The Army Ordnance Association

With a few exceptions most American tank (and combat car) design before the Second World War was in the hands of the US Ordnance Department, with the majority of work being carried out at the Rock Island Arsenal.The Ordnance Department was always a trifle wary of outside designers after their unhappy experiences with Walter Christie. In any case, few American manufacturers, with the exception of the Marmon-Harrington company (who were largely concerned with producing light armoured vehicles for sale to South American countries) seemed interested in developing tanks-simply because they felt there was little market demand for them.

Fortunately for the American Army, there had been created after 1918 a quasi-official body known as the Army Ordnance Association. This was ‘an organization of America citizens pledged to industrial preparedness for war` and its aim was to keep alive an interest in and knowledge of munitions. Very many of the organization’s members were in responsible industrial posts, and this naturally led to a useful exchange of information between the military and industry.

Although the Army still had little funding money with which to obtain armoured vehicles, it was through its contacts with the Army Ordnance Association that Industry was kept informed of what the Army felt it needed, and the army, in return was kept informed of fresh industrial developments

From time to time, the associated Society of Automotive Engineers was able to arrange for vehicle manufacturers, using their own development funds, to demonstrate various pilot models or prototypes before the Army. It in this way a number of important vehicles such as armoured cars, half tracks, heavy multi-wheel-drive trucks and artillery tractors were brought to the attention of, and tested by the Army. This was to be an important element when rearmament was recommenced

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