~ 720th Military Police Battalion Reunion Association History Project ~
M8 Armored Car

This Page Last Updated   23 February 2012

   At the beginning of World War II, many of the foreign armies used armored cars extensively. The U.S. Army had not been enthusiastic about armored cars since there were plenty of tanks available which could do a better job.

   After several aborted attempts at designing an armored car the U.S. Army settled on a Ford 6X6 design called the M8 light armored car (the British later named it the "Greyhound"). Over 8500 M8's were built between 1942 and 1943. Surprisingly, the M8 had an illustrious career in all theaters of operation especially the African and European theaters. It was used primarily for escort, patrol and reconnaissance missions.


   The 6 wheel arrangement yields exceptional stability at speeds near 55 MPH, a high speed for an armored vehicle. The transmission is a 4 speed forward, 1 speed reverse gear box with a low and high range select on the transfer case resulting in 8 speeds forward and 2 in reverse. The driver sits on the left front of the vehicle with a conventional steering wheel.

8th U.S.
General HQ
Service Command
720th MP
This M8 was on display at the MP Museum in Fort McClelland, Alabama in 1976
   The shift levers are to the right of the driver but in a pattern reversed from the normal 4 speed shift pattern. The armor is steel plate, 7/8 inches thick, on the front of the vehicle and 3/8 inches thick on the sides, with welded construction. The headlights were designed to be detached and stored inside during battle operations. Storage boxes are integral parts of the fenders. The vehicle commander sits on the right side of the turret, while the gunner sits on the left side of the turret. The vehicle is equipped with a syncromesh transmission, which eases shifting since double clutching is not required, as with other vehicles. The instrument cluster was somewhat sparse The hydraulically operated clutch and accelerator pedals are required because of the remote location of the engine. The power plant is a 6 cylinder, in line, JXD Hercules, 320 cubic inch, 110 hp, gasoline engine. It was found that tire chains helped out immensely in off road muddy conditions. Crews had to tie their duffel bags on the outside of the vehicle, since there was little room inside for much else other than the four men normally assigned to an M8.

Weight................16500 lb.
Length.............16 ft. 5 in.
Width...............8 ft. 4 in.
Height..............6 ft. 6 in.
1 37 mm Gun
1 caliber .30 machine gun
1 caliber .50 machine gun
Maximum speed............56 mph
Turning radius...........28 ft.
Maximum grade..............60 %

Occupied Japan The Battalion used the M8's for their Reaction Force in the event of large scale civil disturbances.
Operation Desert Storm 1990-1991
   During Operation Desert Storm several M8's with the turret and 137mm gun were found to be in service with the Iraqi Republican Guard.
Use Your Browser Button To Return