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A publicação de qualquer imagem ou informação referentes ao nazismo, fascismo ou quaisquer outros regimes totalitários deve ser entendida como reprodução do rigor histórico e não como apologia a estes regimes, líderes ou símbolos.

Grant ARV II (Armoured Recovery Vehicle) - case report

 What a spiffing vehicle, my good man!!!

    In this report, let's meet and see the American M31 TRV (Tank Recovery Vehicle) operated by the British, who called them Grant ARV II (Armoured Recovery Vehicle).
Problems with cheap used cars...
New Zealnd Army operated Grant ARV II 
modified from IWM  NA-22176

    The Grant ARV (Armoured Recovery Vehicle) Mk.II was the British version of the T2 (M31),which in turn was a conversion of the American M3 Lee Medium tank for use in the recovery of disabled armored vehicles during the Second World War, as we see here in Panzerserra Bunker, in this previous report.

A brand new M31 B1 TRV "KATRINKA" - August, 1942.
Notice the left side door deleted, with a plate welded in its place
     While the M3 Lee tank was taken out of front line service in Europe by 1943, the M31 remained in service till the war's end, never being fully replaced by the M32 TRV.
     The M31 made his debut in operational use with the Americans, with 1st Armored Division (Old Ironsides - US Army) in Tunisia, during 1943, being highly appreciated by the military for its usefulness, robustness and reliability.
American M31 TRV (T2) roaring amidst the dust, in the region of
 El Guettar - Battle of El Guettar - Tunisia - April 1943
Notice the .30 Browning MG adapted in a pedestal and
the stripped (in yellow) camo.
    The turret of the Tank Recovery Vehicle T2 (M31) presents a British style ring cupola seen on the cruiser tank Grant. It's also mounts a Gar Wood power boom crane attached in the 37mm gun's place. There is also a winch mounted inside the hull which can operate with its cable over the boom crane or hooked directly to a load. The crane could lift 4.500kg without the supporting boom jacks extended, 5.400kg with the jacks attached to the front hull, or 14.000kg with the support legs on the ground. A 27.000kg capacity winch was added in the fighting compartment, and the cable was spooled out of the turret and over the crane boom or out the rear of the ARV.
Internal winch (27 ton capacity) in the fighting compartment of M31

    The guns of M3 Lee were replaced by dummies to obscure the identity of the vehicle. The 75mm main gun was replaced by a armored door with a dummy gun barrel and the 37mm gun in the turret was replaced by a similar barrel welded at the rear portion of the turret.
Bad times!! The crew of this M31 TRV (T2) awaits a tow from an artillery blast crater.
Notice the dummy gun in the front right sponson and in the rear of turret.
Cervaro area - Monte Casino Battle - Italy - 20 January 1944. 
font: National Archives photo SC-187536
    British recovery vehicles were called Armoured Recovery Vehicles (ARVs), while in the US Army the term used for these types of vehicles was Tank Recovery Vehicles (TRVs).

Grant ARV I
    This vehicle, unlike its successor (Grant ARV II) was not a conversion of the M31, but of the Lee/Grant tank employed by the British, with minor modifications to ARV -  Armored Recovery Vehicles, known as the Grant ARV I. 
Grant ARV I (Armoured Recovery Vehicle) under avaliation,
showing its simple features. Note the absence of dummy guns
and the rectangular double hatch (with a pair of .303 Bren machine guns).
England - 03-03-43
font:IWM (H 27559)
    These vehicles were nothing more than a Grant tank with its turret removed, with the turret opening closed with a steel plate with two rectangular covers serving as hatches. The vehicle had detachable two spars, which were erected at the front of the tank, serving as a jib for lifting weights. These parts were carried on the sides of the vehicle. 
Grant ARV I (Armoured Recovery Vehicle) with jib fitted
in the front hull of the vehicle - England - 03-03-1943
font: IWM (H 27569)
    The 75mm cannon was also removed, with the gun opening in the right front sponson of the tank being closed with a plate. The vehicle did not have dummy cannons, like its American cousins ​​M31 and M33. The armament normally consisted of a pair of .303 Bren light machine guns, installed on a pedestal emerging from the center of the upper "hatch.

Grant ARV II
    When the M31 TRV vehicles were obtained by Britain under Lend-Lease, they were referred to as Grant ARV II. They were essentially the same vehicles, the only thing that could be changed was the name and the use of some typically English accessories, such as towing equipment, steel wire ropes or adapted weapons. 
British Grant ARV II (Armoured Recovery Vehicle) tows a
disabled Sherman tank during the assault on the Gustav Line
Italy - 16 May 1944
font: IWM (NA 14940)
    Mechanically, they presented no difference. Therefore, we cannot classify them as a variant of the M31, but we can call them by their British name. They were used (with the name Grant ARV II) by the British, Canadians, Polish and New Zealanders until the end of the War.
New Zealnd Army operated Grant ARV II "PURSUIT SHIP"
from 2nd New Zealand Division - 4th NZ Armoured Brigade
carrying a Daimler Scout Car.
Notice the first bogie was the late heavy duty VVSS type
 Faenza, Italy - 9 February 1945
font:I WM (NA 22176)

Grant ARV II of the HQ- 2nd Polish Armoured Brigade
Loreto, Italy - August, 1945.
Notice the heavy duty VVSS (late) bogies
font:Polish Institute & Sikorsky Museum of London


Grant ARV II (Armoured Recovery Vehicle)
TypeRecovery tank
Place of origin                    United States
Service history
In service1942–1945
WarsWorld War II
Production history
  • Baldwin Locomotive Works
ProducedAugust 1941 – December 1942
No. built+800 (all variants)
VariantsSee text
Mass34 tons
Length5.64 m (hull)
8.05 m (boom stowed)
Width2.72 m
Height2.97 m (boom stowed)

  • 51 mm hull front, turret
  • front, sides, and rear
  • 38 mm hull sides and rear
Main armament
  • none
Sec. armament
  • none
R975 EC2
 400 hp gasoline
TransmissionSynchromesh - 5 forward
x 1 reverse
Suspensionvertical volute spring
Ground clearance0.46 m
Fuel capacity662 liters
Operational range
190 km)
Maximum speed
  • 42 km/h (road)
  • 22 km/h (off-road)
Steering system
Controlled differential

The kit
     I will use the excellent Takom US Tank Recovery Vehicle kit (#2088) from 2017. 
Takom's M31 US Tank Recovery Vehicle (#2088) kit box art
    The real photo that Jason, the artist who created the box art for the Takom kit, must have based it on... The biggest difference is that the real vehicle features deep wading gear installed at the rear of the hull.
M31 TRV loading aboard LCT 209 in Falmouth Harbor (UK)
as part of Exercise Duck I, trainig of Normandy Landings  - Operation Neptune .
30 December - 1943.
  This kit had been purchased to be used in the conversion of the M33 prime mover, but I thought it would be more correct to build it as a Grant ARV II, due to its detailing, leaving the M33 project to be executed with a simpler kit, as I described in this previous report. But let's get our hands dirty!!
Let's start by building the hull tub... The piece is aligned
and without warps... Congratulations, Takom!!
A very good start!!!

The exit of the steel wire rope, under the hull.
It's a shame that the kit comes without any interior details...
Takom, here you slipped up....

The pieces fit together wonderfully...
So far, so good...

Note, in the center of the hull floor, the "box" that serves to hide the
lack of details on the inside of the kit, in the area
where the steel wire rope exits.
How ugly!!!
    But now, let's build the M31 VVSS suspension bogies. What's most disappointing is the excess of parts that make up these bogies...but this excess doesn't represent better detailing; on the with burrs and injection residues, which take forever to clean and align. In short: poorly applied over-engineering. How I miss the bogies from Tamiya, Dragon, Italeri or even Tasca.
Bogies with burrs and injection residues,
which take forever to clean and align...

Bogies made up of many poorly cast parts...
a true nightmare to build...

Shame on you, Takom!!!

Lots of parts and sub-assemblies that lead nowhere!!!
A step that is more annoying than entertaining...

After almost two hours of work, six VVSS bogies (early) built.
I'm really fed up with this stage!! I'm glad it's over!!!

Installing the bogies, drive sprockets and idler wheels
 on the hull, in addition to the side armor...
left side view

Right side view

Closing the entire periphery of the hull:
front portions and the roof of the vehicle.
Notice the tow hook in the front of transmission cover.
Right view

Left view: Notice the 75mm dummy gun
and the boxes for grousers for the track links
in the front glacis and above of driver's station.

Closing the rear upper deck.
Notice the headlights in position

Rear view of upper deck. Notice the details...
The metal engine cooling grille is supplied by Takom

Rear right tool boxes in position...

The front left pistol port partially open gives a very special detail
 to our girl. She is winking at us...

Left rear tool box in position.

The rear upper hull was closed. Notice the details...
The Takom kit is very well detailed...

Testing the turret (Lee type) in position.
Notice the two dummy guns: the 75mm one in the front sponson
and the 37mm in the rear of the turret.

In the turret I also opted for the partially open pistol port...

With the turret built, let's start building the crane boom...
The pieces are very delicate...
The main danger is the bending of the boom during its assembly...

Just work on a flat base and carefully. The components of
the piece themselves allow its structuring...

Adding the towing arms to the side of the boom. This assembly
could also be installed on the rear deck armour...

My conceptual proposal for building this model is for the
crane boom to be pointing forward, as in the drawing above.
 The two auxiliary boom supports will be attached to the bases
of the front of the transmission cover.

Testing the boom in the turret...
The front arms are in dry-run...
The cylindrical plastic piece in the foreground is the "screw"
responsible for raising and lowering the boom.
It will be installed in the desired position and then glued.

Turret installed and rotated to desired position.
Boom positioned at desired elevation and everything glued in place.

The positioning of the boom is very similar to the box art.
Notice the tracks in position. I change the Takom T51 tracks
by Tamiya T48 ones...

The girl is really very nice!!

Rear view.
Notice the suspensiopns previously painted,
to facilitate subsequent work...
    With the construction of the model (almost) finished, we will take care of the details of the markings and accessories. As you already know, I will make the M31 TRV as Grant ARV II, that is, the version used by the British and the countries of the British Commonwealth. My choice will be for New Zealand, fighting in Italy, at the end of WWII. That has already been decided. 
     Now, all that remains is to choose accessories and details for this Kiwi version of the Grant ARV II!! The photo below, although it is not a Grant ARV, but an American M31 TRV, gave me a great idea: use some oxy-acetylene welding cylinders on the rear of the vehicle. Italeri (and I...) have a Field Tool Shop kit (#419) that will be perfect for this...
American M31 TRV (T2) from 781st Tank Battalion, at
Wingen-sur-Moder (Alsace Lorraine) during Unternehmen Nordwind
07 January, 1945.
Notice the oxy-acetylene welding cylinders on the rear of the vehicle (red)
and the .50 M2 Browning MG adapted in the turret (blue).
    And, in addition, we will add more accessories from my Junk Box, from the most varied brands. The details from Value Gear are also indispensable...
Testing the fitting in loco some accessories that
we can use in our project...
Dragon, Academy, Italeri, Value Gear...
    I also decided to add a machine gun for self-defense, since these vehicles did not have any armament as "standard" production. The vast majority of crews adapted a machine gun in the turret for this purpose, usually a .50 or even a .30 Browning. But since I want to characterize this vehicle as belonging to the British Commonwealth, nothing more British than a Vickers .303 medium machine gun... And on top of that, liquid-cooled!! Here is some historical inspiration:

Universal Carrier with .303 Vickers liquid cooled medium machine gun
1st Infantry Division -  2/7th Middlesex Regiment
Anzio,  Italy - 21 February 1944.
font: IWM (NA 12113)
    With that decided, let's build our Panzerserra Markings and Colors Guide to guide us on the dark paths of historical markings: Meet "BEAUTY", a Grant ARV II from Regimental Headquarters, 20th Armoured Regiment, 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade, 2nd New Zealand Division, in Faenza Area, Italy - November 1944.
Panzerserra Markings & Colors guide

Color base and accessories being painted...

I used some Bison/Star decal sheets from my old decal box. Notice the Vickers .303 proudly installed on our girl's turret... Our dear BEAUTY has just been born!!!!
BEAUTY with makeup almost ready...

The New Zealand markings turned out very beautiful!!
    The .303 Vickers medium machine gun was obtained from this excellent Master Box accessory kit (British Infantry Weapons WWII era - #MB35109) that I had in my dripping, dusty, and sinister basement...
Master Box accessory kit - British Infantry Weapons WWII era
) box art. The .303 Vickers medium MG in red.

The right view of Grant ARV II

Rear view

Right top view

I was forgetting about the oxy-acetylene cylinders.
I made two handles on each toolbox (green arrows),
to tie the cylinders with canvas straps. On the model, I made handles
with thin copper wire...

Canvas straps being made with painted masking tape...

Canvas straps being installed on the metal handles...

The canvas straps being passed to the other handle (green arrows),
forming a loop where the oxy-acetylene tubes will be installed...

The oxy-acetylene tubes installed in their positions...
    Installing the various accessories and details inherent to the kit, as well as other accessories from my junk box...
Note the extra wheels, the front glacis and the front
of the left toolbox on the rear upper deck.

Roll bags and crates from Value Gear Details

The two silver fuel funnels are old Formations accessories.

Another "British touch" is the green Dragon fire extinguisher
just forward of the hull roof hatch.

Detail of the .303 Vickers installation: the ammunition strip
with its box next to it. The liquid cooling tube enters the turret
through the hole in the boom elevation screw.
The can with liquid would be inside...

Indeed, these workshop vehicles were quite messy on the outside...

Rear top view
    After a light weathering session (Kiwis are very careful with their machines...) I present to you "BEAUTY", a Grant ARV II from Regimental Headquarters, 20th Armoured Regiment, 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade, 2nd New Zealand Division, in Faenza Area, Italy - November 1944.
Grant ARV II "BEAUTY" - Regimental Headquarters
20th Armoured Regiment - 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade
2nd New Zealand Division - Faenza Area, Italy - November 1944.

Grant ARV II - front left view

Grant ARV II - left view

Grant ARV II - rear left view

Grant ARV II - front right view

Grant ARV II -  right view

Grant ARV II - top rear right view

Grant ARV II - top rear view

Grant ARV II - top right view

Grant ARV II - front right view

Grant ARV II - front view

Grant ARV II with Kojak

Grant ARV II  and M33 prime mover,
side by side

Grant ARV II "BEAUTY" - Regimental Headquarters
20th Armoured Regiment - 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade
2nd New Zealand Division - Faenza Area, Italy - November 1944.

Thanks for follow, Ladies and Gentlemen...
Maori soldiers give haka at the New Zealand Division
boxing championships in Doulieu, France - World War I
font:National Library NZ
See you, soon!!!!

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