An ANZAC ARV
by Paul D. Handel
The ARV Mark 1 in New Zealand being towed by a Centurion Mark 5 gun tank. The engine deck is covered with a tarpaulin. (Photo courtesy Jeff Plowman) (ARV113.jpg)
Arrangements were completed and the tanks were shipped to Melbourne by LSM arriving in January 1969. With a critical shortage of Centurion ARV Mark 2s – only were six held in the Australian Inventory – it was decided to issue the vehicle to the Armoured Centre at Puckapunyal in order to free up an ARV for training the next Squadron group for rotation to South Vietnam. Being an “orphan” did not matter so much in that case, and the ARV was pressed into service with the Armoured Centre Light Aid Detachment (LAD).
Numerous problems existed during its Australian service, particularly with the anchor spade and the draw bar connection. The pitching between the ARV and a casualty when being towed, particularly during turning and reversing, caused bending and breaking of the pivot pin draw bar. Also, the connector for the draw bar had to be removed to allow the spade to be lowered. An investigation was carried out into the possible remedies, and two solutions were proposed – to replace the entire anchor spade assembly with that fitted to an ARV Mark 2 or to modify the existing spade and fit a Mark 2 towing attachment.
In any case, nothing was done to modify the vehicle as the Centurion fleet was nearing the end of its service life, and the ARV Mark 1 was returned to 31 Supply Battalion at Bandiana in 1975. From there it was moved into the then RAAOC Museum at Bandiana, from where it was sent on long term loan to the RAAC Memorial and Army Tank Museum at Puckapunyal.
The author acknowledges the assistance of Mr Brian Baxter, the UK’s foremost authority on recovery vehicles in providing photos of Centurion ARVs Mark 1, and Mr Jeff Plowman for the supply of the photos of the vehicle during its service in New Zealand.
the thumbnails in the table below to view the images full size.
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All photos are by the author unless noted otherwise.
|A Centurion Armoured Recovery vehicle Mark 1 in service with the British
Army. (Photo courtesy Brian Baxter) (ARV111.jpg)
|The Centurion ARV Mark 1 in New Zealand service. The NZ registration number is painted on the glacis plate. Note the full front mudguards fitted, and the driver’s windscreen is fitted but folded down. (Photo courtesy Jeff Plowman) ( ARV112.jpg)|
|In trouble at Waiouru. The ARV slipped after the road gave way and is now on
its side and in need of recovery. (Photo courtesy Jeff Plowman) (ARV114.jpg)
|The ARV Mark 1 at the Armoured Centre LAD in December 1974. The engine deck is raised as the vehicle undergoes servicing. (ARV106.jpg)|
|The left side of the vehicle at the Armoured Centre showing the callsign 38A in white. The early style trackguard bins are visible. (ARV105.jpg)|
|The arrangement of the rear deck, showing the early style louvres, the fairlead assembly for paying out the winch rope and the stowage for the drawbar sections (ARV103.jpg)|
|The ARV, covered in soldiers, being used as an observation platform on the
range. An Australian Centurion Mark 5 is next to the ARV. (ARV104jpg)
|The ARV Mark 1 after being returned to Bandiana in 1975. The only visible
markings are the vehicle number 169123 in white on black. (ARV107.jpg)
|The left rear of the vehicle showing the anchor spade in the raised position. The fairlead assembly is at the extreme rear of the deck. (ARV108.jpg)|
|The right rear of the vehicle sitting between two Centurion gun tanks. The auxiliary towing cables are still stored on the rear deck. (ARV109.jpg)|
|The roof of the vehicle from the right side. The commander’s cupola is on the right rear of the superstructure and the two access hatches for the winch and winch engine are at the front. (ARV110.jpg)|
Article Text and Photographs Copyright ©
2002 by Paul D.
Page Created 25 June, 2002
Last Updated 26 June, 2002
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