British heavy tanks of World War I
British heavy tanks were a series of related armoured fighting vehicles developed by the UK during the First World War. The Mark I was the world's first tank, a tracked and armoured vehicle, to enter combat; the name "tank" was a code name to maintain secrecy and disguise its true purpose. The type was developed in 1915 to break the stalemate of trench warfare, it could survive the machine gun and small-arms fire in "No Man's Land", travel over difficult terrain, crush barbed wire, cross trenches to assault fortified enemy positions with powerful armament. Tanks carried supplies and troops. British heavy tanks are distinguished by an unusual rhomboidal shape with a high climbing face of the track, designed to cross the wide and deep trenches prevalent on the battlefields of the Western Front. Due to the height necessary for this shape, an armed turret would have made the vehicle too tall and unstable. Instead, the main armament was arranged in sponsons at the side of the vehicle; the prototype, named "Mother", mounted a Hotchkiss machine gun at each side.
Subtypes were produced with machine guns only, which were designated "Female", while the original version with the protruding 6-pounder was called "Male". The Mark I entered service in August 1916, was first used in action on the morning of 15 September 1916 during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, part of the Somme Offensive. With the exception of the few interim Mark II and Mark III tanks, it was followed by the similar Mark IV, which first saw combat in June 1917; the Mark IV was used en masse, about 460 tanks, at the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917. The Mark V, with a much improved transmission, entered service in mid-1918. More than two thousand British heavy tanks were produced. Manufacture was discontinued at the end of the war; the Mark I was a development of Little Willie, the experimental tank built for the Landship Committee by Lieutenant Walter Wilson and William Tritton between July and September 1915. It was designed by Wilson in response to problems with tracks and trench-crossing ability discovered during the development of Little Willie.
A gun turret above the hull would have made the centre of gravity too high when climbing a German trench parapet, so the tracks were arranged in a rhomboidal form around the hull and the guns were put in sponsons on the sides of the tank. The reworked design was able to meet the Army requirement to be able to cross an 8 ft wide trench. A mockup of Wilson's idea was shown to the Landship Committee when they viewed the demonstration of Little Willie. At about this time, the Army's General Staff was persuaded to become involved and supplied representatives to the Committee. Through these contacts Army requirements for armour and armament made their way into the design; the prototype Mark I, ready in December 1915, was called "Mother". Mother was demonstrated to the Landship Committee in early 1916; the demonstration was repeated on 2 February before the cabinet ministers and senior members of the Army. Kitchener, the Secretary of State for War, was skeptical but the rest were impressed. Lloyd George, at the time Minister of Munitions, arranged for his Ministry to be responsible for tank production.
The Landship Committee was re-constituted as the "Tank Supply Committee" under the chairmanship of Albert Stern. General Haig sent a staff officer Hugh Elles to act as his liaison to the Supply Committee. Swinton would become the head of the new arm, Elles the commander of the tanks in France; the first order for tanks was placed on 12 February 1916, a second on 21 April. Fosters built 37, Metropolitan Carriage and Finance Company, of Birmingham, 113, a total of 150; when the news of the first use of the tanks emerged, Lloyd George commented, Well, we must not expect too much from them but so far they have done well, don't you think that they reflect some credit on those responsible for them? It is to Mr Winston Churchill that the credit is due more than to anyone else, he took up with enthusiasm the idea of making them a long time ago, he met with many difficulties. He converted me, at the Ministry of Munitions he went ahead and made them; the admiralty experts were invaluable, gave the greatest possible assistance.
They are, of course, experts in the matter of armour plating. Major Stern, a business man at the Ministry of Munitions had charge of the work of getting them built, he did the task well. Col Swinton and others did valuable work; the Mark I was a rhomboid vehicle with a low centre of gravity and long track length, able to negotiate broken ground and cross trenches. The main armament was carried in sponsons on the hull sides; the hull was undivided internally. The environment inside was unpleasant. Temperatures inside could reach 50 °C. Entire crews lost consciousness inside the tank or, collapsed when again exposed to fresh air. To counter the danger of bullet splash or fragments knocked off the inside of the hull, crews were issued with leather-and-chainmail masks. A leather helmet was issued, to protect the head against projections inside the tank. Gas masks were standard issue as well, as
The Universal Carrier known as the Bren Gun Carrier from the light machine gun armament, is a common name describing a family of light armoured tracked vehicles built by Vickers-Armstrongs and other companies. The first carriers – the Bren Carrier and the Scout Carrier with specific roles – entered service before the war, but a single improved design that could replace these, the Universal, was introduced in 1940; the vehicle was used by British Commonwealth forces during the Second World War. Universal Carriers were used for transporting personnel and equipment support weapons, or as machine gun platforms. With some 113,000 built by 1960 in the United Kingdom and abroad, it is the most produced armoured fighting vehicle in history; the origins of the Universal Carrier family can be traced back to the Carden Loyd tankettes family, developed in the 1920s, the Mk VI tankette. In 1934, Vickers-Armstrongs produced, as a commercial venture, a light tracked vehicle that could be used either to carry a machine gun or to tow a light field gun.
The VA. D50 had an armoured box at the front for driver and a gunner and bench seating at the back for the gun crew; the War Office considered it as a possible replacement for their "Dragon" artillery tractors and took 69 as the "Light Dragon Mark III". One was built as the "Carrier, Machine-Gun Experimental", carrying its crew; the decision was made to drop the machine gun and its team and the next design had a crew of three – driver and gunner in the front, third crew-member on the left in the rear and the right rear open for stowage. A small number of this design as "Carrier, Machine-Gun No 1 Mark 1" were built and entered service in 1936; some were converted into pilot models for the Machine gun Carrier, Cavalry Carrier and Scout Carrier – the others were used for training. The carrier put the commander at the front sitting side by side; the Ford Flathead V8 engine that powered it was placed in the centre of the vehicle with the final drive at the rear. The suspension and running gear were based on that used on the Vickers light tank series using Horstmann springs.
Directional control was through a vertical steering wheel. Small turns moved the front road wheel assembly, warping the track so the vehicle drifted to that side. Further movement of the wheel braked the appropriate track to give a turn; the hull in front of the commander's position jutted forward to give room for the Bren gun to fire through a simple slit. To either side of the engine was an area in which passengers could ride or stores could be carried. There were several types of Carrier that varied in design according to their purpose: "Medium Machine Gun Carrier", "Bren Gun Carrier", "Scout Carrier" and "Cavalry Carrier". However, production of a single model came to be preferred and the Universal design appeared in 1940, it differed from the previous models in that the rear section of the body had a rectangular shape, with more space for the crew. Production of Carriers began in 1934 and ended in 1960. Before the Universal design was introduced, the vehicles were produced by Aveling and Porter, Bedford Vehicles, the British branch of the Ford Motor Company, Morris Motors Limited, the Sentinel Waggon Works, the Thornycroft company.
With the introduction of the Universal, production in the UK was undertaken by Aveling-Barford, Sentinel and Wolseley Motors. By 1945 production amounted to 57,000 of all models, including some 2,400 early ones; the Universal Carriers, in different variants, were produced in allied countries. Ford Motor Company of Canada manufactured about 29,000 vehicles known as the Ford C01UC Universal Carrier. Smaller numbers of them were produced in Australia, where hulls were made in several places in Victoria and by South Australian Railways workshops in Adelaide, South Australia. About 1,300 were produced in New Zealand; the United States of America manufactured Universal Carriers for allied use with GAE and GAEA V-8 Ford engines. About 20,000 were produced; the Universal Carrier was ubiquitous in all the theatres during the Second World War with British and Commonwealth armies, from the war in the East to the occupation of Iceland. Although the theory and policy was that the carrier was a "fire power transport" and the crew would dismount to fight, practice differed.
It could carry machine guns, infantrymen, supplies. Artillery and observation equipment; the seven mechanized divisional cavalry regiments in the BEF during 1939–1940 were equipped with Scout Carriers – 44 carriers and 28 light tanks in each regiment. There were 10 Bren Carriers in each infantry battalion in the same period; the reconnaissance corps regiments – which replaced the cavalry regiments in supporting Infantry divisions after 1940 – were each equipped with 63 carriers, along with 28 Humber Scout Cars. Universal Carriers were issued to the support companies in infantry rifle battalions for carrying support weapons. A British armoured division of 1940–41 had 109 carriers. A British Carrier platoon had ten Universal Carriers with three carrier sections of three Universal Carriers each plus another Universal Carrier in the platoon HQ; each Universal Carrier had a rifleman and a driver-mechanic. One Universal Carrier in each section was commanded by the other two by corporals. All the Universal Carriers were armed with a Bren light machine gun and one carrier in each carrier section had a Boys an
The Lorraine 37L or Tracteur de ravitaillement pour chars 1937 L, was a light tracked armoured vehicle developed by the Lorraine company during the Interwar period or Interbellum, before the Second World War, to an April 1936 French Army requirement for a armoured munition and fuel supply carrier to be used by tank units for front line resupply. A prototype was built in 1937 and production started in 1939. In this period, two armoured personnel carriers and a tank destroyer project were based on its chassis. Equipping the larger mechanised units of the French Infantry arm, the type was extensively employed during the Battle of France in 1940. After the defeat of France, clandestine manufacture was continued in Vichy France, culminating in a small AFV production after the liberation and bringing the total production to about 630 in 1945. Germany used captured vehicles in their original role of carrier and finding the suspension system to be reliable, rebuilt many into tank destroyers of the Marder I type or into self-propelled artillery.
In 1934, the order was given to design a munition supply vehicle to increase the operational range of independent tank units. The same year, the Renault 36R was selected for further development. However, this tractor was only armoured. Early in 1937, the Lorraine company finished a prototype, it was a lengthened version of a proposed replacement type for the 1931 model Renault UE Chenillette tracked infantry supply tractor. In February 1937, the matériel commission, the Commission de Vincennes, was ordered to test the prototype and to complete an evaluation before 1 November 1937 if testing would not yet have been finished; the prototype was only tested until 4 August. It was equipped with a 2371 cc Delahaye four cylinder 124 F engine. Although the vehicle attained a maximum speed of 30 km/h, this dropped to an unacceptably low 22.8 km/h when an intended fuel trailer was attached. It was therefore returned to the factory and a more powerful Delahaye 135 engine and stronger clutch were fitted; this vehicle was achieved the desired 35 km/h.
The commission approved the type during late 1937, being impressed by the rugged suspension system. It was decided in September 1939 to reserve the total production capacity of the suspension elements for the larger tractor; this implied that the shorter Lorraine replacement for the Renault UE, though favoured over other candidates, would not be taken into production: an order of hundred made early 1939 was that month shifted towards the longer version. In 1938, three orders were made: of 78, 100 and another 100 vehicles of the Tracteur de ravitaillement pour chars 1937 L; the first vehicle was delivered by Lorraine on 11 January 1939. The ambitious plans made after the outbreak of war for the expansion of the number of armoured divisions meant that the Lorraine 37L orders had to be enlarged accordingly, bringing the total to 1012; the intended initial production rate was fifty per month. To assist in the manufacture, a second assembly hall was erected by Fouga at Béziers, where it was hoped that it could produce at first twenty and thirty vehicles per month.
In reality, this number was never attained. On 26 May 1940, 432 vehicles had been delivered to the army by Lorraine and Fouga out of 440 produced. Production continued after that date and an estimated total of about 480 to 490 had been reached by 25 June 1940, the end of the Battle of France. Being derived from a chenillette project, the Lorraine 37 L is a rather small vehicle, just 1.57 metres wide. Space had been found by lengthening the chassis to 4.22 metres. Lacking a turret or superstructure its height is not excessive at just 1.215 metres. The small dimensions combined with a light armour — nine millimetres for the vertical riveted plates, six for the top and bottom and twelve for the cast rounded nose section — ensured a low weight: the basic TRC 37L weighs just 5.24 metric tonnes empty, the trailer adding 1.2 tonnes. Given the vehicle's low weight, the suspension is quite robust and exceptionally reliable in comparison with other systems used on French armour of the time, that were either too complicated or too flimsy.
Six large road wheels in three pairs of bogies gave a low ground pressure and good weight distribution. Each bogie is allowed a vertical movement in its entirety, sprung by an inverted leaf spring assembly located just below the upper track run, the three assemblies being placed between the four top rollers; the tracks are 22 cm wide. The drive sprockets are in the front and driven by a transmission in the nose of the vehicle; the two crew members, the driver on the left, sat in the forward compartment, the drive shaft between them. Entrance to the compartment is by two wide horizontal hatches, the upper hinging upwards, allowing the driver an unobstructed view if opened, the lower hinging downwards; the centrally positioned engine compartment is separated by a bulkhead from the driver compartment in front of it. The external silencer is on the left of the vehicle under an armoured covering. All vehicles in the series were powered by a Delahaye Type 135 6-cylinder 3.556 litre engine developing 70 bhp at 2
Type 95 Heavy Tank
The Type 95 Heavy Tank was the final result of Japanese multi-turreted tank design, was in commission during the time period between World War I and World War II. Modeled on German and Italian tank designs, this tank featured 3 turrets; the main armament being a 70 mm cannon in a central turret, with its secondary front turret mounting a 37 mm gun and a 6.5 mm machine gun in the rear turret. Four prototypes were produced in 1934. After World War I, major powers around the world adopted the revolutionary design of French Renault FT light tank. One of the most successful features on the Renault FT was a 360 degree rotating turret. While developing new single-turreted tanks more based on the Renault FT, many countries, including Japan experimented with the possibility of multi-turreted designs; the Imperial Japanese Army made the decision to develop heavy combat vehicles, prompted by the increasing threat posed by the Soviet Union, a potential enemy of Japan in East Asia. In 1931, Japan produced a prototype heavy tank, designated the Type 91.
It was an 18-ton, three turret tank with a BMW IV Inline 6-cylinder gasoline engine. The Type 91 had a Type 90 57 mm cannon as its main armament, its two smaller auxiliary turrets were each armed with a 6.5 mm machine gun. The tank had a maximum armor plate thickness of 17 mm, it had seventeen road wheels on each side, which were supported by a "two-stage leaf spring suspension system". This first design was not successful, the Type 91 project was soon canceled. However, this project became a stepping stone in the development of the Type 95 Heavy tank; the development of a new multi-turreted tank started in 1932 and was completed in 1934. The overall shape of the Type 95 followed the design of the earlier Type 91, but it had thicker armor and its firepower was improved, its suspension system was modified from that of the Type 91. While still using a leaf spring suspension, it had only nine road wheels on each side, its 26 tonne weight made it the largest Japanese tank at the time. Four prototypes were produced in 1934.
However, the multi-turreted tank concept was cancelled, the Type 95 did not go into production. It had a lower top speed than desired. Modeled on German and Italian tank designs, this tank featured 3 turrets. Mounted in the central turret was the primary weapon of Type 95, a Type 94 7 cm tank gun designed for it; the cannon could Type 95 armor-piercing shells. The gun elevation angle was 20 degrees and gun depression angle was -12 degrees. A 6.5 mm machine gun was mounted in the main turret. Two addition turrets gave Type 95 yet more firepower: a Type 94 3.7 cm tank cannon was mounted in one auxiliary turret, the other rear facing auxiliary turret featured a 6.5 mm machine gun. Two chassis were used as platforms for: Experimental 105 mm SPG Hi-Ro Sha or Hiro-shaAn open top SPG with a front mounted 105 mm main gun on Type 95 Heavy Tank chassis. A self-propelled gun. Experimental 105 mm SPG Ji-Ro or Ji-Ro ShaAn open top SPG with a rear mounted 105 mm main gun on Type 95 Heavy Tank chassis, similar to German Elefant.
Tanks in the Japanese Army Hara, Tomio. Japanese Medium Tanks. AFV Weapons Profiles No. 49. Profile Publications Limited. Tomczyk, Andrzej. Japanese Armor Vol. 1. AJ Press. ISBN 83-7237-097-4. History of War.org Taki's Imperial Japanese Army Page - Akira Takizawa
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war in the former Russian Empire after the two Russian Revolutions of 1917, as many factions vied to determine Russia's political future. The two largest combatant groups were the Red Army, fighting for the Bolshevik form of socialism led by Vladimir Lenin, the loosely allied forces known as the White Army, which included diverse interests favouring political monarchism, economic capitalism and alternative forms of socialism, each with democratic and anti-democratic variants. In addition, rival militant socialists and non-ideological Green armies fought against both the Bolsheviks and the Whites. Eight foreign nations intervened against the Red Army, notably the former Allied military forces from the World War and the pro-German armies; the Red Army defeated the White Armed Forces of South Russia in Ukraine and the army led by Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak to the east in Siberia in 1919. The remains of the White forces commanded by Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel were beaten in Crimea and evacuated in late 1920.
Lesser battles of the war continued on the periphery for two more years, minor skirmishes with the remnants of the White forces in the Far East continued well into 1923. The war ended in 1923 in the sense that Bolshevik communist control of the newly formed Soviet Union was now assured, although armed national resistance in Central Asia was not crushed until 1934. There were an estimated 7,000,000–12,000,000 casualties during the war civilians; the Russian Civil War has been described by some as the greatest national catastrophe that Europe had yet seen. Many pro-independence movements emerged after the break-up of the Russian Empire and fought in the war. Several parts of the former Russian Empire—Finland, Latvia and Poland—were established as sovereign states, with their own civil wars and wars of independence; the rest of the former Russian Empire was consolidated into the Soviet Union shortly afterwards. After the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the Russian Provisional Government was established during the February Revolution of 1917.
Provisional Government was unable to solve the most pressing issues of the country, most to end the war with Central Powers, was overthrown by the Bolshevik wing of Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in the late 1917. From mid-1917 onwards, the Russian Army, the successor-organisation of the old Russian Imperial Army, started to disintegrate. In January 1918, after significant Bolshevik reverses in combat, the future People's Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs, Leon Trotsky headed the reorganization of the Red Guards into a Workers' and Peasants' Red Army in order to create a more effective fighting force; the Bolsheviks appointed political commissars to each unit of the Red Army to maintain morale and to ensure loyalty. In June 1918, when it had become apparent that a revolutionary army composed of workers would not suffice, Trotsky instituted mandatory conscription of the rural peasantry into the Red Army; the Bolsheviks overcame opposition of rural Russians to Red-Army conscription units by taking hostages and shooting them when necessary in order to force compliance the same practices used by the White Army officers.
The Red Army utilized former Tsarist officers as "military specialists". At the start of the civil war, former Tsarist officers comprised three-quarters of the Red Army officer-corps. By its end, 83% of all Red Army divisional and corps commanders were ex-Tsarist soldiers. While resistance to the Red Guard began on the day after the Bolshevik uprising, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and the instinct of one party rule became a catalyst for the formation of anti-Bolshevik groups both inside and outside Russia, pushing them into action against the new regime. A loose confederation of anti-Bolshevik forces aligned against the Communist government, including landowners, conservatives, middle-class citizens, pro-monarchists, army generals, non-Bolshevik socialists who still had grievances and democratic reformists voluntarily united only in their opposition to Bolshevik rule, their military forces, bolstered by forced conscriptions and terror as well as foreign influence, under the leadership of General Nikolai Yudenich, Admiral Alexander Kolchak and General Anton Denikin, became known as the White movement and controlled significant parts of the former Russian Empire for most of the war.
A Ukrainian nationalist movement was active in Ukraine during the war. More significant was the emergence of an anarchist political and military movement known as the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine or the Anarchist Black Army led by Nestor Makhno; the Black Army, which counted numerous Jews and Ukrainian peasants in its ranks, played a key part in halting Denikin's White Army offensive towards Moscow during 1919 ejecting White forces from Crimea. The remoteness of the Volga Region, the Ural Region and the Far East was favorable for the anti-Bolshevik forces, the Whites set up a number of organizations in the cities of these regions; some of the military forces were set up on the basis of clandestine officers' organizations in the cities. The Czechoslovak Legions had been part of the Russian army and numbered around 30,000 troops by October 1917, they had an agreement with the new Bolshevik governmen
The Automitrailleuse de Reconnaissance Renault Modèle 1933 was a French cavalry light tank developed during the Interbellum and used in the Second World War. Developed by Renault from 1932, the type was ordered by the French Cavalry in 1933; the AMR 33 was armed and armoured. It was therefore succeeded by an improved type, the AMR 35. Though its name might suggest otherwise, the AMR 33 was not a scout vehicle and was not equipped with a radio set; the AMR 33s were intended to form a large mass of light tanks, preceding the medium types into battle. In reality they never served as such. In the Battle of France of 1940 the AMR 33s were lost; some captured. To counter the threat posed by the massive Soviet arms build-up since 1928, the year Joseph Stalin took power, the French government on 4 July 1930 conceived the plan to form a projection force capable of assisting its allies in the Cordon sanitaire; this force would have to consist of five motorised infantry divisions and the five existing cavalry divisions, one brigade of each of which would have to be motorised.
In 1934 the 4th Cavalry Division would have to be transformed into an armoured division. The plan called for the introduction of many specialised vehicles, among, an Automitrailleuse de Cavalerie type Reconnaissance, specified on 16 January 1932 as a vehicle of three tons, armed with a light machine gun and having a range of 200 kilometres. Automitrailleuse was the generalised term for any light armoured fighting vehicle armed with a machine gun and was used to indicate a cavalry tank, as by law tanks had to be part of the Infantry. Although the name might suggest otherwise, an AMR was not a specialised reconnaissance vehicle but a skirmisher without a radio; the gathering and reporting of information was the task of an AMD. In anticipation Louis Renault had early November 1931 begun to design a tracteur léger de cavalerie type VM based on his Renault UE tractor. On 12 November the first drawings were examined and rejected because the vehicle in its proposed form was much too cramped. A larger hull was necessary but Renault was hesitant to invest in it without the prospect of a possible order.
On 21 November he was asked by the Section Technique de la Cavalerie to provide a tankette version of his Renault UE to test the feasibility of a tracked AMR-concept. Being hereby informed of the general outlines of the specifications, he sent on 22 December a representative to supreme commander Maxime Weygand to lobby for a Renault AMR. Weygand informed him that it had informally been decided to procure the AMR Citroën Kégresse P 28, a half-track made by Renault's competitor Citroën. After much deliberation however the General that day committed himself to take a Renault tank into consideration; that commitment being secured, Renault hastily designed a larger model, a wooden mock-up of, presented in March 1932. Based on it an order was made on 20 April of five prototypes for a price of 171,250 FF per vehicle, to be delivered in September before the start of the autumn Champagne manoeuvres; the Cavalry saw this as a pre-series to obtain a platoon to be used for its first trials with a mechanised unit.
Renault however decided to provide each with a different suspension type, to lower the risk that his design would be found wanting. All were based on the Carden Loyd type that Renault had copied for his Renault UE — without paying any licence rights — and used the standard Renault Reinastella engine; as there wasn't time to develop all types before the autumn, in July the five vehicles, with military registration numbers 79756 to 79760, were delivered with the simplest one: two leaf springs on each side didn't spring the suspension units, they were the suspension units. In September the tanks were united in the first French Cavalry mechanised unit ever: the experimental Détachement Mécanique de Sûreté; the experience showed that they were agile, but noisy, poorly balanced and lacking sufficient range. After the exercise they were sent back to Renault, who shortly afterwards submitted three types for evaluation to the Commission d'Expériences du Matériel Automobile at Vincennes: prototype 79758, still with the original suspension, 79759 with added internal hydraulic dampers and 79760 with a new suspension consisting of a central bogie with a leaf spring and wheels at the front and the back connected to two horizontal helical springs.
In November and December 1932 the "Commission de Vincennes" tested them, using as reference changed specifications determined on 10 June 1932. They were found to have a sufficient speed, but an insufficient range of 166 - 188 kilometres and to be too heavy with a weight of 4.8 tons. On 8 December it was decided to abandon the unrealistic three ton weight limit and install larger fuel tanks and heavier armour. In April 1933 Renault submitted two types, fitted with 0.5 ton weights simulating an up-armouring from nine to thirteen millimetres maximum: 79758 rebuilt with a horizontal rubber spring suspension and 79757 fitted with a suspension derived from that of 79760, but now with a central vertical spring and
The Panhard 178 or "Pan-Pan" was an advanced French reconnaissance 4x4 armoured car, designed for the French Army Cavalry units before World War II. It had a crew of four and was equipped with an effective 25 mm main armament and a 7.5 mm coaxial machine gun. A number of these vehicles were in 1940 taken over by the Germans after the Fall of France and employed as the Panzerspähwagen P204. After the war a derived version, the Panhard 178B, was again taken into production by France. In December 1931, the French Cavalry conceived a plan for the future production of armoured fighting vehicles. One of the classes foreseen was that of an Automitrailleuse de Découverte or AMD, a specialised long range reconnaissance vehicle; the specifications were formulated on 22 December 1931, changed on 18 November 1932 and approved on 9 December 1932. They called for a weight of 4 metric tons, a range of 400 kilometres, a speed of 70 km/h, a cruising speed of 40 km/h, a turning circle of 12 metres, 5–8 mm armour, a 20 mm gun and a 7.5 mm machine gun.
In 1933, one of the competing companies — the others being Renault and Latil — that had put forward proposals, was allowed to build a prototype. The other companies were ordered to build prototypes: Renault constructed two vehicles of a Renault VZ, including an armoured personnel carrier variant, Berliet constructed a single Berliet VUB and Latil belatedly presented a design in April 1934; the Panhard vehicle was ready in October 1933 and presented to the Commission de Vincennes in January 1934 under the name Panhard voiture spéciale type 178. It carried a Vincennes workshop 13.2 mm machine gun turret. After testing between 9 January and 2 February 1934 the type, despite having larger dimensions than prescribed and thus being a lot heavier than four tons, was accepted by the commission on 15 February under the condition some small modifications were carried out. Of all the competing projects it was considered the best: the Berliet VUB e.g. was reliable but too heavy and traditional. In the autumn the improved prototype, now lacking the bottom tracks of the original type, was tested by the Cavalry.
In late 1934 the type was accepted under the name AMD Panhard Modèle 1935. The type was now fitted with the APX3B turret. After complaints about reliability, such as cracking gun sights, overheating, between 29 June and 2 December 1937 a new test programme took place, resulting in many modifications, including the fitting of a silencer and a ventilator on the turret; the ultimate design was advanced for its day and still appeared modern in the 1970s. It was the first 4x4 armoured car mass-produced for a major country; the final assembly and painting of the armoured cars took place in the Panhard & Levassor factory at the Avenue d'Ivry in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. There however, only the automotive parts and lesser fittings were built in: the armoured hull was in its entirety prefabricated by forges serving as subcontractors. At first the main supplying company was Batignolles-Châtillon at Nantes, that could supply a maximum of about twenty per month; the turret, fitted with its armament by the Atelier de construction de Rueil was as such again made by subcontractors the Société française de constructions mécaniques at Denain.
Production of the turrets tended to trail behind that of the hulls. At the time of acceptance in 1934 fifteen had been decided to be ordered on 25 April 1934 and fifteen more on 20 May at a price of ₣ 275,000 per hull, more expensive than a French light infantry tank of the period; the actual orders were made on 1 January and 29 April 1935 and the notification sent on 27 May, with a planned delivery between January and March 1936. Due to strikes, the first vehicles of these orders were only delivered from 2 February 1937 onwards; the two first orders together can be seen as a separate preseries of thirty, that differed in many details from produced vehicles. A third order for eighty vehicles was made on 15 September 1935 but only notified on 11 August 1937, they were scheduled to be delivered between January and July 1938, but due to strikes and delays in the production of the turrets, the actual dates were 24 June 1938 and 10 February 1939. There were another three orders of which deliveries started before the war: one of forty dated 11 January 1938 and delivered between 13 February and 31 July 1939.
On 1 September 1939, 219 vehicles had been delivered including 71 behind schedule. However, production increases soon allowed Panhard to reduce the backlog — at least for the hulls. From December vehicles were produced from two orders: a seventh of forty, made on 18 January 1938 and completed between December 1939 and April 1940; the monthly deliveries were: nine in September 1939, eleven in October, eighteen