Winston Churchill's picture

On this rare footage you can see various shots of a desert tank recovery unit at work, during North African Campaign. The men head out on a long transporter across the desert  under fire to recover damaged tanks and take them back on their transporter to camp.

The vehicles used are a Scammell Pioneer tank transporters and the damaged tanks are a Crusader medium tanks. Maybe these shoots wer taken on 8 June 1942.

The Scammell Pioneer was a British 6x4 tractor unit used in the Second World War as an artillery tractor, recovery vehicle and tank transporter. Purchased by the British Army,  Scammell Pioneer were equipped with a 102 bhp Gardner 6 cylinder diesel engine, driving the rear wheels through a constant mesh gearbox and fitted with a power take-off driving a Scammell winch.

The tank transporter variant was equipped with a longer chassis for an extended cab to accommodate the tank crew as passengers and larger rear wheels than the Artillery tractor and Recovery vehicle variants and was given the designation Pioneer TRCU20.

20 and 30-ton (Pioneer TRMU30/TRCU30) tractor/trailer combinations were delivered, in both cases the trailer was more-or-less fixed to the tractor and not demountable like modern semi-trailer trucks. Hinged ramps were used to get the tank onto the trailer, which if immobilised could be pulled on with the tractor unit's winch.


British Pathé (youtube) | Imperial War Museum | Wikipedia |Wikimedia

WW2 Timeline: 

Nation in war: 


No votes yet