The Lanchester armoured car was a British armoured car built on the chassis of the Lanchester “Sporting Forty”, it saw wide service with the Royal Naval Air Service and British Army during the First World War. The Lanchester was the second most numerous World War I armoured car in British service after the Rolls-Royce armoured car.
Six-wheeled armoured cars were seen as having a better cross-country performance than four-wheelers. In pursuit of quality the War Office ignored offers from various commercial vehicle firms and, since Rolls-Royce was not interested, turned its attention to Lanchester, a famous rival. The Lanchester Company had supplied four-wheeled armoured cars to the Admiralty in 1915 but this six-wheeled chassis was a major departure for them. It was equipped with the standard Lanchester six-cylinder engine and used the War Department patent rear axle system.
Taking advantage of the long chassis, the armoured hull and turret were enormous and contained three machine-guns. Yet the Lanchesters were much too big for reconnaissance duties, being almost impossible to turn around in narrow roads. For this reason a rear steering position was provided and the cars had detachable tracks which fitted over the rear wheels to assist them over rough country. They were also extremely expensive and the War Office was soon looking for something cheaper.
Thirty-nine armoured Lanchesters were built, starting in 1928, and they were issued to the newly mechanised cavalry regiments. They spent most of their time in Britain although in 1935 the 12th Lancers took some cars out to the Saarland and a few were tested in the Middle East. The cars were used for training in the early years of the war and one was converted into a secure VIP transport for use in London. A few were still operating in Malaya in 1941 with the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders; these ultimately fell into Japanese hands.
This got me thinking about possible uses for the Lanchester armoured car in A Very British Civil War scenarios, but also in an Operation Sealion scenario where German paratroopers attempt to kidnap Winston Churchill who is being moved in a convoy including the Lanchester armoured car which was converted into a secure VIP transport for use in London.