LIGHT AID DETACHMENTS PLUS RECOVERY VEHICLES and METHODS Light Aid Detachments were attached to all battalion sized units. They were integrated into the units to which they were attached and carried out tasks beyond the skills and equipment of unit fitters, but which did not require workshop facilities. LIGHT AID DETACHMENTS Headquarters Commander REME. War Establishment III/181/2 Headquarters Commander REME. 79 Armoured Division. War Establishment VIII/736/1. April 1944 Headquarters Commander REME. 79 Armoured Division. War Establishment XIV/1686/1. May 1945 Light Aid Detachments Type A. War Establishment II/325/3 Light Aid Detachments Type B. War Establishment II/340/3 Light Aid Detachments Type C. War Establishment III/100/3 Light Aid Detachments Type D. War Establishment II/420/1 Light Aid Detachment (Special). War Establishment VIII/707/1 Light Aid Detachment (Special). War Establishment XIV/1685/1 Light Aid Detachment (APC Regiment). War Establishment XIV/1683/1 Armoured Fighting Vehicle Servicing Unit. War Establishment III/300/1 Recovery Company. War Establishment III/205/1 Line of Communication Recovery Unit. War Establishment IV/225/1. December 1943. Mobile Recovery Section, Enemy Equipment. War Establishment XIV/1642/1. 80ton Recovery Section. HEADQUARTERS COMMANDER ROYAL ELECTRICAL and MECHANICAL ENGINEERS (CREME). War Establishment III/181/2. This covered CREME of corps and divisions. CREME was the Commanding Officer of all REME units in a corps or division. He was responsible for the control and co ordination of all REME units and for advising the General Officer Commanding on repair and maintenance matters. Colonel CREME Major, Second in Command Captain Adjutant Captain, Telecommunications Officer 3 X clerk 2 X driver batman 2 X orderly. 1 X car 4 seater 4 X 4 for the CRÈME. This carried a Wireless set No22. 1 X 15cwt for baggage and clerks 3 X motorcycle. Communications were provided by Royal Signals. REME Headquarters had 1 X Lorry Command Vehicle, or Armoured Command Vehicle if available in an armoured division. This had a crew of four signalmen RS and carried a Wireless No19 HP set for rearward communication to Corp and a Wireless set No19 for forward communication to Brigade Workshops. There was also accommodation for four staff officers. 1 X Wireless No22 set plus an operator RS. This was carried in the car 4 X 4 for the use of CREME when away from headquarters. CREME and Second in Command would be qualified mechanical engineers. The divisional REME units included: Light Aid Detachments – one for each regiment/battalion sized unit in the division. Brigade Workshops – one for each brigade in the division. Infantry brigades had Infantry Brigade Workshops and Armoured Brigades had Armoured Brigade Workshops. Also working in the division but not under divisional command there might be Infantry Troops Workshops and Armoured Troops Workshops. These were provided on the scale of one per division and worked closely with divisional units. They undertook heavier work than the brigade workshops and might work alongside them if required. Brigade Workshops also undertook work on equipment from non brigaded units in the division. This was done flexibly according to urgency of the work and the capacity available in each workshop. Independent armoured brigades attached to divisions had their own workshops which were controlled from Corps Headquarters. CREME had no responsibility for these. However Corps headquarters could coordinate cooperative working between the workshops in the area. This arrangement avoided the difficulties often experienced by units which were temporarily attached to divisions when their resources were diverted to other tasks. HQ COMMANDER ROYAL ELECTRICAL and MECHANICAL ENGINEERS. 79 ARMOURED DIVISION War Establishment VIII/736/1. April 1944 Colonel CREME Major, Second in Command Major Captain Adjutant Captain, Telecommunications Officer Warrant Officer Class I Clerk serjeant clerk corporal clerk lance corporal clerk 4 X clerk 6 X driver 2 X driver operator 3 X batman driver 2 X cook ACC 6 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 4 X 2 1 X car 4 seater 4 X 4 1 X car 5cwt 4 X 4 1 X 3 ton 4 X 2 GS HQ COMMANDER ROYAL ELECTRICAL and MECHANICAL ENGINEERS. 79 Armoured Division. War Establishment XIV/1686/1. May 1945. Colonel CREME Major, Second in Command 2 X Major Captain Adjutant Captain, Telecommunications Officer Captain or Subaltern, Adjutant Warrant Officer Class I Clerk Technical serjeant clerk, technical corporal clerk, technical lance corporal clerk, technical 4 X clerk, technical corporal clerk clerk corporal draughtsman mechanical 6 X driver 2 X driver operator 4 X batman driver 2 X cook ACC 6 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 4 X 2 1 X car 4 seater saloon 1 X car 4 seater 4 X 4 1 X car 5cwt 4 X 4 1 X 3 ton 4 X 2 GS 1 X water trailer 180 gallon LIGHT AID DETACHMENT Light Aid Detachments were provided by REME for most battalion/regiment sized units. They came under the command of the unit they served but for matters of training, technical efficiency, postings etc they remained the responsibility of the CREME. The functions of the Light Aid Detachment were listed as; - recovery of equipment - repair of equipment by the replacement of minor assemblies - light running repairs - maintenance and servicing of the units equipment. LAD personnel were assisted in some of the above tasks by the unit fitters and artificers, and by attached REME personnel. Repairs beyond the capacity of the LAD were undertaken by brigade workshops. However according to need and availability detachments of the brigade workshop might move forward to work alongside the LAD rather than evacuate the equipment. Light Aid Detachment Type A War Establishment II/325/3, which remained unchanged throughout the campaign. LAD Type A was attached to units with more than the normal amount of wheeled transport. The Light Aid Detachment was fully self mobile and did not require extra transport for a move. Personnel were not assigned to specific vehicle in the War Establishment table but the detachment would have a standard operating procedure and some personnel were attached to a vehicle most of the time. Trained drivers were not provided for all vehicles. The unit trained sufficient drivers itself. Light Aid Detachment Type A (Armoured) attached to GHQ Liaison Regiment (Phantom) Subaltern Warrant Officer Class II, Armament Artificer serjeant vehicle mechanic 3 X driver mechanic (A) electrician, vehicle and plant (AFV) 5 X vehicle mechanic (AFV) acetylene welder, Class II lance corporal storeman storeman, trained as motor cyclist batman driver Total 16 all ranks 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 2 X 3ton stores lorry 1 X 3ton 6 X 4 breakdown gantry lorry Light Aid Detachment Type A (Armoured) attached to Armoured Car Regiment Subaltern Warrant Officer Class II, Armament Artificer serjeant vehicle mechanic 3 X driver mechanic (A) electrician, vehicle and plant (AFV) 5 X vehicle mechanic (AFV) acetylene welder, ClassII lance corporal storeman storeman, trained as motor cyclist batman driver Total 16 all ranks 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 2 X 3ton stores lorry 1 X Tractor 6 X 4 (Recovery) Light Aid Detachment Type A (Armoured) attached to Reconnaissance Regiment Subaltern Warrant Officer Class II, Armament Artificer serjeant vehicle mechanic 3 X driver mechanic (A) electrician, vehicle and plant (AFV) 5 X vehicle mechanic (AFV) acetylene welder, ClassII lance corporal storeman storeman, trained as motor cyclist batman driver Total 16 all ranks 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 2 X 3ton stores lorry 1 X 3ton 6 X 4 breakdown gantry lorry 1 X 7 ½ ton recovery trailer Light Aid Detachment Type A (Unarmoured) attached to Survey Regiment RA Corps Signals GHQ Signals Air Formation Signals L of C signals Warrant Officer Class I, Armament Artificer serjeant vehicle mechanic 3 X driver mechanic electrician, vehicle and plant 5 X vehicle mechanic acetylene welder, ClassII lance corporal storeman storeman, trained as motor cyclist Total 14 all ranks 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 2 X 3ton stores lorry 1 X 3ton 6 X 4 breakdown gantry lorry Light Aid Detachment Type A (Unarmoured) attached to Infantry Brigade Group Warrant Officer Class I, Armament Artificer serjeant vehicle mechanic 3 X driver mechanic electrician, vehicle and plant 5 X vehicle mechanic acetylene welder, ClassII lance corporal storeman storeman, trained as motor cyclist Total 14 all ranks 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 4 X 4 (jeep) 2 X 3ton stores lorry 1 X 3ton 6 X 4 breakdown gantry Light Aid Detachment Type A (Unarmoured) attached to Anti Tank Regiment Warrant Officer Class I, Armament Artificer serjeant vehicle mechanic 3 X driver mechanic electrician, vehicle and plant 3 X fitter 2 X vehicle mechanic acetylene welder, Class II lance corporal storeman storeman, trained as motor cyclist Total 14 all ranks 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 2 X 3ton stores lorry 1 X 3ton 6 X 4 breakdown gantry Light Aid Detachment Type B War Establishment II/340/3. This was the smallest of the Light Aid Detachments and was used by the greatest number of types of unit. It remained unchanged throughout the campaign Light Aid Detachment Type B (Armoured) attached to Engineer Field Park, Armoured Division Armoured Division Signals Motor Battalion Captain or Subaltern Warrant Officer Class II, Armament Artificer serjeant vehicle mechanic 3 X driver mechanic (A) electrician, vehicle and plant (AFV) 3 X vehicle mechanic (AFV) acetylene welder, Class II lance corporal storeman storeman, trained as motor cyclist batman driver Total 14 all ranks 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 2 X 3ton stores lorry 1 X 3ton 6 X 4 breakdown gantry Light Aid Detachment Type B (Armoured) attached to Field Regiment RA in an armoured division Captain or Subaltern Warrant Officer Class II, Armament Artificer serjeant vehicle mechanic 3 X driver mechanic (A) electrician, vehicle and plant (AFV) 2 X fitter vehicle mechanic (AFV) acetylene welder, Class II lance corporal storeman storeman, trained as motor cyclist batman driver Total 14 all ranks 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 2 X 3ton stores lorry 1 X 3ton 6 X 4 breakdown gantry Light Aid Detachment Type B (Unarmoured) attached to HQ Armoured Division Engineer Field Park, Infantry Division Infantry Division Signals Machine Gun Battalion Warrant Officer Class I, Armament Artificer serjeant vehicle mechanic 3 X driver mechanic electrician, vehicle and plant 3 X vehicle mechanic acetylene welder, Class II lance corporal storeman storeman, trained as motor cyclist Total 12 all ranks 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 2 X 3ton stores lorry 1 X 3ton 6 X 4 breakdown gantry Light Aid Detachment Type B (Unarmoured) attached to Infantry Brigade Warrant Officer Class I, Armament Artificer serjeant vehicle mechanic 3 X driver mechanic electrician, vehicle and plant 3 X vehicle mechanic acetylene welder, Class II lance corporal storeman storeman, trained as motor cyclist Total 12 all ranks 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 4 X 4 (jeep) 2 X 3ton stores lorry 1 X 3ton 6 X 4 breakdown gantry Light Aid Detachment Type B (Unarmoured) attached to Field Regiment RA in an Infantry Division Warrant Officer Class I, Armament Artificer serjeant vehicle mechanic 3 X driver mechanic electrician, vehicle and plant 2 X fitter vehicle mechanic acetylene welder, Class II lance corporal storeman storeman, trained as motor cyclist Total 12 all ranks 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 2 X 3ton stores lorry 1 X 3ton 6 X 4 breakdown gantry Light Aid Detachment Type C War Establishment III/100/3 which was apparently modified since the final version was III/100/4. No details of this latter are available at present. An LAD Type C was larger than Type A and Type B. It was normally commanded by a Captain. It was intended for units which had a large number of tracked and armoured vehicles. Light Aid Detachment Type C attached to Armoured Regiment (Sherman) Tank Battalion (Churchill) Captain Warrant Officer Class II, Armament Artificer 3 X Staff Serjeant, Armament Artificer 3 X driver mechanic (A) 2 X driver operator electrician, vehicle and plant (AFV) fitter 5 X vehicle mechanic electric welder, Class I or Class II lance corporal storeman storeman, trained as motor cyclist clerk, technical batman driver 2 X driver IC 2 X general dutyman Total 25 all ranks 2 X motorcycle 1 X 15cwt GS 1 X 15cwt Machinery KL 1 X 14cwt Fitted For Wireless 2 X 3ton stores lorry 2 X Tractor 6 X 4 breakdown Light Aid Detachment Type C attached to Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment Captain Warrant Officer Class II, Armament Artificer 3 X Staff Serjeant, Armament Artificer 3 X driver mechanic (A) 2 X driver operator electrician, vehicle and plant (AFV) fitter 5 X vehicle mechanic electric welder, Class I or Class II lance corporal storeman storeman, trained as motor cyclist clerk, technical batman driver driver IC 2 X general dutyman Total 25 all ranks 2 X motorcycle 1 X 15cwt GS 1 X 15cwt Machinery KL 1 X 14cwt Fitted For Wireless 1 X 3ton stores lorry 2 X Tractor 6 X 4 breakdown Light Aid Detachment Type C attached to Field Regiment RA SP Anti Tank Regiment RA SP Captain Warrant Officer Class II, Armament Artificer 3 X Staff Serjeant, Armament Artificer 3 X driver mechanic (A) 2 X driver operator electrician, vehicle and plant (AFV) 4 X fitter 2 X vehicle mechanic electric welder, Class I or Class II lance corporal storeman storeman, trained as motor cyclist clerk, technical batman driver driver IC 2 X general dutyman Total 25 all ranks 2 X motorcycle 1 X 15cwt GS 1 X 15cwt Machinery KL 1 X 14cwt Fitted For Wireless 1 X 3ton stores lorry 2 X Tractor 6 X 4 breakdown Light Aid Detachment Type D War Establishment II/420 which seems never to have been modified. This establishment applied to specialist armour units of 79 Armoured Division and the Light Aid Detachment could be divided into sections to accompany separate squadrons. The War establishment table lists only one variation from the standard organisation. - One extra 15cwt GS truck was provided by the LAD for the use of the REME armourer attached to the regiment. It is not clear whether armoured regiments equipped with Flail tanks followed the usual armoured regiment organisation in having an armourer for each squadron. If so there would not be a 15cwt provided. The 15cwt was provided for the Armoured Engineer Regiment. The Light Aid Detachment was fully self mobile and did not require extra transport for a move. Personnel were not assigned to specific vehicle in the War Establishment table but the detachment would have a standard operating procedure and some personnel were attached to a vehicle most of the time. Trained drivers were not provided for all vehicles. The unit trained sufficient drivers itself. - the jeep was for the use of the Captain and was driven by the batman driver. - the driver mechanics were for the breakdown lorry and were trained in recovery work. Light Aid Detachment (Special) attached to - An Armoured Engineer Regiment - An Armoured Regiment of 30 Brigade (Flail tanks) War Establishment VIII/707/1. April 1944 War Establishment XIV/1685/1. May 1945. Headquarters Captain Warrant Officer Class II Armament Artificer driver mechanic electrician vehicle mechanic electric welder clerk, technical storeman batman driver driver IC general dutyman 2 X motorcycle 1 X 15cwt KL 1 X 3ton 4 X 4 GS lorry 1 X Heavy Recovery Tractor or ARV There were three sections, one per squadron of the unit to which the LAD was attached. 3 X Section Armament Artificer 2 X driver mechanic electrician fitter 3 X vehicle mechanic electric welder 1 X car 4 X 4 jeep 1 X 15cwt GS 1 X 10cwt trailer 1 X 15cwt Machinery KL 1 X 10cwt welding trailer 1 X 3ton stores lorry 1 X Heavy Recovery Tractor Light Aid Detachment (Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment) War Establishment XIV/1683/1. March 1945 Until March 1945 the LAD (Special) was used. Headquarters Captain Warrant Officer Class II Armament Artificer 2 X driver mechanic fitter turner acetylene welder storeman batman driver 2 X driver IC general dutyman 1 X car 5cwt 4 X 4 1 X 15cwt GS 1 X 3ton 4 X 4 stores binned 1 X 3ton 4 X 4 Machinery M 1 X 1ton trailer There were three sections, one per squadron of the unit to which the LAD was attached. 3 X Section staff serjeant armament artificer 5 X driver mechanic electrician 6 X vehicle mechanic electric welder 2 X driver IC general dutyman 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 5cwt 4 X 4 jeep 1 X 15cwt KL 1 X 3ton stores binned 1 X 3ton 6 X 4 breakdown 1 X 1ton trailer Markings The REME Arm of Service Marking was a distinctive blue over yellow over red square. Light Aid Detachments used the serial number of the unit to which they were attached displayed on the REME Arm of Service square ARMOURED FIGHTING VEHICLE SERVICING UNIT REME War Establishment III/300/1 Originally these units were intended to give Armoured Fighting Vehicles a service before they were handed over to the Armoured Replacement Group. Since many of the vehicles were new and the remained were from workshops little maintenance was required. There were always minor modifications to be made, traversing gear and hydraulic controls needed checking and oil levels needed topping up. Sometimes there was damage caused in transit to be repaired. The demand for servicing was such that two AFV workshops from advanced base workshops were also attached to carry out the work In practice the Armoured Replacement Group used newly delivered vehicles for driver training so that some servicing was required after the vehicles were delivered to them. Moreover the Armoured replacement group insisted on checking all vehicles (and units probably checked them again when they received them). The Armoured Replacement group eventually received a redundant 2nd line workshop to carry out repairs and servicing. Major Captain Subaltern, Electrical and Mechanical Assistant Engineer 3 X Warrant Officer Armament Artificer Warrant Officer Clerk 10 X staff serjeant armament artificer staff serjeant armourer 2 X staff serjeant artisans 4 X serjeant artisan staff serjeant storeman serjeant for regimental duties corporal armourer 5 X corporal artisan corporal clerk 2 X corporal 6 X lance corporal 98 X craftsmen, drivers and privates Attached Captain Ordnance Officer 4th Class RAOC serjeant storeman, technical RAOC corporal storeman, technical RAOC 7 X storeman, technical RAOC serjeant clerk RAOC lance corporal clerk RAOC clerk RAOC batman driver RAOC 6 X general dutymen RAOC corporal cook ACC 3 X cook ACC Trades included armament artificer, electrical 2 X armament artificer, field 9 X armament artificer, vehicle armament artificer, wireless 5 X armourer 2 X blacksmith blacksmiths striker or hammerman 2 X carpenter and joiner 2 X driver mechanic 22 driver mechanic (A) 4 X electrician 5 X fitter instrument mechanic sheet metal worker 5 X telecommunications mechanic 29 vehicle mechanic AFV welder, acetylene 2 X clerk, technical 2 X clerk storeman, armament and general stores 3 X storeman, vehicle 2 X batman driver 11 X driver IC 22 X general dutyman One 3ton 4 X 2 GS and all the 3ton 4 X 2 Stores are for the RAOC section A RECOVERY COMPANY REME War Establishment III/205/4 The Recovery Company was allotted on the basis of one per corps and consisted of a headquarters, one heavy section per armoured division in the corps and one light section per infantry division in the corps. Three War Establishments were issued for this unit in a short apace of time, one every three months. The vehicles were very little altered and the number of personnel slightly reduced. Most of the changes concerned changes in the trades of personnel. There was also a change in the organisation in that the earlier tables give a total establishment for a company with a headquarters, one heavy section and two light sections. The latest table assumes a variable number of sections and gives the establishment for - headquarters - heavy section - light section Headquarters Major, Electrical and Mechanical Engineer 2nd Class staff serjeant clerk serjeant storeman serjeant for regimental duties driver mechanic 2 X clerk storeman cook ACC batman driver 3 X motor cyclist regimental NCO 3 X motorcycle 1 X car 5cwt 4 X 4 jeep 1 X 15cwt Fitted for Wireless 1 X 3ton 4 X 4 GS 1 X 1ton trailer Heavy Recovery Section Captain, Electrical and Mechanical Engineer 3rd Class Subaltern, Electrical and Mechanical Engineer 4th Class Warrant Officer Armament Artificer AFV staff serjeant armament artificer MV 4 X serjeant artisan armament artificer AFV armament artificer MV 27 X driver mechanic electrician 11 X motor mechanic 2 X welder 2 X clerk storeman batman driver 12 X driver IC 4 X general dutyman corporal cook ACC 2 X cook ACC Note: Drivers IC are provided to ride the motorcycles. 9 X motorcycle 1 X car 5cwt 4 X 4 jeep 1 X 15cwt GS 2 X 3ton 4 X 4 GS 2 X 3ton 6 X 4 Breakdown 6 X Tractor 6 X 4 1 X Caterpillar D8 tracked recovery tractor 4 X tractor 6 X 4 for 40 ton transporter and recovery trailer 4 X 3ton 6 X 4 – 8 semi trailer recovery 1 X carrier TCP 3 X 7½ ton 6 wheeled light recovery trailer 1 X 20 ton trailer for D8 tractor 4 X 40 ton 24 wheeled transporter and recovery trailer 1 X water trailer. 2 X 1ton trailer 4 X Bren lmg 3 X PIAT Light Recovery Section Captain, Electrical and Mechanical Engineer 3rd Class Subaltern, Electrical and Mechanical Engineer 4th Class staff serjeant armament artificer MV 2 X serjeant artisan armament artificer MV 18 X driver mechanic electrician 11 X motor mechanic welder clerk storeman batman driver 8 X driver IC 3 X general dutyman 2 X cook ACC Note: Drivers IC are provided to ride the motorcycle. 5 X motorcycle 1 X car 5cwt 4 X 4 jeep 1 X 15cwt GS 2 X 3ton 4 X 4 GS 3 X 3ton 6 X 4 Breakdown 6 X Tractor 6 X 4 1 X Caterpillar D4 tracked recovery tractor 4 X 7½ ton 6 wheeled light recovery trailer 1 X water trailer. Notes on Vehicles - 3ton 6 X 4 Breakdown is listed as being either Dodge or Leyland - Tractor 6 X 4 Breakdown is the Scammell Recovery Tractor - 6 X 4 Tractor for 40 ton transporter and recovery trailer is the Diamond T 980 - Transporter 30ton 6 X 4 – 8 is the Scammell Tank Transporter - Tractor TCP is the Loyd Carrier. This carries accessories for the D8 tractor. Vehicle crews The War establishment table gives the allotment of crews for recovery vehicles as follows Lorry 3ton 6 X 4 Breakdown 2 X driver mechanic Tractor 6 X 4 Breakdown 1 X driver mechanic 1 X motor mechanic Tractor D8 2 X driver mechanic 1 X motor mechanic 1 X general dutyman Tractor D4 1 X driver mechanic 1 X motor mechanic 1 X general dutyman Transporter 30 ton 2 X driver mechanic 1 X motor mechanic 1 X general dutyman Transporter 40 ton 2 X driver mechanic 1 X motor mechanic 1 X general dutyman Carrier TCP 1 X driver mecjhanic A BEACH DETACHMENT REME TYPE A (armoured or tank brigade) Beach Detachments Type A and Type B are formed as required from the resources of a Recovery Company. Captain, Electrical and Mechanical Engineer 3rd Class Warrant Officer Armament Artificer AFV staff serjeant armament artificer MV 3 X serjeant artisan 3 X corporal artisan 4 X lance corporal 32 X craftsmen, drivers and privates cook ACC Trades included armament artificer AFV armament artificer MV 9 X driver mechanic 3 X electrician 9 fitters MV (trained in AFV repairs) 12 X motor mechanic batman driver 7 X general dutyman motorcyclist 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 5cwt 4 X 4 jeep 3 X Tractor 6 X 4 1 X Caterpillar D8 tracked recovery tractor 2 X carrier TCP 1 X 20 ton trailer for D8 tractor A BEACH DETACHMENT REME TYPE B (infantry brigade) Captain, Electrical and Mechanical Engineer 3rd Class staff serjeant armament artificer MV serjeant artisan 2 X corporal artisan 3 X lance corporal 19 X craftsmen, drivers and privates cook ACC Trades included armament artificer MV 3 X driver mechanic 2 X electrician 6 X fitters MV 9 X motor mechanic batman driver 3 X general dutyman motor cyclist Transport 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 5cwt 4 X 4 jeep 3 X Tractor 6 X 4 Breakdown 1 X Trailer 7½ ton MOBILE RECOVERY SECTION, ENEMY EQUIPMENT War Establishment XIV/1642/1. December 1944. This section was for the recovery of enemy equipment, especially armoured fighting vehicles in good condition which were required for technical intelligence. Not a REME unit the key personnel were RAC. Captain or Subaltern RAC squadron quartermaster serjeant RAC vehicle mechanic driver mechanic AFV RAC batman driver 2 X driver IC 8 X private Personnel not specifically shown as RAC may be from any arm. 1 X motorcycle 2 x 15cwt GS 1 X 3ton 1 X M25 tank transporter (US Pacific) 80ton RECOVERY SECTION No War Establishment table found. Based on secondary records. In late 1944 three Tiger tanks were found abandoned in France. They were recoverable but not runners. The 80ton section was formed to recover two of these tanks, one a Tiger II or King Tiger for the US and one Tiger I for the UK. The trailer was one of six built for the prototype Tortoise tanks. It had five rows of wheels, twenty in all, with all but the centre row being steerable. The transporter bed tilted to allow easier loading. These were the only vehicles capable of recovering heavy German tanks. Tractors were Diamond T 980 with closed cabs. They could be fitted with overall chains, the body having being raised to allow this. Officer RE 4 X driver REME NCO Instructor 1 X jeep 1 X 80ton Cranes transporter trailer 2 X Diamond T 980 tractors LINE of COMMUNICATION RECOVERY UNIT. War Establishment IV/225/1. December 1943. Consisting of Headquarters 2 X Heavy Recovery Section 2 X Light Recovery Section Railhead Evacuation Section. Headquarters Major Subaltern Warrant Officer Class II Clerk company quartermaster serjeant clerk 2 X clerk, technical storeman, armament and general cook ACC 2 X batman driver 2 X driver IC general dutyman 2 X motorcycle 1 X car 5wt 4 X 4 1 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS Heavy Recovery Section Captain Warrant Officer Class I Armament Artificer staff serjeant armament artificer 8 X serjeant artificer Trades blacksmith blacksmiths striker and hammerman 8 X driver mechanic A electrician AFV 9 X vehicle mechanic AFV storeman, vehicle cook ACC batman driver 6 X driver IC 6 X general dutyman 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 5cwt 4 X 4 1 X 15cwt GS 3 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS 1 X 3ton 4 X 2 stores 8 X 6 X 4 Tractor (Diamond T) (for 40 ton trailers) 1 X D8 tractor, tracked recovery 1 X 180 gallon water trailer 1 X 20ton trailer, low loading (for D8 tractor) 8 X 40ton trailer, transporter and recovery 24 wheeled. Light Recovery Section Subaltern Warrant Officer Class II Armament Artificer staff serjeant armament artificer Trades blacksmith blacksmiths striker and hammerman 13 X driver mechanic electrician 3 X vehicle mechanic storeman, vehicle cook ACC batman driver 5 X driver IC 3 X general dutyman 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 5cwt 4 X 4 1 X 15cwt GS 2 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS 1 X 3ton 4 X 2 stores 5 X 3ton 6 X 4 Breakdown 3 X 6 X 4 Heavy Tractor, Breakdown 1 X 180 gallon water trailer 5 X 7½ ton trailer Railhead Evacuation Section Captain Warrant Officer Class II Armament Artificer staff serjeant armament artificer Trades 9 X driver mechanic electrician 6 X vehicle mechanic corporal clerk, technical corporal storeman, vehicle cook ACC batman driver 4 X driver IC 5 X general dutyman 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 5cwt 4 X 4 1 X 15cwt GS 2 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS 2 X D7 tractor, tracked recovery 1 X D8 tractor, tracked recovery 1 X mobile crane, 7ton, tracked 1 X mobile crane 10 ton 3 X 20ton trailer, low loading (for tracked tractors) Note: One pioneer section will normally be provided to work with the Railhead Evacuation Section. RECOVERY 3 TON 6 X 4 BREAKDOWN GANTRY LORRIES The standard WD Breakdown Gantry Body was designed to fit the WD 6 X 4 3ton lorries from several manufacturers. The body floor was flat at the front and this level floor continued along each side. There was a well in the centre to allow the gantry to be used for high lifts. A steel superstructure supported an I girder, the gantry, with a travelling block for lifting. When travelling the gantry was slid forward so that it projected over the lorry cab but not to the rear. For a 2½ ton lift, for towing or for lifting engines or other heavy components, the gantry projected three foot to the rear of the body. The gantry could be extended to project six foot to the rear when it had a lift of only one ton. The front end of the gantry could also be dropped so that it was seated at the front end of the body well. The raised rear end of the gantry then gave a much higher lift but with a capacity of fifteen hundredweight. Lorries were fitted with a five ton winch and power take off. There were winch rollers at the rear for recovery work, but the cable could be led to the front nearside for self recovery. In 21 Army Group Breakdown Gantry Lorries were either Leyland Retriever or Austin K6. The Leyland Retriever had been used in this role since 1939 but production continued until the end of the war. The Austin K6 only became available in 1944. Both had a shortened rear chassis to fit the short Breakdown Gantry Body. Bodies and equipment were identical. The Austin K6 carried counterweights on a frame at the front of the chassis. The Breakdown Gantry Body was well equipped for the recovery of wheeled vehicles and light tracked vehicles. They could also be used for a variety of light repair tasks and could assist workshops with heavier repairs. A comprehensive range of equipment was carried. The body was stowed as follows - Overall chain tracks were carried on the boards either side of the chassis. These could be fitted round the rear wheels to give extra traction. - 2 X skid pans were carried under the front offside of the body. These provided a firm base for the vehicles front wheels when winching. - 2 X 10lb sledge hammers were carried on the rear offside gantry support - 2 X pickaxe were carried on the rear offside gantry support - 24 fathoms of 1 ¾ inch sisal cordage, 12 fathoms of 3 inch sisal cordage, and 6 fathoms of 4 inch sisal cordage were carried on brackets on the offside centre gantry support. - 2 X shovel were carried on the nearside rear gantry support. - A felling axe was carried on the nearside rear gantry support. - A towbar was carried on the nearside rear gantry support - 2 X handspike were carried on the inside of the front nearside body. - a bench vice was fitted to the work top in the front near side corner of the body - a box for inspection lamps was carried on the top of the nearside body side. - A crowbar was carried on the top of the front nearside body side. - 6 X holdfast earth anchors were carried on the body side – three each side. - 36 X spikes for the holdfast anchors were carried in a stowage box under the body. The following items were stowed in the body - single tackle - double tackle - pulley blocks - distance frame The following items were stowed in the body well - 4 gunplanks each 6 foot by 12 inches - a groundroller 6 foot by 6 inches - 2 X ground roller each 3 foot by 6 inches - 4 X skids each 3 foot by 6 inches by 3 inches - 15 ton snatch blocks - 8 ton pulley snatch blocks Small tools were stowed in a tool box at the front offside corner of the body. A 7 ½ ton recovery trailer could be towed. 7½ TON LIGHT RECOVERY TRAILER The Light Recovery Trailer was built by Crane and could be towed by any of the wheeled recovery lorries or tractors including the 3ton Breakdown Gantry Lorries, Heavy Breakdown Tractors, CMP Gar Wood and Holmes Wreckers and Diamond T wreckers. It was originally designed for the recovery of small tracked vehicles, the light tanks and carriers, but could also carry 15cwt trucks. It could also be used for recovering larger wheeled vehicles by putting the rear wheels on the trailer and leaving the front wheels trailing. The chassis was a tube with beams supporting the deck. Two tracks with adjustable chocks carried the casualty. In the centre was a wooden floor to carry the ramps and other equipment. Ramps were smooth on one side to allow disabled tracked vehicles to be loaded using the hand winch while the other side was ridged to give a better grip when vehicles were loaded under their own power. There were jacks at the rear to support the trailer body when loading and unloading. A hand winch was fitted at the front and there were guide rollers to allow the towing vehicles winch to be used for loading. Suspension was in the form of torsion bars on the rear wheels. When loading casualties the following procedure was followed. - apply the trailer brakes using a hand wheel at the rear - extend the rear jacks to support the body - free the ramp from the securing straps - remove the rear chocks and position the front ones - attach the front winch handles - place the ramps into position on the supporting brackets at the trailer rear - pay out the winch cable - when loading light tanks or carriers the winch cable is led under the casualty and attached to the towing hook at the rear - winch the casualty onto the trailer - carry out the operations in reverse to stow and secure the trailer equipment - secure the load with chains and Warwick strainers. CMP 3 TON 4 X 4 BREAKDOWN LORRIES Canada produced her own military vehicles which generally followed British practice and specifications. In the case of breakdown vehicles however they followed US practice in ordering twin boom wreckers. There were many variations and the War Department ordered several versions to supplement UK production. All the 3ton CMP ordered by the WD were 4 X 4 Chevrolet on 134” chassis. Some were fitted with Gar Wood CA5P equipment while others had Holmes W25 equipment. Both were very similar, differing only in the winches and booms which were fitted. Early deliveries had No12 cabs while later ones had No13 cabs. A small number were articised in case of operations in the Arctic. These had modifications to allow operation in temperatures of - 40 degrees. These modifications included heating and insulation, low temperature oils and coolants and had a slightly raised cab to accommodate chains on the front wheels. Rather more were winterised to allow operation in temperatures of – 20 degrees. Most however had neither sets of modifications. Vehicles supplied included Cab Body Vehicle code Tyres Equipment No12 4G1 60444-M-BRKD-3 10.50 – 20 pneumatic Holmes W45 Articised No13 4G1 60444-M-BRKD-4 10.50 – 20 pneumatic Holmes W45 No13 4G1 60444-M-BRKD-5 10.50 – 20 pneumatic Holmes W45 Winterised No12 4G2 60444-M-BRKD-3 10.50 – 20 pneumatic Gar Wood CA5P Articised No13 4G2 60444-M-BRKD-4 10.50 – 20 pneumatic Gar Wood CA5P No13 4G2 60444-M-BRKD-5 10.50 – 20 pneumatic Gar Wood CA5P Winterised All vehicles were similarly equipped and were interchangeable as far as 21 Army Group was concerned. There was a strong frame mounted behind the cab and this carried the booms, winches and other equipment. Two booms were attached to the frame, one each side, so that they could be swung out to an angle of 190 degrees. The booms could also be raised and lowered using hand winches. Each boom had a five ton winch which was driven from a transmission power take off. The booms could be used individually or could be linked to operate to the rear when a combined pull of ten tons was available. There was also a chassis winch driven via a transfer case take off. There were telescopic bracing legs on either side of the frame which took the strain off the chassis when lifting to the side. In such operations the boom which was not lifting was swung out and used to anchor the vehicle using holdfasts or a convenient tree. Equipment and tools were much as for the 3ton 6 X 4 Breakdown Gantry Lorries. There were stowage boxes on either side of the body for smaller equipment and tools. Larger equipment such as snatchblocks were loaded into the body. There were brackets at the front of the body for earth anchors and there were brackets for oxygen and acetylene cylinders in the rear. A carrier for tins of petrol and lubricants was fixed to the front of the frame and a bracket for wooden blocks and skids was fitted to the rear of the frame. Wooden rollers could be strapped to the rear of the frame supports or strapped to the booms. DIAMOND T 969 6 X 6 MEDIUM RECOVERY VEHICLE The Diamond t 969 was a wrecker version of the Diamond T 968 6 X 6 4ton cargo/tractor. Although rated at four tons this was a hefty vehicle by British standards. It used a Hercules 6 cylinder engine of 8668cc and like most US trucks had dual rear wheels. For the recovery role Holmes W45 recovery equipment was fitted. This had twin booms, each with a five ton winch. The booms could be used together to give a pull of 10 tons. There was also a front mounted 7½ ton winch intended for self recovery. Details of the equipment are as for the CMP Holmes wrecker and stowage was similar. Oxygen and acetylene cylinders were carried in brackets on the front of the support frame. In addition the Diamond T carried a compressor to operate air tools. SCAMMELL 6 X 4 HEAVY RECOVERY TRACTOR. The Scammell had already been ordered for use as an artillery tractor and a tank transporter when it was ordered also as a recovery tractor in 1939. Production was limited and at first artillery tractors had priority so that there were never enough of these sturdy vehicles. For its day the Scammel had a remarkable cross country ability. The rear bogie was powered by a single axle with the two wheels then being driven by an enclosed gear train. The casings for the drive were free to pivot on the ends of the axle and thus allowed a considerable amount of movement without loss of traction. The front axle was mounted on a transverse spring, and since the mudguards were also mounted on the axle a considerable amount of movement was possible here also. Overall chains could be fitted round the rear wheels to give extra traction. The engine was a Gardner diesel which gave good power at low revolutions which made it ideal for winching. The SV2S version, which included all but the first 50 vehicles, had a wooden body with a sliding jib. The jib could be retracted for travelling or extended for lifting and suspended towing. The weight limit was 3 tons although when fully extended the limit was reduced to two tons. The body had stowage boxes down each side and a space in the centre for the jib. A counterweight frame was fitted at the front. This could carry seven counterweights each weighing 150lb. The weights could be stowed in the body when not needed. An eight ton winch was fitted. This had a horizontal drum with a paying on device to keep the cable correctly coiled on the drum and prevent snatching or fraying of the cable. There was also an emergency cut out which switched of the engine automatically if the strain exceeded eight tons. 430 feet of cable were carried. Normally the winch was used to haul from the rear. The cable could be led round pulleys and rollers to front so that it could be used for self recovery. A Scammell was capable of recovering any tank in service in 21 Army Group, including the 40 ton Churchill. In fact the Scammell was the main means of recovering armoured fighting vehicles, the Armoured Recovery Vehicles MkII, which were equipped to much the same standard, did not appear until the very end of the war. There were sprung drawbars with tow hooks front and rear. The front drawbar was hinged so that the starting handle could be used. A comprehensive range of equipment was carried, much of it as for the 3ton breakdown gantry lorries. In the nearside stowage box and tool locker. - Handsaw - 2 X machetes - wire cutters - folding saw - forked crowbar - 6 X earth holdfast anchors - 48 X holdfast spikes - 2 X crowbar - 2 X pickaxe - 2 X links, 7ton double - 2 X links, 12 ton double - 3 X 8ton hydraulic jacks - 6 X assorted drawbar adapters (two for each type of tank likely to be encountered). - 2 X jerrican - 30ton shackle plate - 2 X 20 ton shackle plate - 2 X 12 ton shackle plate - 7 ton shackle plate - D type shackle, 15ton - 2 X shackle, bow type, 40 ton - 2 X shackle, bow type, 10 ton - 2 X shackle, bow type, 5 ton - 2 X shackle, S type, 14ton In the offside stowage box - Snatch block, 8 ton - 2 X snatch block, 15 ton - block, tackle, GS, 3 inch - 20 fathoms 1½ inch sisal cord - 15 fathoms 2½ inch sisal cord - 15 fathoms 4 inch sisal cord - 2 X rope slings, 4 foot by 3 inch - 2 X axes - 14lb sledge hammer - 3 X 10lb sledgehammer - overall chain tensioning tool - 4 X handlamps - 4 X pairs of gloves - tyre hose On top of the offside stowage box - 2 X ground roller, each 3 foot by 6 inch - Hollebone drawbar In the body - distance frame - 7 foot lever - 6 X skids each 3 foot by 6 inch by 3 inch - 4 X skids each 3 foot by 9 inch by 6 inch Under the body - 4 X gun plank each 6 foot by 12 inches - 2 X scotch - 2 X hawser each 8 foot by 6 inches - 2 X overall chain (in offside stowage box under the cab MACK LMSW HEAVY BREAKDOWN TRACTOR The Scammell Heavy Recovery Tractor was never available in sufficient numbers and the Mack LMSW was ordered by the WD as a substitute. The Purchasing Commission to the USA ordered this design and purchased them direct. They were not Lend Lease equipment since they were not used by US Forces. The design of the Mack LMSW was as near as could be found to the Scammell. It was a sturdy 6 X 4 chassis with a good ground clearance for cross country work. Its engine was a 10 litre petrol unit For the recovery role it was fitted with a steel body generally similar in layout to the Scammell with stowage boxes down each side and a well in the centre for the lifting gear. The lifting gear itself was a Gar Wood sliding jib which was similar in operation to that of the Scammell. WD 14.00 – 20 tyres were fitted, single all round. There were two power winches mounted between the body and the cab. One winch was for winching to the rear while the other was for lifting via the jib. The Mack LMSW could replace Scammells in War Establishments but it was never regarded as really being its equal. The Scammels cross country performance and diesel winching power at low revolutions made it the favourite with crews. In 21Army Group there were generally sufficient Scammells for LADs and front line units, especially when the Heavy Artillery Tractor ceased production and when winch equipped armoured recovery vehicles appeared. WARD La FRANCE HEAVY RECOVERY TRACTOR The Ward la France was a standard US Army type. 365 vehicles were built specifically for the British but differed only slightly from US versions. A further 333 vehicles of US specification were supplied under Lend Lease. Some US standard M1A1 were supplied and used in 21 Army Group These were powerful and comprehensively equipped vehicles but since they were not designed to British specifications they were most often used in rear area and workshops. The engine was a. 8.2 litre petrol unit which drove all six wheels. The rear wheels were twins. The crane and winches were Gar Wood. The crane could be slewed through 180 degrees and could be raised and lowered using hand winches. Hoisting was by an engine driven winch. When lifting heavy loads telescopic struts could be lowered from the crane boom to the ground. When lifting to the rear with struts lowered the capacity was 20,000lb. There was a front mounted winch intended mainly for self recovery. This had a 29,000lb capacity. The rear winch was more powerful with a 47,500lb capacity. There was an angle sheaf support at the rear and this could be used to allow the rear winch to pull at an angle to the vehicle. Oxyacetylene equipment was carried on the front of the crane tower. There were lockers for smaller items. Planks, draw bar, ground anchors and snatchblocks were stowed in the body. SCAMMELL 30 TON TANK TRANSPORTER. The Scammell tank transporters were designed for tank recovery work. They were built on a longer chassis version of the Pioneer which was used for Heavy Recovery Tractor and Heavy Artillery Tractor. The cab had an extension at the rear to hold four men, the crew of the casualty. The engine and winch were as for the other Scammells. The semi trailer had four wheels with large single tyres. The front of the trailer had a permanently fitted snatchblock and the winch cable was permanently attached to it in normal circumstances. Although rated at 30 tons the trailers regularly carried 40 ton Churchill tanks. The rear ramps were permanently fixed and hinged so that they could be raised and lowered using hand winches. The ends of the ramps rested on pedestals when fully lowered, and there were tail pieces which were normally stowed under the floor. There were also two hydraulic jacks which could be used to support the platform when loading or unloading. The jacks could also be used to raise and support the front of the trailer when coupling and uncoupling. There were adjustable bollards, which acted as guides, on the inner edge the runway and ramps. There were stowage boxes and racks under the trailer body for the recovery equipment. There was no stowage on the tractor, the apparently large space behind in the cab was largely occupied by the winch. The advantages of the Scammell as a Recovery Tank Transporter were - the excellent cross country performance which the suspension gave. - the cross country ability allowed by the large single tyres on the trailer. - the Gardner diesel engine which gave good power at low revolutions. A disadvantage was the considerable height, and thus lack of stability, when loaded. This was especially so when loaded with the high Sherman series of tanks. When recovering a tank the Scammell tractor could be uncoupled from the semi trailer and the casualty recovered using the tractor winch and assorted recovery equipment. The method was then the same as outlined in Recovery Methods. If it was necessary to remove the trailer so that the tractor could winch out a casualty the following procedure was followed. - the trailer brakes were applied. - the jacks were positioned under the trailer - the winch cable was disconnected from the trailer guides - the trailer air lines and electrical wiring were disconnected - the winch cable was fed through the tractor rear rollers - the securing pin on the fifth wheel was removed - the trailer platform was jacked up - the tractor was driven forward Once recovered the casualty was loaded onto the semi trailer as follows. - the tractor and trailer reversed into a position from where the casualty could be loaded in a straight line. - skid pans were placed under the tractors front wheels. - the trailers brakes were applied by using handwheels. - the ramp stays were removed - ramp supports were placed on the ground at the point where the ramp end would be when lowered. - the ramp was lowered by hand winches - a bridge piece was placed over the rear bogies. These were left off when travelling to allow full articulation of the bogies. - ramp tail pieces were placed at the rear of the ramps. - the winch cable was paid out and shackled to the casualty - snatch blocks were positioned, usually one at the apex at the front of the trailer platform and one close to the casualty. These acted as gearing, multiplying the effort to allow the 8ton winch to load a 40 ton tank. - the bollards on the inside edge of the platform and ramp were adjusted to the width of the tank tracks to ensure that the tank was correctly positioned as it was hauled up. - the casualty was winched on to the trailer - the casualty was secured with chains and strainers. - everything was then stowed in reverse order. Time, and effort, could be saved by fastening hawsers from the rear of the casualty to the ramps so that they were automatically raised as the casualty was winched forward. DIAMOND T 981 40 ton TANK TRANSPORTERS Early in the war it became obvious that Scammell could never produce the numbers of tank transporters that were required. The British Purchasing Commission to the US asked Diamond T to design and produce a 40 ton tank transporter. This was the Diamond T model 980. However some were ordered as recovery tractors and were designated Diamond T 981. The only difference in fact was that the 981 had a longer winch cable and rollers to allow it to be led to the front for self recovery. The Diamond T tractor was a powerful unit with a 14.5 litre engine. It was 6 X 4 with dual tyres on the rear. Tyres were 12.00 – 20 all round. The body was all steel with a drop tailboard. The main part of the body was taken up with seven to fourteen tons of pig iron ballast. The front part of the body was divided into space for a spare wheel and two open bins. There was an enclosed bin in each corner. The Purchasing Commission also ordered trailers. The British firm of Crane had already designed and built a 40 ton trailer and these were used on the first Diamond Ts delivered to the UK. The US firm of Rogers designed a similar, but improved, trailer to the same specification. The Rogers trailer was lower and thus more stable, could turn sharper corners and had no outer guide rails so that it could carry wider tanks. Later Crane produced an improved MkII trailer similar to the Rogers. Those trailers intended for the Model 981 tractor were fitted with a fixed snatch block and a movable snatch block was carried in the central trough of the trailer. These were later fitted to all trailers. When used in the recovery role the Diamond T used the following method. - the trailer was unhitched - the tractor then turned round and hitched the trailer to the front drawbar. - the tractor then pushed the trailer into the correct position. This method was used as it was quicker and more accurate when using a full, as opposed to semi, trailer. - the trailer hand brakes were applied - the ramps were lowered - the tractor returned and rehitched the trailer in the normal position - the winch cable was shackled to the casualty, using snatch blocks as necessary - the casualty was winched onto the trailer and fastened down with chains and strainers. There were disadvantages to using the Diamond T and Rogers/Crane trailer for recovery work- - The small closely spaced trailer wheels easily bogged down - The trailer wheels did not have much articulation on rough ground. - The trailer tyres were prone to punctures and if two adjacent tyres were lost the results could be spectacularly disastrous. - The twin rear wheels of the tractor could become clogged with earth and lose traction - The twin rear wheels of the tractor picked up stones or metal fragments, causing punctures. These disadvantages could be overcome in several ways - overall tracks were made from spare tank tracks. The central guides of the Cromwell track fitted between the rear tyres and worked well. Vehicles so equipped had the body raised by inserting girders. This gave more clearance for the tracks. - Large single tyres were fitted experimentally - Semi trailers similar to those of the Scammell were produced. 200 conversions were ordered and were designed by Shelvoke and Drewry. Some older 20 ton Scammells had the Shelvoke and Drewry trailers fitted. In 21 Army Group it was found that casualties most often got into difficulties in places from where the unmodified Diamond T could fairly easily recover them. A small number of US M26 Pacific 40 ton tank transporters were delivered to the British Army late in the war. Being non standard they were used for special tasks such as recovering heavy enemy equipment CATERPILLAR D8 RECOVERY TRACTOR Although the Scammell was capable of recovering almost everything there were occasions when even it could not manage. Tanks could get themselves into some very difficult positions. For these occasions the REME workshops and recovery units could call on the Caterpillar D8. As used by the REME the Caterpillar D8 had obvious advantages - it was a powerful machine and could recover or tow heavy armoured vehicles - it as fully tracked and the tracks were wide so that it could travel over rough ground and soft ground that would defeat wheeled recovery vehicles. - It was ruggedly constructed and able to withstand the hard usage of army life. - It was normally fitted with a 30 ton recovery winch which could recover most casualties without the use of snatch blocks and pulleys. - It could be fitted with a 50 ton winch. This amount of power needed some sort of anchoring and eventually an earth spade was designed and fitted. However there were drawbacks to using the Caterpillar D8 in the recovery role - it was slow and cumbersome - it was not very mobile and had to be carried to the recovery site on a twenty ton trailer, usually towed by a heavy recovery tractor. - Since the D8 had no stowage if it needed to use blocks, tackles, ropes, planks etc. it needed a vehicle to act as a tender and carry some of them. This was often a Loyd carrier. Of course the Scammel Recovery Tractor used to tow the D8 and trailer carried the equipment needed but might not be able to reach the site. - When the casualty was recovered it would need a second recovery vehicle, either a Heavy Recovery Tractor or Recovery Transporter, to carry it away. In spite of its drawbacks the Caterpillar D8 remained in service until the end of the war as there was no alternative. ARMOURED RECOVERY VEHICLE MkI. The need for Armoured Recovery Vehicles became apparent in North Africa. The fighting moved backwards and forwards and casualties were often left behind or destroyed although they may only have stalled or thrown a track. If it appeared that a tank might be captured then it was destroyed by the crew or by Royal Engineers. At the same time it would be a sitting target and likely to be destroyed by the enemy. What was required was a vehicle that could operate in the same environment as the tanks and give the casualty a tow to safety. The answer was another tank, usually without a turret and with some recovery equipment, but not initially a winch. In NW Europe there were ARV versions of the main types of gun tank in service. Cromwell equipped units had Cromwell ARVI. Sherman equipped units had Sherman V ARVI. Churchill equipped units had Churchill ARVI. In 1945 Comet equipped units used the Cromwell ARV1 which was mechanically similar. A Ram ARV was produced for use by Sexton SP Field Artillery units but it is probable that none saw active service. Armoured Recovery Vehicles MkI were issued to squadrons and were manned by squadron personnel. They were not REME vehicles, although a serjeant fitter REME was attached to the squadron and would usually travel in the ARVI. All of the ARVs used in 21 Army Group were similarly equipped. They had the turret removed, together with the turret basket and ammunition stowage. This gave room for stowage in the hull for much of the lighter recovery equipment. The turret ring was plated over and large double hatches, opening forward and backwards, were fitted. All had an A frame for lifting. This was fitted at the front and had a hand operated hoist. When not in use it was carried in two sections on the hull. Cromwell ARV I On the hull top - The two struts of the A frame were carried on the hull top to the nearside of the hatches. - A hawser was carried coiled round the turret ring - 2 X 15 ton snatch blocks between the hatches and the engine covers. - A draught bar was carried on the offside of the engine covers On a frame over the nearside track guard - 4 X gun plank each 6 foot by 12 inches were carried at the rear - 4 X skids each 3 foot by 9 inch by 6 inch were carried in front of the gunplanks - a square stowage box for small items filled the remaining space. On a frame over the offside track guard - a long stowage box - 4 X skids each 3 foot by 9 inch by 6 inch in front of the stowage box - a square stowage box for small items On the hull front - a vice No complete stowage list has been found but it can be assumed that all the items on the list for the Scammell were officially carried in the hull, although photographs show equipment on the engine deck. Note: The 15ton snatch block was found to be inadequate for this role. The ARV1 was not able to deliver a smooth pull and the spindles on the snatch block sometimes failed. 25 ton snatch blocks were issued to ARV instead. Sherman ARV I The Sherman ARVI differed in that the equipment which was stowed over the trackguards on the other types had to be stowed on the hull of the Sherman, there being no track guards. The Sherman also carried pairs of drawbars which were designed for the Sherman tank, and carried stowage for track grousers which could be fitted to Sherman tracks to increase grip on soft surfaces. Churchill ARV1 Churchill ARV1 were based on Churchill MkI or MkII. - The turret and ammunition stowage were removed and the turret ring plated over. - There was a large hatch in the turret ring plating. - The radio was relocated to the right hand side of the hull and the aerials relocated to the right hand side also. The following recovery equipment was carried - A frame jib booms stowed on each side of the hull. - A swivelling draught bar for Hollebone towing bars. This was normally stowed on the engine deck until needed, when it was attached to the towing eyes on the lower rear hull. - Hollebone towing bars stowed alongside the turret ring. - Six sets of earth spikes and holdfast anchors - A 15ton snatchblock stowed on the hull side. - 100 feet of steel cable stowed round the turret ring. - Jacking blocks and gun planks carried on the track guards. No winch was fitted but there was a demountable A frame for lifting. ARMOURED RECOVERY VEHICLE MkII. Armoured Recovery Vehicles MkII were a much superior vehicle to the MkI. They differed in having - a powerful winch fitted in the hull and able to exert a pull to the rear for recovery work or to the front for self recovery - a superstructure which housed the winch and crew - an earth anchor spade at the rear to allow the vehicle to use its full winch pull on soft ground. - an A frame and hoist which could use the winch power for lifting. Development of the MkII was delayed by the lack of winches. There was no spare capacity either in the UK or in the USA, much of the production going to the allied navies. By the time the winches were available and the vehicles produced the war was almost over and only a few Churchill ARV II saw active service. The other type was based on the Sherman and this saw service post war. RECOVERY METHODS. This is taken from the instructions for the Scammell recovering a tank but the method and the equipment was identical for all recovery vehicles, lorries, tractors or armoured recovery vehicles. If a tank was capable of running then a simple 2:1 pull was sufficient. If the tank was disabled and in an awkward position then a 5:1 pull might be needed. - The recovery NCO examines the site and the casualty and then decides on the method and the equipment to be used. He should explain his intention and method to the rest of his crew and to the NCO of the casualty if he is present. The recovery NCO is in charge of the operation no matter what the rank of the person in charge of the casualty. He may use his own crew plus the crew of the casualty. - The recovery vehicle is positioned with its rear pointing towards the casualty. This is because the winching and lifting equipment is designed to operate best from the rear of the vehicle. Normally the recovery vehicle is placed to pull the casualty from the front but it may be necessary to pull from the rear, or even from the side. - Wheeled recovery vehicles will have skid pans placed under the front wheels. On soft ground the skid is placed with the anchor plate downwards and the vehicle wheels rest on the smooth surface. On a hard surface this is reversed. Some wheeled recovery vehicles, and all tracked vehicles also had earth spades fitted. In all cases the aim is to reduce or eliminate the risk of the recovery vehicle being pulled backwards when winching. - The winch cable is paid out by hand. For a simple 2:1 pull using a 15 ton snatch block and holdfast anchors. - holdfast anchors are placed parallel to the recovery vehicle and spiked down. If several are used they will be linked together. The number used will depend on the ground. - hawsers are fastened to the front towing eyes of the casualty. - a snatch block is shackled to the ends of the hawsers nearest to the recovery vehicle. - the winch cable is led round the snatch block and back to the holdfast anchors. - the winch is engaged and will exert a pull of 15 tons. For a 5:1 pull using 2 X 15 ton snatch blocks, a GS snatch block, an 8 ton snatch block and holdfast anchors. - 3 X holdfast anchors are laid out alongside the recovery vehicle and a GS snatch block is shackled to them. - 3 X holdfast anchors are laid out to the rear of the first set and an 8 ton snatch block is shackled to them. - hawsers are fastened to the front towing eyes of the casualty - 2 X 15 ton snatch blocks are shackled together and then shackled to the hawsers. - the winch cable is led out as follows 1. to the 15 ton snatch block nearest to the casualty 2. out to the GS snatch block near the recovery vehicle 3. back to the second 15 ton snatch block. 4. to the 8 ton snatch block near the recovery vehicle 5. back to the second 15 ton snatch block to which it is shackled. - the winch is engaged and will exert a pull of 40 tons while no block has a load of more than 8tons.