Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Royal Canadian Engineers (RCE)

Royal Canadian Engineers

Vehicles and and equipment, data current to 19 Sep 2018.

Royal Canadian Engineers

The Royal Canadian Engineers (RCE) is the military engineer branch of the Canadian Armed Forces.  Members of the branch who wear army uniform comprise the The Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers (RCE); (Corps du génie royal canadien).

The mission of the RCE is to contribute to the survival, mobility, and combat effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces. Their roles are to conduct combat operations, support the Canadian Forces in war and peace, support national development, provide assistance to civil authorities, and support international aid programs. Military engineers’ responsibilities encompass the use of demolitions and land mines, the design, construction and maintenance of defensive works and fortifications, urban operations (hostile room entry), breaching obstacles, establishing/maintaining lines of communication, and bridging. They also provide water, power and other utilities, provide fire, aircraft crash and rescue services, hazardous material operations, and develop maps and other engineering intelligence. In addition, military engineers are experts in deception and concealment, as well as in the design and development of equipment necessary to carry out these operations. The official role of the combat engineer is to allow friendly troops to live, move and fight on the battlefield and deny that to the enemy.

Back in the day, the author was taken on strength as a Sapper with the 56th Field Squadron, RCE, St. Johns, Newfoundland, on 23 February 1971.

The Canadian Military Engineers Museum is located within the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering, Mitchell Building J-10 at 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown in New Brunswick.  Curator Sandra F. Johnson Penney. The CME Museum website is: www.cmemuseum.ca.

3rd Pontoon Bridging Transport Unit, Canadian Engineers, Officers & N.C.O.s, January, 1919.   (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3522484)

RCE clearing a minefield, Italy, 20 Dec 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3585921)
Engineers of the 7th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers, clearing a road of mines, Bergues, France, 16 September 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524448)

RCE sweeping for mines, Normandy, France, 22 June 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3396102)

RCE placing demolition charges, Caen France, 10 July 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3207524)

RCE sweeping for mines, Vaucelles, France, 20 July 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3396138)
Sapper C.W. Stevens of the 18th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers, using a mirror to locate the igniters underneath a German Teller mine, France, 22 June 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3191657)
RCE clearing rubble to build roads in France, 4 Aug 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3192330)
Soli Dubash, father of Anneke Dubash, is manning the crane in this photo of the 4th Canadian Armoured Division Bridging Troop, RCE, constructing a pontoon bridge across the Ems River at Meppen, Germany, 8 April 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3224531)
Personnel repairing a bomb-damaged truck of the 1st Canadian Railway Telegraph Company, Royal Canadian Engineers, Louvain, Belgium, 6 January 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3392827)
Personnel of the 9th Field Squadron, Royal Canadian Engineers, lifting rails to make a road for Canadian vehicles near the Hochwald, Germany, 2 March 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3529255)
Personnel of the Royal Canadian Engineers (R.C.E.), 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, pushing a storm boat into the Ems River south of Emden, Germany, 28 April 1945.   (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524899)
  (IWM Photo, MH 9563)
Churchill Infantry Tank Mk. IV (ARK Mk. II) Royal Engineers.  The Armoured Ramp Carrier (ARK) is a Churchill tank without a turret that had extendable ramps at each other vehicles could drive up ramps and over the vehicle to scale obstacles.
 (IWM Photo, H 35790)
Sherman tank using a Churchill ARK armoured ramp carrier to climb over an escarpment, 79th Armoured Division, 13 Feb 1944.
 (IWM Photo, ca 1944)
Churchill ARK Mk. II.  This version had a wider (4 ft instead of 2 ft) trackway on the left hand side side so narrower vehicles could also use the ARK.  These were conversions of the Ark Mark I in mid-1944. The "Italian Pattern" Ark Mk II ( initially called "Octopus") was produced in Italy using US ramps on Churchill Mk III chassis and did not have trackways on the tank itself (vehicles drove on the tank's tracks).
 (IWM Photo)
A Churchill tank uses a Churchill Ark to scale a sea wall, 79th Armoured Division, Saxmundham area, 11 March 1944.

 (Author Photos)

Churchill Infantry Tank Mk IV RE, (Serial No. BW9229), Great Eastern Armoured Ramp (Serial No. WD No T172796/D), only survivor.  Great Eastern Tank Ramp, although designed in 1944 the Great Eastern ARC was not available before 1945 and not in time for the D Day landings, still based on the Churchill it was fitted with two ramps, one 27ft long and the other 25ft long. This was to enable higher obstacles to be traversed than the normal ARK’s.  Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

Centurion Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge (AVLB), (aka No. 6 tank bridge), 4 Field Sqn, RCE, Ex Reforger 74, Eilheim, Germany, Oct 1974. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4816313)

 

Centurion AVBL, Ex Regensprung, Lahr, Germany, 9 Sep 1975.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4748878) 

 

 (Author Photos)

Centurion AVBL (aka Number 6 tank bridge), Canadian Military Engineer Museum, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.  This AVBL carried a single piece bridge mounted on the Centurion that departed from the launch method employed by the Churchill Bridgelayer and used an up and over deployment.  The bridge itself was 52 feet long, significantly longer than its predecessors and 4 feet 8 inches wide, able to accommodate a load class of 80.  The bridge was dimensioned from extensive trials and was the largest single piece that offered a reasonable compromise on mobility.  Although the folded or scissor bridge offered a lower visible footprint, it takes longer to deploy and recover.  Although the single piece Number 6 tank bridge presented a conspicuous target when it was being deployed, it took less than two minutes to put in place.

 (Author Photos)

Beaver Armoured Vehicle Bridge Layer (AVBL), Canadian Military Engineer Museum, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.  

The Beaver is an armoured, fully tracked vehicle built on the chassis of a Leopard Tank.  It is a highly mobile, rapidly deployable assault bridge that can be used to span natural and man-made obstacles on the battlefield.  The vehicle’s 22 meter-long bridge can support vehicles as heavy as 60 tonnes over streams and anti-tank ditches.  The Beaver is powered by a V-10, twin super charged, 830 HP, multi-fuelled engine.  It is equipped with an NBCD system that provides protection against nuclear, biological, and chemical agents. It is also equipped with eight smoke/HE grenade dischargers.

Specifications: Length: 11.82 m (with bridge).  Width: 4.0 m (with bridge).  Height: 3.57 m (with bridge).  Weight: 45, 450 kg (with bridge).  Bridge Length: 22.0 m.  Bridge Width: 4.0 m.  Width of Bridge Lane: 1.55 m.  Class of Bridge: 60 tonne.  Crew: 2-3.  Engine: Multi-fuel engine, 10 cylinders, 830 hp.  Max Speed: 62 km/h.  Number that were in service: 9.

M4A2E8 ARV, Camp Gagetown, ca 1950s.  (NBMHM, 5 CDS Base Gagetown Photo)

A number of Canadian post war Shermans in Canada were converted into turretless APCs.  This one appears to be in use as an armoured recovery vehicle based on the tow bar attached at the rear, but it may also have been used as a driver trainer.  The headlights and guards on the glacis plate appear to have been taken from a Centurion and the box in the middle of the glacis plate is a Centurion driver's windscreen stowage box.  It also appears that the Centurion tank front fenders have been attached to the front of the Sherman.  The exhausts have been re-routed up the rear of the hull as indicated by the dual stacks.  This is reminisent of privately owned post war Shermans used for logging and other industries.  (Jason Bobrowich)

Centurion ARV, Ex Reforger, Germany, Oct 1974.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4816325) 

 (Author Photos)

Centurion Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV), CFR 54-81334, New Brunswick Military History Museum, Museum vehicle park. 

Centurion Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV)

Nine Centurion Armoured Recovery Vehicles (ARV) were purchased for the Canadian Army  in 1954.  The tank turret was replaced by a superstructure housing a winch powered by an auxiliary engine and capable of pulling of up to 90 tons using a system of blocks.  The ARV was armed with a single .30 inch machine gun on the commander's cupola.  It was used by many different units including the RCEME and 4 Engineer Support Regiment at CFB Gagetown for the recovery of heavy armour and vehicles bogged down in the muddy terrain during training operations until the arrival of the Badger ARV.

 (Author Photo)

M578 Light Recovery Vehicle, New Brunswick Military History Museum, EFCC storage compound.

M578 Light Recovery Vehicle

The M578 an American designed armoured recovery vehicle in service with the Canadian Army.  It provided maintenance support to mechanized infantry and artillery units and to recover disabled light armored vehicles using its crane boom.  The cab can rotate 360°, and has a 30,000 lb (13,600 kg) capacity winch was run through a crane on the cab.  Another winch, 60,000 lb (27,000 kg) capacity, was mounted on the front of the cab.  The crane operator and rigger both had vision cupolas in the cab roof.  The M578 was designed with systems to be powered even while the vehicle was shut off.  An auxiliary system drove an onboard generator as well as hydraulic pumps which, in turn, supplied drive power to the cab, the boom arm, a pair of winches, and an anchor spade - the latter fitted to the rear of the hull. It was armed with a heavy machine gun fitted on the turret roof.  They have been used at CFB Gagetown by the RCEME and by 4 Engineer Support Regiment.

 (Anthony Seward Photos)

AVGP Husky in action.  

 (Author Photos)

AVGP Husky, CFR 78-37557, painted as 88C, New Brunswick Military History Museum, Museum vehicle park.

AVGP Husky ARV

 The AVGP (Armoured Vehicle General Purpose) Husky is an Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV) operated by a two-man crew.  The Husky is designed to provide mechanical support for the other two AVGP vehicles. The Husky served with the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s), C Squadron, The Royal Canadian Dragoons, 2nd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment, 4 Canadian Engineer Regiment  and 5th Canadian Division Training Centre at CFB Gagetown until they were replaced by the LAV III.

The Taurus armoured recovery vehicle (ARV) replaced the Centurion ARV in Canadian service.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4728142)

Taurus Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV), 4 CMBG, Ex Certain Sentinel, Germany, Feb 1979.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4849068

Taurus Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV), 4 CMBG, Ex Certain Sentinel, Germany, Feb 1979.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4849071

Taurus Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV), 4 CMBG, Ex Certain Sentinel, Germany, Feb 1979.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4886180)

The Taurus armoured recovery vehicle (ARV) in Canadian service.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4728142)

 (3 Canadian Division Photo)

Badger Armoured Engineer Vehicle (AEV), 3 Canadian Division, Wainwright, Alberta.

The Badger Armoured Engineering Vehicle is designed to provide engineer support to mechanized combat forces. It is capable of performing a wide range of tasks under battlefield conditions including dozing, ripping, excavating, craning, grappling, welding, cutting, winching, and towing”.

The Badger AEV is capable of dozing 270 cubic meters per hour with a maximum dozing speed of 8 km/h. The dozer blade is equipped with two ripper teeth that are used when backing up. The vehicle is also capable of excavating up to 140 cubic meters per hour when fitted with a 1.5 meter wide bucket. It can also be fitted with a smaller 0.8 meter-wide bucket with a capacity of 0.6 cubic meters.  The AEV is capable of operating in a crane mode with a maximum lifting capacity of 7.8 tonnes. The excavator arm can be fitted with two grappling teeth for picking up large objects. The Badger is also equipped with an electric welding and cutting unit and a CAPSTAN winch. The winch as a pulling capacity of 35 tonnes and a cable length of 90 meters.  The Badger is capable of carrying and deploying the class 60 Track Way (portable road sections) as well as fascine (a large bundle of tubes used to fill in anti-tank ditches, creating a crossing site). The class 60 Track Way is carried on the dozer blade and is deployed by the winch. The fascine is carried on the back deck and is placed using the excavator arm with the grappling teeth.  The AEV is powered by a V-10, twin super charged, 830 horsepower, multi-fuelled engine. It is equipped with an NBCD system that provides protection against nuclear, biological, and chemical agents. It is also equipped with eight smoke/HE grenade dischargers.  (TanknutDave.com)

 (Author Photo)

T-LAV MTV-R (Mobile Tactical Vehicle Recovery) Recovery vehicle, equipped with a 20,000 kg winch and an integrated crane.  This is an M113 ARV variant with Palfinger crane, RCEME, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Wisent 2 Armoured Engineer Vehicle, manufactured by the German Company "FFG Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft",  5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick, 24 Nov 2016.
(Thanks Christoph Jenn for the correct ID)

 (Author Photos)

Aardvark mine clearance vehicle, Canadian Military Engineer Museum, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.

 (Author Photos)

Linked Belt Crane, DCI, CFR No. 56-06502, Canadian Military Engineer Museum, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.

 (Author Photos)

Husky metal detector, 4 Canadian Military Engineer Regiment, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.

 (Author Photos)

Husky metal detector, 4 Canadian Military Engineer Regiment, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.

 (Author Photo)

Caterpillar D7 Bulldozer mounted on a Bailey Bridge, Royal Canadian Engineer HQ, CFB Edmonton, Alberta.

 (Author Photo)

Caterpillar D7 Bulldozer, Royal Candian Engineers, CFB Borden, Ontario.

 (Author Photos)

Caterpillar D7 Bulldozer on a Bailey Bridge Section, Canadian Military Engineer Museum, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Buffalo, 4 Canadian Military Engineer Regiment, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.

 (Author Photo)

Bizon Dozer, RCR, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.

 (Author Photo)

Bison,  5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick..