Four 20th Century Armored Cars for GURPS
by Onno Meyer & Hans-Christian Vortisch
Jake settled into the unfamiliar driver's seat. The car was supposed to be a Rolls-Royce, but it wasn't like any Rolls he had seen before. At least the armor should help with any fences that got in the way. Behind him, the others tried to figure out how to load the machine gun.
Sergeant Young took a deep breath and approached the Krauts. The checkpoint didn't look very professional, but if he turned around now, they had to wonder why. He forced his hands to stay away from his stiletto; it wouldn't help against a 20mm autocannon anyway.
* * *
Lieutenant Holston eased his boat towards the center of the river. There were two BTR-60s on the embankment, covering the road. With surprise, they should be able to take both of them out . . . but a firefight on the way in was no good start for a commando raid.
When Hoffstetter and his team arrived, the M.P. still held both ends of the bridge. But that wouldn't last. While he was reporting to the lieutenant in charge, one of the ASVs fired a long burst into the tree line. The engineers started to prepare the blocks of C4 and the fuses.
Light armor can make an exciting encounter in many action-oriented games. Here comes a selection of historical vehicles that covers most of the 20th-century, from early TL6 to late TL7. For each of the four vehicles, there is a historical introduction to help the gamemaster place it in a campaign, a detailed description and finally a reasonably realistic representation using GURPS Vehicles.
This article works will with the earlier article "Heavy Metal -- Four 20th Century Tanks for GURPS."
Rolls-Royce Pattern 14, Great Britain, 1914
"A Rolls in the desert was above rubies."
-- Colonel T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom
History: The idea to fit a car with armor and armaments pre-dates the twentieth century. When the Germans overran Belgium in 1914, a Royal Naval Air Service squadron stationed there with a motley assembly of aircraft, cars, and riflemen armored some of their vehicles with boiler-plate. These proved to be effective, and by late 1914, the Royal Naval Armoured Car Division had been formed. The mainstay of the division was the Rolls-Royce Pattern 14, but it also included armored cars and trucks of other makes, as well as machine guns mounted on motorcycles. The Pattern 14 was mass-produced based on a commercial touring car chassis.
The RNAC Division used these vehicles in combat on the Western Front, in North Africa, South West Africa, and East Africa. In 1915 the division was disbanded and, except for one squadron, its assets transferred to the British Army Motor Machine Gun Corps (later the Tank Corps). Units of the corps operated in Ireland, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Persia, and India (all then part of the British Empire). During WWI, armored cars were typically organized in four-car batteries. One famous unit was Lawrence's Hedjaz Armoured Car Section.
Many Pattern 14 armored cars were upgraded in 1920 by fitting improved wheels and tires. The Rolls-Royce Pattern 20 and other designs such as the Lanchester Mk I or Peugeot Mle 1918 were very similar.
Description: The vehicle used the chassis of the commercial Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost, unmodified except for the stronger springs. Mounted on the chassis was the Admirality-pattern armored hull, which featured 9mm thick plates all around (a weak spot being the wooden floor). This hull resembled a pickup, with an armored cab and open cargo bed. A turret was mounted on the cab roof. The entire vehicle was painted either olive green, sand, or in a four-color camouflage pattern. Interestingly, vehicles under Navy command had a crew of three, while those of the Army were manned by four men (which reduced crew comfort to a minimum). The driver sat on the right side on the floor, with the other crew members crouching behind him, with their upper bodies in the turret. There were no seats except for the driver's cockpit-type cushion seat on the floor. The rest of the crew often preferred riding in the cargo bed in safe areas. Access to the crew compartment was provided by a twin-door in the rear, leading onto the bed. The sides of the bed were lined with wooden cargo compartments (4.5 cf on each side), holding tools and doubling as seats. Tiny vision slits were used in combat, but in safe areas a front shutter could be folded up to allow for better vision. Vehicles operating in the desert often had the turret roof removed, for better air circulation. Running boards along the sides were used for further stowage; in the desert this was typically a 5-gallon fuel drum and a 40-gallon water tank.
The manually-traversed turret mounted the armament, which consisted of a 7.7x56mmR (.303 SAA) Vickers Mk I water-cooled medium machine gun (pp. HT117, W96). It fed from a 250-round web belt. Additional ammunition was stowed in cans in the fighting compartment.
Royal Navy crews were armed with the 11.5x23mm (.455 Webley Auto) Webley & Scott Mk I pistol (use Colt Government, p. HT108, W94), while British Army personnel were issued the 11.5x19mmR (.455 SAA) Webley Mk VI revolver (p. HT110, W94). Both used the 7.7x56mmR (.303 SAA) Enfield SMLE Mk III bolt-action rifle (p. HT114). A 7.7x56mmR (.303 SAA) BSA-Lewis Mk I light machine gun (p. HT118, W96) and a 38mm Very Mk I flare pistol were also carried in the car for dismounted use. A small opening in either side of the body could be used as gun port for these hand-held weapons.
The commercial Rolls-Royce gasoline engine was mounted in the front. It had a battery-powered ignition trembler coil. The car had three interconnected fuel tanks, a smaller gravity-feed one mounted in the dash (which was rather dangerous for the crew if hit), and two larger ones in the bottom of the cargo bed. Only the rear axle was powered, and off-road performance was limited. Wire-spoked wheels were used, which had thin tires prone to punctures. The rear axle had twin tires. At least two spare wheels were always carried, mounted on the sides of the cab.
Subassemblies: Standard wheels (Wh, six wheels). Turret (Tu, full rotation, on BoT).
Propulsion: 37 kW wheeled drivetrain (Bo, HP 10).
Armaments: 7.7mm Vickers Mk I Machine Gun (TuF, HP 4). 250 x 7.7mm Solid rounds (Tu, HP 1). 2,750 x 7.7mm Solid rounds (Bo, HP 6).
Instruments: Signal flags (Bo). Navigation instruments (Bo, HP 4).
Controls: Mechanical. Crew Stations: "Driver" operates maneuver controls, navigation instruments, "Gunner" operates Machine Gun, "Loader" and "Second Loader" load Machine Gun, all from cramped crew stations (Bo, HP 50 each). Crew: "Driver", "Gunner", "Loader", optionally "Second Loader". Occupancy: Short. Passengers: Four. Accommodations: Four exposed, cramped seats (Bo, HP 30 each).
Power and Fuel: 37 kW standard gasoline engine (Bo, uses 2.1 gph G, HP 18) powers drivetrain. 1,600 kWs lead-acid battery (Bo, HP 2), recharged by engine. Two 12 gallon tanks (Bo, fire +1, HP 9 each) and one 7.2 gallon tank (Bo, fire +2, HP 6). 31.2 gallons of gasoline (fire on 12/13) last for 14 hours 51 minutes.
Access, Cargo and Empty Space: 7.32 cf access space (Bo), 9 cf cargo space (Bo), 25.06 cf empty space (Bo), 24.43 cf empty space (Tu).
Volume: Bo 180 cf, Wh 18 cf, Tu 25 cf.
Area: Bo 200 sf, Wh 50 sf, Tu 60 sf, total area 310 sf.
Structure: Light frame.
Hit Points: Bo 150, Wh 13 each, Tu 45.
Special Structural Options: Heavy compartmentalization in Bo.
Body Armor: BoF, BoB, BoR, BoL PD 4, DR 25 standard metal armor. BoT PD 3, DR 15 standard metal armor. BoU PD 2, DR 3 standard wooden armor.
Wheel Armor: PD 3, DR 5 standard metal armor.
Turret Armor: TuF, TuB, TuR, TuL PD 4, DR 25 standard metal armor. TuT PD 3, DR 15 standard metal armor.
Surface Features: Camouflage paint job. Hitch.
Details: Door in rear onto flatbed, headlights and running lights, no keys.
Statistics: Empty weight 5,369.8 lbs. Fuel 187.2 lbs. Ammo 168 lbs. Crew and cargo 980 lbs. Loaded weight 6,705 lbs. (3.35 tons). Volume 223 cf, size modifier +3. Price $10,928.40. HT 9.
Ground Performance: Speed 55 mph. gAccel 3 mph/s. gDecel 10 mph/s. gMR 0.75. gSR 4. High GP, off-road speed 1/6.
Minor Bugs: Low mileage. The fuel consumption has been increased. Vulnerable fuel tank. The fire number of one tank has been increased.
Weserhütte LePzSpähw (2cm) SdKfz 222, Germany, 1935
"'An SdKfz 222,' Carlos says, impressively. 'We, like, liberated it from a collector over in Reno.'"
-- Aaron Allston, Hell On Wheels
History: The Leichter Panzer-Spähwagen (2cm) (light armored reconnaissance vehicle with 20mm gun) SdKfz 222 and its minor variants were designed by the Eisenwerke Weserhütte for the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany. It was intended for reconnaissance in armored divisions, but also used for rear-area patrols and security. More than 2,100 vehicles in this series (including the SdKfz 221 and SdKfz 223) were built by a number of contractors between 1935-1942. The SdKfz 222 was a successful design which was better protected and armed than contemporary vehicles of the Allies, but -- like many German developments -- too expensive and complicated for wartime production.
Twelve of these vehicles were exported to China in 1935. These differed in mounting a 7.92x57mm Rheinmetall-Dreyse MG13 machine gun, but were otherwise identical. Bulgaria received 13 standard vehicles in the 1940s.
An armored reconnaissance platoon consisted of four SdKfz 222 and two SdKfz 223, the latter being very similar, but fitted with extensive radio equipment and armed only with a 7.92x57mm Rheinmetall MG34.
Description: The SdKfz 222 was a nimble, 16-feet long, 4-wheeled armored car with all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering. The hull was made of ballistic steel and provided protection from small arms fire and shell splinters (maximum thickness of 14.5mm to the front). It was well-sloped on all sides. There was a door in either side of the lower hull for crew access. The turret top was open, protected only by a double hatch made of mesh wire and a canvas cover against the elements. Most were painted in the standard Army gray, but those of the Afrika-Korps received a sand finish.
There were three crew positions, one in the hull and two in the turret. The driver was seated in the center of the hull front. He had three small, glassless windows with armored shutters. The commander/loader sat on the left side in the turret. To his right in the turret was the station of the gunner. Both had vision slits.
The main armament was a 20x138mmB Rheinmetall KwK30 autocannon with L55 barrel (p. W130); from about 1940 this was replaced with a 20x138mmB Mauser KwK38, which was operationally identical, but had a higher cyclic rate (RoF 8*). The ammunition was loaded in 10-round magazines, 18 of which were stowed in a rack near the commander's station. Normally,
both API and SAPHE rounds were carried. APCR, available from 1940, was seldom carried and removed from service in 1944 to conserve tungsten. The gun had a maximum elevation of +80°, but the double hatch had to be open in order to elevate the gun more than +20°. Traverse of the turret was of the manual type. A 7.92x57mm Rheinmetall MG34 machine gun (p. HT119, W97, W130) was installed coaxially with the cannon, on the right side. It fed from a 150-round belt in a belt pouch. The vehicle carried solid or AP rounds, both mixed with tracers.
The crew had three 9x19mm Luger P08 (pp. HT108, W94) or Walther P38 pistols (p. W94) with two magazines each, a single 9x19mm ERMA MP38 or MP40 submachine gun (pp. HT116, W96) with six magazines, a 26.5x103mmR Walther LP28 flare pistol, and six Stielhandgranaten (pp. HT117, W98) between them.
The rear-mounted Horch engine originally delivered 56 kW. This was upgraded several times over the course of the production period; by late 1940, a 67 kW engine was installed. Both the front and rear axles were steerable, which made the vehicle highly maneuverable but also required a high degree of maintenance.
Pioneer and vehicular repair and maintenance tools were carried in boxes and racks on the vehicle's outside. A spare wheel and tire were attached to the right hull side. A rack on the hull front held four 5.3-gallon fuel cans.
Subassemblies and Body Features: Off-road wheels (Wh, four wheels). Turret (Tu, full rotation, on BoT). 30 degree slope on BoF, BoB, BoR, BoL, TuF, TuB, TuR, TuL.
Propulsion: 56 kW all-wheel drivetrain (Bo, HP 17).
Armaments: 20mm KwK30 Autocannon (TuF, HP 11). Universal mount for KwK30 (Tu, HP 7). 10 x 20mm SAPHE rounds (Tu, HP 1). 70 x 20mm API rounds (Bo, HP 2). 100 x 20mm SAPHE rounds (Bo, HP 3). 7.92mm MG34 GPMG (TuF, HP 4). Universal mount for MG34 (Tu, HP 2). 150 x 7.92mm AP rounds (Tu, HP 1). 900 x 7.92mm AP rounds (Bo, HP 3).
Instruments and Electronics: Medium communicator (Bo, 10 miles, HP 2, 0.1 kW). Telescope (TuF, x2.5, vision bonus +1/+2, HP 1). Navigation instruments (Bo, HP 4).
Controls: Mechanical. Crew Stations: "Driver" operates maneuver controls and navigation instruments, "Commander" operates radio and loads weapons, "Gunner" operates weapons and telescope, all from normal crew stations (Bo, HP 60 each). Crew: "Driver", "Commander", "Gunner". Occupancy: Short. Environmental Systems: Environmental controls for three persons (Bo, HP 5, 0.75 kW).
Power and Fuel: 56 kW standard gasoline engine (Bo, uses 2.52 gph G, HP 23) powers drivetrain. 3,240 kWs lead-acid battery (Bo, HP 4) powers other systems for 64 minutes, recharged by engine. Two 13.2 gallon tanks (Bo, fire +1, HP 10 each). 26.4 gallons of gasoline (fire on 12) last for 10 hours 29 minutes.
Access, Cargo and Empty Space: 11.88 cf access space (Bo), 10 cf cargo space (Bo), 52.2 cf empty space (Bo), 11.01 cf empty space (Tu).
Volume: Bo 300 cf, Wh 60 cf, Tu 25 cf.
Area: Bo 300 sf, Wh 100 sf, Tu 60 sf, total area 460 sf.
Structure: Medium frame.
Hit Points: Bo 450, Wh 75 each, Tu 90.
Special Structural Options: Heavy compartmentalization in Bo. TL7 all-wheel steering.
Body Armor: BoF PD 5, DR 60 standard metal armor. BoB PD 5, DR 25 standard metal armor. BoR, BoL PD 5, DR 30 standard metal armor. BoT, BoU PD 3, DR 15 standard metal armor.
Wheel Armor: PD 3, DR 5 standard metal armor (tires have PD 2, DR 3).
Turret Armor: TuF, TuB, TuR, TuL PD 5, DR 30 standard metal armor. TuT PD 2, DR 3 open-frame standard metal armor.
Surface Feature: Camouflage paint job. TL7 puncture-resistant tires.
Details: One door in each side, one hatch in turret top, intercoms, headlights and running lights, no keys.
Statistics: Empty weight 9,690.67 lbs. Fuel 158.4 lbs. Ammo 145.2 lbs. Crew and cargo 800 lbs. Loaded weight 10,794.27 lbs. (5.4 tons). Volume 385 cf, size modifier +4. Price $30,395.44. HT 12.
Ground Performance: Speed 50 mph. gAccel 3 mph/s. gDecel 10 mph/s. gMR 1. gSR 4. High GP, off-road speed 1/4.
Minor Bug: Hangar queen. The maintenance interval is 96 hours.
Gorkovskiy Avtozavod BTR-60PB, USSR, 1966
"'Target BTR, eleven o'clock, twenty-seven hundred!'"
-- Tom Clancy, Red Storm Rising
History: In 1960, the Bronetransporter 1960g Plavayushchiy (armored transport of 1960, amphibious) entered production as the Soviet Army's new wheeled armored personnel carrier, replacing the obsolete BTR-152. The BTR-60P was soon found to be lacking in armament, and it was also felt that an open-topped vehicle was not survivable enough on the NBC-ravaged battle field, as well as against artillery. The BTR-60PA received top armor, and the BTR-60PAI a turret, but the finalized and most commonly encountered variant became the BTR-60PB, the B standing for Bashnya (turret). Adopted in 1965, it was first issued to troops in 1966.
There were a number of variants, including the BTR-60PBK command vehicle, BTR-60PU staff officers' vehicle, several artillery control versions, and the TAB-71 -- a slightly modified vehicle built under license in Romania. In the 1990s, the MTP-2B technical assistance vehicle and ATM-2 disaster assistance vehicle appeared, based on surplus BTR-60s. Of course, it was also the model after which the BTR-70, BTR-80, BTR-90, and BTR-94 were patterned.
A total of 25,000 BTR-60s were made before Soviet production ceased in 1976.
The BTR-60PB was used extensively by Soviet armed forces, including the motorized infantry, naval infantry, KGB troops, and border guards, as well as MVD interior security forces. Six were employed in the KGB Gruppa Alfa's assault on the Afghan Taj-Bek Palace (pp. SO21-23). It has also been used by Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cuba (encountered by U.S. Rangers on Grenada in 1983), Djibouti, East Germany, Ethiopia, Finland, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Nicaragua, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Turkey, Vietnam, USA (for opposing forces training), Yugoslavia, and others.
A Soviet motorized infantry platoon consisted of three BTR-60PBs. A company was made up of three platoons, plus a BTR-60PBK for the company commander and a heavy weapons platoon with two BTR-60PBs carrying three machine gun teams and three antitank missile teams.
It was known as the kolesniy grob (wheeled coffin) to Russian soldiers; not only did it look like one, it was also considered less than safe since it was insufficiently protected and difficult to evacuate.
Description: The BTR-60PB was a 25-feet long, eight-wheeled vehicle with a small machine gun turret towards the front. It featured an all-wheel drive, with the two front axles being used for steering. The armor was 7mm thick in most places, and sloped for maximum effect. Nevertheless, it would only protect against small arms and artillery fragments. Like other Soviet vehicles, it was painted olive drab overall. The vehicle had the driver and commander in the front. Both had an armored window, which was protected by a shutter in combat, so that they had to use the three periscopes installed over both stations. These could be fitted with active IR-periscopes. The commander also had a traversable IR-searchlight. Hatches were provided in the roof above their stations. Behind them was the small one-man turret with the gunner's station. Between the turret and the engines in the rear was the passenger compartment. The riflemen sat on benches along the sides and rear of the vehicle. The passenger compartment had two hatches in the roof above the passenger compartment and a very small hatch in either side of the hull, making egress rather difficult. Usually only seven riflemen (plus the commander) were carried for dismounted combat, allowing some stowage of weapons and a semblance of crew comfort . . . but it was not unheard of to squeeze 13 men in.
The main armament installed in the manually-operated turret consisted of a 14.5x114mm Vladimirov KPVT heavy machine gun (p. HT119), which fed from a 200-round belt of AP, incendiary, and tracer rounds. Another 300 rounds were stowed in 50-round cans in the hull. To the right of this was a 7.62x54mmR Kalashnikov PKT coaxial machine gun (p. HT120), feeding from a 250-round belt with a mix of AP and tracers, with additional ammo being stowed in 250-round cans.
There were three gun ports on the right side and two on the left side of the hull. These were to be used by the infantry for suppressive fire on the assault. Opening them breached the NBC-seal, of course. The driver and gunner of a Soviet crew each had a 9x18mm Makarov PM pistol (pp. SO98, C63) with two magazines, while the commander had a 7.62x39mm Kalashnikov AKM assault rifle (p. HT114) with four magazines. The automatic rifleman had a 7.62x39mm Kalashnikov RPK light machine gun (p. HT114) with a 75-round drum and three 40-round magazines. The antitank specialist had a RPG-7V antitank grenade launcher (p. HT122) with five 85mm grenades and a PM pistol. His assistant had an AKM and four spare rounds for the RPG-7V. Four riflemen had AKM rifles, although one man per platoon was a sniper with a 7.62x54mmR Dragunov SVD sniper rifle (p. SO100) and five magazines. The whole crew also had nine F-1 hand grenades (use Mk II, pp. HT117, W98) between them, which were usually used by the riflemen. Apart from weapons, there was also room for life jackets (p. VE203) for everybody onboard.
The eight wheels had large tires with run-flat inserts and a Central Tire Inflation System, which allowed variations in tire pressure for different ground conditions. The twin GAZ engines were located in the rear hull, separated from the crew compartment by a fire-proof bulkhead.
Steering in water was accomplished by a rudder in the hydrojet assembly and also by turning the front wheels.
Subassemblies and Body Features: Off-road wheels (Wh, eight wheels). Open mount (Om, full rotation, on BoT). Turret (Tu, full rotation, on BoT). 60 degree slope on BoF. 30 degree slope on BoB, BoR, BoL, TuF, TuB, TuR, TuL.
Propulsion: 134 kW all-wheel drivetrain (Bo, HP 21). 93 kW hydrojet (Bo, 1,116 lbs. aquatic motive thrust, HP 17).
Armaments: TL6 14.5mm KPVT HMG (TuF, HP 10). 200 x 14.5mm AP rounds (Tu, HP 5). 300 x 14.5mm AP rounds (Bo, HP 6). 7.62mm PKT MG (TuF, HP 3). 250 x 7.62mm AP rounds (Tu, HP 1). 1,750 x 7.62mm AP rounds (Bo, HP 5).
Instruments and Electronics: Medium communicator (Bo, 30 miles, HP 1). IR-Searchlight (OmF, 0.25 miles, HP 1, 0.25 kW). IR-Searchlight (BoF, 0.05 miles, HP 1, 0.05 kW). Telescope (TuF, x2, vision bonus +1/+2, HP 1). Navigation instruments (Bo, HP 4).
Miscellaneous Equipment: Fire extinguisher system (Bo, HP 13). Bilge pump (Bo, HP 30, 1 kW). Winch (BoF, ST 25, 25 yards, HP 11, 0.125 kW).
Controls: Mechanical. Crew Stations: "Driver" operates maneuver controls, 0.05 mile IR-searchlight and fire extinguisher, "Commander" operates radio, 0.25 mile IR-searchlight, navigation instruments and winch, "Gunner" operates weapons and telescope, all from normal crew stations (Bo, HP 60 each). Crew: "Driver", "Commander", "Gunner". Occupancy: Short. Passengers: Seven. Accommodations: Seven normal seats (Bo, HP 60 each). Environmental Systems: NBC kit for 14 persons (Bo, HP 22, 3.5 kW).
Power and Fuel: Two 67 kW standard gasoline engines (Bo, use 2.68 gph G, HP 23 each) power drivetrain. Two 3,672 kWs lead-acid batteries (Bo, HP 3 each) power other systems for 25 minutes, recharged by engine. Two 38.3 gallon tanks (Bo, HP 20 each). 76.6 gallons of gasoline (fire on 11) last for 14 hours 17 minutes.
Access, Cargo and Empty Space: 25.08 cf access space (Bo), 10 cf cargo space (Bo), 9.12 cf empty space (Bo), 9.11 cf empty space (Tu).
Volume: Bo 800 cf, Wh 160 cf, Om 0.09 cf, Tu 20 cf.
Area: Bo 600 sf, Wh 200 sf, Om 1.5 sf, Tu 50 sf, structural area 850 sf, total area 851.5 sf.
Structure: Heavy, cheap frame.
Hit Points: Bo 1,800, Wh 150 each, Om 3, Tu 150.
Special Structural Option: Heavy compartmentalization in Bo.
Body Armor: BoF PD 6, DR 35 standard metal armor. BoB PD 5, DR 25 standard metal armor. BoR, BoL PD 5, DR 20 standard metal armor. BoT PD 4, DR 20 standard metal armor. BoU PD 3, DR 15 standard metal armor.
Wheel Armor: PD 3, DR 5 standard metal armor (tires have PD 2, DR 3).
Turret Armor: TuF, TuB, TuR, TuL PD 5, DR 25 standard metal armor. TuT PD 4, DR 20 standard metal armor.
Surface Features: Sealed. Camouflage paint job. Puncture-resistant tires.
Details: Four hatches on body top, two doors in sides (right, left), gun ports, intercoms, headlights and running lights, no keys.
Statistics: Empty weight 20,578.98 lbs. Fuel 359.6 lbs. Ammo 334 lbs. Crew and cargo 2,200 lbs. Loaded weight 23,772.58 lbs. (11.79 tons). Volume 980.09 cf, size modifier +4. Price $200,461.60. HT 12.
Ground Performance: Speed 55 mph. gAccel 3 mph/s. gDecel 10 mph/s. gMR 0.25. gSR 5. High GP, off-road speed 1/4.
Water Performance: Drag 827. Top water speed 7 mph. wAccel 0.9 mph/s. wDecel 10 mph/s. wMR 0.25. wSR 4. Draft 1.9 feet.
Textron M1117 Guardian ASV, USA, 2000
History: In 1962, Cadillac Gage started development of their V-100 Commando 4x4 amphibious armored car for low-intensity operations. This became one of the most successful wheeled armored vehicles, and sold in large quantities . . . mostly to security forces. It was a versatile vehicle with dozens of factory options, including many different turrets and armaments. Slight differences in vehicle size and automotive improvements led to changes in designation, the latest variant being the V-150ST. With a one-man turret and improved armor, this was adopted as the M1117 Guardian Armored Security Vehicle (ASV) by the U.S. military in 1999, entering service in 2000. The producer had been re-named Textron Marine and Land Systems in 1994.
The U.S. Army Military Police ordered 94 M1117 ASVs, while more than 4,000 vehicles had been made of other variants. Each M.P. platoon had one squad of three vehicles, two carrying three men and one four (the fourth being the squad leader). The rest of the platoon used armored AM General M1114 HMMWV vehicles. M1117 Guardians were first deployed with the 18th M.P. Brigade to Kosovo in late 2000.
Without the turret and less heavily protected, it was a typical security vehicle used all over the world. Smaller armies sometimes had similar models as scout vehicles or even as a tank substitute, with a medium-caliber gun. Variants included the unarmed V-100 (adopted by the Los Angeles Police Department), the V-100 armed with twin 7.62x63mm (.30-06) Colt-Browning M37 machine guns (used as M706 by the U.S. Army M.P. in Vietnam), the V-150 armed with a 90x370mmR Cockerill Mk 3 light tank gun (adopted by the Malaysian army), and the V-150ST armed with a water cannon (adopted by the Mexican military police), plus many more. The basic design of the vehicle was closely copied in Mexico and Portugal, and also by Arrowpointe in the USA.
Description: The M1117 had an angular hull made from 6.35mm welded high-hardness steel. German-designed modular ceramic armor plates were adapted for increased protection, and a Kevlar spall liner added inside, giving protection against small arms and artillery shell splinters. It was finished in the standard NATO brown/green/black camouflage pattern. The driver sat on the left side of the front, with a hatch in the roof above him. The commander sat to his right, also with a hatch. Two small bulletproof windows to the front and one on each side provided reasonably good vision. The driver had a night vision periscope. To the rear of their seats was a two-part door in either side of the hull, which allowed for easy access. Each door was fitted with a vision block and a gun port for a small arm. Over the doors, slightly off-set to the right, was the one-man turret. The gunner had seven vision periscopes to all sides and a combined image-intensifier/telescope as targeting sight. There was a fourth seat, which was only occupied in a third of all vehicles, for the squad leader. Behind the crew was the ammunition stowage and a bulkhead to the engine compartment. A third door was provided in the rear of the hull, to the right of the engine. A passageway led from the door to the crew compartment.
The main gun in the turret was a 40x53mmSR General Dynamics MK19 MOD 3 automatic grenade launcher (p. HT121), feeding from a 100-round belt of HEDP grenades. Further 500 rounds were carried in 50-round cans in the hull. To the right of this weapon was a coaxial 12.7x99mm (.50 Browning) General Dynamics-Browning M2QCB heavy machine gun (p. HT119), feeding from a 200-round belt. More ammunition was stored in 100-round cans in the hull. The standard ammo load was AP mixed with tracer and incendiary types. Solid and APS ammo was available as alternative. Coaxial with the M2QCB was a 500,000 candela spotlight.
Each military policeman was armed with a 9x19mm Beretta M9 pistol (Model 92FS, pp. HT108, C63) with two magazines, a 5.56x45mm Colt M16A2 assault rifle (pp. C64, HT116) with six magazines and two M67 hand grenades (p. B206). The guns could be deployed through the gun ports in the doors.
The four wheels had large tires with run-flat inserts and a Central Tire Inflation System. The Cummins diesel engine was located in the left rear of the hull, together with the fuel tank and batteries, separated from the crew compartment by a fire wall. Installed in the front, forward of the commander's position, was the winch with 53-yard cable, which could be used for self-recovery. Note that, unlike its predecessors, the M1117 was not amphibious.
Subassemblies and Body Features: Off-road wheels (Wh, four wheels). Open mount (Om1, on TuT). Two open mounts (Om2-Om3, on TuB). Turret (Tu, full rotation, on BoT). 30 degree slope on BoF, BoB, BoR, BoL. 60 degree slope on TuF.
Propulsion: 194 kW all-wheel drivetrain (Bo, HP 27).
Armaments: 40mm MK19 MOD 3 AGL (TuF, HP 8). 100 x 40mm HEDP rounds (Tu, HP 6). 500 x 40mm HEDP rounds (Bo, HP 18). 12.7mm M2QCB HMG (TuF, HP 8). 200 x 12.7mm AP rounds (Tu, HP 3). 600 x 12.7mm AP rounds (Bo, HP 6). Two 66mm M257 Decoy Dischargers (one each Om2F, Om3F, HP 3 each). 8 x 66mm CHEM (Hot Smoke) rounds (four each Om2, Om3, HP 1 each). 8 x 66mm CHEM (Hot Smoke) rounds (Bo, HP 2).
Instruments and Electronics: Medium communicator with scrambler (Bo, 30 miles, HP 1). Searchlight (Om1F, 1 mile, HP 2, 1 kW). Telescope (TuF, x7, vision bonus +3/+5, HP 2). Two light amplifiers (BoF, TuF, HP 1 each). Navigation instruments (Bo, HP 4). Military GPS (Tu1, HP 1).
Miscellaneous Equipment: Full fire suppression system (Bo, HP 16). Bilge pump (Bo, HP 30, 1 kW). Winch (BoF, ST 53, 53 yards, HP 19, 0.265 kW).
Controls: Mechanical. Crew Stations: "Driver" operates maneuver controls and one light amplifier, "Commander" operates radio, navigation instruments, GPS and winch, "Gunner" operates AGL, HMG, decoy dischargers, searchlight, telescope and one light amplifier, all from roomy crew stations (Bo, HP 75 each). Crew: "Driver", "Commander", "Gunner". Occupancy: Short. Passengers: One. Accommodations: One roomy seat (Bo, HP 75). Environmental Systems: NBC kit for four persons (Bo, HP 10, 1 kW).
Power and Fuel: 194 kW turbocharged standard diesel engine (Bo, uses 6.79 gph D, HP 50) powers drivetrain. Four 4,320 kWs lead-acid batteries (Bo, HP 4 each) power other systems for 88 minutes, recharged by engine. 70 gallon tank (Bo, HP 30). 70 gallons of diesel (fire on 9) last for 10 hours 18 minutes.
Access, Cargo and Empty Space: 32.44 cf access space (Bo), 20 cf cargo space (Bo), 96.08 cf empty space (Bo), 11.54 cf empty space (Tu).
Volume: Bo 600 cf, Wh 120 cf, Om1 0.2 cf, Om2-Om3 0.41 cf each, Tu 20 cf.
Area: Bo 500 sf, Wh 150 sf, Om1 2.5 sf, Om2-Om3 4 each, Tu 50 sf, structural area 700 sf, total area 710.5 sf.
Structure: Heavy, cheap frame.
Hit Points: Bo 1,500, Wh 225 each, Om1 5, Om2-Om3 8 each, Tu 150.
Special Structural Options: Heavy compartmentalization in Bo. Improved suspension. Improved brakes.
Body Armor: BoF, BoB, BoR, BoL PD 5, DR 75 expensive composite exo-armor over DR 45 expensive metal armor and DR 10 non-rigid armor. BoT, BoU PD 4, DR 30 expensive metal armor and DR 10 non-rigid armor.
Wheel Armor: PD 4, DR 20 expensive armor (tires have PD 2, DR 3).
Turret Armor: TuF PD 6, DR 100 expensive composite exo-armor over DR 60 expensive metal armor and DR 10 non-rigid armor. TuB, TuR, TuL PD 4, DR 50 expensive composite exo-armor over DR 30 expensive metal armor and DR 10 non-rigid armor. TuT PD 4, DR 30 expensive metal armor and DR 10 non-rigid armor.
Surface Features: Sealed. Camouflage paint job. Modest IR-cloaking (-2 to detection). Modest sound baffling (-2 to detection). Puncture-resistant tires. Hitch.
Details: Two hatches on body top, three doors in sides (right, left, back), one hatch on turret top, intercoms, headlights and running lights, no keys.
Statistics: Empty weight 27,587.58 lbs. Fuel 420 lbs. Ammo 803.2 lbs. Crew and cargo 1,200 lbs. Loaded weight 30,010.78 lbs. (15.01 tons). Volume 741.02 cf, size modifier +4. Price $407,621. HT 12.
Ground Performance: Speed 65 mph. gAccel 3 mph/s. gDecel 15 mph/s. gMR 0.75. gSR 5. High GP, off-road speed 1/4. Fords 5 feet.
As usual, there were some problems with the translation of real-world data into the Vehicles system. No major new rules were needed this time, but some things should be mentioned.
Real life doesn't follow neat TL boundaries, which is the reason why two vehicles are labeled TL6/7. Vehicles makes all-wheel steering TL7, but it was already available in the 1920s. Some tires one might call puncture-resistant were available before 1945 as well.
Vehicles doesn't cover a central tire inflation system, which was subsumed under the effects of off-road wheels, improved suspension, or puncture-resistant tires.
GURPS Mecha introduced exo-armor husks: a removable outer layer of armor plates. This was used in the M1117 ASV, even if it has no explosive bolts to shed it.
There are no small-arms incendiary and tracer rounds in Vehicles. Pure AP loads are listed, instead of AP, API, and AP-T.
In Vehicles, a crew station is placed either in the turret or the body of the vehicle, neither of which accurately reflects the design of small turrets in armored cars. For these designs, empty space was put into the turrets and the crew into the body. The "empty" space in the turret is actually used by crewmembers if they operate their guns.
GURPS Traveller Ground Forces introduced modest emission cloaking (which was reverse-engineered to create modest IR-cloaking) and modest sound baffling. This was used in the M1117 ASV.
Armored Car Weaponry
Generic versions of some of the weapons are described on p. VE43, but new listings for the specific models are included; the rules in Vehicles allow for some adjustments to reflect real numbers. This wasn't always enough, and it is noted where the differences between Vehicles and the real world became substantial.
Vickers Mk I Machine Gun, 7.7x56mmR (TL6)
Rheinmetall KwK30 Autocannon, 20x138mmB (TL6)
NOTE: WPS for the SAPHE round should be 0.56 lbs.
Rheinmetall MG34 Machine Gun, 7.92x57mm Mauser (TL6)
KPVT Heavy Machine Gun, 14.5x114mm Degtyarev (TL6)
NOTE: Max should be 8,900 yards.
PKT Machine Gun, 7.62x54mmR Mosin-Nagant (TL7)
NOTE: Wt should be 23 lbs.
General Dynamics MK19 MOD 3 Automatic Grenade Launcher, 40×53mmSR NATO (TL7)
NOTES: 1/2D should be 1,500 yards. Damage should be 5d(10) plus 1d+1 [3d]. WPS should be 0.75 lbs.
General Dynamics-Browning M2QCB Heavy Machine Gun, 12.7x99mm Browning (TL7)
NOTE: Wt should be 82 lbs.
Tracor M257 Decoy Discharger, 66mm (TL7)
CHEM (Hot Smk)
NOTES: Maximum indirect fire range should be 30 yards. Acc should be 0. Wt should be 11 lbs.
- Crow's Armoured Fighting Vehicles of World War One (1998) has a detailed chapter devoted to early armored cars.
- Jane's Armour & Artillery 2000-2001 (2000) should be the primary source for info on the BTR-60PB and M1117 ASV, or indeed any modern vehicle of this type.
- Schneider's Tanks of the World (2001) is also very useful, including complete specifications and illustrations in an affordable package.
- Soviet/Russian Armor and Artillery Design Practices 1945 to Present (1999) by Hull/Markov/Zaloga is currently the standard reference work on Russian armored vehicles.
- The Rolls-Royce is featured in the Call of Cthulhu adventure "Armored Angels" (Fearful Passages, 1992).
- The unofficial Car Wars solo adventure Hell on Wheels (1984) has the SdKfz 222 as one of its main attractions, including a game counter.
- The Soviet Combat Vehicle Handbook (1990) for Twilight: 2000 has entries on the BTR-60PB and variants.
- The Morrow Project (1984) features various versions of early Cadillac Gage V-150 armored cars, including interior views.
- "Rolls-Royce Armoured Cars" for an account by an English driver in Iraq in the mid-1930s.
- "Vehicles of the Wehrmacht 1939-1945" has some good pictures of the SdKfz 222.
- "BTR-60 APC" on the FAS military analysis pages.
- "M1117 ASV" at Textron, the manufacturer's own site.
- "M1117 ASV" on the FAS military analysis pages.
Article publication date: May 10, 2002
Copyright © 2002 by Steve Jackson Games. All rights reserved. Pyramid subscribers are permitted to read this article online, or download it and print out a single hardcopy for personal use. Copying this text to any other online system or BBS, or making more than one hardcopy, is strictly prohibited. So please don't. And if you encounter copies of this article elsewhere on the web, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.