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New T16 Arrives at Armourgeddon Military Museum

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Posted: 26/04/2018 15:51
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New vehicles! We have a T-16 Universal Carrier arrived at Armourgeddon this week- needing some TLC, but with all the component parts where they should be, the new kid on the block should be in the museum later in the year. 

The Universal Carrier is a common name describing a family of light armoured vehicles with tracks on the wheels, built by Vickers-Armstrongs and other companies.

The first carriers such as the Bren Carrier that we also have in our museum, and the Scout Carrier, entered service before the war, but the Universal was a single improved design that replaced these, introduced in 1940.

Widely used by British Commonwealth forces during the Second World War Universal Carriers were mainly used for transporting personnel and equipment. Most carriers supported weapons or acted as machine gun platforms. With more than 113,000 built by 1960 in the United Kingdom and abroad, the Universal Carrier has the title of the most produced armoured fighting vehicle in history.

The origins of the Universal Carrier tank design can be traced back initially to the Carden Lloyd tankettes, which were developed in the 1920s, and specifically to the Mk VI tankette.

With an armoured box at the front for driver and a gunner and bench seating at the back for the gun crew, in the beginning, Vickers-Armstrongs produced the Universal Carrier 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 War Office considered it as a possible replacement for their artillery tractors, known as ‘Dragons’ 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. As an evolution, 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 carrying any necessary equipment. A small number of this design as "Carrier, Machine-Gun No 1 Mark 1" were built and entered service in 1936. 

The design of the T-16 in this iteration had the driver and commander sitting side by side, right and left, with the engine in the centre of the vehicle, in the back. The hull in front of the commander's position juts forward to give room for the armament to fire through a simple slit. To either side of the engine is an area to stow passengers or equipment. Initially, there were several types of Carrier that varied slightly in design according to their purpose: "Medium Machine Gun Carrier" "Bren Gun Carrier", "Scout Carrier" and "Cavalry Carrier". However, production of a single model made more sense, economically and for the production facilities, so the Universal design appeared in 1940. 

Our newest delivery landed at Armourgeddon from the USA and is a T16, Mark I. This carrier was a significantly improved design, based upon those built by Ford of Canada, manufactured under lease by Ford in the United States from March 1943 to 1945. It is longer than the Universal with an extra road wheel on the rear bogie; making for a pair of full Horstmann dual-wheel suspension units per side, the engine is a Mercury-division 3.9 litre displacement Ford flathead V8 delivering the same power as the allied. Unusually, instead of the steering wheel controlling the combination brake/warp mechanism, the T-16 had track-brake steering operated by levers with two for either side

During WWII, the T-16 was used mostly by Canadian forces, as an artillery tractor. After the end of the war, it was used throughout Europe and South America by Argentinian, Swiss and Netherlands forces. 

Our model requires a complete rebuild, needle gun and respray, but it is a complete vehicle, including the spare wheels! We are hoping to have it returned to former glory and into our museum by the end of the summer. 

The museum at Armourgeddon houses over 60 military vehicles, interactive displays and guns. From helicopters to Chieftans, motorbikes to the infamous Sherman tank, many of which are movie stars- the actual vehicles used in movies such as Brad Pitt’s Fury, Tom Hanks’ Saving Private Ryan and Madonna’s Evita. 

The museum is open from 9am to 5pm from April to the end of October and by arrangement outside of these times. Entry is £6 per person, under 5s are free. There is no need to book during our tank driving season. The experience is completed with a visit to our Café de Normandie where you can choose from a variety of hot and cold drinks, snacks and sandwiches, sit in a recreated French Square and imagine the view of the allied troops being queued up through the town. 


For the latest info please see the Armourgeddon Military Museum Website

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