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The Imp Maxim Gun Carrier.

Historical note: The Carden Loyd carrier was a light tracked vehicle that entered British service around 1927-9 and continued in use until 1939. In the British army it was mainly used as a machine gun carrier, although it was widely exported, and many nations used it as the basis of light tanks and tankettes. The most common form of vehicle weighted just under 2 tons, had only room for the two crew and was about 9-10ft long, 6ft wide and under 4ft in height. Speed was about 25mph on tracks, and 31mph on wheels.

Although a 20th century vehicle, there is a certain air about the vehicle that says “Victorian” to me.

One only needs to look at the picture above and imagine spike-topped tropical helmets in place of berets, and you will see what I mean. I call the Space 1889 version of the Carden Loyd the “Imp”

Variants of the Imp.

The Standard Model (right) is a two man vehicle armed with a Maxim gun. Some vehicles may have a Nordenfelt or Gatling instead. This weapon can either be fired from the vehicle or from the tripod that is carried.

Indian Pattern. This has a redesigned and improved engine cooling system and insulation to increase crew comfort in hot conditions. Most visible external difference is a canopy to shade the crew.

Smoke Layer. This is an armed version that uses a patented smoke generator mounted on the rear right corner of the vehicle. The carrier generates a cloud of smoke behind it as it moves. This model is semi-experimental and is undergoing field evaluation.

wheel and track Imp
wheel and track rear view

Wheel and Track variant. (left) In addition to its tracks this model has a rubber tired wheel on each side with a third used for steering at the back. This allows the vehicle to move at greater speeds with less track wear on firm ground. Vehicles with this system are in service with certain colonial police units. Police vehicles are often not fitted with a machine gun and just rely on the crew’s personal weapons.

Infantry Gun. This resembles the machine gun carrier but has a light gun in place of the machine gun, usually a one or two pounder.

Command Version. This is a three-man vehicle, the third seat at the rear being taken by a signaller and his flags.

“The Infighter” (right) This is another three-man vehicle, but with higher sloped sides. Hatches hinged fore and aft can be closed to form an armoured roof. While the standard machine gun carrier has a stand-off role, the Infighter is intended as an assault vehicle for more close range attacks. Armament is a Maxim gun, but commanders often keep the hatch open and can use their revolvers, rifles or shotguns.

Turreted Imp. (below) Another vehicle undergoing evaluation, this has a turret for an all round field of fire. Armament is a machine gun, machine cannon or light gun. The turreted Imp is intended for reconnaissance and raiding and is being evaluated by cavalry units. Many suspect that these are intended to replace the horse, so reception has been mixed.

In addition to the above forms, several other experimental designs exist. Imps are commonly used as tractors to tow light guns or trailers of equipment and supplies.

Imps in Service.

Several infantry battalions now have small numbers of Imps, and these are used to transport machine guns and provide support fire. Usually the vehicles have been painted in regimental or facing colours and are adorned with pennons and unit emblems.

Imps have been most effective as part of cavalry forces, and have had numerous successes on Mars. The presence of cavalry has forced infantry into close formations, presenting prime targets for the Imp mounted machine guns and infantry guns. Such fire helps break up infantry formations to allow cavalry attack. Smoke laying Imps have allowed cavalry to reach charge range without coming under fire.

The One Man Tankette.

The term tankette is usually used to refer to cheap two or three man fighting vehicles developed in the interwar years.

The original idea was somewhat different. The idea was that each infantryman should have his own tracked armoured vehicle. A typical example can be seen in Carden-Loyd’s one-man vehicle. This can be thought of as a tracked motorbike with the soldier sitting in a rectangular armoured box. In front of him is a three-sided shield that mounts an “automatic rifle” (ie, a light machine gun such as the Hotchkiss M1909).

Vehicle weighted 1 ton 6 cwt, was 10ft 5" long, 4ft 6" wide and 4ft 10" high. Speed was 24mph, or 31mph if wheels were fitted. The seat was adjustable so the driver could ride with his head up when not in combat.

It was envisioned that whole infantry units would be equipped with such vehicles and one cannot help but wonder what would happen should two forces so equipped meet. A battle between two forces of bulletproof vehicles armed with machine guns could be expected to be a lengthy affair!.

Space 1889 Main Page

By the Author of the Scrapboard :

Attack, Avoid, Survive: Essential Principles of Self Defence

Available in Handy A5 and US Trade Formats.

Crash Combat. Second Edition with additional content.
Epub edition. Second Edition with additional content.