|Please click on a photo for a better image.|
|Dodge Armoured Car|
|Dodge Armoured Car Mk VII
Copyright © B. Halligan/Dennis J. McCarthy
|Dodge Armoured Car
Copyright © An Cosantoir/Irish Independent
|After it became apparent in 1941 that it would not be possible to procure anymore Landsverk L180 Armoured Cars it was decided to produce a heavy Armoured Car in Ireland. The result was the 4x2 Dodge Heavy Armoured Car designed by Col. J. V. Lawless and Comdt. A. W. Mayne and built by Thos. Thompson of Carlow. The chassis used was from a Dodge TF-37 truck with a 160 inch wheelbase reduced to 135 inches. Five trucks, registration nos. ZC 9483 to 9487 inclusive) were withdrawn from S&T use and supplied to Thompsons for the fitting of armoured bodies.
In appearance it looked like a cross between a Ford and a Landsverk with the hull modelled on the Ford and the turret on the Landsverk, although lacking the optical sights. Karl Martin points out one advantage the Dodge had over the Landsverk and Leyland cars, in that being smaller, they were more manoeuvrable on smaller roads. In total 5 were built in two variants, the Mk VII and the Mk VIII, the differences being the armnament, with the Mk VII mounting both a Madsen 20 mm Cannon and a Madsen .303 in MG (though some reports state that the .303 was a Vickers) and the Mk VIII mounting a Vickers .5 in water-cooled HMG and a Vickers .303 in. water-cooled MG.
The Dodge armoured cars served with the 1st Armoured Squadron from their delivery in late-1942/early-1943 until withdrawn from use and disposed of. It appears that they were actually withdrawn from use in the 1950s, however their date of disposal varies upon the report, Sgt. D. A. Canavan writing in An Cosantoir (January 1976) puts disposal as the 1950s, while Karl Martin puts it at 1962. Apparently the Dodge Armoured Cars were expensive to maintain and performance must have been inferior to other vehicles available or in service. It is unclear why, when a decision was made to build further heavy armoured cars, that the Leyland model was not used as they seem to have been quite a successful design.
In the photograph above (printed in reverse - mirror image, correct image to follow), if studied closely, it appears that the 2 leading cars are Mk VIIs (the 20 mm cannon is just about visable) and the 2 following are Mk VIIIs.
It is extremely difficult to obtain photos of and/or information on the Dodge Armoured Cars, so if anyone has some and would be willing to allow it to be placed on this site please forward it to the address on the Home page.