Panhard 178
The Panhard 178 or "Pan-Pan" was an advanced French reconnaissance 4x4 armoured car that was designed for the French Cavalry before World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. It had a crew of four and was equipped with an effective 25 mm main armament and a 7.5 mm coaxial machine gun.

A number of these vehicles were in 1940 taken over by the Germans after the Fall of France and employed as the Panzerspähwagen P204 (f); for some months after the armistice of June production continued for the benefit of Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. After the war a derived version, the Panhard 178B, was again taken into production by France.


In 1931 the French Cavalry conceived a plan for the future production of armoured fighting vehicles. One of the classes foreseen was that of an Automitrailleuse de Découverte or AMD, a specialised long range reconnaissance vehicle. The specifications were formulated on 22 December 1931, changed on 18 November 1932 and approved on 9 December 1932. They call for a weight of four metric tons, a range of 400 km, a speed of 70 km/h, a cruising speed of 40 km/h, a turning circle of twelve metres, 5–8 mm armour, a 20 mm gun and a 7.5 mm machine gun.

In 1933 one of the competing companies — the others being Renault, Berliet and Latil — that had put forward proposals, Panhard, was allowed to build a prototype. The vehicle was ready in October and presented to the Commission de Vincennes in January 1934 under the name Panhard voiture spéciale type 178. It carried a Vincennes workshop (Avis) 13.2 mm machine gun turret, as the intended one was not ready yet. After testing between 9 January and 2 February 1934 the type, despite having larger dimensions than prescribed and thus being a lot heavier than four tons, was accepted by the commission on 15 February under the condition some small modifications were carried out. Of all competing projects it was considered the best. In the autumn the improved prototype, now lacking the bottom tracks of the original type, was tested by the Cavalry. End 1934 the type was accepted under the name AMD Panhard Modèle 1935. The type was now fitted with the APX3B turret.

After complaints about reliability, such as cracking gun sights, and overheating, between 29 June and 2 December 1937 a new test programme took place, resulting in many modifications, including the fitting of a silencer and a ventilator on the turret.


The final assembly and painting of the armoured cars took place in the Panhard & Levassor factory at the Avenue d'Ivry in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. There however, only the automotive parts and lesser fittings were built in: the armoured hull was in its entirety prefabricated by forges serving as subcontractors. At first the main supplying company was Batignolles-Châtillon at Nantes
Nantes is a city in western France, located on the Loire River, from the Atlantic coast. The city is the 6th largest in France, while its metropolitan area ranks 8th with over 800,000 inhabitants....

, that could supply a maximum of about twenty per month; in 1940 the forge at Firminy
Firminy is a commune in the Loire department in central France.It lies on the Ondaine River 8 mi. S.W. of Saint-Étienne by rail.-Sights:Two historic churches from the 12th and 16th centuries are located here...

 became dominant. Likewise the turret, fitted with its armament by the Atelier de construction de Rueil (ARL) was as such again made by subcontractors, mainly the Société française de constructions mécaniques (or "Cail
Jean-François Cail
Jean-François Cail was a French entrepreneur and industrialist who was a key figure in French industrialization. He started his career in 1824 as a factory worker making machinery for the sugar industry. The firm expanded and was renamed Derosne-Cail in 1832. It manufactured a variety of...

") at Denain
It is the largest of 39 communes which comprise the association of communes of Porte du Hainaut, with a total population of 147,989, as of 1999. Denain had a population of 20,360, on a land area of 11.52 km² .-References:* -External links:...

. Production of the turrets tended to trail behind that of the hulls; on 1 September 1939 this order backlog had grown to 35; that there was little hope of solving this problem is shown by the production planned on 28 October 1939 for the Spring of 1940: fifty hulls as against forty turrets per month.

At the time of acceptance in 1934, already fifteen had been decided to be ordered on 25 April 1934 and fifteen more on 20 May at a price of
French franc
The franc was a currency of France. Along with the Spanish peseta, it was also a de facto currency used in Andorra . Between 1360 and 1641, it was the name of coins worth 1 livre tournois and it remained in common parlance as a term for this amount of money...

 275,000 per hull, more expensive than a French light infantry tank of the period. The actual orders were made on 1 January and 29 April 1935 respectively, and the notification sent on 27 May with a planned delivery between January and March 1936. Due to strikes, the first vehicles of these orders were only delivered from 2 February 1937; nineteen had been produced by April, the last delivered in November. The two first orders together can be seen as a separate preseries of thirty, that differed slightly in many details from later produced vehicles.

A third order for eighty vehicles was made on 15 September 1935 but only notified on 11 August 1937. They were scheduled to be delivered between January and July 1938, but due to strikes and delays in the production of the turrets, the actual dates were 24 June 1938 and 10 February 1939.

There were another three orders of which deliveries started before the war: one of forty dated 11 January 1938 and delivered between 13 February and 31 July 1939; a fifth of 35 cars made on the same date but delivered between July and December 1939 (six before the war) after a sixth order for eighty vehicles made on 18 January 1938 and delivered between June and November 1939 (57 before 1 September 1939).

On 1 September 1939, 219 vehicles had been delivered including prototypes, 71 behind schedule. However, production increases soon allowed Panhard to reduce the backlog — at least for the hulls. From December vehicles were produced from two later orders: a seventh of forty, made on 18 January 1938 and completed between December 1939 and April 1940; and an eighth of eighty vehicles delivered from January until the middle of May 1940. The monthly deliveries were: nine in September 1939, eleven in October, eighteen in November, twenty-two in December, twenty-five in January 1940, eight in February, sixteen in March, thirty-four in April and a final thirty in May 1940. The total production of completed vehicles of the standard version of the AMD 35 for France was thus 339.

However, the total manufactured of all vehicles of the larger Panhard 178 family was much higher as there were several non-standard versions — and not all production was completed for France. Firstly there was a radio command variant, twelve of which had been ordered in 1937 and again in 1938, the notification of which was issued on 9 December 1938, the 24 vehicles being delivered between October and December 1939. The next variant was a colonial version, eight of which were produced. The most important addendum consisted of an order for 128 modified vehicles destined for North-Africa. Furthermore there were two last orders of the standard version, one of twelve notified on 22 July 1939, the second for a hundred made on 27 September 1939, of which both only fourteen hulls would be made for France.

Of all these orders, at the time of the armistice in June, 491 had been completed. On 7 June 52 hulls had been in stock for which no turret was as yet available; probably until 22 June another ten hulls were made for a total production of 553: thirty in 1937, 81 in 1938, 236 in 1939 and 206 in 1940. Total hull production of all versions had been: 24 in September 1939, 26 in October, 27 in November, 33 in December, 36 in January 1940, 40 in February, 32 in March, 42 in April, 32 in May and 24 until the interruption in the middle of June. After the armistice another 176 were completed, from prefabricated parts, for the German occupier, for a total of 729.

These actual production numbers can be compared to the production plans. Before the war it had been intended that war manufacture would be thirty per month. When war really broke out, it was soon realised that the need to raise new units, the replacement of older worn out vehicles and the creation of a matériel reserve to compensate the loss of about 20% of the cars of a combat unit per month during a campaign, would necessitate a much higher production level, even when resorting to the expedient of fitting surplus hulls with older turrets. It had been planned on 10 October 1939 to bring production to forty per month in March, fifty in July, fifty-five in September and sixty from November 1940 for the duration of the war. Later projections were even more pessimistic: accordingly on top of the 657 vehicles notified at that date, on 15 April 1940 another 450 were ordered, a third of them of the radio version, bringing total orders to 1107. The desired peak rate of sixty vehicles was put forward with two months to September 1940; on 1 October 1018 vehicles had to be completed. However, the planned production was now limited to March 1941; as supreme commander Maurice Gamelin
Maurice Gamelin
Maurice Gustave Gamelin was a French general. Gamelin is best remembered for his unsuccessful command of the French military in 1940 during the Battle of France and his steadfast defense of republican values....

 had concluded on 27 February 1940 from the events during Fall Weiss
Fall Weiss
Fall Weiss translates as Case White following the German military's naming convention.Fall Weiss may refer to two military operations:* Fall Weiss , the German strategic plan for a war with Poland...

 that lightly armoured vehicles could not survive on the modern battlefield, from the Spring of 1941 the Panhard 178 had to be replaced on the production lines by the heavy AM 40 P armoured car, that was to be much more heavily armoured and armed.


In order to function as an effective long-range reconnaissance vehicle, the Panhard 178 had been kept as light as possible. The vehicle was thus rather small, only 4.79 metre in length, 2.01 metre wide and 2.31 metre in height (1.65 m for the hull per se). Also the tapering engine compartment, where a Panhard ISK 4FII bis V4, 6332 CC, 105 hp motor had been installed, was built very low, giving the vehicle its distinctive silhouette, with a protruding fighting compartment. The use of a large turret with 26 mm frontal armour and 13 mm side armour, combined with 7 (bottom), 9 (top and glacis), 13 (back, sides and front superstructure) and 20 mm (nose) bolted and riveted armour plate for the hull, had compromised weight considerations however, so the vehicle still weighed 8.2 metric tonnes. However the mobility was rather good for a French AFV of the period: a maximum speed of 72.6 km/h (45.1 mph) and a practical range of about 300 km (186.4 mi), made possible by two fuel tanks of 120 and 20 litres, the main one located at the extreme back of the hull.

Rough terrain capacity was somewhat limited however: though all four road wheels were actuated, the leaf spring suspension confined the off-road speed to 42 km/h and the possession of just four wheels allowed for a wading and a trench crossing capacity of only sixty centimetres; it could overcome a thirty cm vertical obstacle, assisted by two small bottom wheels in the front hull.

The driver was in the front, using an eight-speed gear box and a normal steering wheel. Steering could be switched into reverse immediately to allow the assistant-driver, seated to the left of the engine (or, from his point of view: the right), to drive the vehicle backwards in case of an emergency, using all four off-road gears, with a maximum speed of 42 km/h. This "dual drive" capacity is common for reconnaissance vehicles. The second driver had a separate entrance door at the left side of the hull. He doubled as a radio operator in the platoon commander or squadron commander vehicles, operating the short range ER29 or medium range ER26 set respectively. To make long range communications possible, one out of twelve armoured cars was a special radio vehicle.

The APX3 turret, having a large double hatch on the back, was rather large and could accommodate two men, like with the AMC 35
AMC 35
The AMC 35 was a French medium cavalry tank of the later Interwar era that served in the Second World War. It was developed as a result of the change of the specification that had led to the design of the AMC 34, calling for a vehicle that was not only well-armed and mobile but also well-armoured...

; this was at the time exceptional for French AFVs. In the electrically traversed APX3, the commander on the right and gunner on the left benefited from a rudimentary turret basket, and sufficient vision devices including one periscope (which were of the Gundlach type on late examples) per man and PPL.RX.168 episcopes. Armament was first intended to be a newly developed 20 mm gun; when this failed to materialise it was considered to use a 37 mm Modèle 16 gun, standard for armoured cars, but this was rejected because of its poor anti-armour capacity. Instead the 25 mm SA 35 was chosen, a shortened L/47.2 derivation of the standard French antitank gun, the 25 mm Hotchkiss modèle 34
25 mm Hotchkiss anti-tank gun
The 25 mm Hotchkiss anti-tank gun was a French anti-tank gun that saw service in the first years of the Second World War.-Development:...

. It was fitted with the L711 sight. To compensate for the shorter barrel, the rounds use heavier charges, giving even a slightly superior muzzle velocity
Muzzle velocity
Muzzle velocity is the speed a projectile has at the moment it leaves the muzzle of the gun. Muzzle velocities range from approximately to in black powder muskets , to more than in modern rifles with high-performance cartridges such as the .220 Swift and .204 Ruger, all the way to for tank guns...

 of 950 m/s. The gun had a maximum penetration of about fifty millimetres when using a tungsten round; the light 380 gram projectile was easily deflected by sloped armour
Sloped armour
Sloped armour is armour that is neither in a vertical nor a horizontal position. Such "angled" armour is often mounted on tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles...

 though, even a 45° angle giving about 100% extra protection over the armour thickness measured along the horizontal plane. German tanks had many vertical plates however, and were vulnerable up to about 800 metres; on the other hand the light round, even when penetrating, often failed to set fire to an enemy vehicle; it sometimes took fifteen shots to achieve this; 150 rounds of ammunition were stored.

The secondary armament was an optionally coaxial Reibel 7.5 mm machine gun
Mitrailleuse mle 1931
The Reibel machine gun , was a machine gun used on French tanks of the World War II era as well as in fortifications such as the Maginot line. It used the 7.5 mm MAS cartridge and was loaded with 150-round drum magazines...

, with 3,750 rounds, 1,500 of which were armour-piercing. A reserve machine gun was carried to the right of the driver that could be mounted on top of the turret for anti-aircraft defence. Its magazines were carried on the inner walls of the fighting compartment, including the large main entrance door on the right.

Experience showed that the type had several shortcomings: a weak clutch, slow turret rotation, a cramped interior, unreliable radio sets, poor cross-country drive and very noisy brakes. On the other hand it was reliable, easy to drive on roads and the engine as such was rather silent; all desirable qualities for a reconnaissance vehicle.

During the production run several modifications would be made, such as the fitting of lifting hooks. The first thirty vehicles had two more primitive periscopes on the turret roof, a Chrétien diascope on its front and simple vision slits with armoured shutters on its sides; their drivers too had to use vision slits instead of an episcope. They also lacked a silencer and had semi-circular cut-outs at the wheel plate edges. From about the 111th vehicle (or fourth production batch) onward, several changes were introduced, including the fitting of an armoured ventilator covering on top of the turret, a factory plate with the name "Panhard" on the nose and a new softer factory camouflage pattern with the brown and bronze green spots no longer separated by black lines. From the 270th vehicle onwards stowage boxes were constructed on the back fenders, obscuring the pointed form of the engine compartment. The last turrets produced also had a backward pointing episcope for the commander, instead of a vision slit.

Operational history

The first nineteen vehicles were in April 1937 taken into service by 6e Cuirassiers.

At the outbreak of the Second World War 218 vehicles were fielded with eleven squadrons.

In the Spring of 1940, 21e Escadron d'AMD 35 was first destined for Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 and the Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

 but then sent to Narvik
is the third largest city and municipality in Nordland county, Norway by population. Narvik is located on the shores of the Narvik Fjord . The municipality is part of the Ofoten traditional region of North Norway, inside the arctic circle...

 to assist Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 during Weserübung. It was in fact the renamed 4e GRDI (that would be replaced by a new unit of the same name in its former parent 15th Mechanised Infantry Division on 5 May) and was equipped with thirteen Panhard 178s.

During the Battle of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

 from 10 May 1940 the Panhard 178s were allocated to reconnaissance units of the mechanised and motorised forces.

The three armoured divisions of the Cavalry, the Divisions Légères Mécaniques, had a nominal organic strength of forty armoured cars, plus four radio vehicles and an organic matériel reserve of four vehicles. This would make for a total of 144 in these mechanised light divisions. The Light (i.e. motorised) Divisions of the Cavalry, the Divisions Légères de Cavalerie, had a squadron of twelve Panhards plus a radio car and a matériel reserve of four in their Régiment de Automitrailleuses (RAM). The total in the Cavalry Light Divisions would thus be 85.

Not only the Cavalry but the Infantry also employed the type, in the GRDIs or Groupes de Reconnaissance de Division d'Infanterie, the reconnaissance units of the Divisions d'Infanterie Mécaniques, that despite their name were largely motorised infantry divisions. These were 1er GRDI for 5e DIM, 2e GRDI for 9e DIM, 3e GRDI for 12e DIM, 4e GRDI for 15e DIM, 5e GRDI for 25e DIM, 6e GRDI for 3e DIM and 7e GRDI for 1e DIM. Their organisation was basically identical to the units of the DLCs, but the strength was sixteen, making for a total of 112 vehicles.

The actual strength of above units might differ, but if all were on strength 24 vehicles were present in the matériel reserve or used for driver training, as apart from colonial vehicles, exactly 378 exemplars had been delivered on 10 May 1940.

After the start of the invasion several emergency ad hoc units were formed; these included the 32e GRDI for the regular 43e DI, having five Panhards. The 4e DCR, the armoured division of the infantry hastily assembled in May, got 43 Panhard 178's.

The DLMs used their Panhard units for strategic reconnaissance. In the case of 1DLM this entailed a movement well in advance of the main body of the division as it was supposed to maintain a connection with the Dutch Army during the Battle of the Netherlands
Battle of the Netherlands
The Battle of the Netherlands was part of Case Yellow , the German invasion of the Low Countries and France during World War II. The battle lasted from 10 May 1940 until 14 May 1940 when the main Dutch forces surrendered...

. Within 32 hours the armoured cars of the group Lestoquoi covered a distance of over 200 kilometres reaching the environment of 's-Hertogenbosch in the afternoon of 11 May. After some successful skirmishes with German armoured cars belonging to the reconnaissance platoons of the German Infantry Divisions, they withdrew, as the Dutch were already in full retreat. They were asked by the Dutch to reduce the southern bridgehead of the strategic Moerdijk
Moerdijk is a municipality and a town in the South of the Netherlands, in the province of North Brabant.- History :The municipality of Moerdijk was founded in 1997 following the merger of the municipalities of Fijnaart en Heijningen, Klundert, Standdaarbuiten, Willemstad and Zevenbergen. At that...

 bridges, held by German paratroopers. As the cars were not suitable for such a task the commander understandably hesitated after he had been able to observe the bridgehead was strongly defended. While thus being immobile, this group of Panhards was surprised in open polder
A polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments known as dikes, that forms an artificial hydrological entity, meaning it has no connection with outside water other than through manually-operated devices...

 landscape by a Stuka-attack and quickly withdrew to the south.

The other two DLMs hurried forward to stop the advance of 3 and 4PD after the surprisingly swift fall of Fort Eben-Emael
Fort Eben-Emael
Fort Eben-Emael is an inactive Belgian fortress located between Liège and Maastricht, on the Belgian-Dutch border, near the Albert Canal, and designed to defend Belgium from a German attack across the narrow belt of Dutch territory in the region. Constructed in 1931–1935, it was reputed to be...

, their Panhards fighting a successful delaying battle against their German counterparts until the Battle of Hannut
Battle of Hannut
The Battle of Hannut was a Second World War battle fought during the Battle of Belgium which took place between 12 and 14 May 1940 at Hannut, Belgium...

, the largest tank battle of the campaign. In general they had little trouble in dispatching with the lightly armoured German armoured cars, whose 20 mm main armament was not very effective against the Panhard frontal armour.

As the type was well-suited to German tactics, at least 190 Panhards, most of them brand-new, were issued to German reconnaissance units for use in Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

 in 1941 under the designation of Panzerspähwagen P204 (f), 107 would be lost that year. Among these were some radio vehicles, designated Panzerspähwagen (Funk) P204 (f). Thirty Panhards were listed as in use on the Eastern Front
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

 on 31 May 1943. Some of these were fitted with spaced armour.

After the liberation of France, the 1e Groupement Mobile de Reconnaissance would, among a bewildering variety of types, also use some Panhard 178s, some of these modified.

Radio vehicles

The Panhard units were intended for deep strategic reconnaissance and thus could be expected to operate well in advance of the main forces. To fulfil their task of relaying information, long range radio connections were necessary. Therefore one in twelve vehicles had to be of a special radio command version (Poste Commande) with the turret fixed in place and without armament but equipped with the ER27 set, giving a range of a 80 - 150 kilometres, and two ER26ter sets with a range of sixty kilometres for communications within the squadron.

Already in both 1937 and 1938 a dozen each of the "PC vehicle" had been ordered, the number of 24 being notified on 9 December 1938. The first was planned to be delivered in February, but only materialised in October 1939, followed by seventeen in November and six in December. They were rebuilt with the ER 27 set in the Fort d'Issy. As this number was clearly insufficient to equip all units, on 15 April 1940 an additional 150 PCs were ordered, bringing the total to 174; none of the new order had been built before the armistice.

North African version

From 14 October 1936, the original Panhard 178 prototype was tested in Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, resulting in an acceptance of the type for desert use on 15 January 1937, though a suitable modification was advised, including the fitting of a lighter turret.

The North African forces were in need of two reconnaissance armoured car types: a light one, for which rôle the Laffly S15 TOE was envisaged, and a heavy one, the automitrailleuse lourde, for which the Panhard 178 was chosen. Initially it was planned to uparm the vehicle, at first with a 37, then a 47 mm gun, but on 14 January 1939 the quickly deteriorating international situation forced the acceptance of a variant, the AMD 35 type Afrique française du Nord, not very different from the standard version: apart from small internal fittings changes, the main difference was the installation of a heavy duty radiator, better adapted to the hot desert climate of the North African colonies.

Already two orders had been made on 3 June 1938, one of twenty and another of twelve vehicles. A third order of 96 cars was dated 3 February 1939; it was intended to raise eight squadrons in Africa of sixteen vehicles each. The first of these orders was only notified on 26 May 1939. Construction on the vehicles started in December but had to be halted due to a lack of the special radiators, 161 of which had only be ordered on 10 October; eventually they were manufactured from the second week of May 1940, at this time forming the main bulk of Panhard 178 production: 78 were delivered that month. On 7 June of the 128 ordered 71 had been delivered, two were present in a completed form in the factory stock, and 39 hulls were ready lacking a turret. Until the armistice at least another 41 were delivered, for a minimal total of 112 AMD 35 AFNs. None of these vehicles would in fact be shipped to North Africa; they were used by newly raised (especially 10e Cuirassiers, part of Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

's 4e DCR), reconstituted or ad hoc-units in France.

Colonial version

On 14 September 1938 an order was notified of four vehicles for colonial use in Indo-China, equipped by ARL with the smaller one-man APX5 turret, as used on the AMR 35
AMR 35
The Automitrailleuse de Reconnaissance Renault Modèle 35 Type ZT was a French light tank developed during the Interbellum and used in the Second World War...

 ZT2, armed with a 25 mm gun and 7.5 mm machine-gun. The crew thus consists of three men. Two of these were delivered in June 1939, the other two the next month. These first four left for Indo-China on 12 October; at least one was captured by Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. A second order of four for colonial Panhard 178s was notified on 10 June 1939; one was delivered in December 1939; the last three in January 1940, bringing the final total for this version to eight. The last four vehicles were still in France at the time of the armistice and some, probably still without their turrets, were clandestinely incorporated by the Vichy forces.

Tank Destroyer variant

Though sufficient at a short range, the effectiveness of the 25 mm gun was far from optimal. Already in the autumn of 1939 it was considered to build a number of tank destroyer
Tank destroyer
A tank destroyer is a type of armored fighting vehicle armed with a gun or missile launcher, and is designed specifically to engage enemy armored vehicles...

s, as too few units had a motorised anti-tank capacity. Panhard in April 1940 proposed its Voiture spéciale 207, basically a Panhard 178 fitted in the back with a rearward-facing powerful 47 mm SA 37 gun.

This type was still in development when the crisis in May and the lack of APX3 turrets — Cail had been overrun and it had been decided to deliver most vehicles as "turretless AMDs" to the troops — led to an emergency programme to fit the surplus hulls with a new turret type. On 29 May 1940 Renault was contacted and quickly initial ideas of improvising an open-topped turret for a 25 mm gun grew into a new closed turret, a design by Engineer Joseph Restany, capable of holding the much more powerful standard 47 mm SA 35 tank gun, a first version of which was finished on 31 May. To provide enough room to operate the larger gun the back of the new octagonal turret was raised, resulting in an extreme wedge-shaped profile. The armour consisted of 25 mm plates all-around, reinforced on the front with an appliqué 13 mm plate. A single vehicle was completed on 6 June, but plans to build forty vehicles of the type from 11 June came to naught as Paris was declared an open city on 10 June and the factory evacuated on 12 June. The single vehicle was allocated to 1er RAM and defended on 15 June a bridge near Etignie, destroying two German "heavy tanks" (of an unspecified type) and a column trying to force a crossing. On 17 June it was destroyed by its own crew at Cosnes-sur-Loire when their unit was unable to cross the Loire
Loire is an administrative department in the east-central part of France occupying the River Loire's upper reaches.-History:Loire was created in 1793 when after just 3½ years the young Rhône-et-Loire department was split into two. This was a response to counter-Revolutionary activities in Lyon...

 river with its heavy equipment.

Modifications by Germany, Vichy France and Italy

After 1941 the Germans modified 43 cars as railway-protection vehicles (Schienenpanzer); they could drive on the tracks themselves by means of special wheels and were fitted with large radio frame aerials.

Under the armistice conditions the Vichy regime was allowed to use 64 Panhards for police service. These vehicles, mainly taken from the May-June production batches, had their guns removed and replaced with an additional machine gun. On orders of the Army, Engineer J. Restany from April 1941 clandestinely produced 45 new turrets, fitted with a 47 mm SA 35 gun; some were eventually combined with the hulls. These hulls and cars were hidden or dumped in lakes when the whole of France was occupied in 1942. In the summer of 1944 some were taken into use by the resistance; of these vehicles some would again be captured and used by the Germans.

In 1944 some of the 34 Panhards captured by the Germans when they overran Vichy-France in November 1942, were rebuilt with the 50 mm L/42 or L/60 gun in an open-topped turret and used for occupation duty. In November 1942, the Italian Army also captured two Panhards, which would be used by them until September 1943.

Panhard 178B

Late 1944, a new turret was designed by Fives Lille, the FL1. It had a cylindrical form allowing for more space to install the larger 75 mm SA 45 L/32 gun. The type with the new turret, a new four cylinder engine and the EM3/R61 radio set was named Panhard 178B and taken into production at Firminy
Firminy is a commune in the Loire department in central France.It lies on the Ondaine River 8 mi. S.W. of Saint-Étienne by rail.-Sights:Two historic churches from the 12th and 16th centuries are located here...

; a first order of 150 was made on 5 January 1945 and confirmed on 31 July 1945. Before actual manufacture started however, it was decided to fit the smaller 47 mm SA35 gun and a machine gun. In total 414 vehicles were manufactured, making for a grand total of Panhard 178 cars of 1143. In contradistinction to this Panhard 178B, older vehicles are sometimes designated Panhard 178"A", though this designation is not contemporary. The B-version was used in France and the colonies, such as Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

 and Vietnam. The last French use was in Djibouti
Djibouti , officially the Republic of Djibouti , is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east...

 in 1960 by the 15e Escadron Blindé d'Infanterie de Marine; Syria still used the type in February 1964 during the uprising in Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...



  • Pierre Touzin, Les véhicules blindés français, 1900-1944, EPA, 1979.
  • Pierre Touzin, Les Engins Blindés Français 1920-1945, Volume 1, SERA, 1976.
  • Leland Ness (2002) Jane's World War II Tanks and Fighting Vehicles: The Complete Guide, Harper Collins, London and New York, ISBN 0-00-711228-9
  • Pascal Danjou, 2004, L'Automitrailleuse de Découverte AMD 35 Panhard 178, Editions du Barbotin, Ballainvilliers
  • François Vauvillier, 2008, "Produire l'AMD 35 Panhard: une affaire d'équipe", Histoire de Guerre, Blindés & Matériel, N° 82, p. 36-45

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