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"Armor Unload Time?" Topic


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498 hits since 6 Jan 2013
©1994-2014 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Dragon Gunner06 Jan 2013 6:23 p.m. PST

How long would it take for a tank to unload from a flatbed train car or truck hauler? Where are the crews during transport?

Billy Yank06 Jan 2013 7:47 p.m. PST

The Heavy Equipment Transporter (the Army vehicle that looks like a 18-wheeler) can carry the tank crew in the cab. It took my crews about ten minutes to unload per tank. Not sure about the trains… never had to do that one with tanks.

Billy Yank

Major Mike06 Jan 2013 8:07 p.m. PST

Unloading from a train all depends upon how many tanks. Each tank has to have it's own flatcar. Removing chockblocks and tie downs does not take very long, maybe 15 minutes if your motivated. The time consuming part is guiding the tanks down the length of the train to the loading platform. Most tanks extend over the sides of the flatcar with maybe (at best) 2/3rds of the track on a surface. You don't want to get in a hurry and have a tank accidently slide off to one side. Normally, there is always to be an empty flatcar between moving tanks. The experience of the crews can speed up or slow down this process. The first tank, after untied/chocked, can easily be off the train in 5 minutes. However, as you go down the train, add another 5 to 10 minutes per tank minimum. Also, if in Europe, you really don't want your crews climbing around the tanks if there are overhead electric wires to power the train engines. Until they are turned off, they pose an electracution hazard to the crews. It is not a nice event when a soldier is cooked.
As for the vehicle transporters, crews have ridden inside the transported tanks when action was possible, as happened in Iraq. In that case, the locals thought that the tanks were easy pickings and uncrew and tried to swarm the transporters. The tanks fired machineguns and cannon from the transporters to fend off the attack.

Tgunner06 Jan 2013 8:07 p.m. PST

Me either but I've done it with HETs. It only takes a few minutes to take off the chains and lower the ramp. Then all you have to do is drive it off. Getting it on a HET is a pain though.

corporalpat06 Jan 2013 8:45 p.m. PST

It really depends a lot on the facilities available at the offload location. In my experience with an artillery unit in Germany each section sent a driver and TC with the vehicle on the train with the rest of the men transported separately by convoy. It does not take long at all to get the vehicles ready to move assuming an experienced team, proper tools and no screw ups. The problem is there can easily be problems getting them off the train in a safe, timely manner if the facilities are inadequate.

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