The M8 Light Armored Car was produced by the Ford Motor Company during World War II (WWII) and was a 6×6 armored car; it was used by both U.S. and British troops all throughout the war and was known by the British as the “Greyhound”.
HISTORY OF THE M8
The M8 Armored car was intended to replace the M6 37 mm Gun Motor Carriage which was basically a ¾ ton truck with a 37 mm gun installed in the rear bed; the replacement was supposed to be a fast tank destroyer, 6×4 wheeled vehicle with a 37 mm gun, a coaxial machinegun mounted in a turret and a machinegun in the front hull. Its front armor was required to withstand fire from a .50-caliber machine gun and the side armor should stand up to a .30-caliber machine gun.
Studebaker, Ford and Chrysler were the three companies that submitted prototypes for the new vehicle; in 1942 Ford’s design, the T22 even though there were complaints about the vehicle but by then the 37 mm gun was inadequate to stand up to the front armor of German tanks so the M8 was given a reconnaissance role. Production of the vehicle began in 1943 and ended in 1945 after a total of 8,523 units were produced.
The British were not very impressed with the M8 and turned down an opportunity to use it through Lend-Lease as they found it too lightly armored. The hull of the floor in particular could be easily penetrated with anti-tank mines and eventually the crew’s solution to this problem was to line the floor with sandbags; despite its shortcomings the M8 Greyhound made a useful support element as it could go almost anywhere.
VARIATIONS OF THE M8
There are about 10 variations of the M8 Light Armored car starting with the T22 prototype that was first created by Ford; next came the T22E1 which was a 4×4 prototype, which was followed by the T22E2 prototype which eventually became the standardized version of the M8.
The M8 Light Armored Car was a production variation which was followed by the M8E1 which had a modified suspension system; however there were only two of them which were produced in 1943. The M20 Armored Utility Car or M20 Scout Car was a Greyhound which had the turret removed and a replacement .50-caliber M2 heavy machinegun; this was primarily used as a command vehicle or for forward reconnaissance but was also used as APCs and cargo carriers.
The Columbian variation, the T69 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage was an anti-aircraft variant that was armed with four .50-caliber machineguns; the M8 TOW Tank Destroyer was an upgraded M8 with a .50 caliber machinegun and a BGM-71 TOW launcher.
A French variation, the M8/M20 with H-90 turret saw an upgraded Panhard AML 90 turret while a Brazilian variation, the CRR Brasileiro included a new Mercedes-Benz engine and later became the CRR model and later the EE-9 Cascavel model.
There was also the M8 (Diesel) Hellenic Army Armored Car which had diesel engines, a new radio as well as new indicators, hood lights and rear view mirrors; the M2HB anti-aircraft machinegun was also relocated.