Australian Military Vehicles Research
Australian Local Pattern Carriers - LP2 and 2A
As Australia was closely aligned with British military doctrine, the Army desired the introduction of a light armoured vehicle for reconnaissance and liaison work, broadly based upon the British Universal Carrier design, but modified to use local manufacturing techniques and available commercial parts.
The first design, the Carrier, MG (Aust) No.1 or LP1, closely resembled the British Bren carrier. This carrier design was seriously flawed, however, displaying many faults - not least being serious engine overheating and brake wear. After approximately 160 of these vehicles had been built, the Army called for an improved design. This was the LP2 and 2A (the designation depends upon the type of rear axle assembly), incorporating improved steering, brakes, and other modifications. In all, by the time production ended in 1943, over 4,700 LP2 and 2A carriers had been built.
Australian-produced local pattern MG carriers saw service with the Australian Army both at home and abroad, seeing action in the Middle East (Syria, Palestine, Egypt), Malaya, New Guinea, and the islands of the south-west Pacific. Some soldiered on into the 1950s, and took part in the early stages of Australia's involvement of the Korean War.
Cecil, Michael K. "Australian Military Equipment Profiles Vol.2: Local Pattern Carriers 1939 to 1945" (1992) [an excellent, very detailed book - highly recommended]
The following photos of two nicely restored vehicles show some of the unique features of Australian-manufactured LP2 and 2A carriers
|One of the strongest recognition points for identifying an Australian-manufactured LP2 or 2A carrier is the unique shape of the nose of the vehicle - the glacis plate is at a much steeper angle than that seen on British-produced carriers. This carrier is shown in the markings of the Australian 2/9 Infantry Division.|
|Left front view of another restored LP2 or 2A carrier, this one being shown in the markings of the carrier platoon of the Australian 2/3rd Inf. Bn, 2/16th Bde, 6 Infantry Division. Again, the unique shape of the vehicle nose, and the large radiator air intake above the driving/fighting compartments, are plainly visible.|
|left rear three-quarter view. Note the tools in their brackets in front of the stowage bins, which mark this vehicle out as having the late design of stowage layout. In the original design these large tools were carried on the left side of the hull, but in this position the tools were found to be easily damaged or dislodged.|
|Another rear three-quarter view, this time the right hand side. The arrangement of the rear stowage offers another recognition point for Australian LP2 and 2A carriers.|
|Close-up view of the bogie roadwheels. Note the raised edges of the wheel spokes, a feature unique to Australian-manufactured carriers.|
|A view of the extremely cramped driver's compartment. Note the driver's toolbox to the right of the small instrument panel. To the left of the picture can be seen the machinegun mount in the front aperture, the signal flare cartridge box (red/white/green lid) and, on the vehicle floor, the top of a Vickers ammunition box.|
|View of the gunner's compartment. Note the MG cleaning rod, signal pistol holster, water bottle rack, Bren hold-all, signal flare cartridge box (as mentioned above), tin for MG cooling water, and Bren ammunition box (this space could also hold a number of Vickers ammunition boxes).|
|View of the left-rear compartment. Note the MG mountings in the immediate foreground and on the left-hand sidewall, above the Bren ammunition boxes. A Bren LMG and Vickers tripod would normally be held upright in the brackets visible on the front bulkhead.|
|View of the central engine cover, between the two rear compartments. Note the Bren Quadrant in its brackets, and the tubular MG mounting to the right.|
|View of the left-rear compartment. Note the water bottle rack on the front bulkhead, and the battery and junction boxes on the floor. Note also the bracket for the aerial mounting, and hinged wireless cover.|
|An LP2A with an interesting history. This vehicle (AIF registration T-16574) was one of a small number of carriers sent with elements of Gull Force to the island of Ambon in mid-December 1941. Captured by the Japanese from the Australian 2/21st Infantry Battalion in early 1942, it served with a Japanese Marine unit until recaptured in 1945. This carrier now resides in the Pacific War Gallery of the Australian War Memorial.|
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