M8 Light Armoured Car
In July of 1941, a new fast tank destroyer was required by US Army Ordinance to replace the M6 Gun Motor Carriage, little more than a three quarter ton truck with a 34mm gun slapped on the back. The initial requirements of this new vehicle called for a light 6x4 wheels vehicle, with a turret housing a 37mm gun with coax MG, plus another MG in the hull, with enough armour to protect against small arms fire. Several prototypes, all fairly similar were submitted, but the Ford prototype, designated T22, was selected. However by 1942, it was clear the 37mm gun was insufficient against tanks, and the T22 would be used in a reconnaissance role, and by now the vehicle was designed as M8 for production, which started in March 1943 and ran up to June 1945.
The M8 if a fairly simple armoured car, with next to no armour to speak of, providing protection against rifle caliber rounds only. The turret is better protected but only 19mm at most. Fitted to the turret was the standard M6 37mm gun, by the 1943 obsolete against tanks but useful still against softer targets. It was paired with a Browning 7.62 .30cal MG. The commander doubled up as the loader in the turret, with him was a gunner and two men in the hull - driver and radio operator. Power came from a Hercules Model JXD straight six petrol engine producing 110hp, allowing for up to 50mph on road and 30mph cross country. Crucially this engine, compared to others of similar power, ran much quieter. As such, the M8's of Patton's Third Army became known as 'Pattons Ghosts' because most of the time they were never detected untill it was too late.
M8's first saw action in Sicily in 1943, and subsequently in Northern Europe and the Pacific, mostly in the Philippines and on Okinawa. It was here it was used in it's original intended role as a tank destroyer, due to the obsolete Japanese armour. Over 1000 were supplied out via Lend Leese, and it was in British service where it gained the nickname 'Greyhound'. They proved to be reliable and dependable, although due to very thin floor armour, vulnerable to mines.
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