WFX 402 - 1944 Scammell Pioneer 30 Ton Tank Transporter
The concept of the Pioneer was developed in the mid 1920s for use in the oil fields by Scammell's brillient designer Oliver Danson North. A 7 litre petrol engine developed 53 BHP driving the wheels through a 4 speed gearbox and remarkable suspension system.
The centrally pivoted walking beam gearcase carrying the rear wheels could assume extreme articulation and a no less innovative front suspension provided for an unstoppable performance which could literally climb walls.
A single 18 ton capacity tank transporter version was supplied to the war office in 1928 for evaluation purposes.
Within a few years a new generation of Pioneers had been developed. The cab no longer looked like a beach hut and the power was provided by a 102 BHP garner diesel engine. The principles of the remarkable suspension remained unchanged and the overall reliability and simplicity appealed to the war department who ordered a total of 3572 units. The first units were artillery tractors coming into service in 1935. Others were supplied as recovery tractors and a long wheelbase version was supplied for 20 and 30 ton capacity articulated Tank Transporters.
Scammell produced 574 Pioneer Tank Transporters of which 170 were the 30 Ton capacity model.
Artillery and Recovery Tractors had a top speed of 24mph, whilst the Tank Transporter had a top speed of 15mph.
The war effort was substantially assisted by the American machines of which the Diamond T is probably the most memorable.
After WW" the War Office re-appraised the entire military fleet. The Scammell Tank Transporter was not as good as the alternatives and was replaced by the Diamond T and the Thornycroft Antar until the arrival of the Scammell Commander in 1984.
In 1953 some of the Tank Transporters were converted by the REME to Ballast Tractors by removing their trailer and adding concrete ballast weights.
In the 1950s and 60s large numbers of the Pioneers ended their military lives and were purchased for civilian use, many of these finding their way into preservation.
Preserved Ballast Tractors are very rare, and their is only one 30 Ton Tank Transporter with an original trailer.