DUTCH AND BELGIAN ARMOURED VEHICLES IN BRAZIL
1935 – 1945

Translated from the Portuguese by Lúcia Campos Lima

          The thirties were marked by several important happenings in Brazil, starting with the 1930 Revolution, and followed by the most remarkable internal conflict, the Civil War of 1932, well-known as the Constitucionalist Revolution. These revolutions are the milestones of the 20th century in Brazil.
          After the Government victory on the Constitucionalists, the Military Public Force of São Paulo was assured. Besides that a Special Police, was established to maintain the public order when the Civil Police and the Public Force were not sufficient enough. Then, the Special Police was put into action. Their units were equipped with german Mauser pistols and Schmeisser machine guns, plus Dutch Wilton-Fijenoord armoured vehicles and Belgian armoured motorcycles FN M86.
          The Special Police had a division of Armoured cars composed of a section of assault cars with two Wilton-Fijenoord armoured trucks for troop transportation, built by Dutch Shipbuilding Company Wilton-Fijenoord, on the Ford truck chassis (photo 1), with the capacity to transport 22 men, l4 seated and the others standing on foot, besides the driver and his assistant. These vehicles were armoured with steel plates of 4mm thick, with several windows around, and several hatchways.

Photo 1 – Two troop armoured transportation trucks Wilton-Fijenoord, presented in São Paulo, parade April 1936; Credit for photo: Section of periodics, author's library.

           The steel plates protecd them from small caliber projectiles. On the other hand, they could answer from the inside and even to disembark troops for immediate action against demonstrators. (photo 2). The vehicles were developed to dismiss urban disturbances, they were similar to the ones used by the Militar Polices nowadays, in the country. The engine was a Ford gasoline motor of 8 cylinders, and the tires were bulletproof. (Drawing 1)

Photo 2 - Soldiers embarking on the troop transportation truck Wilton-Fijenoord.
Notice the armoured door.
Credit for photo: Section of periodics, author's library.

Drawing 1 – Four view drawings of the troop transportation truck Wilton-Fijenoord
elaborated by Eros de Carvalho Rego, in the 1:35 scale.
Credit for drawing: author's collection.


          There were other two armoured vehicles model Wilton-Fijenoord Police Car, of which just three were built in 1933. Initially, these vehicles were developeded to fulfill the needs of the Dutch colonies.
          The German truck chassis Krupp Protze L2H43 6 x 6 (photo 3), was chosen with modifications done by the Dutch manufacturer. An armoured structure was built on this chassis. It was of an advanced conception for the time, with 3 to 10mm of thick steel plates, with excellent ballistic angles, with a 360º rotative tower and armed with three machine guns, being one in the tower, one in the rear and the other in front, with several hatchways for observation. It also had an electric fan for gas extraction after shooting. To avoid the demonstrators could turn down this armoured, electric discharges would happen if someone would touch it. (Drawing 2)

Photo 3 - truck Chassis Krupp-Protze L2H43 used in Wilton-Fijenoord Police Car.
Credit for photo: Catalog Krupp, 1938. Author's collection.

Drawing 2 – Four view drawings of the Wilton-Fijenoord Police Car elabroated by Eros de
Carvalho Rego, in the 1:35 scale.
Credit of drawing: author’s collection


          Two of the three vehicles produced were sent to the Oriental Dutch Indias in 1934. After exhaustive tests, they still showed some deficiencies, because they were too heavy for the roads there, and the motor heating was excessive, forcing the use of aircraft gasoline instead of the common gasoline. They were then returned to the company that had built them.
In February 1935 these two vehicles were sold to the Brazilian government and in 1936 were incorporated to The Special Police of São Paulo, with important modifications. The three machine guns were replaced by a device to shoot lachrymatory gas or flames on the demonstrators. The armoured tires were bulletproofed. (photos 4, 5, 6 and 7)

Photo 4 - Two armoured Wilton-Fijenoord Police Car parading in São Paulo, April 1936.
Credit for photo: Section of periodics, author's library.

Photo 5 – Rebuilding done by the author in the l:35 scale of Wilton-Fijenoord Police Car.
Notice the gray painting used by Special Police of São Paulo, Brazil.
Credit for photo: author's collection

Photo 6 - Rebuilding done by the author in the l:35 scale of Wilton-Fijenoord Police Car. Rear sight.
Credit for photo: author's collection

Photo 7 - Rebuilding done by the author in the l:35 scale of Wilton-Fijenoord Police Car. Lateral sight.
Credit for photo: author's collection


          The third vehicle was kept in the Dutch factory up to 1938, when it was sold to the Dutch army and incorporated to the Artillery Mobile Body on June, 1st. During the Second World War, in May 1940, the Dutch army was defeated by the Germans, who captured. this vehicle
          In 1944 when the German troops started to be withdrawn from Holland, this vehicle that had already been incorporated to the German army was taken carried to Germany, among others. In 1945 it was used in the defense of Berlin, them being destroyed by the Russian army in the Reich Chancellery internal patio, where it had been used with other vehicles in their hopeless defense.
(photo 8)
          The drawing of Wilton-Fijenoord Police Car was such a revolutionary one, that inspired the Krupp factory to develop a similar armoured in 1938, denominated Krupp Polizei-Streifenwagen, used by the German Armed forces during the Second World War. (photo 9)

Photo 8 - Wilton-Fijenoord Police Car destoyed in Reich Chancellery internal patio, Berlin, April 1945.
Credit for photo: Bundesarchiv
Photo 9 - Armoured Krupp Polizei-Streifenwagen, very similar to Wilton-Fijenoord Police Car. The drawing of Police Car was such a revolutionary, one that inspired Krupp factory of German to develop a similar vehicle in 1938, used by the German army in the Second World War.
Credit for photo: Catalog Krupp, 1938. Author's collection.


          The armoured motorcycles FN M86, produced by the Belgian firm FN of Herstal, were of a great curiosity. They were then acquired along with the Dutch armoured vehicles, in 1935, and arrived in Brazil in 1936.
          This company had produced motorcycles for civilian objectives since 1902, and then developed, from the civil model, the military motorcycle FN M86 adopted in great number by the Belgian Army including the version with the side car. The motorcycle FN M86 is a derivative of FN M85, 500cc, the civilian model which proceeded having 600cc.
          In 1935, this company introduces to the Belgian Army a very curious version of M86, totally armoured, with a machine gun or a Browning BAR light machine gun also of their own production. Its armour is formed by two parts: one to protect the side car with visors and a frontal opening to for guns and gunner and the o ther to protect the moto pilot with a hatchway, with a visor that can be operated either open or closed to protect his whole body. (photo 10 e 11)

Photo 10 –Armoured motorcycle FN M86 parading in the city of São Paulo's,in April 1936. Notice the motor armour
Credit for photo: Section of periodics, author's library.

Photo 11 – Lateral view of Armoured motorcycle, left side FN M86 Special Police of São Paulo, in 1936.
Notice the pilot's hatchway and the weapon position in the side car.
Credit for photo: Section of periodics, author's library


          Ironically the Belgian Army doesn't accept this version, pointing out problems with the weight and its deficiency for locomotion on rough grounds, due to the fact that it had only one tractor wheel in the rear, which very much limited its maneuver performance, without taking into account the armour weight. This will be converted in the model M12, version without armour. It will a have differential rear and cardam axis , turned into an excellent moto, so that the German army will use it in the Russian front - the same motos captured from to the Belgians in 1940.
          But production will not stop: several countries are going to acquire several vehicles models of the Armoured Moto FN M86, including Argentina (?), Bolivia (13), China (13), Romenia (?), Venezuela (25), Yemen (7) and Brazil (2). I presume that less than 100 were produced.(photo 12)


Photo 12 – Side-car chassis detail of FN M86 and its transmission system. Credit for photo: FN, Herstal. via Jacques Maertens.

          In the Brazilian version, the gun equipment consisted of a German machine gun Bergmann MP 28.II, caliber 9mm, produced in Belgium by FN under the license of German Schmeisser, from 1934 on.
          Neither of two survived to be preserved, in Brazil, and not even the military Belgian museums own a copy of this strange armoured motorcycle. On the same way the Dutch museums don’t have on armoured Wilton-Fijenoord model.
          The Special Police created on June 21st, 1935, was dissolved in 1945 with the fall of Getúlio Vargas government – “The New State”. I believe that the armoured were sent to the Public Military Force of São Paulo used for some years, replaced afterwards by other new vehicles more adequate to the needs of the city of São Paulo, that were probably thrown away in a junk place


Technical data of Wilton-Fijenoord Police Car:

Manufacturer: Dutch Shipbuilding Company Wilton-Fijenoord
Length: 5,06m
Width: 2,20m
Height: 2,30m
Weight: 4.500 Kg
Motor: 4 cylinders, 60 HP, gasoline.
Speed maxim: 70Km/h
Autonomy: 250km
Fuel capacity in the reservoir: 65 liters
Crew: 3 to 4 men.


Technical data of Armoured Motorcycle FN M86:

Manufacturer: Fabrique Nationale d`Armes d`guerre, FN, Herstal
Model: FN M12 blindée 3x1
Motor: FN, a cylinder, air cooled , 600cc, the gasoline, 20bhp,
four gears activated in the foot.
Transmission: Current
Brake system: mechanic
Traction in the rear wheel.
Weight without armour: 175kg
Distance between axises: 1,38m
Tires: 4,00 x 19
Wheels: diameter 19”


Bibliography:

- Catalag German Krupp Geländewagen Typ: L2H43, Fried.Krupp A.G., Abt. Kraftwagenfabrik, Essen, 1937;
- Catalag German Krupp Geländewagen, Fried.Krupp A.G., Abt. Kraftwagenfabrik, Essen, 1938;
- Frank, Reinhard. Krupp-kraftwagen im Krieg – Die legendäre Krupp-Protze oNU andere, Podzun-Pallas-Verlag GmbH, Dorheim, 1987;
- Souza, Fernando Costa of. Armoured Vehicles and Weapons of Brazil – 1918 – today`s. Author's edition, São Gonçalo, RJ,
- Magazine Bandeirante, Year I nº 4, São Paulo, SP, April 1936;
- Bernage, George. Album Historique Leibstandart SS, Editions Heimdal, France, 1996.
- Heesakkers, Hans. Armoured Cars of The Royal Dutch Indies Army (KNIL), Part III, pag. 4 – Armoured Car #25, September-October, 1994.
- Crow, Duncan and Icks, Robert J. Encyclopedia of Armoured Cars. Barrie & Jenkins Ltd, London, 1976;
- Hogg, Ian V. and Weeks, John. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Military Vehicles.Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd, England, 1980;
- Vanderveen, Bart. Historic Military Vehicles Directory. After Battle Publication, England, 1989;
- Magazine Vé Mil Le Magazine des Vehicules Militaires 7. Artigo Les motos militaires belges du Victory Memorial Museum. EDAF, France, 1991;
- Mail between author and Jacques Maertens, specialist in motos FN in Belgium, in March 2001;
- Magazine Bandeirante, year I nº 4, São Paulo, April 1936;