Shanghai Volunteer Defence Force armoured cars

Discussion in 'Prewar' started by China Hand, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. China Hand

    China Hand No Longer A Forum Member

    This is all fascinating, and will repay later rummaging, but of course I immediately went looking for Shanghai in the 1930s...not much, but there is this rather nice shot of a "Englisher Panzerwagen".

    Bundesarchiv_Bild_102-13038,_Shanghai,_Englischer_Panzerwagen.jpg

    File:Bundesarchiv Bild 102-13038, Shanghai, Englischer Panzerwagen.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

    Now, I have seen other pics of these armoured cars, but never one quite so clear from the side. I am still not 100% sure what they are - any AFVs out there who can tell me ? The turret is very "Rolls Royce Armoured Car", but the rest is not - there is a sort of seating area at the back so that it doubles, I suppose, as a sort of troop carrier, although with no protection for the lads. It may have been some sort of local improvisation, of course.

    The other Q of course is - what is that badge ? which I have not seen before. It looks like crossed Vickers guns. It may, of course, be something specific to the Shanghai Volunteer Corps, the locally raised defence force - I think these cars are from its Armoured Car Company. The pic is dated January 1932, which means it must during the SVC call out to reinforce the International Settlement during the 'Shanghai Incident', see January 28 Incident - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    Anyway...hours of wasted time ahead, I can see...with a German dictionary...

    PS Just discovered there are 462 photos from Tsingtao (Tsingtau German spelling, now Qingdao, where the beer comes from :) ) during the German occupation 1898-1914...mouthwatering...
     
  2. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    View attachment 16025
    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/attachments/general/16025d1240992907t-nearly-had-heart-attack-~-bundesarchiv-photos-bundesarchiv_bild_102-13038-_shanghai-_englischer_panzerwagen-jpg

    File:Bundesarchiv Bild 102-13038, Shanghai, Englischer Panzerwagen.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

    Now, I have seen other pics of these armoured cars, but never one quite so clear from the side. I am still not 100% sure what they are - any AFVs out there who can tell me ? The turret is very "Rolls Royce Armoured Car", but the rest is not - there is a sort of seating area at the back so that it doubles, I suppose, as a sort of troop carrier, although with no protection for the lads. It may have been some sort of local improvisation, of course.
    It appears to be one of the 'Shanghai Volunteer Defence Force' vehicles. The type and style of numbering certainly fit, and it looks like the badge is right (their Machine Gun Company?). Typically, I have pictures of vehicles 'C' (no turret, command), '1', & '2' (look like the same as above) but no '3', there were eight of them plus that Command car.
    According to Fletcher in 'Mechanised Force' They were locally constructed and based on heavy American truck chassis, possibly Packards (command car on a Ford), with the armour copied from the Rolls pattern, only larger.
    "More imposing than effective"
     
  3. China Hand

    China Hand No Longer A Forum Member

    Thanks for that, von Poop...locally made, that is what I suspected. Can you post your ones ? :) be interesting to see if I have the same or different !

    BTW, I guess the Locker-Lampson MP quoted in that Hansard extract is the WW1 period RNAS armoured car chap, Oliver Locker-Lampson...
     
  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Can you post your ones ? :) be interesting to see if I have the same or different !
    [​IMG]
    "Two of the big Shanghai Volunteer Defence Force armoured cars follow the the armoured staff, or command car on a patrol"
    P.95 - 'Mechanised Force' - David Fletcher, HMSO, 1991.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. China Hand

    China Hand No Longer A Forum Member

    Ah-ha not seen that, nice.

    Fair exchange is no robbery :) so here is what appears to be no. 15 or no.18 (maybe more than 8 of the things ???), with I think Russian crew (the SVC had a company of full-time White Russians, who were used as the first line of reinforcement for the Shanghai Municipal Police for major ops and "public order"), and also, behind the group of seemingly British officers, no.5 (at left)...and others whose nos are not visible. These are I got from a Russian website ages ago, hence the Blinoff name tag, but I cannot locate it again.

    AC SH 1.jpg
    AC SH 2.jpg

    I have one more, but it is on a contemporary album on its way back to UK with my stuff, I will add it here later !
     
  6. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    The Russians are interesting, as I'd just been reading this on a Jewish Company of the Force:
    The Jewish Company of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps
    Says there that many Shanghai Jews were originally emigres from Russia.

    I see we have a rather dusty but interesting thread on SVDF 'veterans' (seems to have been a social club as much as anything) signing up for WW2 :
    White Russian Glosters
     
  7. China Hand

    China Hand No Longer A Forum Member

    Yes indeed, it was rather a polyglot sort a place then ! The White Russian company had a bit of rep for being, shall we say, "robust", in their public order techniques, apparently...

    Never heard re Russian Glosters, fascinating, thanks.
     
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  9. China Hand

    China Hand No Longer A Forum Member

  10. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Hmm, looks like some sort of limit's kicked in as it usually displays fine.
    maybe try another time.

    Just been to the main site:
    welcome to overvalwagen.com
    but that doesn't seem to help either.
     
  11. China Hand

    China Hand No Longer A Forum Member

    OK I am in it now :) :D :unsure::rolleyes::lol:

    Whoa...quite a collection...some really obscure stuff - love it - thanks !
     
  12. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    Im in Shanghai in early June, is there anything worth visiting from a WW2 point of view.

    (same goes for Xi-an and Beijing)

    Phil
     
  13. China Hand

    China Hand No Longer A Forum Member

    Im in Shanghai in early June, is there anything worth visiting from a WW2 point of view.

    (same goes for Xi-an and Beijing)

    Phil

    Hi...right...a few ideas off top of my head...may depend on how much time you have...

    Shanghai :

    * short answer is really not much...unless you simply want to look at some stuff on the 1937 battles first then find the same locations in a "Then and Now" type of way...

    * there are several political museums to Sun Yat Sen, Chou En Lai etc that are OK for some political stuff

    * if you have time (a day maybe) Nanjing is about two hours away by train, where there is of course the 1937 massacre memorial...

    * Xi'an I have not been to. The main WW2 angle would be the "Xi'an incident", when Chiang Kai Shek was taken prisoner for some days by opposing Chinese forces, I believe there is a museum but it is some way out of the city, I understand. I gather its city walls are pretty impressive, however, if you into earlier forts and stuff.

    * Beijing - Beijing Military Museum (China People's Revolution Military Museum), very easy to find, even has its own metro stop ! Well worth a look, some very wierd and wonderful AFVs of all kinds. Axis History Factbook: Photos from Beijing Military Museum (China)

    * Beijing - Beijing Tank Museum (The Tank Museum -- china.org.cn) which I only found out about AFTER I had been visiting the city for several months (doh) and never managed to get back ! See also BeijingMan: Tank Museum China and Axis History Factbook: Photos from Beijing Tank Museum (China)

    * oh yes again there are some 1960s period Cold War type bunkers in Beijing that are apparently open to the public...

    I can advise further perhaps nearer the time and if anything else occurs. I can also suggest some places to poke around for antiques in Shanghai and Beijing, again if you have time. The delight of Chinese museums etc is that once you are in the country, public transport to reach them is cheap, entrance fees are cheap and the bookshops are cheap (albeit in Chinese, look for the picture books ! ;) )
     
    von Poop likes this.
  14. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    Being such a fan of the "China Station", but really on the dark about a lot of what has to do with it, can someone tell me about the SVDF? Was it a sort of Constabulary force, a paramilitary organization, or a formal member of the official multi-army force defending the International Settlement?
     
  15. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    Hi...right...a few ideas off top of my head...may depend on how much time you have...

    Shanghai :

    * short answer is really not much...unless you simply want to look at some stuff on the 1937 battles first then find the same locations in a "Then and Now" type of way...

    * there are several political museums to Sun Yat Sen, Chou En Lai etc that are OK for some political stuff

    * if you have time (a day maybe) Nanjing is about two hours away by train, where there is of course the 1937 massacre memorial...

    * Xi'an I have not been to. The main WW2 angle would be the "Xi'an incident", when Chiang Kai Shek was taken prisoner for some days by opposing Chinese forces, I believe there is a museum but it is some way out of the city, I understand. I gather its city walls are pretty impressive, however, if you into earlier forts and stuff.

    * Beijing - Beijing Military Museum (China People's Revolution Military Museum), very easy to find, even has its own metro stop ! Well worth a look, some very wierd and wonderful AFVs of all kinds. Axis History Factbook: Photos from Beijing Military Museum (China)

    * Beijing - Beijing Tank Museum (The Tank Museum -- china.org.cn) which I only found out about AFTER I had been visiting the city for several months (doh) and never managed to get back ! See also BeijingMan: Tank Museum China and Axis History Factbook: Photos from Beijing Tank Museum (China)

    * oh yes again there are some 1960s period Cold War type bunkers in Beijing that are apparently open to the public...

    I can advise further perhaps nearer the time and if anything else occurs. I can also suggest some places to poke around for antiques in Shanghai and Beijing, again if you have time. The delight of Chinese museums etc is that once you are in the country, public transport to reach them is cheap, entrance fees are cheap and the bookshops are cheap (albeit in Chinese, look for the picture books ! ;) )

    CHeers CH
     
  16. China Hand

    China Hand No Longer A Forum Member

    Being such a fan of the "China Station", but really on the dark about a lot of what has to do with it, can someone tell me about the SVDF? Was it a sort of Constabulary force, a paramilitary organization, or a formal member of the official multi-army force defending the International Settlement?

    Hi Warlord

    Well...two things getting muddled here...the short answer is...

    • The Shanghai Defence Force was a temporary, British command created c. 1927-1928 to encompass the forces sent to reinforce the standing British regular garrison in Shanghai because of concerns for safety of local residents due to nearby fighting between various Chinese forces
    • the Shanghai Volunteer Corps (SVC), formed in 1854 and lasting until 1941, was a largely volunteer force, recruited locally, under the Shanghai Municipal Council, with the twin roles of (a) internal security in support of the Shanghai Municipal Police and (b) external security to support regular forces in defence of the International Settlement
    As for the long answer, I could go on all night but for now a few links/comments :

    Political/diplomatic background

    Extraterritoriality etc - Shanghai International Settlement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – the SVC was the “army” of the Shanghai International Settlement, under the Shanghai Municipal Council. It is worth nothing the Settlement was somewhat British in character, but did in fact encompass a variety of “concessions”, including the American and indeed Japanese. There was of course the separate French Concession, Shanghai French Concession - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, which had its own police force and regular French military forces.

    Regular military forces

    Good summary here (some old links do not work) - Foreign Forces in 1920s China. In British terms, the regular garrison was usually 2-3 battalions of infantry, depending on circumstances, plus supporting arms. There were also US, French, Italian, etc. All these forces could be reinforced, e.g. that was what the Shanghai Defence Force was. There is an orbat of the SDF here on WW2T, http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/prewar/16884-british-soldiers-shanghai-c-1927-1928-a.html#post165690 .

    The Shanghai Volunteer Corps

    See :

    There is a history, 85 years of the SVC, published 1938, by I. Kounin, but I have never seen a copy.

    I have a list somewhere saying when it was “called out”, but cannot put my hands on it right now. As I say, its role was two fold :

    • internal security – if the Shanghai Municipal Police could not deal with a “public order” incident – and it would have to be pretty serious, as the SMP were fairly robust in such matters, and had their own Police Mobile Unit (sort of SWAT) and their Sikhs to call on first – then SVC would respond. From I think about 1931 the White Russian company was full-time and held in this role, what we would now call a “quick reaction force”
    • external security – it was mobilised to support the regular forces in defending the Settlement against potential threat from outside.
    I have seen a couple of interesting references to the SVC in recent reading of Cabinet documents (CAB series online via National Archives), e.g. :

    • Telegram from CinC China to Admiralty, 12 January 1927, quoted in CAB24/184 CP 12 (27), "the volunteer force of Shanghai is entirely inadequate for defence purposes" - although I think he means "not big enough", rather than "not good enough" !
    • Paper on future of Shanghai by Mr Huntley Davidson (believed to be leading member of British community in Shanghai) presented to Cabinet in 1929, in CAB24/203, CP 135 (29), notes the "inability of indigent Russian refugees to volunteer except in paid units". He also notes that of the 10,000 adult male population of the International Settlement in Shanghai in 1925, some 3,600 were serving in either the SVC or the police, full time or part time.
    Hope this clarifies things ! I could say more, but will have to wait until I can get access to my China library again, which is currently en route back to the UK.
     
  17. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    Hope this clarifies things ! I could say more, but will have to wait until I can get access to my China library again, which is currently en route back to the UK.

    Fascinating... I knew one day I was going to meet a good ol´chap like you... :mademyday:

    By the way, isn´t there a way to tell the courier blokes to hurry up a bit the delivery of your collection, something like TODAY!!! while you make it back to Blighty via a teletransportation chamber????? :D
     
  18. China Hand

    China Hand No Longer A Forum Member

    Fascinating... I knew one day I was going to meet a good ol´chap like you... :mademyday:

    By the way, isn´t there a way to tell the courier blokes to hurry up a bit the delivery of your collection, something like TODAY!!! while you make it back to Blighty via a teletransportation chamber????? :D

    :) No worries...

    Like your Star Trek like idea...sadly no I have to wait for my boring slow flight...
     
  19. cmp

    cmp Member

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