The American Light Armored Car M8 was considered too light in armour by the British, but was otherwise widely used. The main gun was a 37-mm (1.46-in) gun with a 7.62-mm (0.30-in) machine-gun mounted coaxially. A common addition was a 12.7-mm (0.50-in) Browning mounted on the turret.
Armoured cars have long been a feature of the American armoured fighting vehicle scene, and in 1940 and 1941 the US Army was able to observe operational trends in Europe and so develop a new armoured car with a good performance, a 37-mm (1.45-in) gun, 6x6 drive, a low silhouette and light weight. In typical American fashion design submissions were requested from four manufacturers. One of the manufacturers, Ford, produced a design known as the T22, and this was later judged to be the best of all submissions and was ordered into production as the Light Armored Car M8.
The M8 subsequently became the most important of all the American armoured cars and by the time production was terminated in April 1945 no fewer than 11,667 had been produced. It was a superb fighting vehicle with an excellent cross-country performance, and an indication of its sound design can be seen in the fact that many were still in use with several armies until the mid-1970s. It was a low vehicle with a full 6x6 drive configuration, with the axles arranged as one forward and two to the rear. The wheels were normally well covered by mudguards, but these were sometimes removed in action. The crew of four had ample room inside the vehicle, and the main 37-mm (1.46-in) gun was mounted in a circular open turret. A 7.62-mm (0.3-in) Browning machinegun was mounted co-axially, and there was a pintle for a 12,7mm (0.5-in) Browning heavy machine-gun (for anti-aircraft use) on the turret rear.
A close cousin of the M8 was the Armored Utility Car M20, in which the turret was removed and the fighting compartment cut away to allow the interior to be used as a personnel or supplies carrier. A machine-gun could be mounted on a ring mount over the open area. In many ways the M20 became as important as the M8 for it proved to be an invaluable run-about for any number of purposes, ranging from an observation or command post to an ammunition carrier for tank units.
The US Army employed the M8 and M20 widely from the time the first production examples left the production lines in March 1943. By November of that year over 1,000 had been delivered, and during 1943 the type was issued to British and Commonwealth formations. The British knew the M8 as the Greyhound but it proved to be too thinly armoured to suit British thinking, the thin belly armour proving too vulnerable to anti-tank mines. Operationally this shortcoming was overcome by lining the interior floor areas with sandbags. But these drawbacks were more than overcome by the fact that the M8 was available in large numbers and that it was able to cross almost any terrain. The 37-mm (1.46-in) main gun was well able to tackle almost any enemy reconnaissance vehicle the M8 was likely to encounter, and the vehicle's crew could defend the M8 against infantry with the two machine-guns, The M8 could be kept going under all circumstances, but its main attribute was that it nearly always seemed to be available when it was wanted.
T22 Light Armored Car - Prototype.
T22E1 Light Armored Car - A 4x4 prototype.
T22E2 Light Armored Car - Prototype eventually standardized as M8.
M8 Light Armored Car - Production variant.
M8E1 Light Armored Car - A variant with modified suspension. Two vehicles were produced in 1943.
The M20 Armored Utility Car, also known as the M20 Scout Car, was a Greyhound with the turret removed. This was replaced with a low, armored open-topped superstructure and an anti-aircraft ring mount for a .50-in M2 heavy machine gun. A bazooka was provided for the crew to compensate for its lack of anti-armor weaponry. The M20 was primarily used as a command vehicle and for forward reconnaissance, but many vehicles also served as APCs and cargo carriers. It offered high speed and excellent mobility, along with a degree of protection against small arms fire and shrapnel. When employed in the command and control role, the M20 was fitted with additional radio equipment. Originally designated the M10 Armored Utility Car, it was redesignated M20 to avoid confusion with the M10 Wolverine tank destroyer. 3,680 M20s were built by Ford during its two years in production (1943–1944).
T69 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage - In late 1943, an anti-aircraft variant of the M8 was tested. The vehicle was armed with four .50-in machine guns in a turret developed by Maxson Corp.. The Antiaircraft Board felt that the vehicle was inferior to the M16 MGMC and the project was closed.
M8 TOW Tank Destroyer - M8 upgraded by the US company NAPCO. The main gun was replaced by an .50-in machine gun and a BGM-71 TOW launcher was installed above the turret. Upgraded vehicles were used by Colombia.
M8/M20 with H-90 turret - A French upgrade, using the turret of the Panhard AML 90 armored car.
CRR Brasileiro - A version developed in 1968 by the Brazilian Army Engineering Institute (IME). The middle axle was removed and a new engine (120 hp (89 kW) Mercedes-Benz OM-321) installed to create the VBB-1 of which one prototype was completed, the vehicle being found to be inferior. The Vbb-1 was in turn the basis for the CRR which reverted to a 6x6 configuration and eight vehicles were produced for evaluation. The EE-9 Cascavel was developed from the CRR.
M8 (Diesel) Hellenic Army Armored Car - A number of M8 Armored Cars were upgraded with a Steyr diesel engine in place of the Hercules JXD gasoline engine, this required a rearwards extension of the engine compartment by 11.8 in (300 mm), as well as some heightening. Also fitted were a new radio, indicator and new hooded lights, rear view mirrors, while the M2HB anti-aircraft machinegun was moved to the right front of the turret, where a new pintle socket was bolted on the partial roof (the turret rear socket being retained) and the coaxial 0.30-in M1919A4 replaced by a 7.62x51 mm NATO MG3 machinegun. Used for coastal defense and retired from service in the late 1990s.
Colombian AM8- This is a Colombian fusion of anti-air artillery of World War II in turret with a modern motor in M8. It is a counterinsurgency weapon against guerrilla ambush in mountains of Colombian since speedways.