Carrier, Anti- Tank 2pdr (Aust.) Mk.I

The Carrier, Anti-tank, 2-pdr, (Aust) or Carrier, Tank Attack, 2-pdr (Aust) was a heavily modified and lengthened LP2 carrier with a fully traversable 2 pounder anti-tank gun mounted on a platform at the rear and the engine moved to the front left of the vehicle. Stowage was provided for 112 rounds of 2pdr ammunition. 200 were produced and used for training.[1]

Like many similar situations around the world during WWII, Australian AFV production and design started off with stopgaps to replace stopgaps to cover the current shortage of stopgap solutions. The first real effort to design a local AFV was the Carrier AT LP Mk II (Aust). This was a modification on the basic Carrier MG LP in its Mk II form that replaced the local expedient skid steering (of the Mk I) with the original Carden-Lloyd type flexible track steering. This model started coming off the line at Ford just before Christmas 40-41. The major change required to produce the AT version was shifting the engine forward by ~12 and the replacement of the rear superstructure (the hull above the mudguard line) with a flat platform to mount the Ordnance QF 2-pr Mk X (Aust) on carriage 2-pr Mk IIA*. This carriage was just the normal 2-pr field carriage minus everything below the center pivot base, all the wheels, tripod etc.

As a tank hunter (calling it a Tank Destroyer would be a little rich) the Carrier AT might well have been quite useful. It was low, fast across country and for the period packed a reasonable punch, on the other hand the crew were rather exposed both to the elements and enemy fire. A good number of these carriers were later sent to Russia along with the aid shipments of normal Mk. II carriers, but their subsequent performance in actual combat is yet another of the unexplored aspects of the Great Patriotic War.

In Australian service the CAT 2-pr never saw more than a training role, first being issued to the cavalry regiments that were an integral part of Commonwealth style infantry divisions (2 per troop). Later as numbers became available their issue spread to the carrier platoons of the infantry battalions, an extra vehicle being exchanged for a towed 2-pr from the Battalion AT platoon. After the reorganization of the Australian Army from 43 onwards, the CATs were replaced by the Carrier AT 17-pr Mk I (Aust), which was a very different beast indeed.

Ford made over 5,000 Mk II type Universal Carriers, many for export, between 1940 and 1944, some 300 of them being converted by the Sunshine Harvester Company to CAT form between Jan 41 and December 42. Only handful of these survive today, the example held by the Australian War Memorial (AWM) in Canberra being a relic donated by the Russian Government, apparently recovered from a bog.

The greatest effect of this vehicle was on the Australian vernacular, Kitty becoming the phrase for a two pound note.


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