Panhard EBR [Engin Blindé de Reconnaissance]
The Panhard EBR (French: Engin Blindé de Reconnaissance, Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle) armored recon vehicle was developed in France in the 1950s. Its most notable service came during the Algerian War and with the Portuguese in Africa colonial wars. More than a thousand were built. It was a four-wheel-drive four-axle armored car with a mass of about 13 tons, armed with a 75-mm or 90-mm gun in the French swinging turret and 3-4 machine guns of rifle caliber.
Panard's interesting features were two medium-lift axles with all-metal wheels, and a pull-push scheme - two control posts, thanks to which the armored car could be equivalent in any direction. Thus, the car could escape from the shelling without turning around. The crew consisted of four people - a commander, loader and two driver-mechanics.
France, in the past a large colonial country, has a long tradition of designing and building wheeled armored vehicles with artillery armament, which are often classified as wheeled tanks. From the pre-war years, they also fit into the concept of using armored vehicles in the metropolis as part of light mechanized divisions. One of the oldest car companies in France, "Panar", having developed in the pre-war years a successful cannon all-wheel-drive armored car Panhard 178, created a more advanced AMR 201 project, which was implemented only after the war.
When in early 1939 the command of the armored forces of France announced among the factories a competition for the creation of the automitrailleuse puissante (powerful armored car), Panhard introduced an eight-wheeled machine of a fundamentally new configuration. Its two middle axles were used only in off-road conditions, to improve cross-country terrain. They had all-metal wheels-drums with grousers, lowered to the ground by means of a hydraulic drive. That is, when driving on roads, the machine relied only on the wheels of external axles, shod in pneumatics. This improved armored car was designated Panhard 201.
The Panhard EBR armored car was produced in France from 1951 to 1960. It was a four-wheel drive four-wheel drive armored car with a gross weight of more than 13 tons. The armored car received a chassis with 8 wheels: the front and rear pairs are conventional with tires and pneumatic chambers, but the two middle pairs of wheels were metal with developed toothed claws. With the 8x8 scheme implemented, the Panhard EBR armored car moved along the highway, relying only on the wheels of the external axles. Aluminum wheels of internal axles fell only when driving off-road. They increased the permeability of the car and reduced the specific pressure on the ground (to 0.7 kg / cm2). Used lever mechanism with a hydropneumatic drive and served as the elastic element of the suspension of the middle axes of an armored car. The wheels of the front and rear pairs were suspended on concentric springs.
The new armored car was shown in public for the first time during the parade on the Champs Elysees in Paris, which was held on July 14, 1950. The parade was dedicated to the Independence Day of France. Panhard EBR became the first wheeled armored vehicle of its own design, which was introduced into service in the post-war period. In the face of a serious conflict with the massive use of armored vehicles, this armored reconnaissance vehicle was extremely vulnerable. The thickness of the sides did not exceed 20 mm, the forehead of the hull and the turret 40 mm.
However, the French General Staff saw a niche for this machine - it was the Theater d'Operation d'Outre-Mer (overseas theater of operations), the armored car was intended for colonial wars with a poorly trained and poorly armed opponent. The hotheads in the defense ministry continued to dream of the republic "from Dunkirk to Tamanrasset". For this role, a fast armored car with a sufficiently powerful cannon armament suited as well as possible. Often the partisan detachments tried to compensate for the obvious shortage of armaments with the speed and suddenness of the attacks.
The determining factor for fighting them was speed, maneuverability and range. Panhard EBR possessed all these qualities to the full. Its maximum speed along the highway was 105 km / h, the power reserve - about 630 km. With a combat mass of about 13.5 tons, the armored car consumed only 55 liters of fuel per 100 km (when driving on roads, in order to rule out yawing, the steering gear of the rear wheels blocked the armored car). At the same time, it seemed that the armored car, so large in size, was awkward (body length - 5.54 m, total - 6.15 m), however, this was not true. Thanks to the presence of four steerable wheels, its turning radius was only 6 meters. And thanks to the impressive wheelbase, the armored car could, without stopping on the move, overcome trenches up to two meters long. Here he was not inferior to tanks.
There are three versions of the EBR armored car.
- EBR-10 mounts the FL10 turret with 75mm gun - this is the longer barrel.
- EBR-11/75 mounted an FL11 turret with 75mm gun - this is the shorter 75mm gun. The FL11 turret is quite different from the FL10.
- EBR-11/90 mounts the 90mm gun. The muzzle break is quite different then the 75mm version so it is usually recognizable. The barrel length is not much different then the EBR-11/75.
It could install the "swinging" turret [so fond to the French] with 75-mm or 90-mm guns (models of armored cars with different guns were designated respectively Panhard EBR 75 and Panhard EBR 90), auxiliary weapons were three 7.5-mm machine gun. However, non-armament was the main feature of this combat vehicle. The most interesting was the chassis, in which structure there were two middle lifting bridges with all-metal wheels (at lifting of average bridges the wheel formula changed to 4x4). Another feature of the armored car was the presence of two control posts and accordingly the possibility of an equivalent forward and backward movement.
French engineers, not long thinking, decided to install on the Panhard EBR armored vehicles part already created by that time the FL10 tower from the light tank AMX-13 with a 75-mm gun and coupled with it a 7.5 mm machine gun (two more machine guns were located in the hull ). Such a solution made it possible to considerably facilitate the supply of ammunition to the machine and its maintenance in conditions of military operation.
Work on a new wheeled armored car with cannon armament began in France in September 1949. The armored car Panhard 201 was used as a basis, however it was not a blind copying of a pre-war combat vehicle. The design was made various changes, which came to the head of the chief designer, Louis Delyagarde even during the war. They made the new armored car longer and wider, and the front and rear parts of the hull became completely identical (this step had a positive effect on the cost of production).
The frontal armor plates of the welded hull were located at a double angle, forming a three-pitch shape, such a design was known as the “pike nose”. This nose ended with a "jaw" 40 mm thick. Because of its small size, this part could only protect the legs of the driver, but it had a different purpose - it was used as a force element of the construction, linking parts of the body of the armored car. A characteristic feature of the armored case was that it was symmetrical in terms of not only relative to the longitudinal, but also relative to the transverse axis. In both wedge-shaped parts of the body in front and behind was located its control post with the place of the driver-mechanic. Thanks to this feature, the armored car could easily get out of the shelling without turning around.
The body of the armored car was welded. Its frontal and stern sheets were installed with significant angles, the side plates were installed vertically. In the frontal and aft parts of the armored hull were arranged rectangular hatches, which were used by the driver mechanics. The Panhard EBR gun crew consisted of four men: a commander, a gunner and two mechanics-drivers.
The engine was moved to the center of the hull and located directly under the tower. Since not every engine could be placed in such a limited space, specifically for the Panhard EBR armored vehicle, the designers designed a six-liter 12-cylinder horizontally-engine Panhard 12H 6000S engine (the block height was only 228 mm). This gasoline engine developed a maximum power of 200 hp. at 3700 rpm When it was created, the cylinder-piston group and the block from the two-stroke twin-cylinder engine of the compact car Panhard Dyna were taken as a basis. Through a compact multi-plate clutch torque from the engine arrived at the gearbox 4F4Rx4. It would be more accurate to say that these were just two checkpoints, which were combined into a single node according to a non-coaxial scheme.
The on-board transmission scheme had its advantages. It is good in that it does not allow wheels to slip on one side, which is very good for the passability of the car. In this scheme, you can manage one differential, while the efficiency of the on-board transmission is not very high due to the presence of multiple angular transmissions and a very large number of gear pairs. For example, the French armored car Panhard EBR the direction of torque for the first time changes by 90 degrees on the output shaft of the first gearbox, the second time - during the distribution of the moment on the shafts that go along the sides of the body to the front and rear wheels and once again directly to the drive wheels. The static ground clearance of the Panhard EBR cannon armored car was 406 mm (a very decent figure, at the level of the Unimog truck).
The most significant military conflict for them was the war for the independence of Algeria. An interesting fact is that Panard with the turret removed acted as a catafalque at the ceremony of the funeral of French President General de Gaulle.
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