BEDFORD OY, 3-TON, 4X2, "ARMADILLO" MK.III, GUN TRUCK (37 MM C.O.W. GUN)

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   BEDFORD OY, 3-TON, 4X2, "ARMADILLO" MK.III, GUN TRUCK (37 MM C.O.W. GUN)

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Vehicle design and service history:

The Bedford Armadillo was just one of many improvised armoured vehicles produced by the British during the invasion crisis that followed the fall of France. The Armadillo was based on a number of standard lorry chassis, which were armoured by a ramshackle combination of wood protected with a layer of steel, and a driver’s cab protected by only mild steel plates. The simplified design process would allow the vehicles to be produced quickly, as the British government made frantic efforts to prepare for what they perceived as an imminent threat of invasion.

One particular area of concern was the defence of airfields against parachuting airborne troops. Due to the lightly armed nature of these forces, it was thought that the ideal solution to this possible threat was the use of armoured cars and tanks, which would have free reign to protect the open space of an airfield. The issue the British had was a near complete lack of said heavy equipment, as the majority had been lost at Dunkirk. This led to a sudden influx of improvised vehicles, which did not compete for resources with other conventional vehicles.

Because of this perceived threat, the RAF started searching for a suitable vehicle to fulfil their needs at the end of 1940. The turnaround for this specification was quick, and by the 4th of June, they settled on the design that would eventually be known as the Armadillo. The vehicle was based on a Bedford flatbed truck, and, on the back of which was mounted a box-shaped fighting compartment where soldiers could stand and fire their small arms, along with 3 Lewis guns mounted in the superstructure. The superstructure box was made of 7⁄8 inch (22 mm) thick wooden boards, inside which was placed another smaller wooden box, of similar specification, with a gap of 6 inches between the two filled with gravel. This Wallace and Gromit level of engineering provided protection up to rifle and machine gun bullets. The drivers and engine of the Armadillow were also protected by steel plates, to further the armour layout of the ramshackle vehicle.

This design would be refined with the later Armadillo MK III, which was based exclusively on the Bedford three-ton chassis. This vehicle had a slightly smaller fighting compartment, which now only took up the forward half of the truck’s flatbed. On the rear of this bed, a 37mm Coventry Ordnance Works gun was mounted. This gun was a 37mm clip-loaded long recoil autocannon, which dated to the end of the First World War, where it was used for arming aircraft and flying boats for use against bombers and u-boats. The gun fired a AP or HE shell with a modest velocity, but this outdated weapon was deemed ideal for firing against landing aircraft, paratroopers, or possible light vehicles. A total of 55 MK III armadillos were constructed, and the vehicle had a crew of 5 composed of two drivers and three gunners.

In April 1942, a small number of Mk IIIs had their gravel shingle protection replaced with “plastic armour” - a mixture of bitumen (or pitch) and granite or similar stone chippings, which would further improve its protective capabilities. By this point though the Armadillo was starting to be withdrawn from service, and production would be terminated in mid-1942 when about 877 vehicles had been manufactured. The vehicles would then be refurbished for other uses, such as passing to the home guard, as their role was overtaken by the more capable Humber Light Reconnaissance Cars took over their role.

Vehicle Specifications:
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Crew: 5
Length: 6.22 metres (20.4 feet)

Width: 2.18 metres (7.1 feet)

Height: 3.09 metres (1.8 feet)

Main armament: 1 x 37mm COW gun

Secondary Armament: 3 lewis guns

Armour: Wood, gravel and steel plate

Suspension: 4x2 wheel, leaf spring

Engine: 3.5 L 72 bhp l6 petrol

Transmission: 4 speed manual

Speed: 64 km/h (40 mph) on road, 13 km/h (8 mph) off-road

Additional historical pictures:


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Sources:

2 Likes

Wouldn’t be very viable, but definitely would be a neat little event vehicle like the Sd.Kfz 251/10
+1!

2 Likes

Can’t find much info on the gun’s AP shell, only that it could penetrate a 36mm plate at 100m at 90 degrees (flat on). Definitely not the best pen, but since it’s an autocannon it has the ability to compensate with fast follow-up shots. So with that in mind, it sort of balances it out. Otherwise you could make it a pure AA vehicle with only HE, but that wouldn’t be fun.

1 Like

This would be a really silly and fun low-tier truck. Britain needs this! +1

1 Like

+1 because trucc

Maybe this document had more info about the gun

Here a clean picture of the gun more close up.

Ideal for quick scoping normies in the dark