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Russian three-wheelers
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General - major Filatov's Armored cars.

The Chapter from the book of M.Baryatinskiy and M.Kolomiets “Armored cars of Russian Army,”

Approximately at the same time, when Poplavko projected "Charodey", the chief of Officer shooting school general - major Filatov has developed the project of the light three-wheeled armored car armed with 3-inch counter-assault gun. Manufacturing of this machine was began in workshops of school, Oranienbaum, in December, 1915 . Manufacturing of similar machines, armed with two machine guns have started here hardly later.

In April, 1916 one gun and nine machine-gun armored cars were ready. They had bodies completely cloused with armour of 4-6 mm, fixed on the three-wheeled chassis of special development. For manufacturing the chassis parts from the cars which are not subject to repair were used: wheels, cardan joint, axle-tree and some other. Turning was carried out with the help of the forward wheel mounted on specially designed Y-shaped suspender and controlled by means of metal drafts by a steering wheel of the driver. As a power-plant petrol motors by capacity 16-25 h.p. ("Case", "Gupmobile", "Maskwill" and other) were applied. The armament of armored cars was placed in a back part of the case, and an ammunition - in special racks along boards. The crew has consisted from 3-4 person. For stability at shooting the gun machine had the falling boot under the bottom.

The author of the project general - major Filatov considered, that due to small weight three-wheeled armored cars can move outside of roads on a meadow, an arable land, sand; high mobility will allow them to go round shell-holes and obstacles easily, and the small sizes will complicate to the opponent firing on them. Besides considerably smaller cost three-wheelers in comparison with other types of armored cars would allow to adjust their mass production quickly. Under the conceptual decision three-wheeled armored cars were a prototype of the platform soles which have received a wide circulation in the beginning of 30th years.

On April, 22, 1916 three-wheelers  have been examined by members of the "Commission on armored automobiles" and management of GAU (ГАУ - Main Artillery Administration, and "the marked persons have found three-wheeled automobiles basically very successful and have expressed desire to make above them wide experiences". The tests which have been lead{which have been carried out} in May - June, have shown, that three-wheeled armored cars very maneuvring, are mobile and stable. However the gun automobile has turned out a little bit overloaded (weight 2,6 т) in comparison with machine-gun (weight 1,8 т) and as consequence - possessed the worse passableness. Therefore preference have given to machine-gun variant. The order for production of 20 machines of the improved design was given to Izhorskiy factory in July of the same year.

During same time a small four-wheel armored car was constructed under the project of praporshchik (ensign) Uljatovskiy in workshops of Officer Shooting School . The chassis for it was made from details of the broken automobiles. Firstly this car had one machine gun in the back part of the case, and machine gunners settled down laying for reduction of its dimensions. Later a machine gun was replaced with 3 " counter-assault gun, however it has led to to an overload of the armored car which weight has reached 3 т.

As to three-wheelers, ordered to Izhorskiy factory, the first of them has passed tests on October, 13, 1916. Confirming Filatov's ideas, the machine confidently moved on sand and the ploughed field. This AC didn't differ from machines of Officer shooting school structurally , but was easier (the weight 1,4 т), had one machine gun and the engine, designed by Izhorskiy factory. It is impossible to tell precisely , how many armored cars have been constructed from ordered to twenty. It is authentically known, that up to the end of 1916 the 8 units of them was made. However, there are bases to consider, that the order has been executed within 1917.

In October, 1916 three-wheeled armoured cars have sent on front for tests under the order of Main Administration of the Joint Staff. It was joined to 1-st (two machine-gun), 7-th (two machine-gun), 8-th (two machine-gun and one gun) and 9-th (one machine-gun) armored automobile battalions. By reports of commanders, AC  had proved to be well in fights.

Three-wheelers were used actively in civil war. So, on August, 21, 1918 the group from three such armored cars has gone from Petrograd to Baku under command of Adzhanalov - " to the aid of the Baku proletariat ". In the autumn of 1918 one three-wheelerwas part of 1-st armored automobile battalion of white Dobrovolcheskaya (Voluntary) army under the name "Fiber" . In April, 1919 it was desarmoured in Ekaterinodar (Krasnodar now) "due to deterioration and fighting unfitness". At least one three-wheeled armored car was available in structure auto-armor-masinegun group of Smolnyy guard which was went to the front in May 1920. Last data on these machines concern to February, 1922 when 4 three-wheelers still were registered in Management of armored forces Red Army.


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176 - During the firing tests at the range of Officer shooting school. Folding boots  were used for giving the greater stability to the machine. Range of Officer shooting school, 1916 (from M.Kolomiets collection).

177 - The three-wheeled chassis used for armouring (from S.Romadin's collection).

178 - Officers examine three-wheelers  armed with 3" mountain gun type19О9. Range of Officer shooting school, autumn of 1916 (from M.Kolomiets collection).

179 - The officer of the Belgian armored battalion with the Russian colleagues near machine-gun three-wheelers. Officer shooting school, 1916 (from G.Petrov's collection).

180 - Machine-gun three-wheelers at range. Controlled forward wheels are perfectly visible. (from M.Kolomiets's collection)

181, 182 - Shooting from machine-gun (181) and gun (182) three-wheelers, 1916 (from M.Kolomiets's collection).

183 - Group of officers and men - participants of tests - near the machine-gun three-wheelers, 1916 (from M.Kolomiets's collection).

184 - Machine-gun three-wheelers on tests, 1916 (from G.Petrov's collection).

185 - Praporshchik Uljatovsky near the his armored car (from M.Kolomiets's collection).

186 - Near the garage of Officer shooting school, 1916. Forward - "Allis-Chalmers" tractor, back - machine-gun three-wheeler (from G.Petrov's collection).

187 - Machine-gun three-wheelers before the next stages of tests, 1916 (from M.Kolomiets's collection).

188, 189 - Officers and soldiers, near the praporshchik Ulyatovskiy's armored car, Officer shooting school, 1916 (from G.Petrov's collection).


My comments:


I am not sure, that drawing are given in scale 1:35.

Peter, you may use this material on site.



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Great stuff, the book you mentioned (M.Baryatinskiy and M.Kolomiets “Armored cars of Russian Army) is an extremely awesome book on the subject of Russian Armoured Cars. It contains loads of information on a rare subject. It skips a few different models, but if you can find it, it’s worth the money.

All the Best

Tim R

"The life given us by nature is short; but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal"
-Cicero 106-43BC

Field Marshal

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This thread has now been turned into an article on the WW1 Wiki. Check it out here:

/Peter Kempf
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