Throwing a track

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
#1
While I realise panzers can be supremely useful at times, I prefer to remain on my feet, and have very little knowledge of these mobile deathtraps myself.

I have a question for the combined IQ of this esteemed forum - what occurs to your tinbox when a track is thrown ?

On another (foreign) site I read from time to time the following post was made:

I read about one interesting metod which was used by the soviet crews of lend-lees Sherman tank against Tigers.
Group of 2 or 3 Shermans lying in ambush aimed into the moving Tigris.
Than first sherman shoot in Tiger , trying hit to the track .
If shot was successful, Tiger was deprived of one caterpillar and by the inertia continued to move, being turned to 90 degrees and showing board. After this, other tanks shot at the board or at the rear and struck the Tigris.
Thus were hited many Tigers.
This was countered by:
Interesting, but whenever I have lost a track you just come to a halt. If the track breaks it just runs out with the road wheels running free. It is the resistance from the stopped track that makes it turn, no resistance, no turn. Tanks do not go that fast 20 MPH at most cross-country.
The original poster replied:
This depended on the type of surface on which the Tiger moved.
Let us examine the situation, when Tiger's right caterpillar is teared .

1 situation.
If Tiger moved on the cobble-stone road:
At the first moment right side will continue inertial motion. But when the crew of the Tigris will note breakdown and will attempt stop machine, impede will be only left side. Tank will unroll to the left by the inertia.

2 situation
Tiger moved on the unmetalled road or on soil.
Right wheels ( of 48/67-tonns Tiger1/2) instantly fall through into the soil and stop. Tank crew does not manage to immediately turn off engine and the left caterpillar of tank continues motion, turning tank to the right.

3 situation .
The torn away right caterpillar wedges right wheels. In this case the tank is turned to the right on any surface.

This method of "hunting the Tigers" was used by Soviet tankers even on the Kursk battle.
According to experience of operating heavy tanks during the motion of more than 10 km/h with the break of caterpillar in 90% of cases the tank changes direction.
I realise that the majority of youse will have little practical experience of killing WWII Boxhead Tigers, but will there be much difference between the behaviour of a crippled tank then and now ?
 
#2
In my Challenger days as a driver , i was always taught that if
your wagon ''threw a track'' dont pull any sticks and dont hit the brake.
The reason being ,due to the gearbox and brakes ,if you pulled a stick
or hit the brakes, the wagon would would turn out of control . Its gets
very confusing when dealing with CVR(T) (as any D+M guru will tell you).
I'm sure some of the tankies will be able to explain in more detail .
 
#3
Cutaway said:
I have a question for the combined IQ of this esteemed forum - what occurs to your tinbox when a track is thrown ?

I realise that the majority of youse will have little practical experience of killing WWII Boxhead Tigers, but will there be much difference between the behaviour of a crippled tank then and now ?
Cuts,

i think the guy explaining is right in what he is saying, what he is trying to say maybe lost in translation a little thats all.

It depends on what type of modern day panzer but the results will be very similar, if a Challenger 2 for instance looses a track, the tank will turn slightly in the direction of the lost track, if at any stage the lost track gets trapped or entangled in the final drive then there is a good chance the tank will turn more sharply. once the tank comes to a halt there will be no drive and the tank will not move as all the drive will go to the final drive without a track on it. unless the driver pulls a tiller to stop drive on that side and transfer it to the "good side".

The results will vary, what tank? does the driver press the brakes? is the track fouled? what ground? how fast is the tank going?

i lost a track on a CRARRV at max speed down a hill cross country, we lost a circlip, pin came out with no warning on the front track guard as normal. As the track bounced over the last roadwheel the sprocket on the final drive snagged on the track and pulled it out backwards from under the roadwheels!! 8O

the result was a CRARRV, LH track lying full length, upside down 50m behind!! a long night ensued!! :x
 
#4
Everything depends on circumstance.

The vehicle might turn slightly as already described but after coming to a halt that's when the real decisions have to be made.

Is it safe to remain in the vehicle?
Is it safe to get out and repair/refit the track?
Is the job repairable by the crew or will recovery be necessary?

The only real example I can think of is a recent event in Iraq when a KRH CR2 lost a track trying to maneuver out of an RPG ambush, they lost a track in a wadi. Because they were only facing small arms and RPG fire and no immediate assistance was available the crew stayed on board and returned fire for 30 minutes until other CR2's arrived for backup. During that time they took over 30 RPG hits. The vehicle was repaired, brought back to base and was out on patrol again within 5 hours.

There's loads of what-if's there but in that incident the CR2 proved it was good for crew protections against RPG's and that would probably be a good hint to anyone caught in the same circumstances.
 
#5
Never knew of a chieftain that threw a track!! D&M training always ensured correct track tension and checks for pins and circlips, slack tracks would have potentially been our biggest ally to throwing a track. we were always warned of crossing railway tracks (other than on a proper crossing) as, if you turned while crossing it would be possible for the rails to drag a track off.

Once had a failed RH final drive which was essentially the same as loosing a track on that side as no propulsion was provided to that track. The tanks behaviour was to immediately turn 90 degrees to the right (into the ditch) as the left hand track pushed the tank round...............ouch .........big impact!!!!
 
#7
paveway_3 said:
GDAV It was a SCOTS DG panzer that was attacked by RPG's .Or is this another incident?
think your right paveway, it was a SCOTS DG tank, i saw it afterwards coming in for repair, 8 RPG hits and a Milan rocket between the GAS and the CPS.

The Comd of the CRARRV that assisted got a MM i beleive....
 
#8
The only time I ever encountered a thrown track, barring Windsor safari park and I am saying nothing about that, was on an FTX we had to move out of our hide quick so brigade could move in. (near a pub.) We threw a track and my commander said to me get out of the gunner’s seat and hit this with a sledge.
My first strike caused a red hot splinter that pierced my right eyeball one day before endex. I spent the next month in a German eye hospital in Marburg.

Footnote:
My right eye is a lot better than my left these days.

Not that anyone gives a toss like
:wink:
 
#10
ScotsDG CR2....C Sqn c/s 21 . Plenty of RPG & SA hits...Milan hit is a myth . Tank looked worse than it was . Back on the road within a few days. Most of the damage was sights, episcopes, and track, which had to be gouged off.

CRARRV crew carried out a hard nights work under some pretty hairy conditions....but were only awarded MiD not MM.
 
#12
i have seen a CR2 track come off in canada, both end connectors and centre connector came off, but because it was hard ground the tank just rolled to a stop. however i can make an educated guess that if it was on soft ground then those roads wheels would have dug in which in all likelyhood would cause the tank to turn. probably not 90 degrees though unless the wagon was going really fast.
 
#13
Yes lads - it was a Scots DG panzer. My mistake. Thanks for the help.

Arthur3bums. I've seen tracks come off well maintained Chieftains. Always in the heaviest and most extreme of conditions though. It never actually happened to me.
 
#14
I was about to fill up my Chieftain after returning from a crashout. The bloke guiding me was sliding on the black ice at the POL point. I was about foot out of line and he signalled a gentle left-stick. He holds his hand up, "Your tracks just snapped OBJ!". It had too. Due to the cost of changing the entire track it was decided just to change the link which had split down the middle. Gawd knows what would have happened if it had failed on the downhill rush from the survival area. Even worse was the sense of dread every time I took that wagon out!
 
#15
I lost a track whilst driving through kosovo. Spun 180 degrees, ripped of the front idler and blasted it through the LH mudguard narrowly missing my head, Not very nice. Only time i ever threw a track but i did it big style not these boring ones when the wagon is bogged
 
#16
I certainly wouldn't have changed a track just for one broken link - or a broken pin. I've never suffered either mind you but it's absolutely boggling that you can get from 96 links down to 85 over a period of 3 or 4,000 track miles, finish up with track pins like camshafts (which are murder to knock out) and still function normally.
 
#17
vandyke said:
I lost a track whilst driving through kosovo. Spun 180 degrees, ripped of the front idler and blasted it through the LH mudguard narrowly missing my head, Not very nice. Only time i ever threw a track but i did it big style not these boring ones when the wagon is bogged
I've been in one which was bogged down to the catwalks and still didn't throw a track. There's got to be some luck there somewhere because with the best will in the world, if you've been doing loads of miles cross country you're going to get slack and that's when it's most likely to happen. Sod's law it'll be 5 minutes before your halt parade :evil:
 
#18
A picture paints a thousand words as they say, here are two examples of a thrown track. The first, we were with a bit movement and pulling of sticks able to get it back on. The damage is purely cosmetic! The second example a bit more serious as the track has gone under the CHARRV, the track was probaly cut using oxy-acetyline and then the vehicle dragged to flat ground to stick the track back on!



 
#20
These photo's are from the 60s on exercise on Soltau but diff incidents.


The one below shows the REME fitter splitting the track by cutting with oxy-acetyline ,the track was then dragged back over the road wheels, laid out and hopefully it was then possible to reverse back along it.

 

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