The impact compressive failure behaviour of a unidirectional T700/2521 carbon/epoxy composite in three principal material directions is investigated in the conventional split Hopkinson pressure bar. Two different types of specimens with square cross sections are machined from the composite in the plane of the laminate. The uniaxial compressive stress-strain curves up to failure at quasi-static and intermediate strain rates are measured on an Instron testing machine. It is demonstrated that the ultimate compressive strength (or maximum stress) increases slightly, while the ultimate compressive strain (or failure strain) decreases marginally with strain rate in the range of 10-3 to 103/s in all three directions. Dominant failure mechanisms are found to significantly vary with strain rate and loading directions along three principal material axes.