Armoured Car FW19 Coventry Mark I (E1949.319)
Daimler, United Kingdom
As a result the Coventry was more conventional than the Daimler armoured car in terms of transmission but it was also a good deal more powerful since it used an American Hercules six-cylinder petrol engine. Like the Daimler it featured a rear-facing driver's position for emergency use. On the other hand it was slower and less well armoured.
Although production began in 1944 it never replaced the earlier cars in wartime service and production was terminated when the war ended. Some Coventrys were supplied to the post-war French Army which used them in their conflict in French Indo-China (Vietnam) in the early fifties. A Mark II version, mounting a 75mm gun in a two-man turret, was produced but never taken beyond the prototype stage. Our exhibit is thought to be the only survivor.
4 wheeled drive independent suspension on all 4 wheels. Not used in action. Two marks produced, differed in main armament (75mm QFSA gun in Mark 2)
Precise Name: Armoured Car Coventry Mark I
Other Name: FW19
By 1943 the British Army had a number of armoured cars in service, notably the Daimler (see E1963.20 Armoured Car Daimler Mark II) and the Humber (see E1949.318 Armoured Car Humber Mark I). The War Office was looking for something new and encouraged Daimler, Humber and Commer Cars to work together on a new armoured car. Humber was the design leader and focussed on the hull, turret, stowage and engine, Commer designed the transmission and axles while Daimler worked on the steering and suspension. Production was to be shared by Daimler and Humber.
Two prototypes were built in 1944. Externally they resembled the Daimler Armoured Car although they had thinner armour and were slower despite having a more powerful diesel engine. The transmission provided four wheel drive via drive shafts to differentials on the front and rear axles. Each wheel had independent suspension.
Like the Daimler, the Coventry featured a rear facing emergency driving position.
The Coventry Mark I mounted a 2pdr gun (calibre 40mm) with a co-axial Besa machine gun. The turret was similar in shape to that of the Daimler. A mark II version carried a 75mm gun instead of the 2 pdr at the cost of one of the crew positions, reduced from four to three persons.
Following successful testing large orders were placed with the Daimler Company and the Rootes Group (Humber were part of the Rootes Group). However only a few vehicles were finished by the end of the war and the contracts were cancelled.
The Coventry armoured car never served in action with the British but a number were supplied to the French Army. The French vehicles were used in the fighting between the French and the Viet Minh in Indo-China during the years following World War II.
The Tank Museum’s exhibit is believed to be the only surviving Coventry Armoured Car.
British Tanks and Fighting Vehicles 1914-1945; B.T. White; SBN 7110 0123 5; Ian Allan London 1970
Summary by Mike Garth V1.0