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At the beginning of WWI the British military directed their thoughts to the need to protect newly built airfields against their being suddenly overwhelmed by enemy troops. The Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) suggested to the Admiralty that a special armored car be developed, which could not only execute defensive functions but also as necessary support army units in combat, and fulfill communication and transport duties. Soon, the Air Department of the Admiralty made overtures to a firm in the motor industry, Rolls-Royce, which had been producing cars for about ten years.
In 1906 this firm introduced the highly successful Silver Ghost, which continued to be built by the factory while the War was already under way. Admiralty engineers developed an original simple armored superstructure for the Silver Ghost chassis, which appeared to be successful in all respects. In December 1914 the first three cars were issued to the army. A rotating turret fitted with a Vickers machine gun was installed on top of the armored body. On the whole the design appeared to be just what was wanted, and soon the motor company received a new order for additional cars.
One of the cars passed into the hands of one of the best-known eccentric historical figures of the 20th Century, Lawrence of Arabia: his armored car was used by him during his guerrilla actions and other adventures in the Middle East. In due course the Thirties came to their end and there was again a smell of war in the air. There was extensive modernization in Europe, and also in the armor of the British Army. At the time about one hundred Armoured Cars remained in service in the colonies. The majority (about 70) of them were in North Africa, where they soon faced Italian troops. Some more were in India, carrying out raids in the territory of neighboring Burma.
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