Guy armoured car Mk IA
Vehicle Design and service history:
The Guy Armoured Car was one of many British armoured cars, that were produced in limited numbers during the course of the Second World War, and it saw limited action during the Battle of France. Unfortunately due to manufacturing constraints, Guy had insufficient capacity to produce this armoured car alongside their much-needed artillery tractors, resulting in the design and construction techniques being passed on to the Rootes group, which became the basis for the much more successful Humber Armoured car.
The history of the Guy Armoured Car began in 1938 when Guy Motors built five guy quad armoured car prototypes to a design from the Woolwich Arsenal based on the Quad Ant artillery tractor chassis. Using knowledge gained from these prototypes, in early 1938 a number of different 4x4 chassis from both British and foreign manufacturers were tested, in order to decern which would be best for the development of a new line of armoured cars to replace those outdated designs currently in service with the British army. By September three armoured cares had been built by Guy, which even if its chassis lacked some of the more advanced features of their competitors, was favoured, due to the ability to begin production immediately the Guy chassis was preferred.
With production in swing, the vehicle successfully completed troop trials, and between 1939 and 1940, a further 101 armoured cars were produced. The armoured car was initially designated the “Tank, Light, (Wheeled) Mark I”, though the vehicle would go by many names during service including the Guy armoured car, Guy Light Tank (Wheeled) and the Armoured Car, Guy. Initially, the contract specified that the armoured car must be of riveted construction, but following Guy’s suggestion this was changed to welded, as they deemed it more suitable and effective for rapid construction. This change necessitated the development of new techniques including rotating jigs, allowing the bodies and turrets to be produced quicker and cheaper, something the Royal Commission for Awards to Inventors recognised after the war.
Because of this welded hull, the Guy armoured car was the first British armoured car with an all-welded construction) along with a sloped glacis plate. A turret was mounted above the center of the hull, which in the early model was equipt with a Vickers .50 machine gun in the turret and a co-axial .303 caliber Vickers machine gun. This would be supplemented in the Mark IA model, which replaced the Vickers guns with a 15mm Besa machine gun and 7.92 Besa machine gun both of which were aircooled. The engine for the armoured car was located in the rear, and all vehicles carried a No. 19 radio set.
As previously mentioned the body of the Guy vehicle formed the basis of the later Humber Armoured Car, which employed a new chassis, providing a higher top speed and better characteristics overall. This improvement condemned the Guy armoured car to a limited production run, though this did not stop six MK 1 cars being sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), though these were lost with the fall of France. This did not stop the cars serving further into the war though and four MK 1A cars, two each with the 12th Lancers and 2nd Northamptonshire Yeomanry, had their guns removed and additional seats fitted in 1940 for use in the Coats Mission to evacuate the royal family from London in the event of a german invasion. The rest of the production run served in various rolls within the British Army, Belgian Army, Danish and Dutch units stationed in Britain for home duties. By 1943 all Guy armoured cars had been replaced by more modern vehicles, of which was normally its much more successful successor the Humber armoured car.
Mass 5.2 long tons (5.3 t)
Length 13 ft 6 in (4.11 m)
Width 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Height 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m)
Armour up to 15 mm (0.59 in)
Main armament Besa 15 mm air-cooled machine gun
Secondary armament 7.92 mm Besa air-cooled machine gun
Engine Meadows 4ELA 4-cyl petrol engine 55 hp (41 kW)
Power/weight 10.6 hp/tonne
Transmission 4 forward, 1 reverse gear
Suspension 4 × 4 wheel
Operational range 210 mi (340 km)
Maximum speed 40 mph (64 km/h)