by: Stephen T. Lawson [ ]
Originally published on:
As sure as the machine gun was born it was discovered that airfield protection and convoy escort duties need to be motorized. Better still the company chosen to manufacture this hot box was Rolls Royce. With all the recent surge in 1/32 WWI aviation kits Roden offers a great little incentive to add to the depth of any large scale display.
The sample review kit contains xxx parts. No flash or short shots. Instructions are in a 12 page booklet. Just checking the parts on the trees everything looks square and plumb. Molded in dark green plastic. Note the inner faces of the body are blank so if you open up the access doors with your build you may want to get some rivet head details from your local model railroad shop.
The Rolls-Royce armoured car was first conceived and developed in 1914 and used in World War I through to the early part of World War II. The Royal Naval Air Service raised the first British armoured car squadron during the First World War. In September 1914 all available Rolls Royce Silver Ghost chassis, including their engines whose power had been increased to about 80 hp, were requisitioned to form the basis for the new armoured car. The following month a special committee of the Admiralty Air Department, among whom was Flight Commander T.G. Hetherington, designed the superstructure which consisted of armoured bodywork and a single turret for a Vickers water cooled infantry version machine gun. Since their seem to be some jealousy issues between the RFC & RNAS it was only in 1918 that these vehicles began to show up in RAF service related operations and they seem to be assigned to ex-naval units. An undetermined few also served in BEF convoy escort duties.
The first three vehicles were delivered on 3 December 1914, although by then the mobile period on the Western Front, where the primitive predecessors of the Rolls-Royce cars had served, had already come to an end. Chassis production was suspended in 1917 to enable Rolls-Royce to concentrate on aero engines.
The vehicle was modernized and up graded in 1920 and in 1924, resulting in Rolls-Royce 1920 Pattern and Rolls-Royce 1924 Pattern. In 1940, 34 vehicles which served in Egypt with the 11th Hussars regiment had the "old" turret replaced with an open-topped one carrying a Boys anti-tank rifle, .303 inch Bren machine gun and smoke grenade launchers.
Although the famous British Rolls-Royce Armoured Car was built during WW I, it was destined to have a long life and service career. At the beginning of the Twentieth Century there was no great understanding of the interaction between infantry and their supporting armored cars, which is why the operation of the Rolls-Royce Armoured Car as a military weapon during WWI did not gain widespread appreciation. Apart from this, the car was built on a passenger car chassis and was useless for the conditions in which the major battles of the Great War took place.
Strangely enough, the end of WWI opened up a second life for this armored car. The endless British Empire needed the support of the king's power in the colonies by every possible means. In the African deserts and also in the territory of India, the Rolls-Royce Armoured Car became very useful as a 'police car' for subduing revolts. At the beginning of the 1920s the vehicle underwent a substantial modernization, taking into consideration its venerable construction. The Rolls-Royce Armoured Car had its armor strengthened in some weak places, it received new full metal wheel disks, and its armament was increased. In this manifestation the car was given its full name: Rolls-Royce Armoured Car 1920 Pattern Mk.I. Some of these cars were kept in the homeland, others were passed on to the government of neighboring Ireland where they notably proved themselves in action during the civil war, but the majority of the cars were sent to the turbulent Near and Middle East.
At the end of the 1930s the threatening clouds of war loomed in the air and in all about 150 cars were on the roster of various military units, more than 70 of them in North Africa and the Far East. At that point a number of those Rolls-Royce Armoured Cars which were in service in the desert passed though a standard modernization: they were fitted with new, wider wheels and new disks for better traction in sandy areas, the front of the armored body was redesigned, improving the driver's field of view, and extra new small lights were set on the front wheel wings. The shape of the rotating turret was changed: it was opened up and less rounded longitudinally. It was fitted with a Boys rifle and Vickers guns. With the onset of conflict, and frequent air attack, another gun (a Lewis infantry model) was added for conducting anti-aircraft fire. In spite of its obsolescent construction the Rolls-Royce Armoured Car was used by British troops almost up to the end of WWII. In the combat areas of Africa the more modern Humbers and Staghounds predominated, although the Rolls-Royce was also put to use. And in the Far East in India and Burma where their enemies were similarly archaic Japanese armored cars, they continued until the end of WWII, though by 1945 their numbers were very small.
Type Armored car;
Place of origin United Kingdom.
Service history In service 1915 to 1941.
Used by United Kingdom Ireland Wars World War I, Irish Civil War, World War II.
Production history ;
Variants Rolls-Royce 1920 Pattern, Rolls-Royce 1924 Pattern, Fordson Armored Car, Rolls Royce Indian Pattern.
Weight 4.2 tons
Length 4.93 m (194 in)
Width 1.93 m (76 in)
Height 2.54 m (100 in)
Armor 12 mm (0.47 in)
Primary armament .303 Vickers machine gun
Secondary armament none
Engine 6 cylinder petrol 80 hp (60 kW)
Power/weight 19 hp/tonne
Suspension 4x2 wheel (double rear wheels), leaf spring
range 240 km
Speed 72 km/h (45 mph)
The kit profiles are;
1. RRAC Pattern 1920 Mk.I "Vulture", No. 1 ACC, No 1, 2 or 3 Sect., RAF, 1936, Iraq.
2. RRAC Pattern 1920 Mk.I "Tigris", No. 1 ACC, No 4 Sect., RAF, 1941, Iraq.
3. RRAC modified, unknown, No 1 ACC, No 4 Sect., RAF, 1942, Western Desert, Egypt.
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