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Rolls-Royce First RNAS* Pattern

Armored Car



Country of Origin/Used by: Great Britain
First Produced/Service Dates: 1914 (Mid-September)
Manufactured by: Base Vehicle: Rolls-Royce, Ltd.; Armor: Forges et Chantiers de France
Crew: 2-3?
Armament: (1) Maxim .303 Machine Gun
Engine: 6 Cylinder Gasoline
Miscellaneous Info: At the beginning of World War One in late August/early September 1914, the Eastchurch Squadon of the *Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS), was deployed to the European Continent to begin operations.  The Squadron Leader was Commander Charles R. Samson R.N. Very soon after their arrival, squadron personnel also started using their private touring cars (which they were allowed to bring along), for reconnaissance and the rescue of downed pilots.  Those unarmored cars consisted of at least one Mercedes-Benz and one 40/50 hp Rolls-Royce, mounting a Maxim .303 machine gun. After a skirmish with German troops in early September 1914, it was decided it would be better if the cars were also armored to offer some limited protection.  With British Admiralty approval, the Mercedes and Rolls-Royce (and possibly a Wolseley) were fitted with boiler plate steel armor designed by squadron personnel (reportedly Commander Samson's brother, Felix) and built by the French firm Forges et Chantiers de France in Dunkirk.  At the time of use, they were most likely just called "armored cars". However, so as to differentiate it from the later models, the Rolls was retroactively referred to as the Rolls-Royce First RNAS Pattern Armored Car.

Although the newly armored cars showed promise, it was almost immediately decided that there were further improvements that should be made. As a result, by late September the initial cars were soon supplemented by a new design created by the British Admiralty Air Department. These new vehicles were referred to as Rolls-Royce First Admiralty Pattern Armored Cars.  Although a step-above from the initial vehicles there were even more improvements that could be made to create a much better armored car. Thusly, another new design of vehicle was quickly put forth, with one ultimately becoming the iconic Rolls-Royce 1914 Admiralty Turreted Pattern Armored Car.
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Reference Source/Provider
    Rolls-Royce First RNAS Pattern Armored Car Photos The Dave Haugh Collection

References Available


Reference Source/Provider
"Experience with Heavy Vehicles during World War 1" By W.F. Bradley Armored Car - The Wheeled Fighting Vehicle Journal (Issue #27)
Rolls-Royce Armored Car Information & Photos Tank-AFV.com


Reference Author
A Photo History of Armoured Cars In Two World Wars George Forty
British Armoured Cars: 1914-1945 B.T. White
Early Armoured Cars (AFV Profile #9) Major General N.W. Duncan
Early Armoured Cars (Shire Album #209) E. Bartholomew
Encyclopedia of Armoured Cars Duncan Crow & Robert J. Icks
"RN Armoured Cars" (May 1983 Issue of Military History Magazine) Charles Messenger
Rolls Royce Armoured Car, The (Osprey New Vanguard #189) David Fletcher
Rolls-Royce Armoured Car Owners' Workshop Manual: 1915-44 (All Models) (Haynes Publishing) David Fletcher
Talbot in the First World War (Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq Register, Ltd) Stephen Lally & John Tomsett
War Cars: British Armoured Cars in the First World War David Fletcher

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