Considered a reconnaissance vehicle and a mobile machine gun position,
the Mark VI was the final stage of development of the Carden Loyd
series of tankettes. The Carden Loyd tankette was the prototype for
the Universal Carrier. The French unarmed Renault UE carrier was based
on the Carden Loyd design.
Since the Belgian Armed Forces were looking to upgrade their anti-tank
capability in the early 1930s, and due to the popularity of the tankette
concept, the Carden Loyd Mk VI tankette was chosen as the basis for
a first attempt to developing a fully mechanized anti-tank capability.
After experimenting with a rather straightforward tractor concept
for the Belgian 47 mm Model 1931 anti-tank gun in 1931, a more integrated
approach was chosen, resulting in what has probably been the heaviest
armed version of the Carden Loyd Mk VI tankette. In 1931, after acquiring
six Carden Loyd Mk VI tankettes, two prototype vehicles were modified.
One carried the F.R.C. Herstal 47 mm Model 1931 anti-tank gun and
one the Canon de 76 FRC, a low-velocity 76 mm infantry gun, in a fixed,
forward-facing structure. The results of the pre-production tests
were not convincing. Nevertheless, the experiment provided some valuable
experience for the Belgian army. This culminated in the successful
T-13 tank destroyer, whose production started in 1935. The six prototype
tank destroyer vehicles were also used operationally.
After being fielded by the elite Chasseurs Ardennais mountain division,
the vehicles were deemed next to useless in mountainous areas and
quickly passed on to the Cyclistes Frontière/Grenswielrijders,
a border guard regiment. They were still in use when the Battle of
Belgium started in May 1940, albeit from fixed, ambush positions on
the west-bank of the river Meuse (Maas) between Vivegnis and Lixhe.
A picture can
be found here
and a color drawing here.
Some time ago,
RetroTracks anounced its withdrawal from 1/72 AFV kits. Fortunately
for us, they changed their minds and are back with some of the nicest
resin kits on the market.
cardboard box of this kit containes only a few resin parts, with very
nice detail, next to no flash and no pinholes in my specimen. The
only possible casting flaw that I found was on the top of the body,
where some flat areas seem a little uneven as if too much release
agent had been applied to the molds in that area. Some of these areas
are difficult to access, so sanding will be difficult. It might be
that very little can be seen once a coat of paint is applied, though.
The way the parts are cast, removing the casting carrots will require
little work, except for the main body, which will require more care
The instructions are simple, but generally sufficient,
although I feel that it is not entirely clear that the shield could
be positioned stowed (to the rear) or ready-to-fire (to the front).
The pictures in the references above show both positions.
are provided. This will require some creativity, as Belgian decals
are difficult to find. (Set 72045 from Black
Lion or BE1 from Aleran
might be useful.) While the Germans captured at least one
vehicle, there is no proof they ever pressed it into service or
applied their own markings to it.
sample purchased by the author.