AFV Alphabet: R is for Rolls-Royce Armoured Car

1924 Rolls-Royce Armoured Car with modified turret, in the Bardia area of the Western Desert, 1940

The Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) created the first British armoured car squadron in September 1914, requisitioning all Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost chassis for the new vehicle. The design had a fully armoured body with a rotating turret, mounting a single water-cooled Vickers 0.303″ machine gun. The first vehicles were delivered in December 1914, but by then the Western Front had moved to trench warfare, which armoured cars were ill-suited for.

The RNAS formed six armoured car squadrons, each having twelve vehicles. Initially, one went to France and one to Africa to fight in the German colonies. Later, two squadrons were sent to Gallipoli. In August 1915 the RNAS squadrons were disbanded, and the material handed over to the army. The squadron in France was moved to Egypt, where the conditions were more suitable. T.E. Lawrence (more famously known as “Lawrence of Arabia”) used a squadron of nine armoured cars in his campaign against the Turks, and rated them highly, saying that they were “more valuable than rubies”.

Thirteen vehicles were given to the Irish Free State by the British government for use against the Irish Republican Army during the Irish Civil War. They were found to be very useful for convoy protection, and were used in the retaking of Waterford and Cork. They remained in service with the Irish army until 1944.

The armoured cars were modernised in 1920 and 1924, and in 1940, some vehicles had the turret replaced with an open-topped turret, mounting a Boys anti-tank rifle, Bren machine gun and smoke grenade launchers. 76 vehicles were in service with the British army when World War II broke out. They saw service in the Western Desert, Iraq, and Syria, but had been replaced by newer vehicles by the end of 1941.

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Nonfiction Authors Association Interview

I’ve been interviewed by the Nonfiction Authors Association. A couple of excerpts:

What inspired you to write your book?

I’ve long had the impression that many Brits thought that the outcome of the war was a foregone conclusion, and that the Argentines weren’t a strong enemy. I feel that any suggestion that the Argentines didn’t put up a hard fight is an insult to the hundreds of men who lost their lives in the war. I wanted to write something that would show that the outcome of the war could easily have been very different.

Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?

The first book I read after buying a Kindle was The Losing Role by Steve Anderson. It’s self-published, and an excellent book. That was the book that made me realise self-publishing was feasible, and that realisation was what started me on the path to writing a book.

Less direct inspiration came from authors like Steven Zaloga, Cornelius Ryan, and Max Hastings. They all fuelled my interest in the subject, and without that interest, I wouldn’t be writing my books.

You can read the whole interview at Member Interview with Russell Phillips, author of A Damn Close-Run Thing: A Brief History of the Falklands War

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Chernobyl Children fund raising – update

Russell and son

Back in February, I wrote that my son and I were going to cut off our hair to raise money for Chernobyl Children’s Project (UK), who help the children that are still suffering from the after-effects of the Chernobyl disaster. The hair cut took place in late April. We had set ourselves a target of £500, and I’m very pleased to say that we beat that, raising £600.

The Chernobyl disaster was the worst nuclear accident in history. It is one of only two classified as a level 7 event (the maximum classification) on the International Nuclear Event Scale. 31 people died during the accident itself, and over 130,000 were evacuated. The city of Pripyat, with a population of around 50,000, was abandoned. Radiation still affects people in the surrounding areas, with high levels of cancer reported.

I’m very proud of my son. If you’d like to help, the JustGiving page is still open to donations.

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AFV Alphabet: Q is for Al-Qaswa Logistics Vehicle

I have to admit that finding an entry for Q was a challenge, and as it is, I haven’t been able to find a picture of the Al-Qaswa under a licence that allows me to use it here. There are some good pictures on the PakDef Military Consortium site, and there is a photo in this HIT brochure (PDF).

The Al-Qaswa is a tracked vehicle with a fully enclosed armoured crew compartment, and an open cargo bed to the rear. It is based on a lengthened M113P chassis, with an extra road wheel on each side, sharing many components with the M113P. Rather than an armoured personnel carrier used to carry supplies, it is specifically designed to transport supplies across all types of terrain. It is designed and built by Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) in Pakistan.

It has a crew of two, and can carry up to six tons of cargo. A tarpaulin can be used to protect the cargo from inclement weather. HIT suggest that the vehicle could form the basis for a number of further vehicles, such as a missile launcher, ambulance, command vehicle, etc.

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Wargame Vault Deal of the Day: Red Steel

Red SteelDeal of the Day

Red Steel is the Wargame Vault deal of the day. It’s available at a massive 80% off for the next 24 hours. Get it now

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