Rough Engineering Made Easy


Have you ever had one of those jobs, where others looked at you as some sort of magician.
On the way to an exercise at Vogelsang, being the unit tail end charlie. We spied a Land Rover ahead of us on the Autobahn, with its bonnet in the air. As we got closer we realise it was a Belgie Army Rover. A German AA patrol mechanic was attempting in vain to sort out the Rover. I asked my Cfn to fetch the old L/R carburettor we had thrown in the back. In a few minutes the Belgie driver was on his way,and German highway mechanic was left staring hard at us.
On the way back to Arborfield in my battered old 1600 Sport Mk2 Escort, just got onto M62 coming out of Hull and saw a car sat by the side of road, hazards on.

Stopped and offerred help "I'm a mechanic" i said (i wasnt really, i had not finished training yet)

His car had overheated and his fan was not working. 2 minutes later he had a hair grip (my GF at the time had left it in my car) arcing out the plug on the sender for his fan and it was whirring away merrily.

He was well in awe, he gave me £20 as well!!


While stationed in Oxford Bks ,Munster with a certain unit, part of the unit was taking part in an exercise , between Osnabruck and BMH Munster, one driver, so near to home during one of his runs, just had to pop in to the workshop with a problem that should buy him a bit of time in camp. Headlamps not working . Pull your bonnet, and as I held down and pushed a wiring block together, the headlamps came on. With mouth wide open, I instructed him, " next time pi55 in the tank". He always refered to me since then as ''Magic"


We came across a Cannuck who'd overheated and had no coolant, we all pissed in his radiator to get him going, wouldn't have fancied the job of draining the rad next though?
During an exercise ambush in belize used a length of don 10 from the pos bty terminal on a 1 tonne to the oil pressure cutout so the engine can be started and the planks could drag their gun to safety. The BSM even let me off my extras.


In a Landrover 90, recovering to the UK from Germany, throttle cable snapped 20 miles from the ferry port.

Instead of waiting forever to get sorted out, miss the boat, etc etc, we took the bonnet off, lashed it under the cam net on the roof, and tied a length of paracord directly to the throttle linkage on the fuel injection pump. Throttle control was therefore via this bit of paracord coming in through the driver door window - pull for fast, let go for slow! Got some completely disbelieveing looks from everyone who noticed.

Hairy as fcuk, but at least we got back to the UK with recovery assets already waiting when we (pushed!) the bloody thing off the ferry.


Ever had to go into a German chemist's during an exercise and purchase a condom?. A little bit of improvisation saw the use of a mac as a temporary replacement for the 432 Governor actuator diaphragm. Some funny looks, and an explanation of, " fer panzer", were usually met with , ''Ya,! Ya!"


One early morning, about 1am, I was called out from Detmold to a broken down Mini staff car somewhere in the Willich area,which was towed to an Engineer's Workshop. From about 8 am that morning , I started on this car and was getting no where, bearing in mind that the RE's had no spares for a Mini,and I noticed that the REME mechs were reluctant to offer assistance, or even look my way. I went through the fuel system and the ignition system with a fine tooth comb , but everytime I hit the starter , no response. About 3 pm, as if praying, I knelt down in front of the engine carrying out yet another visual inspection. While doing this , subconsciously, with a pair of side cutting pliers in may hand , I clipped off the ends of the spark plug leads. Another turn of the starter ,and the engine burst into life.


Perhaps the most baffling job I came across, as part of an Infantry company Fitter section, is the case of a Morris Commercial Water Bowser that used to run out of petrol everday from its trip back from Rheinsalen Camp, while we were on exercise in the north Soltau Area.
One tank would be completely empty and the other one full.Refilling the empty tank would get the vehicle going. The change- over switch was inspected and found to work perfectly. One day we towed the bowser back to our location deciding to trace this fault once and for all. After a through check of the fuel system, including the lines and draing the affected tank, we asked the driver who was sitting in the cab to '' CHANGE OVER THE FUEL TANKS". He was still sitting in the cab when the Q asked him again to change over the tanks. The driver replied from the drivers seat, that he had done so. The Q ,armed with a big adjustable wrench chased the driver from the cab.
What the driver was doing from his cab position was changing over the Fuel Gauge, by the switch located on the dash board. The fuel tank changer over switch, is located near one of the fuel tanks, requiring the driver to dismount from the cab, unlike the Land Rover.

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