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Ron Bell

Carrier, Howitzer, 4.5" QF

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Carrier, Howitzer, 4.5” QF

a.k.a: Vicar

 In 1918, some cast off Mk I and II hulls were gutted and the engines moved to a transverse position at the rear of the vehicle with the exhaust moved from the roof plate to the rear. The sponsons with their accompanying 6 pdrs. and all machine guns were removed and large doors were installed on both sides in place of the sponsons. New roof plates were fashioned, eliminating the roof hatch and muffler mounts, but with two doors opening on the centerline just behind the driver’s cupola with a new vent added for the engine at the rear. A quick firing 4.5” howitzer was mounted in the center of the vehicle firing through an opening in the roof, which could be closed off when the gun was lowered and the doors closed. The gun had a limited traverse of 10 degrees right and left.

 In action, the gun was worked with the side doors open to allow access to ammunition and for ventilation. A small amount of ready ammunition was carried in racks beneath the gun, but the main supply came from a similarly gutted Mk I/II without the gun that had been adapted as an ammunition and petrol carrier. One supply tank could serve three howitzer carriers. The 2/C markings on this vehicle indicate it is from the 2nd Section of Battery “C”.

 The largest drawbacks of the design were the transversely mounted engine, which required a new transmission which never ceased to give problems, the fact that the gun had a limited range of elevation to avoid firing into the driver’s cupola, and the entire vehicle had to be moved if the required traverse was greater than the 10 degrees allowed by the gun mounting.

 The program was not pursued past the Armistice, however the unofficial name of the vehicle, Vicar, started the tradition of naming self-propelled guns after men of the church.

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 For those of you who are not as familiar with WWI AFV’s, this one never existed. The fact that the artillery could not keep up with the infantry over the shattered terrain was a common thread as to why many offensives failed, so I devised this vehicle to allow the artillery to cross the broken ground and stay within range. Modifications were done to an Airfix Mk I model just as described in the text above and the 4.5“ howitzer is a modified Airfix 25 pdr.

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Interesting build. I'd say it was the granddaddy of all self-propelled artillery. 

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Very nice build Ron; even though it's tracked. 😉

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