Universal Carrier Mk.II*

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UC Mk.II* This superb MkII* carrier was seen at a private museum in the United States. Manufactured in October 1944, this is one of the last produced before the line was cut over to Windsors.

UC Mk.II* Stacey Towing Attachment Detail of the Stacey Towing Attachment and rear stowage on a standard Mk.II*, which was the standard issue carrier throughout the war in Northern Europe. In British and Commonwealth armies, the Universal Carrier performed a similarly wide range of functions to the jeep in American formations, with the addition of towing anti-tank guns. Whatever its weaknesses, the carrier's armour plate permitted it to operate in environments which would have been deadly or intractable for thin-skinned vehicles.

UC Mk.II* #1 This MkII carrier was seen at a local MV show at Oshawa, Ontario, Canada on June 6th, the anniversary of D-Day. It differs from the MkI series in only minor ways. Note the difference in lighting configuration, and the addition of a step bracket underneath the vehicle number. Also visible around the crew compartment at the rear is the tubular steel railing welded on to the top of the hull plates; on the MkI*, padding was afforded by wooden strips bolted on to angle iron which was in turn bolted to the hull. 

The vehicle is missing its POL container and rack under the near-side headlight, and the track skirts have been removed for ease of access to the track-adjusting mechanism behind the front idler wheel, a common practice. 

UC Mk.II* #2 A front quarter view showing detail of the spare bogie stowage, as well as the POL container and blackout lamp. Note the lack of steel step on this side, and the 'non-stock' mirror. Originals are hard to find. The MkII has a folding armoured flap at the top of the commander's position, above the slot for the Bren/Boys/PIAT.

UC Mk.II* #3 Frontal view from the right. Carrier track is the ultimate in simplicity. A new track has 168 links, and wears in with the sprocket; when it's down to 158 links, one replaces both the track and sprocket. The trouble is, there's no more new track! Current owners make do by limiting mileage and driving carefully. Perhaps one day we can have some made...

UC Mk.II* #4 View from the left side shows some detail on the steel tubular hand rail which differentiates the MkII from the MkI. Two old ammunition containers have been employed for general stowage on the rear deck. If this were properly restored, there would be several stores containers located here; in combat, the chances are good those would have been dicarded or relocated and replaced with 'jerry' cans of fuel. Not visible here is the pintle hook arrangement; the Mk.I* had none, but the II*, T-16 and Windsors carried a hook used primarily for towing the 6 pdr AT gun.

Unknown UC Mk.II* A Mk.II* of unknown ownership photographed some years ago at an airshow in southern Ontario. Of particular interest here are the homemade track skirts; if they survived any length of time in combat, most crews discarded them altogether to permit quicker access to the tracks.

UC Mk.II* As above, showing some detail of external stowage. It's hard to tell what colour this example may have been, due to the age of the print. Those items on the grass bottom right are a pair of Bren ammunition cans.

Updated 24 Jan 00 Back to Universal Carriers
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