Arsenal-Crossley M27/28

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image History image

The plan for the Arsenal Crossley Armoured Car was designed between 1924/25 by the Estonian War Ministry. As Estonia lacked a car manufacturing industry , it was decided to order British chassis & engines from the car company Crossley Motors LtD while the armour plates were ordered from Sweden and then they would finally be assembled in the Estonian Arsenal Arms factory in Tallinn.

The characteristics for the Arsenal-Crossley AC m27/28 would be the following:

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Chassis:

Light 4x2 Armoured Car

Engine:

Crossley 25/30 model 45 hp (Petrol)

Transmission:

3 Forward & 1 Reverse

Maximum Road Range:

77 km

Maximum Road Speed:

60 kph

Cruising Range on Road:

177km

Ground Clearance

0,3m

Crew:

4 (Commander, Gunner & Two Drivers)

driver & commander of the armored car were in front, the gunner was located in the tower,
2nd driver was behind, with his back to the direction of travel (the second steering wheel was located behind).

Armament:

1 x 37mm SA-18/L21 or 1x 7,7 mm Madsen Mg

Ammunition Load

200 projectiles or 2000/4000 rounds

Projectile Weight & Velocity

510g

402m/s

Turret Traverse:

360° (Manual)

Dimensions:

4,87m x 1,80m x 2.43m

Combat Weight:

5.500 kg

Hull Armour

Front/Sides/Rear: 7mm

Top: 5mm

Bottom: 3mm

Turret Armour:

Gun Mantle/Front/Sides/Rear: 7mm

Top: 5mm

The inside of the car was lined with felt and sailcloth to protect the crew and equipment from shards of steel that could break off the inner surface of the armor in case of non-penetrating hits, and the floor was covered with pine boards. There were holes in the car from which a Madsen machine gun specially placed in each car could be fired. All hatches could be closed from the inside with spring locks.
Tires were semi-pneumatic meaning that the armored car would not become immobile if the tires were punctured.

The cars were ordered in 2 batches: first 5 vehicles were ordered in 1925 and 8 more were ordered in 1927, counting in total 13 produced vehicles between 1926/28.
Six of these were fitted with the Puteaux SA18/L21 tank gun inside a 360* rotateable turret & the rest with a 7.7mm Madsen Mg. The tube protruding from the machine gun turret was covered with an armor casing.

11 Arsenal Crossleys were given to the Estonian Army and the other 2 to the Kaitseliit (National Guard).

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If we take a look at Estonia’s armour in 1940:

-8 Renault FTs with mgs & 4 with 37mm SA18/L21 guns (bought in 1920)
-4 Mark V Composite Tanks (1920)
-1 Landsverk 180 AC armed with 2 Madsen Mgs (1936)
-6 TKS tankettes (1934)

the Arsenal-Crossley AC was definitely the most potent vehicle.

Plans to improve the vehicles were launched in 1939/1940.
Those improvements consisted of following upgrades:
-each vehicle would be armed with the 37mm SA18/L21 Puteaux gun
-Mg mount in the front hull next to the driver
-tank crew would be supplied with the Tallinn Arsenal Smg & revolvers instead of long rifles

which couldn’t be fulfilled due to lack of funding.

In June 1940, the Baltic countries were annexed by the USSR and so the Estonian Army became part of the Red Army as the 22nd Territorial Rifle Corps. From there on , it is not known what happened to the Arsenal-Crossleys as not a single one of them has survived, but one can speculate, that they were likely destroyed during Operation Barbarossa.

In 2018, a near-exact replica was built by museum staffs in order to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Republic of Estonia which is exhibited at the Jõgewa Military Museum.

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More photos here:

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Sources

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Image sources

3 Likes

+1 Cute little armoured car

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