Review of ‘Universal Carrier 1936-48’ (Osprey)

Chris Sims provides a full review of an Osprey New Vanguard book, “Universal Carrier 1936-48: The ‘Bren Gun Carrier’ Story.”

It’s on the Ospreys at a Glance page.

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2 Responses to Review of ‘Universal Carrier 1936-48’ (Osprey)

  1. George Arnold says:

    ((Rob Morgan submits the following.))

    The review of the Osprey title on Universal, Bren and Windsor Carriers reminds me that this splendid little machine was the subject of an enormous number of articles and reviews and supplementary publications after Airfix released their HO/OO scale carrier and 6 pdr. gun in the mid-1960s.

    There was a splendid series of detailed and well-illustrated articles on the design, development and war service of the Carrier written by Peter Chamberlain in Airfix Magazine from 1969 to 1970. Peter also wrote AFV Profile 14, “Carrier,” which dealt with these workhorses. The Carrier — all variants — was, of course, the most prolific of all British armoured vehicles by 1942.

    There was a Bellona Print, actually a booklet of 22 pages or so, and also, I believe, an Almark title dealing with Carriers. Airfix Magazine, not surprisingly, published some 20 or more conversion articles using the Carrier kit as a basis, most written by Chris Ellis, and all are well worth revisiting.

    The Carrier story was not only one of immense variety in terms of use, as sp guns, flamethrowers, mortar carriers, as Op’s and even as converted light tankettes in Japanese hands, but the beginnings of the tale have some astonishing designs about them.

    Of course, as most readers will know, as late as 1942 the War Office stated that the Carrier wasn’t an AFV at all, but was an armed transport, since the crew fought on foot!

  2. Chris Sims says:

    Until I saw Rob’s comments above I hadn’t realised that there was an AFV Profile Publication on Carriers (No. 14 Carriers). So I went looking for a copy online. There were none available on eBay in the UK, but I did find a US eBay seller offering all 65 of the AFV Profile series available as PDFs on a CD for $9 (plus $2 US postage or $4 UK postage.)

    I’m in the US at the moment, and decided to get a copy. The CD came when advertised after a few days, just before the worst of the exceptional winter weather. Having browsed half a dozen of the titles, the scans appear pretty good, certainly up to electronic screen standards.

    The Carrier book is 22 pages and briefly covers a large cross section of all the carriers from the initial development from Martel’s one-man tank in the mid-1920s through to the larger Loyd carrier and its derivatives. There is a good selection of photographs, some are familiar from other publications, but a significant proportion were new to me.

    Given the prices the hard copy versions of these publications are going for I’m not sure I would recommend them to a general wargamer, solo or otherwise. But with all 65 available in reasonable quality PDF format for around $11/£9 I think they represent extremely good value for money for any gamer with an interest in WWII or the earlier Cold War period.

    Thanks to Rob for making me aware of these older publications.

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