This paper model is a Gun Carrier Mark I, the first piece of self-propelled artillery ever to be produced, a British development from the First World War, the papercraft is created by Wayne McCullough, and the scale is in 1:48.
The vehicle bore little resemblance to the Mark I. The tracks retained a vestige of the 'lozenge' form but very low, almost flat. At the rear a rectangular superstructure covered the Daimler 105 hp engine and transmission of the Mark I; the transmission was reversed compared to its position in the Mark I. This structure also housed the vehicle commander, a mechanic and two gearsmen. The original double tail wheel of the Mark I was attached to the rear of the vehicle and seems to be retained in photographs.
The front section, an open area between the tracks, was flanked by tall narrow structures, above the front of the track frame at each side, that acted as armoured cabs for driver on the left and brakesman to the right. In the prototype these driving positions had been directly in front of the superstructure; moving them forward greatly improved visibility, but made communication very difficult. This arrangement had obvious disadvantages where, as in the Mark I, four men, including the gearsmen, had to coordinate their actions to drive and manoeuvre a most ungainly vehicle. Between these two structures lay a low-slung pivoting platform able to accommodate a 60-pounder (5-inch) field gun, a 6-inch 26 cwt howitzer or any equivalent in stores or personnel.
This platform acted as a loading ramp down which a loading trolley or cradle could be lowered and positioned beneath the gun carriage. The wheels of the gun were removed — these were attached to the side of the carrier until needed again. The carriage was lowered onto the trolley which could then be winched up onto the platform using a pair of engine-driven winding drums. The procedure could be reversed to unload the gun. The spaces to the rear of the cabs were used to store up to a hundred rounds of ammunition for the howitzer in addition to other warlike stores. In theory, the field gun could be fired from the vehicle; in reality only the howitzer could be so used.
Since this weapon could be fired while mounted—even if never fired in anger—the Gun Carrier Mark I has been seen as the first modern self propelled gun, in the sense of a weapon system capable of independent action and having operational mobility on the battlefield. For further information please click here.
You can download this paper model template here: Gun Carrier Mark I Self-Propelled Artillery Free Paper Model Download