Remembrance Day: Iconic WWI Vehicles

On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the nation falls silent to remember and respect the sacrifices made during the tragic world wars that allowed us to freely live the lives that we live today.

Britain's victory was down to multiple contributing factors, such as the bravery of the troops, who gave it their absolute all to ensure that we would not fall; the British citizens, who sacrificed so much that they held dear to them, such as their beloved horses, precious resources, and not to mention their own family; and the advancement of technology, which was a huge contributing factor in Britain coming out on top, with new weapons, aircraft, and computer systems helping in countless ways.

When the war first broke out in June 1914, the automotive industry was still fairly new to the scene, with only the rich and successful owning a car of their own, whilst the majority of the general public were still used to horse and cart, and most attention was still on the advancement of shipping.

Like all aspects of society, the automotive industry had to make important sacrifices to help transport soldiers and supplies around the country. In this blog, we are going to look at some of the amazing WWI vehicles that were used during those devastating four years that contributed to Britain's triumph.

Rolls-Royce Armoured Car

Nowadays, Rolls-Royce is known for making insanely prestigious vehicles that transport celebrities from red carpet to red carpet. However, back in the day, the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost carried weapons instead of wealth. Thanks to its sturdy and reliable build, the self-proclaimed “best car in the world” was called upon during the war and was converted into the iconic war vehicle that many know of today: the Rolls-Royce Armoured Car. Installed with rotating machine gun turrets and modified with additional armour for protection, the Armoured Car was one of the first military armoured fighting vehicles.

Rolls-Royce also provided the engines to half the planes used by various allies during the war thanks to their strength and resilience.

Rolls Royce Armoured Car

Vauxhall D-Type Staff Car

Used exclusively for military higher-ups, the British manufacturer, Vauxhall, started production of the D-Type Staff Car in 1915, with the purpose of crossing battlefields on the Western Front, Egypt, and the Russian Empire, as a more comfortable alternative to the more common horse and cart, meaning countless horses were likely saved thanks to this skinny-wheel car.

Vauxhall was able to produce up to seven to eight D-Type Staff Cars in a week, and their solid chassis and sturdy engines helped this stylish classic war car get a rightful place in the history books. As of 2021, there are only two D-Type Staff Cars remaining in the world today, but their legacy and contribution to the war will live on for a long, long time. 

Vauxhall D-Type Staff Car

Ford Model-T

Informally known by many nicknames, such as the tin Lizzie, jitney, and leaping Lena, the Ford Model T is known historically for being one of the first affordable automobiles in Britain, and was named the most influential car of the 20th Century in 1999.

Like the Vauxhall D-Type Staff Car, the Ford Model-T was able to replace the trusted horse and cart during the First World War.

Having already been in production five years prior to the outbreak, many civilians had already gotten used to the Model-T’s speed and durability and preferred it to travel by horse thanks to its ease of maintenance.

Unfortunately, Henry Ford did not want to be involved in the war, to begin with, thus refusing to supply the French and British sources. Thankfully, however, Local Ford dealers ordered over 50,000 Model T’s and converted them locally, most iconically into ambulances.

Following the sinking of the Lusitania in 1917, America joined the war, changing Henry Ford’s mind, as he then supplied approximately 15,000 of the cars to the military for the remainder of the war.

Ford Model-T

Other Notable Vehicles

Many of the manufacturers that we know of today got involved in countless ways during the war, by making more than just cars, pushing their engineering and technology to the absolute limit. Below is a list of more vehicles that not only helped us win the war but also paved the way for the motoring world that we know of today.

Renault FT Light Tank

Most of us know Renault for making common cars such as the Clio and Captur, but did you know that they also made tanks? That’s right, the French manufacturer provided the winning team with more than 3000 two-man tanks. The tanks have become a revolutionary and influential piece of engineering history, with some historians naming it the first modern tank.

FWD Model B

The FWD Model B was an American-built truck produced by the Four Wheel Drive Auto Company that was first used for military purposes in March of 1915 by the British Army, who initially ordered 50 trucks to be delivered in the tight time frame of only 40 days. Following their initial success, the truck saw widespread service during the war, with a total of 2925 FWD Model B’s being purchased by the British Army, and even more ordered by the US Army following their involvement in the war in 1917.

Liberty Truck

Known officially as the Class-B Standardised Military Truck, the Liberty Truck was a US Army-produced truck appearing only ten weeks after the design was standardised in 1917. The truck is known for carrying troops and supplies across the land with ease and streamlining the US Army's vehicle maintenance process. The truck has become an iconic image regarding the war and was yet another vehicle that helped us achieve the win.

The war made a massive impact on the world today, including our transportation. Today, we remember the lives that were lost, the triumphant win, and we appreciate the lives we live today.

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