A second task set for REME Mechanics on the recent IRON CHALLENGE TTX was to rescue a bogged tank with just MAN SV(R) trucks, writes Bob Morrison.
After watching how REME (Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers) apprentices righted an overturned main battle tank using the tracked CRARRV (Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle) we then saw how Recovery Mechanics, aka ‘Rec Mechs’, are able to rescue a 64 tonne tank using much lighter wheeled recovery trucks operating in tandem.
“A vehicle or equipment that becomes immobile by getting bogged in or incapacitated in any way becomes one that cannot fight or sustain operations. Its recovery and fit return will take time and valuable resources to complete. Where possible, users should avoid getting bogged in. If users become stuck in they are to use the available equipment and skills to attempt simple recovery. They should also have the experience and knowledge to call for specialist recovery assistance promptly when they cannot extract the equipment themselves.”
For the purpose of this training exercise a Chieftain tank training hulk (standing in for a Challenger 2) was positioned as if it had lost all power just before exiting a river crossing point. After ruling out the possibility of Level 1 Recovery, i.e. self-recovery, the tank crew sensibly called for specialist assistance rather than making a bad situation worse. To complicate matters, the casualty tank was partially submerged at the foot of an incline and therefore a simple Rigid Tow from another vehicle, using towbar/s carried on all tanks, was deemed to be neither safe nor feasible.
“Level 1 Recovery is carried out by trained and competent equipment operators and other non-specialised unit personnel using equipment on the Vehicle, the Complete Equipment Schedule (CES) and the unit Equipment Table (ET). Level 1 Recovery is the process of extricating the casualty and moving it to a repair location, if required. All winch pulls must be carried out in a direct line with no obstruction to the winch rope or any of the winching equipment. Winches that are designated as ‘self- recovery’ are only to be used for crew recovery tasks on vehicles of the same family. All other recovery tasks must be undertaken by Level 2 Recovery personnel using specialist recovery equipment.”
The correct solution to the problem posed was to position a pair of MAN SV (Support Vehicle) Recovery wreckers on the flat ground at the top of the incline to effect a tandem Slack or Rope Tow using their onboard winches and pulleys to double the pull. By using the ground anchors at the rear of the wreckers to prevent them slipping it is possible to effectively winch more than the dead weight of two fully laden MAN SV 8×8 cargo trucks, so extracting a mere Chieftain tank was a piece of cake (or any other four-letter word you care to think of). In addition to the recovery winch, all the cables and strops, shackles, pulleys, timber baulks and other equipment needed to undertake a task like this are carried on each MAN wrecker.
From my brief description this might have sounded like it was a simple task, but as the operation was carried out under peacetime regulations our old mate Elvin Zaifety had to be reckoned with and no corners could be cut if the REME apprentices were to successfully complete this phase of their training. However with a team highly experienced instructors on hand to both oversee the proceedings and offer practical advice, the task was smoothly completed.
¤ Above quotations are extracts from: British Army Equipment Support Publication, All Arms Equipment Recovery Manual (AESP 0200-A-307-013).
[images © Bob Morrison]
For more about the MAN SV see Carl’s series:-
- MAN Support Vehicle In UK Service ~ Pt1
- MAN Support Vehicle In UK Service ~ Pt2
- MAN Support Vehicle In UK Service ~ Pt3
- MAN Support Vehicle In UK Service ~ Pt4
- MAN Support Vehicle In UK Service ~ Pt5
- MAN Support Vehicle Variant Overview