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Thread: Para drop of armored personnel carriers by Lancaster in U.S.A.

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    Default Para drop of armored personnel carriers by Lancaster in U.S.A.

    http://ww2chat.com/forums/war-air/2856-lancaster-ee182-moran-michigan-u-s.html



    The link above should take you to a thread pertaining to a Lancaster conducting parachute drops of armored personnel carriers. This took place at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A. during July and August of 1943.

    If anyone can add anything further it would be appreciated.

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    Hi David
    The question to ask is where the Bren Gun Carriers(mentioned in one of the threads) would be carried?? There doesn't seem to be enough ground clearance below the Lanc to get something the size of a Carrier under it and even if I'm wrong the lack of space if they could position it would have made a take-off decidedly dangerous. And why should anybody want to do it? I suspect that hidden somewhere in this is a large pinch of salt!!
    Regards
    Dick

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    Dick if you follow the thread through all will be revealed. Here you can see the A.P.C. staged below the Lancaster just prior to rigging.

    http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q137/DavidLayne/Steve2.jpg

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    Fascinating! I did wonder why they had to go all the way to the States to drop Bren Carriers, but the answer is - they aren't Carriers. I'm not sure what they are - amphibious Weasels?

    It is still odd, for such heavy carriage was done by Halifaxes in the UK - at least as far as jeeps and 6 pdrs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Boak View Post
    Fascinating! I did wonder why they had to go all the way to the States to drop Bren Carriers, but the answer is - they aren't Carriers. I'm not sure what they are - amphibious Weasels?

    It is still odd, for such heavy carriage was done by Halifaxes in the UK - at least as far as jeeps and 6 pdrs.
    As I understand it after delivering the aircraft in Canada the crew returned to the U.K.

    The aircraft went on to be used in cold weather trials in Canada.

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    Just a long shot on the vehicle. It resembles a general class known as "snowmobiles" in the early post war era. This was before Bombardier invented the "snowmobile" we know today. A range of small tracked vehicles like this were used in Canadian Army winter exercises, starting with a joint US/Canadian/UK exercise in the winter of 1944/1945, and leading up to the well known Exercise Muskox in 1946/1947 (I think). Most were small production batch prototypes, and some used Weasel and Universal Carrier cross-drives and suspensions, with extra wide tracks. There were some stock Weasels and Carriers used as well.

    All these Exercises included extensive air supply of a mobile column operating cross country, north of the tree line, in winter. A friend and fellow pilot of my father told me a tale many years ago about "winterizing" a Hadrian for one of these exercises, using lots and lots of duct tape.

    There is a fascinating collection of photos on-line at http://contentdm.ucalgary.ca/cdm4/results.php?CISOOP1=any&CISOFIELD1=CISOSEARCHALL&C ISOROOT=/aina3&CISOBOX1=Exercise
    about Exercise Muskox, including some aircraft and lots of tracked vehicles. One caption mentions delivering Weasels in Hadrians- resulting in some damage to the Hadrian.

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    David - would you be kind enough to contact me off-line as regards this thread.
    chrisATlichfield.plus.com replacing the AT with the obvious.
    Many thanks
    Chris

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    Default Lancaster Mystery

    G'day Chaps

    My two cents for what it is worth!

    Let's start off by saying that the term Air Force Base did not come into existence until the formation of the United States Air Force on the 18th of September 1947.

    The Universal Carrier or more commonly known as the Bren Gun Carrier was not an A.P.C-Armored Personnel Carrier by any stretch of the imagination. The machine in the photo is not a Bren Gun Carrier. It would appear to be a snow machine of some sort. Maybe even amphibious by the look of the bath tub style chassis. It is painted overall white with some splattering of dark paint to break up the silouette.

    The Canadians employed the 'Penguin' snow machine in Europe from early 1944 onwards. It proved to be highly versatile -

    http://www.jedsite.info/fulltrack-charlie/charlie/cas_series/mk1/mk1.html

    http://www.geocities.com/t16carrier/cdn_armd_snowmobile.html

    Handley Page Halifax Mk. V!, s/n RG814 was ferried to Canada and taken on strength with the R.C.A.F.'s Winter Experimental Establishment (R.C.A.F. Station Edmonton, Alberta) on the 5th of December 1945. It was returned to the U.K. after being taken off strength on the 10th of June 1947.

    Cheers...Chris

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    Thanks for the links Chris!

    Totally off topic, but my first job out of University involved design and test of commercial and military snow machines. We were still using war surplus zero-time T16 differentials in the early 1970s. I assume they were left over from the Penguin and Muskrat programs. They came beautifully crated, with the gears removed from the housing, and wrapped individually in some type of wax paper.

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    That looks to be an American M29 Weasel, as was mentioned on ww2chat - which though not exactly like the Bren Carrier, was used in similar ways.

    A few pics and details for people to compare:

    http://www.olive-drab.com/idphoto/id_photos_m29.php3

    http://www.tnjmurray.com/customer_photos/mvc_014s.jpg

    And the most important thing was that it was already designed to be air-dropped:

    http://www.transchool.eustis.army.mil/MUSEUM/weasel.htm

    As to why? The need for airborne forces to receive tracked vehicles was a high priority, especially with the planning for the second front. The Horsa required open streches to land, not always available. Whereas dropping material WITH the paratroopers may have been more viable. And the Lancaster was readily available - and a better lifter than, say the B-17

    A
    Last edited by Amrit; 29th July 2008 at 20:26. Reason: Additional comments

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