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Scammell Recovery Video

Peter Brown


VHS format video reference MT2. Black and white, 77 minutes running time.

Produced by Editions Audiovisuel Beulah, 66 Rochester Way, Crowborough, TB6 2ND, England. Tel/Fax 01892 652413, web site http://homepages.enterprise.net/beulah/ UK price 14.95 plus postage etc

Produced from three training films from 1942-43 held in the Imperial War Museum, this video shows the well-known 'coffee pot' Scammell Pioneer in two forms, breakdown and tank transporter tractor. The first film shows a ‘typical day in the life of a recovery crew', as they pull a bogged Crusader tank out of a hole and pick up a broken down six wheel truck on the way home. These tasks allow the demonstration of the winch to pull a stranded vehicle and the gantry to perform a suspended tow, which gives audiences in more peaceful times a chance to see how it is done.

Second sequence shows the recovery Scammell using two type of lightweight trailer to recover first a Universal Carrier and then a Caterpillar D8 tractor, followed by the transporter versions with 20 ton and 30 ton trailers taking on suitable loads, including a bogged Covenanter and a newly delivered General Grant. Part of this film also shows the Diamond T tractor and full trailers as they make a tank pickup. In all cases, how these pickups are done is followed in detail, with a well-drilled crew doubling to perform each task in textbook manner. Tasks include fitting skid pans,lowering and raising ramps, splitting the tractor from the trailer and various methods of towing.

Final and hardest task depicted has an Airborne recovery unit tackling a major job as it recovers a Churchill IV which had slipped sideways into a ditch after shedding one track and came to rest with its other track all but off the bogies. A well-planned and executed operation sees it quickly and, in the manner of true professionals, with minimum effort, recovered and restored to running order. Soundtrack for each film points out what is being done, including hints, tips and warnings, using some attempts at humour which even a modern soldier might pick up on. As well as a chance to see the Scammells in action, albeit in training, this is an opportunity for those who have not experienced it

to see the process of recovery and transport carried out. Some features are not as obvious as they might be until seen. There are also views of several then-current British tanks as a bonus. While the original productions were designed to inform and not amuse, these films do give us a chance to see what are now not common vehicles doing what they were designed to do and what they did so well with well trained crews.

They must have done, the evidence is here and the camera never lies...

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