Leyland Armored Car

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  • Great Britain Tech Tree
  • Great Britain Premium/Event/Battle Pass
  • Irish Tech/Sub-Tree
  • Sweden Tech Tree
  • Sweden Premium/Event/Battle Pass
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Leyland Armored Car

Also known as Armored Vehicle A.L.V. 1 or Armored Car Mk III

General Description

In the early 1930s, Acting Director of the Irish Cavalry Corps, Comdt. J. V. Lawless, proposed building armored bodies and storing them until they could be fitted onto a locally acquired chassis when the need arose. The Irish Army was skeptical but tasked him with leading the project to create one prototype, initially using surplus turrets from the retired Peerless Armored Cars alongside the Morris Truck as a chassis.

Leyland Prototype Edit

After the Morris Truck was deemed inadequate, the chosen chassis was a Leyland Terrier 6x4 Truck, featuring single front wheels, double rear wheels, pneumatic tires, and a leaf spring suspension. The armored hull, inspired by the Swedish Landsverk L-180, had 7-15mm thick armor plates. The engine was a petrol 6-cylinder Leyland Terrier with 80hp, paired with a 4-speed manual gearbox. Initially, it was armed with two 7.7mm Vickers machine guns in the Peerless Turrets.

Leyland Prototype 2 Edit

The vehicle layout included two control posts, with seats for the driver and machine gunner/radio operator at the front, and for the vehicle commander and gunner behind them. Despite delays due to welding challenges from a lack of qualified welders in Ireland, three more cars (ZC 774 to ZC 776) were produced from 1937 to 1939.

Leyland 3

These new vehicles had extensively modified hulls with new Swedish turrets, now armed with a 20mm Madsen cannon and two 7.7mm Madsen machine guns, with the original prototype being converted to this standard. The Leyland Armored Car served until the 1980s, undergoing modernization in 1957 with a new 155hp Ford V8 Engine alongside the Madsen machine guns being replaced with .30 caliber Brownings.

Development and History

Development History

When dealing with the need to replace a large part of its armored fleet with newer and more modern vehicles, the Irish Cavalry Corps faced the same problem confronting most militaries across Europe during the late 1920s and early 1930s, a lack of funds.

The newly promoted Acting Director of the Cavalry Corps, Commandant J.V. Lawless, proposed a possible solution. He suggested building armored car bodies designed to fit the chassis of a vehicle already in civilian use. These armored bodies would be stored until required and then installed onto the locally acquired chassis. As a further cost-saving measure, Lawless proposed using armor plates and turrets from retired Peerless armored cars. Initially, the General Staff was skeptical of this idea, however in 1934, Lawless was permitted to purchase one chassis for a prototype. The chassis chosen was the Leyland “Terrier,” a three-axle chassis manufactured by Leyland Motors in England.

The Leyland T.E. 2 chassis (T.E. 1 and T.E. 3 being the others in the series) was presumably seen as suitable for military service, even though it was in civilian use. It had been produced following British War Office specifications. This War Office requirement called for a vehicle suited for colonial work, where roads would generally be of poor quality and access to well-equipped maintenance facilities would be limited. On top of this, the chassis was simple in overall design but very durable. The rear twin-axle suspension had only one spring per side, with their ends encased in a grease box to prevent dirt from entering. It was also arranged to give good ground clearance, and when tracks were fitted, its 80hp engine could drag the vehicle up a 1 in 2 gradient.

When the chassis was delivered, Cmdt. Lawless, along with Captain Aubrey Mayne and C/Sgt. Paddy Lynch set about designing and producing an armored car. Due to the layout, the design of the vehicle was not radical, being quite similar to other armored cars being produced at the time. The center and rear proportions, along with the twin turrets from a Peerless armored car, were installed on the chassis unchanged. The major design work involved the new front section around the driver’s position.

Due to the difficulties of working with the salvaged plate using equipment on hand, production of the vehicle took from March until September of 1934. In September the “Armored Vehicle A.L.V. 1” was shown to a representation of staff officers, where it performed quite well with road speeds of 40 mph and 10 mph cross-country. There were some problems experienced with the twin turret arrangement however, and various changes were recommended, such as mounting a spare wheel on stub axle on both sides of the hull, however, this was never adopted.

Leyland Hist

Delays were experienced due to redesigning the workshop buildings, training new fitters, and the production of newly designed turrets based on the Swedish L-60. However, this last problem was solved unexpectedly when the approval was given to purchase four turrets from Landsverk. Due to the delays, it was until July of 1937 before work could begin again. The first all-new Leyland was completed in May 1938, with the second new model Leyland starting in October 1937, and the third in January 1938. Work also began on the original prototype Leyland to bring it up to the same standard as the other vehicles, and by July 1939, all four were finished.

Service History

The Leyland armored cars served alongside Swedish Landsverk L-180s in the First Armored Car Squadron. A total of eight L-180s had been purchased from Sweden. This arrangement lasted until 1940 when the squadron was disbanded to help form the new Motor Squadrons. Following this reorganization, the Leylands became the A Troop, 2nd Motor Squadron, and were based at Curragh.

In 1942, a Heavy Armored Car Squadron was formed, with the Leylands and Landsverks combined, serving together until the end of the war. Despite being active in exercises and often causing a stir when seen close to the border, the Leylands saw no combat action during the war.

In 1956/57, both sets of vehicles were engine swapped with Ford V8s. This upgrade also allowed the rebuilding of the front of the Leylands. Additionally, the Madsen machine guns were replaced with .30 caliber Brownings taken from retired aircraft. Alongside this, the original 36" x 6" tires were swapped for larger 7.50 x 20s.

The Leylands continued to serve with the First Armored Car Squadron until 1972 when the remaining three vehicles were transferred to the 5th Motor Squadron, an F.C.A. unit (Forsea Cosanta Aituil - Gaelic for Land Defence Force). They remained in service with this unit until they were finally retired in 1983.

Vehicle ZC-773 was set aside with the hope of establishing a Cavalry Corps Museum. ZC-774 was exchanged for a Ferret Mk.2 armored car from the Tank Museum in Bovington. ZC-775 was scrapped in 1969, and ZC-776 is thought to be in storage, possibly awaiting an exchange, its location is currently unknown.

Technical Specifications

Leyland 4

Length: 20 Feet 11 Inches (6.73 Meters)
Width: 7 ft 3 in (2.21 m)
Height: 8 ft (2.44 m)

Wheel Layout: 6 x 4 Single Front, Double Rear
Steering: Front Wheels
1939 Tires: 36" x 6"
1957 Tires: 7.50 x 20s
Suspension: Leaf Spring

Hull Front 12 mm
Hull Side: 12 mm
Hull Rear: 12 mm
Turret Front: 15 mm
Turret Side: 8 mm
Turret Rear: 7 mm
Turret Roof: 7 mm

Combat Weight: 8 Tons 15 Cwt (8750 kg)

Crew: 4
Positions: Driver, Radio Operator/Machine Gunner, Gunner, Commander

1939 Propulsion:
Engine: 6-Cylinder Leyland Terrier
Power: 80 bhp (33 hp)
Transmission: Leyland 4 Speed Manual

1939 Performance:
Road Speed: 40 mph (64 kph)
Cross Country Speed: 10 mph (16 kph)

Max Range: 150 mi (242 km)
Max Grade: 1 in 2 (27° Slope)

1957 Propulsion:
Engine: 8-Cylinder Ford Type 317
Power: 155 bhp
Transmission: Leyland 4 Speed Manual

1957 Performance:
Road Speed: 45 mph (72 kph)
Cross Country Speed: 12 mph (19 kph)

Max Range: ~150 mi (~242 km)
Max Grade: ~1 in 2 (~27° Slope)


1934 Armament:
Turrets: 2
Guns: 2 x 7.7mm (.303) Hotchkiss Machine Guns (One Per Turret)
Magazine Size: 20 Round Box Magazine
Ammo Capacity: 1,750 Rounds per Gun

1939 Armament:
Turrets: 1
Guns: 20mm Madsen M1933 AT Gun
Fire Rate: 250 Rounds Per Minute
Velocity: 680-780 m/s

Magazine Size: 10 Rounds
Ammo Capacity: 350 Rounds
Guidance: -10° to 30°

Ammo Types: AP-T, APC-T, APHE, HE-T, HE
Penetration Chart:

Aiming: Turret Mounted Zeiss Targeting Periscope
Visual Angle: 40°
Magnification: x1.75

Co-Axial: 7.7mm Madsen Machine Gun
Hull: 7.7mm Madsen Machine Gun
Magazine Size: 25, 30, 45 Round Magazine
Ammo Capacity: 600 Rounds per Gun

1957 Armament:
Turret: Unchanged

Co-Axial: .30 Cal Browning Machine Gun
Hull: .30 Cal Browning Machine Gun
Magazine Size: 75 Round Magazine
Ammo Capacity: ~600 Rounds per Gun

In War Thunder

Rank: I
Battle Rating: 1.0 - 2.0 [in Realistic Battles]
Tech Trees: Great Britain, Ireland TT/Sub, or Sweden
Location: UK before/after Daimler Mk II/SARC MkIVa, Ireland Tech Tree/Sub Tree, Sweden before/after T-28, or Event/Premium

Comment(s): Feel free to share any new sources or information below. I’ll do my best to update the post accordingly if anything new or incorrect is discovered. Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the suggestion.

Personal Opinions

In my opinion, the Leyland Armored Car should be included in the Great Britain tech tree, or at least featured in an Irish sub-tree or independent Ireland tech tree. Given the Swedish export turret and the use of Landsverk L-180s and L60s by Ireland, some have given the idea to possibly add it to Sweden. I’d want to give people the option to vote on the matter so it will be in the poll above.

The Leyland could be a great addition, especially in the UK low-tier lineups. It also could be a smaller event/premium reward, bringing some fun with its 20mm Madsen autocannon and decent mobility. However, due to its weak armor and lower penetration values, especially compared to the similar wheeled German 20mm autocannons, it would likely be placed at a lower battle rating.

Last Suggestion(s):









very nice, +1 to sweden so I can play it without grinding a whole new techtree

1 Like

Seems better for britain since sweden didnt really have anything to do with this outside of inspiration from a design and the turrets. Besides sweden could still get the L-180 and other low br wheelie bois

1 Like