Peerless Armoured Car

This Peerless Armoured Car was on display at the Tank Museum at Bovington.

Peerless Armoured Car

The (original) Peerless Armoured Car was an armoured car that was used by the British Army during the First World War. Sixteen American Peerless trucks were modified by the British to serve as armoured cars. These were relatively primitive designs with open backs, armed with a Pom-pom gun and a machine gun, and were delivered to the British Army in 1915.

In 1919 a new design was built. it was based on the chassis of the Peerless three-tonne lorry, with an armoured body built by the Austin Motor Company.

The Peerless lorry was a relatively slow and heavy vehicle but was reckoned to be tough, with solid rubber tyres and rear-wheel chain drive. The armour for the vehicle produced by the Austin company was based on an earlier design created for the Russian Army.

Peerless Armoured Car

The most common variant was a twin-turret design fitted with two machine guns. However, a number of other variants were developed, including a vehicle armed with a 3-inch (76 mm) gun and an anti-aircraft variant armed with a 13-pound 6cwt AA gun.

The car had a crew of four .The Peerless Armoured Car was used in a variety of roles, including reconnaissance, escort duty, and direct fire support. It was used by the British Army in the Russian Civil War.

The Peerless Armoured Car was a relatively successful design for its time. It was well-protected and reliable, and it was able to carry a significant amount of firepower. However, it was also slow and heavy, which limited its usefulness in some roles. The Peerless Armoured Car was eventually replaced by more modern designs in the 1920s.

Peerless Armoured Car

Poor off-road performance hampered the vehicle but it still saw considerable service, notably in Ireland. A few were still in service with the British at the start of the Second World War. Seven were in service with the Irish National Army during the Irish Civil War and used by the Irish Defence Forces up until 1932.

This photo appeared in the Sunday Independent on 13 August 1922, with the caption: “A Dangerous Corner – This photograph was taken in one of the towns captured during the past week by the National Army. It shows an amoured car “manoeuvring for position” at the end of a street facing the post office. Irregulars occupy the further end of the street, and are being quickly dislodged by infantry supported by the armoured car.”

Peerless Armoured Car in Cork in 1922
Peerless Armoured Car in Cork in 1922 – National Library of Ireland on The Commons [No restrictions]
These armoured cars would have been used in the world of A Very British Civil War. They would also make ideal vehicles for the concept of the 1919 British Revolution I talked about in this blog post.

If there had been a British Revolution in 1919, the Peerless Armoured Cars would have likely been used to suppress the uprising. The cars were well-protected and armed with machine guns, making them ideal for use against rioters and rebels. They would have been deployed to key locations around the country, such as government buildings, military bases, and communication hubs. The cars would have also been used to patrol the streets and to provide support to police forces.

The use of Peerless Armoured Cars would have likely been controversial. Some people would have argued that the cars were necessary to protect the country from chaos and anarchy. Others would have argued that the cars were a symbol of government oppression. The use of the cars would have likely exacerbated tensions between the government and the people, and it could have led to further violence.

Ultimately, the outcome of a British Revolution in 1919 is impossible to say. However, the use of Peerless Armoured Cars would have likely played a significant role in the conflict.

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