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date of publication: 21-05-2013

Armored personnel carriers, Universal carriers


American armored utility vehicle T9

Production of the by the Ford Motor Company began in March 1943. This vehicle, a redesigned version of the British universal carrier, was later designated as the universal carrier T16 to provide uniformity with the British nomenclature. It differed from the British vehicle in several features. The T16 suspension consisted of four road wheels in two bogies per side compared to one two wheel bogie and a single independently sprung road wheel on the earlier vehicle.

The springs on the suspension bogies of the T16 were aligned in opposite directions. The T16 was powered by a Ford V-8 gasoline engine developing 102 net horsepower at 4,000 rpm. Manned by a crew of four, it was used as a prime mover for light antitank guns and as a carrier for a variety of weapons. With a combat weight of about five tons, the T16 had a maximum road speed of 30 miles per hour and a cruising range of approximately 150 miles. The open top vehicle was protected by steel armor ranging in thickness from 9/32 to 7/33 inches.

American armored utility vehicle T9

A modified version of the T16 was designated as the universal carrier T16E2. An obvious difference between the two vehicles was the reversal of the rear suspension bogie on the T16E2 so that the springs were aligned in the same direction as on the front bogie. The upper front armor also was increased in thickness to 25/M inches. Production of the T16E2 began in 1945.

A total of 13,893 T16 series universal carriers were built by the Ford Motor Company ending in July 1945. An additional 5714 universal carriers were procured from War Supplies, Ltd. bringing the total to 19,607 vehicles. A total of 19,193 carriers were distributed under the Lend-Lease program with 19,079 going to Britain and 96 to the Soviet Union. None were issued to the .

The light tractor T18 was based upon the light airborne tank T9. Intended as the prime mover for the M3 105mm howitzer, it carried 25 rounds of 105mm ammunition in addition to the five man crew. With a combat weight of less than eight tons, the open top T18 had armor protection ranging from lA inch on the front and sides to 3/g inches on the rear.

American armored utility vehicle T9

It utilized the power train and suspension of the T9. The air-cooled Lycoming engine drove the T18 at a maximum road speed of 40 miles per hour and the 55 gallon fuel tank provided a cruising range of about 200 miles. Converted by Marmon-Herrington, the second of the two pilot T18s was under test at Aberdeen Proving Ground during March 1943, but it was not released for production.

On 21 July 1944, Item 24520 of the Ordnance Committee Minutes (OCM), approved the procurement of two pilot T9 armored utility vehicles. Although two were originally authorized, only one was completed by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors Corporation. The objective of this program was to develop a prime mover for the 90mm gun carriage T9E1. The vehicle also was to be evaluated as an infantry carrier. In the latter respect, some features of the T9 foreshadowed those of the postwar armored personnel carriers.

American armored utility vehicle T9

Although it had an open top, the box-like hull was fitted with a rear door through which the crew could dismount, even though the internal stowage made this somewhat difficult. The driver and the assistant driver were seated in the front of the vehicle on the left and right respectively. Armored flaps on the front could be lowered and replaced by windshields when not in a combat area. When not in use, the windshields were stowed on the bulkhead behind the drivers. The engine was installed immediately behind the driving compartment and another bulkhead behind the engine separated it from the personnel in the rear of the vehicle.

The air-cooled Lycoming 0-435-TA engine was a slightly modified version of the 0-435-T in the M22. This six cylinder, horizontally opposed, power plant developed 165 net horsepower at 3,000 rpm. It drove the T9 through a Spicer synchromesh transmission, a controlled differential, the final drives, and the sprockets at the front of each track. The torsion bar suspension carried the vehicle on four 25 inch diameter road wheels and a 34% inch diameter trailing idler on each side. The single pin, rubber bushed, steel tracks were 16 inches wide.

American armored utility vehicle T9

A 10,000 pound line pull winch was installed in the left rear of the personnel compartment. With a loaded weight of ten tons, the maximum road speed of the T9 was 30 miles per hour. All hull openings were fitted with rubber seals and the fording depth was limited to 41 inches by the engine and cooling air exhaust grills on each side. Exhaust stacks could be installed on these grills to increase the fording depth.

A crew of 12 was specified for the T9 including the drivers. However, the rear compartment was extremely crowded with ten men. The vehicle was lightly armored with % inch thick steel plate on the front, sides, and rear. Thus it could have been penetrated by small arms fire at close range and the open top exposed the crew to attack from above.

The tests at Aberdeen revealed numerous mechanical problems, most of which could have been corrected. However, the war was over by the time the tests were completed and the project was terminated by OCM 30424 dated 11 April 1946. Already, the need for overhead protection had become obvious and new designs for armored personnel carriers were under study.