The Russian Empire was the first country in the world which officially accepted armoured cars for service. It happened in 1908 when the Russian army received ten armoured cars built by the French company Charron, Girardot et Voigt designed under the project of a Russian officer M. Nakashidze.
“Nakashidze-Charron” armoured car.
“Russo-Balt Type C”.
The vehicle got a very positive feedback from the military men, however, the pre-war development of armoured forces was over at that. One of the main reasons for that was a tragic death of M. Nakashidze in 1906. So at the beginning of WWI Russians had only one combat unit of armored vehicles – first car-machine-gun company, which mainly used armored vehicles “Russo-Balt Type C”.
Nevertheless, when they had to modernize the army hastily, the Russian army received several types of armoured vehicles rather soon.
The light armoured car of the Russian Empire equipped with a machine gun.
It was the first serial armoured vehicle put into service in the Russian Empire. It was designed in the beginning of WWI on the basis of the chassis S 24/40 of “Russo-Balt” company. In general eight vehicles were made in 1914, they were activaly used in war battles.
“Fiat-Izhora” – light machine gun armoured vehicle of the armed forces of the Russian Empire and the Red Army of workers and peasants. It was designed on the basis of the chassis of Italian Fiat manufactured under license in the USA. The mass production started only after the February revolution. In the period from 1917 to 1918 80 vehicles were built.
“Garford-Putilov” – a heavy armoured vehicle armed with a machine gun and a cannon. It was designed in the beginning of WWI with use of the chassis from an American truck of Garford Motor Truck Co company. “Garfords” were rather powerful and reliable for that time. They were manufactured in 1915-16, 48 units were made in general.
“Ostin-Putilovets” – armoured vehicles of the Russian Empire on the basis of rear-driven truck chassis of the British company “Austin”. They were different from the armoured cars “Austin” built in Great Britain for the Russian Amry in 1914-17.
“Austin-Kegresse” – Russian half-track armoured car. It was the first serial model of a half-track combat vehicle. The project was designed in 1916-17 on the basis of the armoured car “Austin-Putilovets” and a track unit designed by a French man A. Kegresse.
“All Power to the Soviets!”
“Armstrong-Whitworth” – light machine gun armoured car of the Russian Empire. It was designed by the British manufacturer Armstrong Whitworth on the basis of the chassis of the British company Charles Jarrott and Willian Letts. Subsequently the armored vehicles were made on the basis of Fiat chassis.
40 armoured vehicles of this type were delivered to the Russian Empire in 1916-17, where they were modified and redesigned. Unfortunately, not a single vehicle has been preserved till our days.
“Jeffery-Poplavko” – machine gun armoured car of the Russian Empire. The first all-wheel drive armoured car put into service by the Russian Army. It was designed on the basis of an all-wheel truck Jeffery Quad 4017 manufactured by Thomas B. Jeffery Company. On the photo above is a reconstructed car. The first trucks of this type came to the Russian Empire in 1915, where they were turned into armoured ones at the initiatove of a Russian lieutenant captain Victor Poplavko.
Poplavko armored car, which was called “Wizard” by V. Poplavko himself, was intended to deliver ammunition and fuel and to tow damaged armored cars from battlefields to workshops. In general there were made 30 cars of such type.
“Sheffield-Simplex” – light machine gun armoured car of the Russian Empire. It was designed by the British company «Sheffield-Simplex» on the basis of their own light car. The final project of the armour was designed by the Russian captain Mironov.
Twenty five cars of this type were delivered to the Russian Empire im 1915-16, none has been preserved till nowadays.
“Mgebrov-Renault” – machine gun armoured car manufactured by the French corporate group Renault. The Russian Empire received 40 cars of this type. Their armour was far from perfect so they performed support functions. Later, elevn cars were rearmoured under the project of V. Mgebrov.
“Mercedes” – cannon and machine gun armoured car that was developed in 1915 by the Russian captain Bylinsky on the basis of a Mercedes light car. A number of innovative and advanced engineering solutions were applied by the captain. Two cars of this type were made in 1915. The were successfully used by the army of the Russian Empire on battlefields.
Tank “Freedom Fighter Comrade Lenin”. The first tanks appeared in the Russian Empire thanks to the military cooperation with France as well. Of course, there were many worthy projects inside the country at that time, but there left no time to finish them. So they started to manufacture French tanks Renault FT at the factory of Nizhny Novgorod. It was called “Freedom Fighter Comrade Lenin”.