Wheeled vehicles with light armour and variously armed, armoured cars were used extensively throughout the war. In North Africa and on the Eastern front they played a vital role in reconnaissance and infantry support.

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Based on a standard chassis design, armoured cars were much easier and cheaper to produce than tracked vehicles. They were also easier to adapt and a multitude of different designs and types made their appearance during the war. Armoured cars could be either open topped or turreted. Some carried light machine guns or anti-aircraft weapons, others anti-tank guns. Of all types to enter service, the outstanding armoured car of the war was the German Puma.

With 30 mm of armour, the Puma weighed 11 tons and was the heaviest of all German armoured cars, but its top speed of 52 miles per hour and its 50 mm gun made it a highly mobile and effective vehicle, providing an offensive capability that could be rapidly deployed.