Railroad monitors.

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Aug 25, 2012
The help protect railroads and railroad construction and repair crew railroad monitors or armored rail car were constructed. These often carried an one or more artillery pieces. Most often these armored rail cars were only proof against small arms fire. So here are a couple of questions. Were other counties using simular armored rail cars? Should we consider this kind of thing forerunners of armored cars or tanks? It would seem like if the intent was to protect soldiers from small arms fire then wood could have been used instead of iron protection.

Armored trains were used as late as World War Two and perhaps beyond. The need to protect rail lines was still needed. However, armored trains lacked flexibility because they could only operate on rails.
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Aug 25, 2012
Some people do consider armored trains like those used in the Civil War forerunners of armored fighting vehicles. It appears that locomotives and rolling stock were used for logistical support and were second only to watercraft. Missions for trains could also involve combat, escorting supply trains, or reconnaissance. Trains also were used to deliverer vital messages because of the high speeds they could achieve. These missions made the use of armored locomotives and armored rolling stock. Armored trains were used but often included unprotected flat cars with infantry and artillery. One would have to wonder about the heat in railroad monitors and the noise rifle and artillery fire made. To the best of my knowledge no railroad monitors had turrets so perhaps the term railroad monitors is a bit overstated.

Another interesting subject that is not often covered is the use of handcars for reconnaissance. Larger handcars could carry a few soldiers with rifles and one or more handcars carried a small cannon. I have never heard of armored handcars.
 

Lubliner

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Nov 27, 2018
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Chattanooga, Tennessee
I have never heard of any armored cars on rails except the one in Maryland that was sporting some big cannon, and was confiscated by the Union. Mainly in the south blockhouses were built close to bridges and supportive structures or forts were also manned by soldiers. There was also a picket guard strung along rail lines each within earshot or eyesight of the other, say 500 yards to a half mile.
Lubliner.
 
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