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Old 06-30-2009, 02:44 PM
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Default Junovicz Armoured Car

World War One was a period of modernization and experimentation, not least in the field of Armoured Fighting Vehicles. This was especially true of Armoured Cars, which of course was a technically much simpler vehicle than tracked tanks, to build and to tinker with. Many designs were tested and tried, some original, some real duds, others stop-gaps or obvious improvisations, intended to quickly fill the need for armoured support. Many were little more than one-offs, leaving little trace. One of these armoured rarities of the Great War was the Austro-Hungarian Junovicz Armoured Car.
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Before the war, the Austro-Hungarian Army had actually been offered several armoured fighting vehicle designs. First the Daimler armoured car, built already in 1905, and tested by them, but rejected by them. (One of the reason was a failed demonstration, ending in scandal because the vehicle scared off the horses of several of the high potentates attending the demonstration, and making the old emperor Franz Joseph himself very indignant, stating emphatically to his entourage that this thing was henceforth "not to be used for military purposes".) Secondly, and more important, the so called Burstyn Tank, designed by K.u.K. Genie-Oberleutenant Gunther Burstyn, which actually was a remarkably modern design, with fine trench-crossing capability and a revolving turret. This one was also rejected by the Austro-Hungarian Army, refusing any funding, meaning that it was never even built. (What efforts that went into armoured vehicles were instead invested into Armoured Trains, a decision not impossible to understand, as it was a concept that had already been tested technically, and that also made tactical sense, considering the wide fronts that the Austro-Hungarian Army was facing.)
These decision proved them themselves sadly wrong pretty much as soon as the war started, as the main opponent of the Austro-Hungarian Army, the Russians, also was actually the Army most willing to develop and use Armoured Cars. And soon they would also face the Italians, whose Army also used armoured car.
As a consequence of this meeting with foes equipped with these new weapons of war, in 1915 no less than two new Austro-Hungarian Armoured Car designs saw the light of day. The first was the was the sleek and sophisticated Romfell. The second was the clumpsy and un-sophisticated Junovicz, the Romfells ugly sibling, which was essentially a standard heavy automobile chassis given a slab-sided, box-like armoured body. It was more of an improvised fighting vehicle than an armoured car proper - like the armoured lorries that later could be seen in the Spanish Civil War, or during the fighting in the Balkans in the late 1990-ies.
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The man behind this vehicle was a Hauptmann by the name of Junovicz - hence the name. The official name seems to have been "Panzer Auto 1: P.A.1". The basis were standard lorries of different makes. (This fact, that different types of lorries were used as basis for the Jonovicz, shows the improvised nature of the vehicle, and that it with all probability was hand-made, each vehicle in some way being unique.) The first three Junovicz were built on Fiat 40 PS Lorries. In 1917 two more were built: one on a Büssig 36 PS and one a Saurer 34 PS.
The Armour plating was pretty thick: 7mm on the front, 5mm on the sides. The literature states that they weighed some 3 tons, which I doubt. I think that was the weight of the Lorries they were based upon, and the Armour Plating would have added at least one ton to this. (The Fiat, Büssig - proper name Fross-Büssig and the Saurer all belonged to the same category: 3ton Subventionslastautos.) It had a motor of some 40hp, giving it a top speed of 35 mph. It had a maximum range of 340km. It was some 5.7m long and 1.9m wide, and the height is given as 3.5m, which seems a bit hard to believe. Each vehicle was armed with two Schwarzlose M.7/12 HMG's: one to the front, and another one to either of the remaining sides. The crew consisted of five men. Of the operational history of these five Junovicz very little is known. We know that the Austro-Hungarian Army used Armoured Cars in both the Balkans and in Russia. The only certified spotting of the Junovicz is on the Italian front in 1918, where it was a part of K.u.K. Panzerautozug No.1, a unit that consisted of this one Romfell, two Junovicz, one ex-Italian Lanzia IZ and one ex-Russian first-series Austin. The unit was based in the mid-sections of the Italian Front. This unit saw very little combat in Italy, if any, as the terrain often prohibited this. The K.u.K. Panzerautozug No.1 was held in reserve in the vincinity of Udine, and were supposed to be used following up that big breakthrough on the Piave that actually never materialised in 1918.
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Romfell Armoured Car David World War I 0 06-30-2009 02:43 PM

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