These are a couple of shots of one of problems Tankies posed for me. It is complex but is avoidable for two reasons;
- Lax track maintenance in that the crew did not keep the track tension at the required rate,
- Secondly bad driver techniques .. Correctly, when traversing sloping terrain limit steering to short applications of the steering levers, and where possible avoid contouring around hills, but rather, ascend or descend up and down in a straight line.
This can cause the track to come off the first road wheel. If the driver attempts to recover the situation by driving the tank forward and in reverse the track may be further displaced.
When the track is thrown to this degree the track is placed in such tension is not possible for the crew to break the track in the normal manner. It becomes the work of the Recovery Team.
To effect recovery the ARV or another Tank drags the casualty, with the tracks locked, to level ground where possible. The track is then cut with oxy acetylene or plastic explosive.
To do this safely it was best to cut between the second and third road wheel, or between the final drive and the last road wheel. This obviated the danger of the track flying back and creating injuries to the Recovery Crew.
It is then a matter of the driver moving the vehicle forward or back to lay out the broken track. With the track realigned the vehicle is driven back into place and the track reconnected.
If it was not possible to affect the above in the vicinity of the area, the procedure is
- the Recovery Crew break the track in situ.
- the ARV drags the tank clear of the track
- the track is attached to the rear of the casualty, and
- both are dragged to a area where the repairs can be carried out
As can be imagined, this is a major problem for Commanders, especially in a combat situation.
The Article, Cutting Locked Tracks, describes the methods we used.