Military Review

Light multipurpose armored personnel carrier Universal Carrier

23
"Combat buses." By the time World War II began, an English look at armored personnel carriers has undergone major changes. If the first in stories The armored personnel carrier, created in Great Britain at the end of the First World War, was notable for its monstrous size and was an alteration of the first diamond-shaped English tanks, then by the mid-1930s, the main armored personnel carrier of the British army was the miniature tracked Universal Carrier, whose closest relatives were the Carden Loyd wedges.


Light multipurpose armored personnel carrier Universal Carrier


Unlike its caterpillar predecessor armored personnel carrier Mark IX, of which about three dozen were released, the new armored personnel carrier was produced in a huge series in different countries - about 113 thousand units, which made the Universal Carrier ("Universal Conveyor") one of the most massive armored vehicles in history. For the entire period of the war, the "Universal Transporter" became the main armored personnel carrier of the armies of Great Britain and the countries of the Commonwealth. The new British armored personnel carrier was a small caterpillar armored vehicle weighing up to 3,8 tons, the number of paratroopers transported was limited to 3-5 soldiers, while the Mark IX armored personnel carrier created at the end of World War I could carry up to 30 fighters. Despite the insufficient firepower and small landing capabilities, the new armored personnel carrier could be produced in huge quantities, and at the front Universal Carrier was used to solve a variety of combat missions. In addition to directly transporting infantry, vehicles were recruited for reconnaissance, assigned to combat guard, and used to transport goods and wounded soldiers, as well as tractors for light artillery systems.

The history of the creation of the most massive armored personnel carrier of the Second World War


The most massive armored personnel carrier of the Second World War was developed on an initiative basis by engineers of the British company Vickers-Armstrong in 1934-1936 years. The new combat vehicle was a modernized and updated version of the Carden Loyd family of light English wedges, created back in the 1920 years, in particular the Vickers Carden-Loyd Mk.VI wedge, which was an infantry armored personnel carrier. Initially, the "Universal Transporter" was created as a carrier of various weapons, primarily machine-gun systems. At the same time, it’s clear from the name that the car was diverse. In addition to transporting machine guns and assault forces, an armored personnel carrier could be used to transport light field systems weapons together with the calculation. At different times, an reconnaissance version was created, an artillery observer machine, an artillery tractor for transporting mortars and light weapons, an ammunition transport vehicle. In addition, Universal Carrier was a carrier of various weapons, including flamethrowers and anti-tank rifles.



The British army purchased the first two vehicles already in the 1935 year, and from the 1936 year the mass production of armored vehicles of the early series began, which did not stop until the 1945 year, and the armored personnel carriers themselves were used until the beginning of the 1960 years. In addition to the UK, where they managed to collect about 57 of thousands of universal conveyors, they were massively assembled at enterprises in Canada (29 of thousands of cars) and Australia (5 of thousands of cars), and about 20 of thousands of conveyors were assembled at US enterprises. The American version was distinguished by an improved chassis, which received a second full-fledged wheeled trolley, as well as the installation of Ford's American engines of greater power.

Operation of vehicles in the troops led to changes in their design, so at the turn of the 1937-1938 years, Universal Carrier armored personnel carriers underwent a number of changes. A full-fledged public debut of the new armored vehicles took place in September 1938, when the first serial Universal Conveyors, armed with the 7,7-mm Bren machine gun, were presented to ordinary people and journalists during brigade exercises of the British army. As part of the exercises, the machines demonstrated good cross-country ability and high maneuverability. Caterpillar armored vehicles did not experience problems when used in rural areas, confidently overcoming dense thickets of shrubs, wattle and fences. More from such a technique was not required.

The number of armored personnel carriers issued indicates that the vehicle was simple and easy to manufacture, and also met the demands of the military, who received an combat vehicle that was easy to learn and operate, capable of solving a variety of tasks. A large number of armored vehicles in the framework of the Lend-Lease program fell into the Soviet Union. In total, the USSR received more than 2500 of such conveyors, of which 200 before the end of the 1941 of the year. In the Soviet Union, vehicles from December 1943 were re-equipped with domestic weapons. So the 7,7-mm machine gun “Bren” was replaced by the 7,62-mm machine gun DT, and the 13,9-mm anti-tank gun “Boyce” on the 14,5-mm anti-tank guns PTRD and PTRS.



Technical features of the Universal Carrier armored personnel carrier


Like the light Carden Loyd wedges, the new British armored personnel carriers were distinguished by their recognizable low open, simple, rectangular hull. The main purpose of the armored vehicles was to transport the Bren and Vickers machine guns, but the military themselves quickly cooled off to this role the use of light armored vehicles, having found a lot of applications in the army for Universal Conveyors. The total combat weight of the vehicles did not exceed 3,8 tons. When creating armored vehicles, steel rolled armor plates were used, but their thickness was very small: 10 mm in the front of the hull and 7 mm on the sides and stern. We can say that the reservation was symbolic, protecting the car and crew from small fragments and non-armor-piercing rifle caliber bullets.

The length of the body of the Universal Carrier armored personnel carrier was 3,65 m, width - 2,06 m, height - 1,57 m, clearance - 203 mm. The machine was squat and easily hid in the folds of the terrain and behind bushes, which in some cases, especially when used as a reconnaissance vehicle, was an advantage. The heart of the armored car was the 8-cylinder gasoline liquid-cooled engine of 3,9 liter volume. The engine produced maximum power 85 hp at 3500 rpm. This was enough to accelerate the Universal Conveyor to 48 km / h when driving on the highway. Given the low power of the engine, it is quite a worthy indicator for tracked vehicles. Cruising range on the highway was estimated in 225-250 km. Due to the small specific pressure on the ground - approximately 0,45 km / cm2 - the armored personnel carrier was distinguished by good cross-country ability in different types of terrain.



The chassis of all English cars, the most massive of which were Universal Carrier Mk I (II, III), consisted of three road wheels on each side, the first pair was combined into a trolley. The chassis and suspension were borrowed from the British Light Tank Mk.VI 1930's with minor modifications, which Vickers was also responsible for. The suspension of the armored personnel carrier also used spiral springs, and the suspension itself was known as Horstmann, by the name of the inventor Sidney Horstmann, who invented it back in the 1922 year. Later on the American versions of the conveyor, which received the designation T16, the chassis was improved, the composition of the track rollers was increased to four on board, which allowed the formation of two full-fledged carts.

An unusual feature of Universal Carrier was the location of the engine, which was located in the rear of the machine, the engine was installed along the central axis of the hull. There, in the power compartment, there was a five-speed gearbox and side clutches. In the front part of the building there was a control compartment, where a driver and a machine gunner or anti-tank gun operator were located, depending on the composition of the installed weapons. Behind the control compartment was an airborne or transport compartment, depending on the modification. Typically, Universal Carrier carried no more than three to five people.



The location of the engine in the middle of the hull divided the landing compartment into two parts. The paratroopers sat with their backs to the sides of the armored personnel carrier, practically resting their feet on the engine, the upper part of which formed a kind of “countertop”. With a different arrangement of seats, the paratroopers rested on the engine protection with their side. Given the small dimensions of the Universal Carrier armored personnel carrier, the location of people in the hull should be considered not the most convenient. For example, in the conditions of the hot climate of North Africa, the paratroopers received constant additional heating, which hardly improved their well-being, even despite the open hull. At the same time, in the winter in Europe, especially in the northern regions of the USSR, such a “stove” was a help for the paratroopers and the shooter and driver should have envied them, who did not have such a heater in the control department.

After the end of World War II, the service of Universal Carrier armored personnel carriers in the British army continued until the 1950's. They managed to take part in the hostilities during the war in Korea. At the same time, part of the armored vehicles was delivered to third countries, where it continued to remain in service until the 1960's. A large number of such conveyors of various modifications and production from different countries have survived to this day. For example, in Russia in the armored museum in Kubinka a flamethrower modification of the Universal Carrier armored personnel carrier is presented.
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Articles from this series:
The first armored personnel carrier in history. Mark ix
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  1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
    Kote Pan Kokhanka 28 September 2019 05: 53 New
    +13
    Thank you so much Sergey for the topic, the article was a success!
    Now to the point. I brag a little. This fall, I happened to sit in the hero of the author's work in place of the driver. Damn, I just got in there (I’m the same hamster). Management is intuitive, between the legs, but understandable. True, I scooped out of it with a creak, but the machine did not fall apart.
    In our Komsomolets, I didn’t even try to “pile up” to the relief of the guide! Although licked it all !!!
    But comparing both cars on my knee, I came to the conclusion that our Komsomolets tractor is no worse than the British. More thoughtful. Still, the roof and armor are not bad. Plus modernization potential. 57mm ZIS-2 gun is not Bern and Boyce!
    Regards, Vlad!
    Ps. Only growth should be no more than a meter with a cap and beer (or rather the beer belly) is exactly the enemy of a tankman, even ours, even foreign one !!!
    1. Undecim
      Undecim 28 September 2019 10: 54 New
      +1
      This fall, I happened to sit in the hero of the author's work in place of the driver
      Was there a steering wheel or levers?
      1. san4es
        san4es 28 September 2019 11: 16 New
        +3
        .... steering wheel or levers?


        hi .... Operation manual smile
        1. Undecim
          Undecim 28 September 2019 11: 36 New
          +2
          You have the British version on the video. The American version had leverage.
          1. saygon66
            saygon66 28 September 2019 13: 19 New
            +2
            - RќSѓ RґR ° ... ° RќR RјR ° C € RoRЅRєRμ Röhr · RїRμSЂRІRѕRіRѕ SЂRѕR "RoRєR RѕRїRѕR ° · ° RЅR RІR ° S,RμR" SЊRЅS <R№ P · RЅR ° Rє 5-RіRѕ P ° RІSЃS,SЂR ° F »РёР№СЃРєРѕРіРѕ Р» егкоконного РїРѕР »РєР ° ...
        2. CastroRuiz
          CastroRuiz 4 October 2019 13: 30 New
          0
          Muzika, marshi eto nashe iz Avstro - Vengrii. :)
      2. Kote Pan Kokhanka
        Kote Pan Kokhanka 29 September 2019 00: 27 New
        0
        Levers Victor Nikolaevich! And what happened to the helm?
        Good night!
        1. Undecim
          Undecim 29 September 2019 08: 35 New
          +1

          With levers - the American version, T16. British with the helm.
    2. Amurets
      Amurets 28 September 2019 23: 11 New
      +1
      Quote: Kote Pan Kokhanka
      Thank you so much Sergey for the topic, the article was a success!

      So this topic has been going on for a long time. "Why was this strange thing even invented at all? Is there something in between a tank that had completely formed by that time and an armored car that had been in the arsenal of the army for more than a dozen years." They were produced in the USSR. Here on these links a lot of interesting things about the Carden-Lloyd Wedges and its T-27 clone. We simply do not have a prophet in our own country. https://topwar.ru/147071-rasskazy-ob-oruzhii-tanketka-t-27.html
      https://coollib.com/b/393233/read
      And here is the data on its production in the USSR.
      Production of wedges T-27
      Manufacturer 1931 1932 1933 1934 Total
      Bolshevik 45 - - - 45
      No. 37 303 1610 919 14 2846
      GAZ - 83 323 - 406
      Total 348 1693 1242 14 3297
  2. Avior
    Avior 28 September 2019 09: 05 New
    +1
    Looking at the top photo I remembered
    - Comrade warrant officer, and armored personnel carriers fly?
    - What!? Who told you such garbage?
    - Comrade Major.
    - Comrade Major ?! Actually, they fly, but if they are small universal and then very low!


    smile
  3. Undecim
    Undecim 28 September 2019 10: 06 New
    +2
    The paratroopers sat with their backs to the sides of the armored personnel carrier, practically resting their feet on the engine, the upper part of which formed a kind of “countertop”. With a different arrangement of seats, the paratroopers rested on the engine protection with their side.
    "Feet in the engine" rested on the American version of the T-16.
    1. Undecim
      Undecim 28 September 2019 10: 35 New
      +2
      And in the British version, "rested on the protection of the engine with their own side."
      1. Undecim
        Undecim 28 September 2019 10: 47 New
        +3
        One of the most exotic versions of Universal Carrier is jet.

        The British in the SADE program tried to create something like a "jumping tank", equipping armored vehicles with powder rockets, with which a tank or armored personnel carrier would jump over a minefield.
        The picture shows rockets mounted on the sides of the Universal Carrier.
        1. Undecim
          Undecim 28 September 2019 10: 52 New
          +2

          Universal Carrier regularly bounced, but landed stubbornly upside down and the experiment was considered unsuccessful.
          Similar experiments with the same result were carried out with the Valentine tank.
          1. Alf
            Alf 28 September 2019 15: 13 New
            +4
            Quote: Undecim
            Universal Carrier regularly bounced, but landed stubbornly upside down and the experiment was considered unsuccessful.
            Similar experiments with the same result were carried out with the Valentine tank.

            In order for the tests to pass successfully, designers must be planted as testers.
  4. Undecim
    Undecim 28 September 2019 11: 11 New
    +5
    The Germans in Belgium, Dunkirk, Crete, Africa and the USSR got more than a hundred Universal Carries as trophies. As a means of transporting infantry, the car was declared unsuitable and the Germans improvised with the creation of various self-propelled guns on its basis.

    The art systems used were very different, both German and captured. In this case, 3,7 cm Pak 35/36 is used.
    1. Undecim
      Undecim 28 September 2019 11: 15 New
      +4

      In this case, the British QF 2 pounder was used.
      1. Undecim
        Undecim 28 September 2019 11: 19 New
        +1
        Since spare parts for captured machines were in short supply, damaged and worn samples were sent for remelting.
      2. Undecim
        Undecim 28 September 2019 11: 41 New
        +3
        Used by Universal Carries and as Panzerschrecks carriers.
  5. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh 28 September 2019 16: 30 New
    0
    "An unusual feature of Universal Carrier was its engine layout,
    which was in the rear of the car, the engine was installed
    along the central axis of the housing "////
    ----
    It was made like a fishing boat set on caterpillars.
    A simple box for throwing infantry on the road.
  6. Saxahorse
    Saxahorse 28 September 2019 20: 19 New
    +5
    It’s hard to understand why this mini-trough was called an armored personnel carrier :) He has minimal protection for passengers from external influences. Only one rear armored belt is covered. :) On the rollers in the comments, this is especially noticeable. God forbid, under fire, be in such a situation ... and do not hide and do not even jump quickly. In general .. the only plus of this microtractor in the old infantry wisdom.

    "It is better to go bad than to go very long and well" (c) laughing
  7. Comrade Kim
    Comrade Kim 28 September 2019 21: 10 New
    +2
    Quote: Saxahorse
    It’s hard to understand why this mini-trough was called an armored personnel carrier.

    From what:
    https://topwar.ru/116394-rasskazy-ob-oruzhii-artilleriyskiy-tyagach-t-20-komsomolec.html
    Our "Komsomolets" was distinguished by the same gutability.
    1. maximghost
      maximghost 28 September 2019 23: 46 New
      +4
      Komsomolets was never considered an armored personnel carrier. He was always an armored vehicle. In addition, at the Komsomol member’s commander’s and mechvod’s heads do not stick out above the armor.