Minerva Home Page | The Minerva Motor Car Company | Armored Motor-cars at War | Morse's Armored Cars in Russia | Photos of Minerva and SAVA Armored Motor-cars |  Enlarged Minerva Photos |  Enlarged Photos of Minerva Morse and Sava Cars |  Enlarged Morse and Sava Photo | Armored Cars of Great Britain | Enlarged Photos of Great Britain's Armored Cars  

The Use of Armored Motor-cars by Belgium, in World War I.
The Belgian Army were among the first to make extensive use of armored cars as a military weapon, in the first days of WWI. During the siege of Antwerp, from mid August to the first week of October 1914, numerous motor vehicles were stripped and rebuilt with armore plating, and machine guns mounted on them, even some were fitted with rotating cupolas.
Although the Minerva Motor Company re-built and produced most of these new armored vehicles, and was a household name when it came to making armored cars, there were other auto makers who produced armored cars during WWI. The three companies in Belgium were, Minerva, Sava (Societe Anversois pour la fabrications de Voitures Automobiles), and Morse. Great Britain's armored cars were made by Rolls-Royce and Lanchester.
These armoured car detachments made many daring and dashing raids against German positions, and were used extensively for reconnaisance, long distance messaging and for carrying out raids and small scale engagements. Circumstances dictated that the small, outnumbered Belgian Army use these highly mobile armoured cars in guerrilla style hit-and-run engagements against the besieging German army. Not only were they quite effective in conducting raids, blowing bridges, but were very useful in delivering messages to exposed positions.
Being something of a 1914 vintage high-tech novelty, they were extremely photogenic and were extensively photographed. After the front had stabilized behind the flooded Yser, the Army had no real use for fast armoured vehicles. As a gesture to Allied solidarity, a detachment of Morse armoured cars and several hundred Belgian soldiers were sent to Russia where they saw action against Austrian troops in Galicia.

For enlarged photos of all the Minerva, Morse and SAVA cars on this website, go to the Enlarged Photo Pages.


 
Lieutenant Kervyn De Lettenhove and crew: Lieutenant Lettenhove was one of the most notable commanders of these little armored cars. He was successful in several raids against the enemy.

The Lieutenant even made the cover of the British weekly magazine 'The War of the Nations' 1914.
 
Mobility was the Keyword of the Armored Cars. Proper traction is playing an important roll in the war. For the first time armored cars have been used for scouting purposes, and the Belgium's especially proved how effective they are for harrying the enemy. This is a Belgium scouting car with a machine-gun mounted for action.

Mounted with machine guns, they were "terror on wheels".
 
The Minerva's were very photogenic. Being something of a 1914 vintage high-tech novelty, they were extremely photogenic and were extensively photographed. They were the "Hummers" of their day

Lieutenant Kervyn De Lettenhove and crew.


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