Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts in World War I

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts in World War I

A WWI Rolls-Royce Armored Car

During WWI, more than 100 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts served on the European and Middle Eastern fronts.   These vehicles were armored cars, technologically transitional  antecedents to the tank. Other makes were also used during the war, beginning perhaps with a Minerva touring sedan used to raid German lines in Belgium in 1914.  Mobile, but heavy and difficult to steer, not quite impervious to bullets but certainly able to repel a large percentage enemy fire, these vehicles were of limited use once the Western Front became stabilized, since the mud and weather limited their movement. Useful at Gallipoli and on the Eastern Front in Romania and Bulgaria – whereever there was movement -- these cars were “more valuable than rubies” in the desert. T.E. Lawrence commanded a unit of nine of these Silver
Ghosts in the war against the Ottoman Empire, where they were described as a “most involved and intricate weapon.” After the Great War and during the 1920s they were used during the Irish Civil War in 1922 and in India, during the 1930s, where they were equipped with .303 Bren machine guns.

Source: Jim Motavalli, “The Bulletproof Ghost,” Military History, 26(April/May 2009), 56-63.

After WWI, Lowell Thomas ,interviewing Lawrence, asked him, "Is there anything on earth, to be bought with money, that you can't afford, but would like to have?" Lawrence smiled and replied "Perhaps it is childish, but I should like my own Rolls-Royce care with enough tires and petrol to last me all my life."

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The B├╝ssing A5P, one of the three designs ordered by the German head of staff. Only three units of the A5P were built. It was a massive vehicle.

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