The Armored Cars America Provided for the Allies in WWII

The USA, in spite of joining World War II later than the other Allies still supplied an impressive amount of weapons, ammunition and vehicles to the Allied countries fighting against the Nazi occupation. With the automotive industry beginning to take off in the US, it should come as no surprise that they would find a way to work armored cars into the war effort.

One of the earliest of the American armored cars to be used in World War II was the M3A1, known as the White scout car. Manufactured by the White Motor Company in Cleveland, Ohio, the White was chosen from a number of experimental armored cars in 1939. It was made the standard for the US military just before the war began in Europe.

The M3A1 Scout Car
The M3A1 Scout Car

The M3A1 had all-wheel drive, a strengthened chassis, an armored body and an open top. It could carry eight soldiers including the driver and a commander. It included mounts for a .50 caliber and a .30 caliber machine gun both of which could be unmounted and placed on tripods. The windscreen could be protected by raising a steel plate with slots for the driver and commander to see through.

The M3A1 was used by all branches of the US military and was also used by the other Allies in WWII.

In 1941, the US and Britain teamed up to develop a new armored car. They came up with the T17E1 Staghound which was produced by Chevrolet. 3,500 were ordered but the US began to rethink its armored vehicle strategy and the order was reduced and then scrapped entirely.

The British stepped in at this point and bought more than 2,800 of the T17E1s plus another 1,000 T17E1s which were adapted to provide anti-aircraft fire. The usual configuration for the Staghound was a 37mm gun in its turret. The British frequently changed this out for a 3-inch tank howitzer or a 6 pounder gun.

The T18E2 Boarhound was another collaboration between the Americans and the British. The British had been impressed with the German eight-wheeled armored cars in North Africa so the T18E2 was an attempt to create the same design for the Allies. The Americans decided that the final product was too heavy for their standards and production was halted. The thirty cars that had already been built were sold to Britain. However, the war in North Africa was over and there was no longer any need for the T18.

The only surviving T18 Boarhound. Image by Hugh Llewelyn CC BY-SA 2.0 2
The only surviving T18 Boarhound. Image by Hugh Llewelyn CC BY-SA 2.0 2

The M8 Greyhound was a successful American armored car – the most widely used US armored car in WWII. The six-wheeled vehicle entered the war in 1943. It had an open-top turret with a 37mm gun. It carried four crew members – a driver, a bow gunner, a main gunner and a commander. It was a great vehicle on roads but did poorly off of them as it was unable to cross ditches.

An M8 Greyhound.
An M8 Greyhound.

There were 8,523 M8s built in the war and used by both the Americans and the British. After the war they were sold off and used in armies around the globe.

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The M38 Wolfhound was designed to improve upon the M8. The biggest difference was the placement of the wheels which made off road travel much easier. Unfortunately, the design wasn’t approved until 1945 when the war was nearly over. The Army decided to finish the war with the M8s it already had and cancelled the order.


fms is one of the authors writing for Tank Roar