mk. III)
The AEC Armoured Car was a series of British Heavy armoured cars built by the Associated Equipment Company (AEC) during the Second World War. The armoured car was designed based on experience gained by the British in the Western Desert against Italian armoured cars, as at the time British armoured cars were only armed with light and heavy machine guns, resulting in captured Italian and German autocannons being mounted on vehicles in order for them to effectively engage enemy reconnaissance vehicles.
The Daimler Armoured Car was currently under development at the time, armed with the 40mm 2-pounder, as used on British tanks at the time, but no armoured cars were envisioned with the armour to go along with the armament of a tank. Because of this AEC undertook the development of a private venture for a vehicle based on one of their artillery tractor lorries, which would have armour directly equivalent to the contemporary cruiser tanks in service at the time. The Matador artillery chassis was initially developed for towing medium field and heavy anti-aircraft guns and was based on AEC’s previous experience manufacturing truck and bus chassis.
Using this chassis as a base, a mock-up armoured car was presented to officials in 1941 during a horse guards parade in London, where it made a favourable impression with Winston Churchill, who requested an initial contract for 120 vehicles, which would lead to 629 being produced from 1942 to 43.
AEC aimed to build an armoured car with protection to match its firepower, and as such the first version mounted the same turret as the Valentine Mk II infantry tank, including the 2-pounder gun. This would be supplemented by a single Besa machine gun, a 2-inch bomb thrower/ smoke grenade discharger, a no.19 radio set and a Bren light machine gun for defence against enemy aircraft. The driver was provided with two periscopes for vision when buttoned up; otherwise, in a non-combat situation, he could raise his seat to see over the glacis, by poking his head out of the top hatch. The engine was also mounted at a downwards angle to reduce the angle of transfer on the shafts, which heightened the rear hull deck, though, in normal road operation, only the front wheels were driven, so as to not cause undue wear on the chassis.
The turret was electrically driven with a manual traverse option, allowing rapid target acquisition whilst in combat, though the initial 2-pounder armament was soon deemed insufficient and further improvements were requested which would lead in to the later Mk II and Mk III variants. The Mk II in question entered a bit of development hell during preproduction, resulting in a wide number of 6-pounder gun-carrying armoured cars and tank prototypes being made by the British during 1942, though none would be ready in meaningful numbers except the Deacon before the issues with the MK II were resolved. The AEC MK II featured a new turret three -man turret, refined hull armour layout and a more powerful engine, the 9.65 litre AEC A197, providing 158 Hp. These changes allowed for a higher top speed, and improved reliability of the design, which effectively made the competing stop-gap designs obsolete, and they were phased out as production ramped up for the MK II.
Early examples of the AEC MK II were fitted with the L/43 6-Pdr Mk. III which had a shorter barrel than the later 6 pounder MK III due to the shortage of suitable manufacturing equipment. These vehicles are easily spotted, as unlike the later examples the MK.III equipt AEC cars lack the single baffle muzzle brake. This reduced barrel length slightly decreased the armoured car’s ability to penetrate enemy armour, but it did not hamper the gun’s use as it proved rather effective against axis armour in North Africa.
The reason I am suggesting this vehicle is because Britain received an AEC armoured car as an event vehicle, but said vehicle was equipped with an L/50 6-Pdr Mk. V, so this would allow an AEC MK II to be added to the normal tree for everyone to unlock.
Mass 12.7 long tons (14.2 short tons; 12.9 t)
Length 17 ft (5.2 m)
Width 9 ft (2.7 m)
Height 8 ft 4 in (2.54 m)
Armour 16–65 mm (0.63–2.56 in)
Main armament: L/43 6-Pdr Mk. III
Secondary armament 1 × Besa machine gun
1 × Bren light machine gun on PLM Mount
Engine AEC 197 diesel 158 bhp (118 kW)
Power/weight 12.4 hp/tonne
Suspension wheel 4×4
Operational range 250 mi (400 km)
Maximum speed 41 mph (66 km/h)