Combat engineering vehicles (CEVs) are armoured vehicles built for engineering work on the battlefield or for the transportation of sappers.
Types of combat engineering vehicles
Most CEVs are armoured fighting vehicles
that may be based on a tank chassis
and have special attachments in order to breach obstacles. Such attachments may include dozer blades, mine
rollers, cranes etc. An example of an engineering vehicle of this kind is a bridgelaying tank, which replaces the turret with a segmented hydraulic bridge
The Hobart's Funnies of the Second World War were a wide variety of armoured vehicles for combat engineering tasks. They were allocated to the initial beachhead assaults by the British and Commonwealth forces in the D-Day landings
The British Churchill tank
because of its good cross-country performance and capacious interior with side hatches became the most adapted with modifications, the base unit being the AVRE carrying a large demolition gun.
- Dozer: The bulldozer blade was a valuable battlefield tool on the WWII M4 Sherman tank. A 1943 field modification added the hydraulic dozer blade from a Caterpillar D8 to a Sherman. The later M1 dozer blade was standardized to fit any Sherman with VVSS suspension and the M1A1 would fit the wider HVSS. Some M4s made for the Engineer Corps had the blades fitted permanently and the turrets removed. In the early stages of the 1944 Battle of Normandy before the Culin Cutter, breaking through the Bocage hedgerows relied heavily on Sherman dozers.
- M4 Doozit: Engineer Corps' Sherman dozer with demolition charge on wooden platform and T40 Whizbang rocket launcher (the Doozit did not see combat but the Whizbang did).
- Bridgelayer: The US field-converted a few M4 in Italy with A-frame-supported bridge and heavy rear counter-weight to make the Mobile Assault Bridge. British developments for Shermans included the fascine (used by 79th Armoured Division), Crib, Twaby Ark, Octopus, Plymouth (Bailey Bridge), and AVRE (SBG bridge).
- Mine-Clearing: British conversions included the Sherman Crab. The US developed an extensive array of experimental types:
- T15/E1/E2: Series of mine resistant Shermans based on the T14 kit. Cancelled at war's end.
- Mine Exploder T1E1 Roller (Earthworm): Three sets of 6 discs made from armor plate.
- Mine Exploder T1E2 Roller: Two forward units with 7 discs only. Experimental.
- Mine Exploder T1E3/M1 Roller (Aunt Jemima): Two forward units with five 10' discs. Most widely used T1 variant, adopted as the M1. (picture)
- Mine Exploder T1E4 Roller: 16 discs.
- Mine Exploder T1E5 Roller: T1E3/M1 w/ smaller wheels. Experimental.
- Mine Exploder T1E6 Roller: T1E3/M1 w/ serrated edged discs. Experimental
- Mine Exploder T2 Flail: British Crab I mine flail.
- Mine Exploder T3 Flail: Based on British Scorpion flail. Development stopped in 1943.
- Mine Exploder T3E1 Flail: T3 w/ longer arms and sand filled rotor. Cancelled.
- Mine Exploder T3E2 Flail: E1 variant, rotor replaced with steel drum of larger diameter. Development terminated at war's end.
- Mine Exploder T4: British Crab II mine flail.
- Mine Exploder T7: Frame with small rollers with two discs each. Abandoned.
- Mine Exploder T8 (Johnny Walker): Steel plungers on a pivot frame designed to pound on the ground. Vehicle steering was adversely affected.
- Mine Exploder T9: 6' Roller. Difficult to maneuver.
- Mine Exploder T9E1: Lightened version, but proved unsatisfactory because it failed to explode all mines.
- Mine Exploder T10: Remote control unit designed to be controlled by the following tank. Cancelled.
- Mine Exploder T11: Six forward firing mortars to set off mines. Experimental.
- Mine Exploder T12: 23 forward firing mortars. Apparently effective, but cancelled.
- Mine Exploder T14: Direct modification to a Sherman tank, upgraded belly armor and reinforced tracks. Cancelled.
- Mine Excavator T4: Plough device. Developed during 1942, but abandoned.
- Mine Excavator T5/E1/E2: T4 variant w/ v-shaped plough. E1/E2 was a further improvement.
- Mine Excavator T5E3: T5E1/E2 rigged to the hydraulic lift mechanism from the M1 dozer kit to control depth.
- Mine Excavator T6: Based on the v-shape/T5, unable to control depth.
- Mine Excavator T2/E1/E2: Based on the T4/T5's, but rigged to the hydraulic lift mechanism from the M1 dozer kit to control depth.
Another good example is the American M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle
, which is equipped with a dozer blade and a 165mm demolition gun
Another type of CEVs are armoured fighting vehicles which are used to transport sappers
) and can be fitted with a bulldozer
's blade and other mine-breaching devices. They are often used as APCs because of their carrying ability and heavy protection. They are usually armed with machine guns
and grenade launchers and usually tracked to provide enough tractive force to push blades and rakes. Some examples are the U.S. M113 APC
, IDF Puma
, Husky AVGP
, and U.S. M1132 ESV
Military engineering vehicles
CEVs may also include civilian heavy equipment which was modified for military applications. In that case, the heavy vehicle must have some sort of protection - usually armour plates and steel jackets.
Some examples are the IDF Caterpillar D9 armoured bulldozer, American D7 TPK, cranes, graders, excavators, and M35 2-1/2 ton cargo truck.
Designated armoured engineering vehicle
These are vehicles specially designed as CEVs for the military. They have special engineering uses as well as armour protection. A good example is the American M9 ACE.