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Subject: Tucker’s Combat Car (that should have, could have, would have...)
Dos    6/18/2009 11:14:33 AM
I just came across a video of Tucker Combat Car from about 1939 / 40. Preston Tucker from the Tucker Torpedo car fame (post war) built this armoured car in the lead up to America’s involvement in WWII (with a stack load of innovative ideas). Originally I believe he intended to also sell these to Belgium (real pioneers of armoured cars tactics and development). But what I found amazing was why the US Army never acquired this in any way shape or form? It’s not like WWI wasn’t littered with good and bad examples on how armoured cars should be used. I believe the official reason for rejection was they thought it was too fast to be usable in conjunction with other US motorized equipment! That being said I do see some disadvantages like the glass turret (for non AAA work). But that’s easily fully or partially armoured, so it’s not really an issue. The lack of muzzle velocity, range and hitting power from the 37mm gun in this form would limit it anti armour or AAA capacity. But this shouldn’t have been a real issue in the early stages of the war. Even latter it would still have its uses. It could also have easily been fitted with bigger or small calibre gun’s (like twin 50’s on bombers). That said the turret technology was used extensively by the US Air force and Navy latter in the war. But I really think the US Army missed the potential of this car when compared to the use of the M3 and to a lesser extent the M8 for reconnaissance, convoy protection and long range behind the lines strikes (similar to what the British were doing with the Long Range Desert Group). It wasn’t until the M38 Wolfhound was developed that I believe the US has something that addressed the issues with the M3 and M8. It may have also been rejected due to the US having a different doctrine to armored recon, compared to other countries at the time. I believed that the thought process at the time was if they had a bigger gun and armour, the troops would be more inclined to pick a fight rather than just looking around and get out quick (hence the use of gunned up Jeeps latter in the war). With all that in mind I can’t help looking at this and thinking that it’s the forefather of something like the French VBL with an automatic grenade launcher on the roof. So was this a missed opportunity, and if so what others were else was also rejected (but turned out as still having some real value)?
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