Tag Archives: Baldwin-Felts

What became of Ludlow DEATH SPECIAL

Early urban assault vehicle used to suppress miner strikes at Ludlow and Forbes camps in Colorado
One of the weapons deployed against the striking miners of Ludlow, was an early armored car nicknamed the “Death Special.” Its steel plated sides emboldened mine guards to run their mounted machine gun through the union camps. What became of the intimidating machine? Does it sit in a prairie museum, or was its metal armor recycled? Recycled, definitely.

The Death Special was improvised by the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency who were the hired strike-breakers, and built at CF&I’s own steel works to use against its striking employees. At Ludlow the steel-plated vehicle was driven alongside and through the tent colony, its searchlight used to harass the sleeping strikers. Its guns took shots at the tents which left haphazard victims killed or maimed.

World Wars One and Two produced many armored vehicle designs, but the Baldwin-Felts model was unique for being a civilian model. You can recognize its lines in the modern urban assault vehicles which metropolitan police departments have determined to arm themselves, in the war against what, meth-lab pill-boxes?

No, these armored police cars are deployed against public protest, in the name of riot-control. By their paint jobs, neither camouflage nor emergency neon, they are obviously intended to intimidate. If the Baldwin-Felts and Pinkertons are going to reinvent themselves as Blackwater and Triple Canopy, why not also their weapons of choice?

Virginia State Troopers protect Crystal City from antiwar protesters
This one was used to mark the line over which the A.NS.W.E.R. marchers were not to cross, when they marched against the Pentagon and its weapons suppliers in Washington DC.

Aurora City Police deploy urban assault vehicle against peaceful demonstration
This vehicle was bought by the Aurora Police Department, out of the $50 million allocated to Denver for security for the 2008 DNC. Notice on its intimidating black sides, it says “Emergency Rescue.”

Deployed downtown Denver at the 2008 DNC
Here it is aimed at you.

Riot police facing off the RNC demonstrations
St. Paul at the RNC.

DPD armored emergency rescue unit at night
Denver.