11/06/2018 at 10:25 #92976
I had a burst of energy last night & am now within a coo-ee of finishing the primping, basing & re-basing of my late-WW2 British. This evening, I dug out my German figures, preparatory to starting the process with them. This raises some questions about armoured cars I would like to lay before our knowledgeable membership.
Each of my 3 forces has a single model of an armoured car, representing 2-3 actual vehicles.
The British have an AEC vehicle, The Germans a Sd. Kfz. 222 and the US have a M8 Greyhound. Why these? Because they were part of an early buying spree & looked nice…..
I’ve earmarked them for a Recce role in my future games. This sounds about right? What, if any, other roles did armoured cars have? I must admit they seem to me to be rather out of place in WW2 in terms of being armed but surely not that useful in a stand up fight by virtue of size/height yet poor armour.
Do I have to repeat I don’t really know much about warfare after the C19th?
donald11/06/2018 at 14:09 #92984
Not Connard SageParticipant
What, if any, other roles did armoured cars have?
Target practice. 🙂
More seriously, communications and observation for artillery. Your average FOO is probably happier in something with a gun and armour, no matter how puny.
They played a bigger role in the early desert campaigns, where their lack of armour wasn’t such a great disadvantage, and their speed allowed sweeping outflanking manouevres.
"I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."11/06/2018 at 14:39 #92989
Darkest Star GamesParticipant
They played a bigger role in the early desert campaigns
And also used there to chase the enemy’s spec-ops units across the deep desert (LRDG being chased by German 8-rads are legend).
a lot of the time AC are also used for screening the flanks of an advance, where they can retire if they run into anything heavy, as well as to probe defenses.
"I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."11/06/2018 at 16:03 #92996
I can’t do better than recommend “Scouts Out” by Robert Edwards, 518 pages of German reconnaisance heaven! But if WWII is only a minor interest then you may not be willing to pay the £33 it costs to get a copy. In which case I’ll paraphrase a small section of the German armoured reconnaisance manual of 1944.
1. the armoured reconnaisance battalion is the eyes of an armoured division. Its nature lies in its ability to switch between recce and fighting.
2. it is capable of conducting recce through force
3. the main mission is the conduct of tactical recce
4. in addition it is also suitable for the execution of combat missions such as;
employment as an advance guard
advances into the flank and rear of the enemy
screening gaps in friendly formations
advancing into enemy air-landed formations, monitoring, sealing off or destroying them
masking friendly movements11/06/2018 at 17:11 #93028
John D SaltParticipant
Recce is pretty much what armoured cars are made to do. In little people’s wars, as they were light, deployable armour, they found themselves carrying out all sorts of other roles, mostly as a substitute tank where the enemy had no armour, and for escorting convoys through guerilla-infested territory. But for WW2, recce is pretty much it.
As for “not that useful in a stand-up fight”, that’s quite correct. Their job is to find out what’s going on and report back, not to mix it with the big boys. The AEC you mention is a bit unusual in this respect, as the designers tried to give it armament, if not armour, comparable wth contemporary tanks, and different marks of AEC have been known to sport tank turrets, from either a Valentine or a Crusader. This is somewhat like the early-war British idea of a “wheeled tank”, and it’s a bit odd, even by British Army standards. I tend to think of AECs in terms of the Mk III, which packed a 75mm MV gun, but would normally have been found only in the support troop (also for obvious reasons someties known as the 75 troop) of an armoured car squadron.
British recce doctrine, from ages ago until now, has been “recce by stealth” — as everyobody’s seems to be, at least at the start of a war. Fighting was only really supposed to be a thing to get yourself out of trouble. While armoured cars might not have much in the way of armour protection, safety also comes from low silhouette (obviously not in a lumbering monster like the AEC), rapid movement, and, most of all, careful use of terrain. It doesn’t matter how big the enemy’s ATk gun is, it won’t punch through a hill, so stay behind the crest and have the commander observe from a turret-down position, or perhaps get him to stand on the turret roof to peek over the crest, or dismount altogether and creep up to the crest to observe.
Note that by 1944 British recce regiments came it three different kinds. Armoured car regiments would be very high-level assets, usually reporting to corps. Mostly these were regiments with an appropriate light cavalry tradition, like the Household Cavalry or the 11th Hussars. Divisions would have their own organic recce assets, in the form of a recce regiment for an infantry division, or an armoured recce regiment for an aroured division. A recce regiment, belonging to the wartime-only Reconnaissance Corps (see “Only the Enemy in Front”), would include some armoured cars, but mostly rely on yet lighter vehicles such as Light Reconnaissance Cars or carriers. An armoured recce regiment in NWE in 1944 would be riding in Cromwells, and so quite hard to distinguish organisationally from an armoured regiment; and indeed Pip Roberts grouped 11th Armoured to employ the armoured recce regiment as a fourth armoured regiment. So much for recce, so much for stealth.
German recce doctrine was a bit more aggressive, supporting the idea of fighting for information if necessary, so your Sd Kfz 222 would have been backed up by some heavier metal on 8-wheelers. The Germans also found, as the war progressed, that recce units might have to be put into the battle as ersatz combat units. The Americans started off believing in recce by stealth, but early experience convinced them that a pretty robust all-arms organisation was really the right way to find out what was going on.
Note that the recce assets discussed above would belong to division or higher levels of command; what used to be called “medium recce” in British parlance, later “formation recce”. Few tabletop wargames are of sufficient scale to justify their prescence on the board. Regiments or battalions have their own recce assets, never as far as I can recall mounted in armoured cars, but rather in scout cars, carriers, half-tracks, jeeps and the like. In British parlance these are doing “close recce”, and are much more likely to be seen in proximity to the maneouvre elements.
All the best,
John.11/06/2018 at 21:24 #93077
Wot they said!
As John said, the AEC III was a rare beast, only used by the Support (’75’) Troops of Armoured Car Squadrons in a handful of regiments – 2nd Household Cavalry Regt and the Royal Dragoons (and the Belgian Armoured Car Regt from Jan 1945 onwards). Their job was mainly to lay down HE fire support for the sneakier armoured cars (Daimler Armoured Cars and Dingo Scout Cars), so think of them more as ‘pocket artillery’ for the armoured car squadrons, rather than a ‘point of the spear’ armoured car. The other regiments (11th Hussars and Inns of Court, as well as virtually every regiment in Italy) used M3 GMCs (a 75mm gun on a halftrack) for that job until they wore out in 1945ish.
A better bet for a generic British armoured car would be the Daimler Armoured Car – they were normally paired with the Daimler Dingo Scout Car. The Canadians used Staghounds in lieu of Daimler Armoured Cars and Lynx in lieu of Dingo (though Lynx and Dingo were practically identical).
In Infantry Division Recce Regiments they generally used Humber Mk IV Armoured Cars, paired with Humber Light Recce Cars (LRCs), though a few regiments replaced their Humber Armoured Cars with Daimler Armoured Cars (the LRCs stayed though).
Humber LRCs were also used by the RAF Regiment Armoured Squadrons and in the Engineer Recce role.
My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/11/06/2018 at 21:25 #93078
John D SaltParticipant
I can’t do better than recommend “Scouts Out” by Robert Edwards
Dammit, more expense.
All the best,
John.11/06/2018 at 23:24 #93082
deephorseParticipant12/06/2018 at 07:16 #93086
It is also notable that British Armoured car regiments were literally that, regiments of Armoured cars. Divisional recce had more of a mix of vehicles.
German Armoured recce only had one or two companies of Armoured cars, the rest being heavily armed panzer grenadiers, supported by piles of heavy weapons. So much more like a PG battalion, with some attached Armoured cars and armed halftracks.
"Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke
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