AEC Armoured Command Vehicle file photo [32285]

AEC Armoured Command Vehicle

CountryUnited Kingdom
ManufacturerAssociated Equipment Company
Primary RoleArmored Car


ww2dbaseDeveloped to replace the small number of Guy Lizard and Morris Armoured Command Vehicles tyhat had been available to the British Army at the start of World War Two, the 12-ton AEC Armoured Command Vehicle was introduced during 1941. The chassis from the AEC Matador prime mover was employed for this vehicle, which was initially designated as the Lorry, 3 ton, 4x4 Armoured Command AEC, but was more commonly known to the troops as "The Dorchester", named after a luxury hotel in London. For the Dorchester there were some modifications to the Matador's chassis - the winch and air cylinder and fuel tank were removed and a new rectangular fuel tank fitted in the space previously occupied by the air cylinder. Weighing nearly 12 tons, the AEC was powered by an AEC diesel engine of 95 brake horsepower which gave it a top speed of 35 miles per hour. No armament was fitted although a Bren light machine-gun was usually carried for local defence.

ww2dbaseThe armoured bodywork was fitted out internally for command purposes and carried two radio sets - a No. 19 high power set for longer range communications and a low power set for liaising with other vehicles. The Mark II variant (in a low power version only) differed in having an internal partition that divided it into a front compartment for staff officers and the rear for the wireless equipment. The vehicle carried an eight man crew (three officers, three radio operators and two drivers).

ww2dbaseThe AEC Armoured Command Vehicles were first used in action in the North Africa campaign, where incidentally, three were captured and used by German generals, two of them by Erwin Rommel and his staff. These two vehicles were nicknamed "Max" and "Moritz", although the type was given the generic name of Mammut (English: Mammoth) by the Germans.

ww2dbaseThe Armoured Command Vehicles were large and conspicuous and, of course valuable targets as they carried senior officers, so Major Jasper Maskelyne (a well-known stage magician in civilian life) who commanded a camouflage unit in the Royal Engineers, was asked to design a special camouflage for them. What he did was to disguise them as the ordinary Matador gun tractors which were in wide usage in the British Army. This involved black shadow painting on various parts of the hull, the addition of a canvas cover to the top surfaces and an extension to the armoured nose-plate.

ww2dbaseA total of 416 AEC AEC Armoured Command Vehicles were built, and these were supplemented in 1944-45 by 151 larger vehicles on an AEC 6-wheel drive chassis. This was very much roomier than its predecessor, being 6 feet longer and slightly lower. It was also very much heavier at 19 tons loaded, and was powered by a more powerful AEC 135 brake horsepower diesel engine. Two versions were again produced. The first having one No. 19 high power wireless set and one No. 19 low power wireless set and the other with one No. 53 set and one No. 19 set.

B. T. White: Tanks and Other Fighting Vehicles 1942-45 (Blandford Press, 1975)
Bruce Quarrie: Afrika Korps (Patrick Stephens Ltd, 1975)

Last Major Revision: Aug 2022


AEC Armoured Command Vehicle
MachineryAEC 187 6cyl diesel engine rated at 95bhp
SuspensionWheeled 4x4 independent coil springs
Length6.10 m
Width2.36 m
Height2.90 m
Weight12.4 t
Speed60 km/h
Range450 km


Royal Corps of Signals motorcycle despatch riders arriving at the mobile headquarters of an armoured division during training, United Kingdom, 30 Aug 1941AEC Armoured Command Vehicle in North Africa, 1 Dec 1941AEC Armoured Command Vehicle, 1940sCaptured British AEC Armoured Command Vehicle in German service, North Africa, Jan 1942
See all 7 photographs of AEC Armoured Command Vehicle Armored Car

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AEC Armoured Command Vehicle Armored Car Photo Gallery
Royal Corps of Signals motorcycle despatch riders arriving at the mobile headquarters of an armoured division during training, United Kingdom, 30 Aug 1941
See all 7 photographs of AEC Armoured Command Vehicle Armored Car

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