During the Second World War the US Army sought a light, nimble tank destroyer. The M8 developed by Ford ticked the Army’s boxes but by the time it entered production it’s 37mm gun couldn’t penetrate thicker enemy armour. Instead the M8 was pressed into service as a scout car.
The M8 first saw action in Sicily in 1943 and subsequently saw service in every theatre of World War Two. One M8 reputedly knocked out a German Tiger II during the Battle of St. Vith, in December 1944.
The M8, while excellent on roads, did not perform well across country because of higher ground pressure from its wheels and its suspension system. Largely confined to roads when terrain or conditions were bad the M8’s thin armour also proved vulnerable to enemy mines. This was a problem first encountered in Italy and later in northwest Europe.
Despite its shortcomings the M8 remained in service long after the war and many were sold as surplus with them continuing to be used throughout the Cold War all over the world. Some 8,500 were built.
Tank Demonstration – Ford, US National Archives (1942)
M8 Greyhound Light Armored Car 1941–91, S.J. Zaloga (2012)
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