Panhard Type 178 file photo [29677]

Panhard Type 178

ManufacturerSociète Anonyme des Anciennes Establissements Panhard et Levassor, Reims, France
Primary RoleArmored Car


ww2dbaseThe AMD (Automitrailleuse de Déclouverte) armoured car was the successor to the Laffly-White armoured car that dated from the Great War and which, by 1930, was well out of date. The prototype appeared in 1933 and entered service with the French Army in 1935. It was a good design, with a simple, clean outline and the interior divided between crew and engine compartments. Known as the Panhard Type 178 to its manufacturer and as AMD Panhard modèle 1935 by the French Army, this vehicle was the first rear-engined, four-wheel-drive armoured car to go enter series production by any major nation; the excellent design layout becoming the basis for similar cars soon to be adopted by other nations including United Kingdom, Germany, United States, and Italy.

ww2dbaseWith its 6,332-cubic centimeter four-cylinder Panhard-type S. K. petrol engine developing 105 horsepower the Panhard 178 armoured car had a weight of 8.07 tons and could achieve a maximum road speed of 45 miles per hour transmitted through a gearbox with four forward and four reverse gears. The crew of four included a second rear-facing driver situated at the rear of the vehicle who could further drive the car at 26 miles per hour in reverse.

ww2dbaseThe armour protection, between 20-millimeter maximum and 7-millimeter minimum, was reasonably sloped despite the construction using rivets. Early vehicles came with a short-calibre gun or in some cases twin machine guns but most production cars had the standard armament - typically a turret mounted 25-millimeter SA-35 high-velocity gun with a coaxial 7.5-millimeter Chatellerault Modèle 1931 machine gun. An unarmed command version differed in having a fixed structure in place of the turret.

ww2dbaseThe Panhard armoured cars were used by the mechanised cavalry for long-distance reconnaissance in the reconnaissance regiments of the light mechanised Divisions Légères Méchaniques (D.L.M.), and in the so-called reconnaissance groups of infantry divisions (G.R.D.I.); in both types of unit they were grouped with cavalry, full-tracked or half-tracked armoured vehicles.

ww2dbaseMany of these cars were taken over by the Germans in 1940 where they received the designation Panzerspähwagen P204 (f) and were used for internal security duties. Sufficient numbers survived the war to be taken back by the French in 1945. Production was then resumed by Panhard, so that the AMD 178 once again became the standard armoured car of the French Army and remained so until replaced by the Panhard EBR during the 1950s. The AMD 178 would nonetheless continue to serve in French colonies like Syria and French Indo-China (Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam) until at least 1960. Models built in the period 1945-60 had the main armament replaced with a 47-millimeter SA-35 gun and a coaxial 7.5-millimeter machine gun.

B. T. White: Tanks and other AFVs of the Blitzkrieg Era 1931-41 (Blandford Press, 1972)
Ian V. Hogg and John Weeks: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Military Vehicles (Hamlyn Publishing, 1980)

Last Major Revision: Mar 2020


Panhard Type 178
MachineryPanhard SK engine rated at 105hp
SuspensionLeaf spring
Armament1x25mm SA-35 gun, 1x7.5mm coaxial Reibel machine gun
Length4.57 m
Width2.23 m
Height2.33 m
Weight14.6 t
Speed72 km/h
Range300 km


Panhard Type 178 armoured cars on parade, date unknownDestroyed Panhard 178 armored car, France, 1940Destroyed Panhard Type 178 armored car, France, Jun 1940Captured French Panhard Type 178 armored car in German service as a scout rail vehicle, Eastern Europe, early 1942
See all 6 photographs of Panhard Type 178 Armored Car

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Panhard Type 178 armoured cars on parade, date unknown
See all 6 photographs of Panhard Type 178 Armored Car

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