Based on the 1917 White ACS chassisThese vehicles were based on the White-Laffly 1917 heavy armored cars, but updated in 1934 with a new bodywork. This model was considered outdated even when it was commissioned. The engine, as well as most of the mechanical parts, were inherited from the original Laffly LC2 truck chassis. But, due to the need of armored cars, these chassis were "recycled". AMD stands for "AutoMitrailleuse de Découverte" and it was sometimes referred to as the "Vincennes".
DesignThe AMD 80 was characterized by a long wheelbase, and only the rear axle had off-road tires. Its off-road performance, in European conditions, was not amazing, but the vehicle could climb a 40° slope, and cruise at about 80 km/h (50 mph) on the North African roads. The bodywork was conventional, made of 8 mm (0.31 in) plates bolted together to a central frame, with the driving compartment forward and the fighting compartment just behind, with an one-man asymmetric turret housing a 13.2 mm (0.52 in) heavy machine gun, a 7.5 mm (0.29 in) coaxial FM24/29 Fortress type machine gun, and another one at the rear of the turret, firing backwards. There was a small one-piece hatch on top of the turret. Access was granted by two side doors. The driver had sight slits and armoured shutters, and a second one was provided for driving in reverse. Indeed, there were a front & rear driving positions and four gears for each sense, but steering was only applied to the front axle, which required skill to drive backwards at full speed. External storage was provided on the two steps and rear muguards. 28 vehicles were converted in all.
In actionThe Laffly AMD 80 was used initially in the 6th and 8th Regiments of Cuirassiers. In 1937, this model was replaced by Panhard AMD 178 in these units, and the 27 vehicles still in service were sent to French North Africa, joining the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment and the 4th Regiment of Chasseurs d\'Afrique. After the 1940 armistice, they were transferred to the 8th Regiment of Chasseurs d'Afrique, but many returned to the 4th Regiment of Chasseurs d'Afrique for a parade in May 1943, marking the victory and the end of the desert war.
LinksGBM, Histoire & Collection, about WW2 French tanks
Comprehensive datasheet from warwheels.net (pdf)
Laffly AMD-80 specifications
|Dimensions||5.5 x 2.2 x 2.5 m (18x7.2x8.2 ft)|
|Total weight, battle ready||7.5 tons (16,583 lbs)|
|Crew||4 (driver, co-driver/mechanic, commander, gunner)|
|Propulsion||Laffly 4-cyl gasoline, liquid cooled, 80 hp (58.8 kW)|
|Speed||80 km/h (50 mph)|
|Suspensions||Leaf springs, front axle steering|
|Range/fuel capacity||400 km (250 mi)|
|Armament||Main: 13.2 mm (0.52 in) HMG
Secondary: 2 x FM M26/29 7.5 mm (0.295 in) LMG
|Armor||8 to 20 mm (0.3 to 0.9 in)|
White-Laffly AMD 80.
Laffly-Vincennes of the Chasseurs d\'Afrique in Tunisia, 1943.
AMD 80 in North Africa.
AMD 80 during the victory parade, passing by General De Gaulle in 1943 - Credits: ww2photos.se