Mine Hunter

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by jonwilly, Mar 11, 2008.

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  1. Apologies will not record correct web site.

    Try this site the item is located under Sat-Sun weekend edition.
  2. I wouldn't fancy digging that fcuker out when it bogs down.
  3. Hello putteesinmyhands,

    we invented just the thing for doing that job,a steam powered plough.
    If I could remember it's name I would Google an image.

  4. AT-AT? Wrong movie methinks T6!

    It's clearly this ones Great, Great Granpa.

  5. Not really something I know much about, but for some obscure reason It was featured on a Thailand web site and as I had never seen anything like it I thought to bring to attention of a more informed readership.

  6. Hello,

    I still can't find anything on that steam plough.
    It was very large,like a tracked locomotive with a snow plough on the front if I remember correctly.
    Churchill was involved in it in some way.
    Does anyone else know anything about it?

    The Twister was an interesting vehicle,it constantly amazes me that the Americans find the money for such things.
    They are currently working on a vehicle which can drive upside down.
    I can't think how we get by without that capability.

    We had our own articulated experimental tank after the war.
    Like many of our quirkier designs,the Swedes picked up on the idea leading to today's Viking.


    Edited to add,CutLunchCommando is that the one from Aliens?
  7. Yep. :D LINK

    Reference finding development money for things like the Twister is it not true that may of them are developed for competitions or purely speculatively?
  8. Is this an indication that they are planning for a foray into the southern hemisphere?
  9. daz

    daz LE


    It's Nellie,


    Military thinking during the inter-war years led to an assumption that any future conflict would again involve extensive trench warfare. With this in mind and along with the memory of the appalling loss of life in the trenches during World War One, Churchill wanted to find a way of allowing troops and supplies to advance in relative safety and quickly break through the German front line. He came up with the idea of machines which would dig large trenches through No Man's Land under cover of darkness and the noise of an artillery barrage. Troops and tanks would follow in these trenches, coming to the surface at or behind the enemy front line.
    The mechanical digging machines designated NLE (Lit; Naval Land Equipment) aka Nellie, No man's Land Excavator, White Rabbit No 6 or Cultivator were then produced in working model form and successfully demonstrated the feasibility of the concept. On 7th February 1940 Cabinet and Treasury approval was given for the construction of 200 narrow 'infantry' machines and 40 wide 'officer' machines. The original planned production rate was 20 machines (requiring 40 engines) per week.

    It her final form Nellie was 77' long, 6' 6" wide, 8' high and made in two sections. The main section, driven on caterpillar tracks, looked like a greatly elongated tank and weighed 100 tons. The front section, weighing another 30 tons, was capable of digging a trench 5' deep and 7' 6" wide. It comprised a plough which cut the top 2' 6" of the trench, and 'pick and shovel' cutting cylinders which excavated the bottom 2' 6". The spoil was carried away by conveyors to the top of each side of the trench to create 3' parapets. Nellie could move at just over half a mile an hour, removing some 8,000 tons of spoil in the process. When she reached the enemy's front line she would stop and act as a ramp for following tracked vehicles to climb up out of the trench onto open ground. Originally she was to be powered by a single 1,000bhp marine version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine but it was soon pointed out this engine could only produce 800bhp under continuous load, less than was required for the task. Shortly after, all Merlin engines were earmarked for the RAF and Sir Harry Ricardo recommended using two Paxman-Ricardo engines of the type already in service with the Navy and of a proven design. The decision was made to use two 600bhp Paxman 12TPs which necessitated a complete redesign of Nellie. One engine was used to drive the cutter and conveyors at the front and the other used to propel the machine itself.

    Then the war very quickly took a totally unexpected course. After Dunkirk and the fall of France the Nellie project collapsed. Large scale production of NLE's was abandoned and the engine capacity was turned over to the Admiralty. Field trials of the pilot machine commenced in June 1941 and were not completed until about January 1942. Production in the end comprised, apart from the pilot machine, four 'infantry' and one 'officer' machines. The last surviving 'Infantry' example was scrapped in the 1950s.
  10. Re Nellie

    Please tell me that that's a product of disinformation propaganda.

    The photo looks like a combine harvester dressed up in cardboard and plywood.

    As far as practicality is concerned, something like that would be incapable of cutting through the topsoil (why bother, anyway?). It would be obliged to travel in a more-or-less straight line, being unable to turn due to filling the width of the trench it created, providing the Germans with plenty of time to range their guns on the trench behind, cratering it and making it impassible for following troops. (If they were clever, they wouldn't aim for the machine itself).

    Nellie wouldn't be able to reverse, so would end up as a 130 ton lump of scrap iron embedded in the landscape. The rate of 0.5mph would be optimistic, even in sand. If it said 0.5 miles per day, I still wouldn't believe it. Did the designers ever visualise how much spoil 8000 tons is (the quoted rate of removal in an hour)? It's 400 lorry-loads. So the two poxy engines (only one cutting) simply wouldn't hack it.

    And as for how long it would take to repair a broken track......

    I'd love to read through the reports from the field trials. Anyone know where they might be?
  11. It wasn't armoured, IIRC, since it was assumed that the vehicle would be protected by the trench it was digging.

    Practicality wasn't always an issue that tended to bother Winston... But it is an interesting question. On the other hand, I have a suspicion that some of The Old Gang - the surviving brains behind the original WW1 tank designs - were involved; they certainly produced the TOG (ie The Old Gang) heavy tanks which were other examples of vehicle sdesigned in WW2 for the assumed rerun of WW1 trench warfare, and Harry Ricardo was common to both NLE and TOG.

    Another good point - but Ricardo knew his stuff, so if anyone was able to get it to work, he would have had a good chance. IIRC the Red Army named the British Mk V tanks captured or left behind in 1919-20 and which formed their first ever armoured force "Ricardos" given their powerplant.

    Have a vague recollection of reading about some field trials which worked after a fashion but may not have been that realistic - ie plough up a London park than typical countryside.