A staff car is a vehicle used by a senior military officer, and is part of their country's white fleet. The term is most often used in relation to the United Kingdom where they were first used in quantity during World War I, examples being the Vauxhall D-type and Crossley 20/25.
One example is the 1941 Buick Century Series 60, used during the Second World War. It was generally painted in khaki, with a white star on the front doors. Another famous example is Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's, commander in chief of the Allied Forces during World War II, Packard Clipper 1942 staff car. Another well known staff car is the Plymouth P11 1941..
During the Second World War the German Wehrmacht (armed forces) also used staff cars for various purposes. These included military models with machine gun mounts like the Horch 108 and converted civilian versions for high-ranking officers like the Horch 853. Mercedes-Benz also produced vehicles that the Wehrmacht converted for use as staff cars.
The Dad's Army episodes The Captain's Car and The Making of Private Pike deal with staff cars; in the former case, the car was donated by a local aristocrat.
Staff cars were also used in the American CBS Television sitcom, Hogan's Heroes, in which Colonel Wilhelm Klink (Werner Klemperer) and General Albert Burkhalter (Leon Askin) both had staff cars which they frequently used throughout the series.
During World War II, Operation Gaff was the parachuting of a six-man patrol of Special Air Service commandos into German-occupied France on Tuesday 25 July 1944, with the aim of killing or kidnapping German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.
From March 1943, Allied Intelligence had been undertaking research on the whereabouts, bases and travel arrangements of Field Marshal Rommel. Part of the research asked the question of how feasible it would be to kill Rommel. After D-Day, the Allies were meeting fierce resistance, marshalled by Rommel, with Hitler's orders to stand firm at all costs. With losses mounting, Field Marshal Montgomery agreed to a plan to remove Rommel from the battle plan.After SAS Lieutenant-Colonel William Fraser was told the location of Rommel's headquarters, a chateau home of the Dukes de La Rochefoucauld in the village of La Roche-Guyon, Brigadier R.W. McLeod assigned six specially-trained assassins led by French SAS Captain Jack William Raymond Lee.The original Op order, dated 20 July 1944 states:
"To kill ROMMEL would obviously be easier than to kidnap him and it is preferable to ensure the former rather than to attempt and fail in the latter. Kidnapping would require successful two-way W/T communication and therefore a larger party, while killing could be reported by pigeon"
On Tuesday 25 July 1944, Lee and his team parachuted into Orléans. On Friday 28 July 1944 the party found that Rommel had been severely injured, stating in the post-action report - 'learned Rommel had been got.' Rommel's staff car had been overturned in an attack by RAF Hawker Typhoons on 17 July 1944 and he had been replaced by Günther von Kluge. With their plan redundant, they moved toward advancing US Army lines on foot, while ambushing trains and attacking German units along their route, including a German headquarters in Mantes. They reached US forces and safety on 12 August.