World War II
The M8 light armored car, the "Greyhound", entered combat service with the Allies in 1943. It was purpose designed to serve as the primary basic command and communication combat vehicle of the U.S. Cavalry Reconnaissance Troops.
The M8 first saw action in Italy in 1943 and was used by the U.S. Army both in Europe and in the Far East. In the latter theater, it was used mostly on Okinawa and the Philippines, and was occasionally employed in its original tank destroyer role as most of the Japanese armor was vulnerable to its 37 mm gun.
Over 1,000 were supplied via lend-lease channels to US allies; United Kingdom, Free France and Brazil.
The vehicle was considered fast, sufficiently reliable (after some technical problems were solved) and armed and armored well enough for reconnaissance missions. However, cavalry units criticized its off-road performance, which was even worse than the M3A1 scout car it replaced. In the mountainous terrain of Italy and in the deep mud and snow of North European winter, the M8 was more or less restricted to roads, which greatly reduced its value as a reconnaissance vehicle. It was also very vulnerable to landmines. An add-on armor kit was designed to provide an extra quarter-inch of belly armor to reduce landmine vulnerability. Some crews placed sandbags on the floor to make up for the thin belly armor. Another problem was that commanders often used their reconnaissance squadrons for fire support missions, for which the thinly-armored M8 was ill-suited. When it encountered German armored reconnaissance units, the M8 could easily penetrate their armor with its 37 mm gun. Conversely, its own thin armor was vulnerable to the 20 mm autocannons that German scout cars were equipped with.
During the Battle of St. Vith in the Battle of the Bulge, an M8 of Troop B, 87th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron was able to destroy a German Tiger I heavy tank. The M8 fired three 37 mm rounds through the relatively thin rear armor of the Tiger from only 25 yd (23 m), setting it on fire.
The U.S. Army started to look for a replacement for the M8 as early as 1943. Two prototypes, the Studebaker T27 and Chevrolet T28 were finished in summer 1944. Both were found to be superior to the M8, but it was decided that, at that stage of the war, there was no more need for a new armored car.
After the war, the M8 was used for occupation duty; it also saw combat in the Korean War, being retired by the U.S. Army shortly thereafter. In French use, the M8 was used during the Indochina War (1946–1954) and Algerian War (1954–1962). Many vehicles formerly used by the U.S., Britain and France were exported to NATO allies and third world countries. As of 2002, some still remained in service in Africa and South America.
During the Vietnam War, the French organized Vietnamese armored regiments, each consisting of three companies equipped with a mixture of M3 half-tracks, M3 scout cars, M8 Greyhound armored cars and M8 self-propelled howitzers.
During the Congo Crisis, Indian peacekeepers with recoilless rifles destroyed at least one ex-Belgian Greyhound manned by Katangese separatists. The armored cars were deployed on both sides during UN attempts to end Katanga's ill-fated secession.
Several Greyhounds were deployed in Bogota on March 8, 2007, as part of the security measures for U.S. President George W. Bush's visit. They are regularly used as checkpoint security by the Colombian military, and usually can be seen in the northern parts of the capital.