Universal Carrier Lubrication Chart

The Universal Carrier was a small tracked personnel carrier used by the British Army during the Second World War and often called a Bren Gun Carrier. Like any other piece of machinery, it needed regular maintenance and its moving parts needed to be oiled to keep them in good working order. The army’ mechanics were issued with handbooks to guide them through repairing and maintaining the vehicle and, tucked into the back, was a chart showing the points on the carrier that needed lubricating. This was printed onto canvas backed paper and opened out into a large and detailed diagram:

It is likely that many of these charts would find themselves pinned up to the walls of workshops to allow quick reference without the risk of oily hands destroying them. The chart shows a side elevation:

And a plan view, with each oiling point labelled in red:

A key at the side of the diagram explained what each point referred to, the type of oil to use etc.:

At the base of the chart a printer’s code allows us to date it to 1942:

Christopher Chadwick served on carriers in Normandy and remembered one incident where they got into a spot of difficulty:

 The time came when I was sent to ‘B’ Company for orders and was given instructions and map references of the place I was to recce. I always put my section fully in the picture every time we were attached to a company, letting them know all the facts. Once again we travelled into unknown areas, this time to the Caen area and on our route we came under machine gun fire. My driver, taken by surprise veered down a slight embankment thus getting the carrier stuck. I dived down the side of the carrier, and I shouted up to my gunner to pass the bren gun down, also a few magazines already loaded. I focused the gun in the enemy direction and had the firepower to give the 3 carriers cover to reverse back to safety; I managed to scramble aboard my carrier. I then planned a route to combat the machine gun. Leaving the carriers in harbour with their drivers we went a good distance on foot, using the ground as trained.

This is a fantastic chart and at some point I may see about framing it to put on the wall as it would look very interesting on display.

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