Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Royal Canadian Engineers & Royal Canadian Electrical Mechanical Engineers

Royal Canadian Engineers

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.

  

Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

The Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RCEME provides army engineering maintenance support. From the 1980s to 2013 it was called the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Branch.  The Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers came into being officially on 15 May 1944, with the fusion of various elements from the Royal Canadian Engineers, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps and Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps, following the model of the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers (REME).

With the increase of mechanized equipment during the Second World War, the need to have one corps dedicated to service and maintenance thereof was becoming increasingly apparent. Trucks had become the de facto means of transportation and logistic support, armoured vehicles had replaced cavalry, weapons were becoming more complicated, as well as the advent of radios and radar, it was apparent that the previous model of having a different corps for each job was inadequate for a modern, mechanized army.  The original RCEME structure incorporated 25 different trades and sub-trades, employing specialists for each particular job in order to train and deploy them in time to meet the war's demand. While it was somewhat bulky, it was nonetheless a centralized structure for maintaining the Army's everyday equipment which was more efficient than the previous system of having each corps perform its own equipment maintenance, and also allowed for a greater degree of specialization within trades.  The author's uncle, Warrant Officer Carl Skaarup, served with the RCEME.

 

Carl J. Skaarup, 4th row, 2nd from left, RCEME course, 3 Feb - 26 May 1958.

Personnel of the 1st Armoured Brigade Workshop, Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (R.C.E.M.E.) working on the engine of a Sherman tank of the 5th Canadian Armoured Division, Italy, 13 October 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3574228)

Vehicle and and equipment, data current to 17 Nov 2016.

RCE clearing a minefield, Italy, 20 Dec 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3585921)

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

 
RCE sweeping for mines, Vaucelles, France, 20 July 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 339613)
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)

Churchill Infantry Tank Mk IV RE, (Serial No. BW9229), Great Eastern Armoured Ramp (Serial No. WD No T172796/D), only survivor.  Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

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

  

 

Centurion AVBL, Canadian Military Engineer Museum, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.

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

M4A2E8 ARV, Camp Gagetown, ca 1950s or 60s.  (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 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.

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.

AVGP Husky in action, (Anthony Seward 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)

Leopard 2 ARV 3 (Armoured Recovery Vehicle) (The German Army calls it the Büffel). 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick, 24 Nov 2016.
The CF's standard heavy armoured recovery vehicle was the Taurus based on the Leopard 1 hull. With the introduction of the heavier Leopard 2, a new and more powerful ARV was required. Rheinmetall evolved its Bergepanzer 3 from the Leopard 2. The crew is housed in a armoured casement to port. To starboard is a 270° traverse crane. The rear engine deck (right) also holds tools and a spare powerplant cradle to facilitate in-field engine changes for the Leopard 2A6M. The CF refers to Büffels as ARV 3s ('Buffalo' is already used to identify Bison MRVs. (Thanks Paul for the correct ID)

M113 ARV variant with Palfinger crane, Armour School lines, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.

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

Wheeled Heavy Lift Crane, Canadian Military Engineer Museum, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

Bison,  5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick, 25 Nov 2016.

Taurus Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV), 4 CMBG, Ex Certain Sentinel, Germany, Feb 1979.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4849068 and 4886180)

The Taurus armoured recovery vehicle (ARV) is designed to recover and tow vehicles bogged down or disabled by enemy action or mechanical failure.  It is also capable of carrying out bulldozing operations, changing components such as turrets on other vehicles, and fuelling vehicles. The winch has a 35,000 kg pull, up to 100,000 kg at 3 to 1 mechanical advantage.  The Taurus armoured recovery vehicle can pull maximum transmission unit power packs and, in a pinch, can pull the entire Leopard C2 turret, including the 105-mm gun.

 (Chris Narciso Photos)

Badger armoured engineer vehicle (AEV), Wainwright, Alberta.

Badger armoured engineer vehicle (AEV), 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick, 24 Nov 2016.

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)

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.