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AEC Armoured Command Vehicle

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A captured AEC Command Car used by Erwin Rommel in the North African campaign.
TypeArmoured command vehicle
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Service history
Used byBritish Army
WarsSecond World War
Production history
ManufacturerAssociated Equipment Company
Birtley Ordnance Factory
Weymann Motor Bodies
Unit cost£1,576
Produced1941 - 1948
No. built415
VariantsLow Power, High Power, AEC 6x6 ACV
Mass12.2 t
Length20 ft 0 in (6.10 m)
Width7 ft 9 in (2.36 m)
Height9 ft 6 in (2.90 m)
Crew7-8 (3 officers, 3 radio operators, 2 drivers)

Armour10–12 mm (0.39–0.47 in)
1 x .303 inch Bren light machine gun, carried inside
EngineAEC 187 6-cylinder diesel engine
95 hp (71 kW)
Power/weight7.8 hp/tonne
Suspensionwheeled 4x4
280 mi (450 km)
Maximum speed 37 mph (60 km/h)

AEC Armoured Command Vehicle was a series of command vehicles built by the British Associated Equipment Company (AEC) during the Second World War .


An ACV of the 23rd Infantry Brigade HQ at Francolise, 14 March 1944.

During the Second World War, the United Kingdom was the only country to develop and widely employ purpose-built armoured command vehicles. Those were essentially armoured buses based on truck chassis.

The most common ACV of the British Army was the AEC 4x4 ACV. The vehicle, based on AEC Matador chassis, entered production in 1941. A total of about 415 units were built. The vehicle was used for the first time in the North African Campaign and remained in service until the end of the war. Big and comfortable, it was nicknamed Dorchester by the troops, after the luxury hotel in London. Three ACVs of this type were captured by the German Afrika Korps. Two of them, named "Max" and "Moritz", were employed by Rommel and his staff throughout the campaign.

In 1944 a larger AEC 6x6 ACV was developed. The vehicle was based on AEC 0857 lorry chassis and was powered by the AEC 198 150 hp engine. The hull was welded from 9 mm thick rolled steel. The weight of the vehicle reached 17 tons. One hundred and fifty one units were built.

Both vehicles were built in two configurations, called LP (Low Power) and HP (High Power), with different radio equipment.

Some ACVs were conversions of Armoured Demolition Vehicles which used the same bodywork.

An AEC Dorchester at IWM


High Power
One No. 19 wireless set, one R 107 High Frequency reception set. The No 19 set had a maximum output of 30 Watts and maximum range of 45 miles (72km).
Low Power body
two No 19 wireless sets. No 19 set with a maximum output of 30 watt and maximum range of 45 miles (72km) for communications with higher commands.

See also[edit]



  • Forty, George - World War Two Armoured Fighting Vehicles and Self-Propelled Artillery, Osprey Publishing 1996, ISBN 1-85532-582-9.
  • Moschanskiy, I (February 1999), "Бронетанковая техника Великобритании 1939–1945 часть 2" [Armored vehicles of the Great Britain 1939–1945 part 2], Моделист-Конструктор [Modelist-Konstruktor], Bronekollektsiya
  • Henry, Richard (December 2015), "Armoured Command Vehicles", Military History Journal, vol. 16, no. 6, The South African Military History Society

External links[edit]