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TAMIYA (TAM35175) British Universal Carrier MK II - European Campaign - unboxing

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Published on Jan 8, 2018

Design and development
The origins of the Universal Carrier family can be traced back generally to the Carden Loyd tankettes family, which was developed in the 1920s, and specifically the Mk VI tankette.[4]
In 1934, Vickers-Armstrongs produced, as a commercial venture, a light tracked vehicle that could be used either to carry a machine gun or to tow a light field gun. The VA.D50 had an armoured box at the front for driver and a gunner and bench seating at the back for the gun crew. The War Office considered it as a possible replacement for their "Dragon" artillery tractors and took 69 as the "Light Dragon Mark III". One was built as the "Carrier, Machine-Gun Experimental (Armoured)" carrying a machine gun and its crew. The decision was made to drop the machine gun and its team and the next design had a crew of three – driver and gunner in the front, third crew-member on the left in the rear and the right rear open for stowage. A small number of this design as "Carrier, Machine-Gun No 1 Mark 1" were built and entered service in 1936. Some were converted into pilot models for the Machine gun Carrier, Cavalry Carrier and Scout Carrier – the others were used for training.
The carrier put the driver and commander at the front sitting side by side; the driver to the right. The Ford Flathead V8 engine that powered it was placed in the centre of the vehicle with the final drive at the rear. The suspension and running gear were based on that used on the Vickers light tank series using Horstmann springs.[5] Directional control was through a (vertical) steering wheel. Small turns moved the front road wheel assembly, warping the track so the vehicle drifted to that side. Further movement of the wheel braked the appropriate track to give a turn.
The hull in front of the commander's position jutted forward to give room for the Bren gun (or other armament) to fire through a simple slit. To either side of the engine was an area in which passengers could ride or stores could be carried. Initially, there were several types of Carrier that varied slightly in design according to their purpose: "Medium Machine Gun Carrier" (the Vickers machine gun), "Bren Gun Carrier", "Scout Carrier" and "Cavalry Carrier". However, production of a single model came to be preferred and the Universal design appeared in 1940; this was the most widely produced of the Carriers. It differed from the previous models in that the rear section of the body had a rectangular shape, with more space for the crew.

Production
Production of Carriers began in 1934 and ended in 1960.[2] Before the Universal design was introduced, the vehicles were produced by Aveling and Porter, Bedford Vehicles, the British branch of the Ford Motor Company, Morris Motors Limited, the Sentinel Waggon Works, and the Thornycroft company. With the introduction of the Universal, production in the UK was undertaken by Aveling-Barford, Ford, Sentinel, Thornycroft, and Wolseley Motors. By 1945 production amounted to approximately 57,000 of all models, including some 2,400 early ones.
The Universal Carriers, in different variants, were also produced in allied countries. Ford Motor Company of Canada manufactured about 29,000 vehicles known as the Ford C01UC Universal Carrier. Smaller numbers of them were also produced in Australia (about 5,000), where hulls were made in several places in Victoria and by South Australian Railways workshops in Adelaide, South Australia. About 1,300 were also produced in New Zealand.
The United States of America manufactured Universal Carriers for allied use with GAE and GAEA V-8 Ford engines.[6] About 20,000 were produced.

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