Loyd Carrier

Utility tankette (1939), United Kingdom - 26,000 built total

The Loyd carrier was the competitor of the Universal Carrier, designed by Captain Vivian G. Loyd, a wheap utility tankette with commercial parts. Some 26,000 were manufactured, helped by their British/US or Canadian supplied Ford V8 engine, making for three sub-types whereas the Marks had either a Bendix or Girling brake system.

Development and production

These vehicles emerged from manoeuvers made by the Experimental Mechanized Force during the interwar. Notably the Eastland vs. Westland exercise in 1927 combined with the RAF, which showed the value of good communication. In 1931, Gen. Georges Milne established a permanent Armoured Brigade with three battalions of mixed medium and light tanks and a battalion of Carden-Loyd machine-gun carriers used for reconnaissance but there was no supporting arms, no armoured supply carrier.

Various trials and ultimately the Battle of Beresford Bridge in 1934 proved the point and utility of such carrier, pointing the fact that a propoer mechanized brigade needed to be entirely so, including the "baggage train" and the infantry needed to be ported as well, so a cheap tracked transport was needed. This led to the creation of the Vickers utility carrier Mark VI after a long line of Loyd carriers, branching out both towards the "Bren carrier" and another, more "confidential" model (19k versus 113k). Mas production started for the latter in 1939 and it never was as popular not commonplace.

Before being attributed to giant Vickers Armstrong, the serie of tankettes made by Vivian Loyd & Co. were not forgotten. The latter created the best universal tankette design to his opinion on private venture, and presented it on the basis of the same requirements behind the Bren Carrier to the army. The initial prototype of the "Loyd Carrier" as it was simply known, were made in late 1939, and were promising enough to motivate an order for 200.

But as field tests revealed, the vehicle indeed had some advantages over the Universal Carrier, but stayed costly, with the slow delivery, mostly due to manufacturing reasons. As the war progressed in 1940, to make up for the numbers, production was passed onto the British Ford Motor Company, Wolseley Motors, Dennis Brothers Ltd, Aveling & Barford, and the Sentinel Waggon Works to reach a total of 26,000 before production was terminated in 1944.

Design of the Loyd Carrier

Since the army in 1939 needed these tankettes in very large numbers and fast, they reused as much as commercial components as possible. The drive system was from the 15cwt (0.84 US ton, 0.76 tonne) 4×2 Fordson 7V truck, comprising the 85hp Ford V8 Side-valve engine, gearbox, transmission, even its front axle, whereas the track, drive sprockets and Horstmann type suspensions were from the Universal Carrier's supply. The chassis was also a modified Fordson truck model in mild steel. Instead of track bending, the vehicle had steering tillers.

For protection it had a 0.27 inch (7 mm) thick sloped srmored plate forward bolted to the nose and sides to provide cover from small arms fire. But like the Bren carrier, it was open topped and so the crew was vulnerable to snipers and shrapnels. A long stowage box was often also placed in front of this plate for extra protection, storing pioneering tools and extra spare wheels stowed on the glacis. The Loyd carrier was unarmed, albeit having a optional single Bren Light Machine Gun freely placed wherever possible. There was no pintle mount nor casemate like on the Bren carrier. The only luxury was a canvas roof strapped over three frames in winter.

As for variants, the Loyd Carrier came into two Marks, Mark I having the Bendix brake system, US built, and the Mark II having the UK-supplied Girling system. Depending on their manufacturing site, they could also be sub-declined into numbers, the first being fitted with the 85hp British Ford V8 and gearbox, second having the 90hp US Ford V8 and gearbox and the third the 85hp Ford Canada V8 and gearbox.

Loyd Carrier

Dimensions4.24 x 2.06 x 1.42 m
Total weight, battle ready4.5 tons
Crew1 Driver, 4-6 infantry
PropulsionFord V8 petrol 85-90 hpb at 3,500 rpm
Suspension4x Hortsman bogies, coils
Speed (road)30 mph (48 km/h)
RangeUnknown, c400 km
ArmamentOptional Bren gun
Armor7 mm (0.28in)
Total production26,000

The Loyd Carrier in Operations

In addition to the manufacturing differences between the Mark I, II and numbers, the Loyd Carrier could be declined further into two battlefield roles, with almost no modifications but the armour, more extensive on the APC:
-Tracked Personnel Carrier (TPC) was the APC, with 8 fully loaded troops provided internal seating, plus more on the track guards.
-Tracked Towing (TT) was the mainstay of the battlefield role, towing artillery such as the Ordnance ML 4.2 inch Mortar and QF 2 or 6 Pdr Anti-Tank Guns with crews in four seats, extra ammunition stowage on track guards and often doubling with a trailer.
The Royal Ordnance called it the "Tractor Anti-Tank, Mk.I". Other, rarer sub-variantrs included the following:
-Tracked Cable Layer Mechanical (TCLM) ued by the Royal Corps of Signals with a large spool of telegraph wire.
-Tracked Starting and Charging (TS&C) support vehicle, charger of flat batteries and starter of tank engines.

Greates used was the Royal Engineer Chemical Warfare Companies in 1940-41, deploying mortars. During the Normandy campaign in the summer of 1944, Loyd companies towing the 6-Pounder AT gun were often used to rapidly place anti-tank unit on the path of German counter-offensives or plug the gaps. The were blooded at the Battle of Villers-Bocage in particular. Some were used by the REME as tank recovery auxiliaries as the war progressed. Postwar, they ended sold to the Belgian, Danish and Dutch armies. The latter used it in Indonesia, the former until 1963 created a tank hunter based on this platform, the air-droppable CATI 90.

Loyd Carrier as shown in France, Summer 1944

A Loyd Carrier in the Bocage, 1944. Photo: IWM

Loyd Carrier used by the British Expeditionary Force in Belgium, 1940. Photo: RG Poulussen

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