Happy first day of Summer: King Armored Cars in the Caribbean

While the Marines are quickly shedding most of their heavy armor, it should be pointed out that they intend to still keep some lighter stuff like Amtracs and LAVs, at least for now.

With that, and with a hat-tip to the fact that today is the first day of summer, there is no better time than to mention the Marine armored unit that was deployed downrange 100 years ago.

Meet the King Armored Car (USMC Photo)

1st Armored Car Squadron was organized in 1917 and equipped with five Armored Motor Car Company (AMC)-produced King armored cars.

The King wasn’t particularly fearsome, but you had to keep in mind that for Great War-era armor it wasn’t that bad, mounting a single Lewis gun or M1895 Potato Digger, it had enough armor to protect it from small arms fire– the Marines even tested it by reportedly popping the side of one with a .45ACP without penetrating.

Attached to the 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Base Brigade in 1919, they served in the Dominican Republic until deactivated in 1921. The unit left most of their Kings behind in Hispanola where the locals used them in one form or another until the 1930s.

King Armored Cars, Dominican Republic, 1919 (USMC Photo)

The sole Marine King armored car is on display at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia, and it has a .45ACP-sized dimple in the side.

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