A trick for ACEs

I did see a snippet on TV about a certain type of excavators (walking excavators, invented in 1966). A few seconds of a demonstration how one such walking excavator climbed up on soft ground at an incredible slope were shown. Another vehicle - a tracked one - failed to repeat the trick because the soft ground didn't offer enough grip (and the slope was really tough).

Here are two videos of such walking excavators doing a vertical climb trick, demonstrating the use of the excavator tool as a kind of leg:

That created a weird connection in my mind: The U.S. Army surprised German soldiers sometime in 1943-1945 in Italy by winching a few tanks up a slope that could normally not be negotiated by tanks. The German defenders on the pass were not prepared for defence against tanks and the deliberate attack succeeded. This created a false and long-lasting myth about extraordinary climbing qualities of WW2 U.S. tanks.

Now what if this trick would become part of the armoured engineer repertoire just like laying bridges over unpleasant obstacles (and there are tricks possible with bridgelayers that weren't really made public)?

Armoured engineers in several NATO countries use certain armoured engineer vehicles with excavators, winch and dozer blade. A lightweight, (thin-skinned) vehicle of that kind (with a for other purposes quite overpowered excavator) might be able to climb slopes well in excess of what's normally negotiable - and use its winch(es) and dozer blade afterwards to help a few more armoured combat vehicles up.
The whole trick would probably be loud - but on the reverse slope and therefore difficult to hear.

Maybe this should be tested and taken into account when the next such vehicle requirement has to be written (or updated). A quick calculation about the required excavator tool power might show that it's not even close to feasibility with normal ACE vehicles, of course. Well, except for a few degree slope gain.

Sven Ortmann

1 comment:

  1. have a look at this Sven


    The old FV180 Combat Engineer Tractor had a rocket powered anchor that it could fire and use for pulling itself out of poor terrain