Armoured car vs Machine gun carrier

What exactly is the difference?
Is it a structural thing I. E. Enclosed vs Exposed MG or just a “local” numenclature thing?

By what I vaguely remember, so don’t quote me; the carrier’s like the Bren gun carrier were made to help give more mobility to actual MG platoons or battalions and a mobile fire platform, whereas an armoured car has a more specific offence role like fighting reconnaissance etc, I know it’s a broad sweep of the brush but I think that’s about it.

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To complement what Johnny has already written:


The universal carrier was intended to be able to carry anything and everything

There was also the Loyd carrier

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Aren’t armored cars wheeled while universal carriers are tracked?

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And an obvious difference which I completely over looked… Very good point Carlos :+1:

Except the Indian pattern

And the New Zealand pattern

Back to tracked carriers, there was also the Vickers light Dragon

Oxford carrier

Windsor Carrier

T16 carrier

And of course the multitude of Universal carrier variants

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So then aside from those type exceptions, the carrier’s role is primarily to move infantry crew served weapons, while the armored car’s role is primarily reconnaissance scouting or screening.
And of course there will be exceptions to those employment roles.

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Thank you very much everyone.
Im talking specifically about wheeled vehicles only and the question was piqued by ICM & CSM releases

The idea of function seems to be decider. Thanks again.

In that case I would say they are designed for mobility of a fixed MG or MGs on a mobile platform for one of the said MG Platoons or MG battalions. And their role would be in support of a unit to allow them to be re-positioned as the battle dictated. They would not be a dedicated attack or offensive force in their own right,


The distinctions tend to get fuzzy around the edges.
A tracked carrier with some thin-ish armour which carries a mortar to a firing position where the mortar is unloaded (not using the word ‘dismounted’ since the mortar isn’t mounted in the carrier, only carried), paced in firing position and used in battle.
This is a carrier.

A wheeled vehicle with thin-ish armour, partially or completely open topped, carries one or two MG on the load bed. The weapon can be fired from the load bed by a gunner hiding behind more or less armour. One of them is an armoured car and the other is a carrier …

Amusing trivia:
The British truck manufacturer Karrier made an artillery tractor, KT 4, this chassis was also used by the Rootes group to produce the Humber armoured car. The Guy armoured car was needed in larger quantities but they couldn’t cope so the Rootes group was ordered to take over. The Guy armmoured body was placed on the Karrier chassis to become an armoured car.
Guy armoured car

“In 1940, the War Office was requesting much-increased production from Guy Motors. However, even with the savings in man-hours that welding provided, the company was just unable to cope with the increased workload without prejudicing its other commitments such as building trucks. Thus, the design was handed to the Rootes group, which produced an almost identical vehicle which became known as the Humber Armoured Car. This was a Guy Light Tank body placed on a Karrier KT 4 artillery tractor chassis. In this guise, it became one of the outstanding success stories of British armored cars from the Second World War.”

Karrier KT 4

Humber Armoured Car (just a Guy on a Karrier )

I wouldn’t lose any sleep over why one is a carrier and the other an armoured car

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No lost sleep, just curiosity😀

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In French, “armored car” is usually translated to “automitrailleuse” ( = machine gun car)…