M88 Recovery Vehicle
Tank Recovery vehicles like the M88 were designed to recover damaged vehicles from the frontline while under fire. The standard ARV in the US Army immediately after the Second World War was the M74, designed by Bowen-McLaughlin-York (later BMY and now part of United Defense), which produced over 1,000 vehicles.
The M88 initially began life as a replacement for the obsolete M74 medium duty recovery vehicle to allow the recovery of front line US M48 tanks. BMY was awarded a contract to build three prototype vehicles under the designation of T88, to use as many components as possible of the M60 tank. These prototypes were followed by 10 preproduction vehicles for troop trials. Production was approved in 1959 when Bowen-McLaughlin-York Inc. signed a contract with the US Army for 1,075 vehicles, with the first production M88s completed in February 1961. The design turned out to be an extremely durable and well-planned Armored Recovery Vehicle (ARV) and the type was added to the military inventories of many countries from the 1960s on.
Though this vehicle has very good recovery capability & features, it fall short for crew protection. The hull of the M88 is of cast armour and rolled armour welded together, with the crew compartment at the front and the engine and transmission at the rear. The driver and mechanic are seated at the front of the hull, each with a single-piece hatch cover and periscopes. It had a front spade used primarily to stabilize the vehicle during lifting and recovery operations. The main winch could be used to drag a disabled tank or one stuck in mud back to an area where it could be towed or driven away. The boom could be used to lift tank engine-transmission units from tanks for repair. The towing pintle and tow bar could drag a disabled tank to a secure area for repair. The M88 was also used at the transport vehicle for the mechanics. It carried welding equipment, tools and spare parts.
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