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An armoured recovery vehicle (ARV) is a type of armoured fighting vehicle used to repair battle- or mine-damaged as well as broken-down armoured vehicles during combat, or to tow them out of the danger zone for more extensive repairs. To this end the term "Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle" (ARRV) is also used.

ARVs are normally built on the chassis of a Main Battle Tank (MBT), but some are also constructed on the basis of other Armoured fighting vehicles, mostly armoured personnel carriers (APCs). ARVs are usually built on the basis of a vehicle in the same class as they are supposed to recover; a tank-based ARV is used to recover tanks, while an APC-based one recovers APCs, but does not have the power to tow a much heavier tank.

Development History

The first true ARVs were introduced in World War II, often by converting obsolete or damaged tanks, usually by removing the turret and installing a heavy-duty winch to free stuck vehicles, plus a variety of vehicle repair tools. Some were also purpose-built in factories, using an existing tank chassis with a hull superstructure to accommodate repair and recovery equipment. Many of the latter type of ARV had an A-frame or crane to allow the vehicle's crew to perform heavy lifting tasks such as removing the engine from a disabled tank.

After World War II, most countries' MBT models also had corresponding ARV variants. Many ARVs are also equipped with a bulldozer blade that can be used as an anchor when winching or as a stabiliser when lifting, a pump to transfer fuel to another vehicle, and more. Some can even carry a spare engine for field replacement, such the Germanmarker Leopard 1 ARV.

Some combat engineering vehicles (CEVs) are based on ARVs.

United Kingdom

Grant ARV
Centurion MkII ARV
Second World War


BARV (WWII to Modern)



M32 TRV in Yad la-Shiryon Museum, Israel.
  • VT-34 ARV (T-34 Chassis)
  • VT-55A ARV (T-55 Chassis)
  • VT-72B ARV (T-72 Chassis) - (1987 to 1989)
  • VPV (BVP-1 Chassis) - (1985 to 1989)


  • M32 Tank Recovery Vehicle, based on the Sherman tank (from 1944)
  • M74 Tank Recovery Vehicle (1954-1975)
  • AMX 30 D (from 1973), based on the AMX 30
  • Leclerc MARS, based on the AMX-56 Leclerc


  • Bergepanzer III - PzKpfw III chassis
  • Bergepanther (SdKfz 179) - Panther tank chassis 347 produced (1943 to 1945).
  • Bergetiger - Tiger I tank chassis
  • Bergepanzer 38(t) - Panzerkampfwagen 38 chassis, 170 produced (1944 to 1945).

  • Bergepanzer M74 (Sherman Chassis) - first TRV/ARV of the West German Bundeswehr, 300 used 1956-1960 (see M74 entry under United States).
  • Bergepanzer 1 - M88 Chassis, the first of 125 entered service in 1962 and a 1985 modernization program replaced the gasoline engine with a diesel and improved the hoist.
  • Bergepanzer 2 - Leopard 1 tank chassis
  • Bergepanzer 3 "Büffel" - Leopard 2 chassis
  • Taurus ARV - used by the Canadian Forces since 1990s


Trail Blazer.

  • Trail Blazer (Gordon) (Sherman chassis) - An IDF recovery/engineering vehicle based on HVSS equipped M4A1s Sherman tanks, it featured a large single boom crane (as opposed to the A-Frame of the M32) and large spades at the front and rear of the vehicle to assist in lifting. It could also tow up to 72 tons.


  • M32 Chenca (Sherman chassis) - In 1998, Napco International of the USA upgraded M32B1 TRV M4 Sherman-chassis armoured recovery vehicles with Detroit Diesel 8V-92-T diesel engines (see M32 entry under United States).


  • CW-34 (T-34 Chassis)
  • WPT-34 (T-34, SU-85 and SU-100 Chasis)
  • WZT-1 (T-54 and T-55 Chassis)
  • WZT-2 (T-55 Chassis)
  • WZT-3 (T-72M Chassis)
  • WZT-3M (PT-91M Chassis)
  • WPT-TOPAS (TOPAS Chassis)
  • WPT-MORS (MTLB Chassis)


Soviet Union

  • BTS-2 (T-54 Chassis)
  • BTS-4A (T-54 Chassis)
  • BREM-1 (T-72 Chassis)
  • BREM-2 (BMP-1 Chassis)
  • BREM-L (BMP-3 Chassis)
  • BREM-K (BTR-80 Chassis)
  • BREM-80U (T-80U Chassis)

United States

  • M31 Tank Recovery Vehicle - based on M3 Lee chassis.

  • M32 Tank Recovery Vehicle, or M32 TRV, based on the Sherman tank chassis with turret replaced by fixed superstructure, winch and an long pivoting A-frame jib installed. An 81 mm Mortar was also added into the hull, primarily for screening purposes.
    • M32B1 - M32s converted from M4A1s (some converted to M34 artillery prime movers).
      • M32A1B1 - M32B1's with HVSS, later removing the 81 mm Mortar and incorporating crane improvements.
    • M32B2 - M32's converted from M4A2's.
    • M32B3 - M32's converted from M4A3's.
      • M32A1B3 - M32B3's brought to the same standard as the M32A1B1.
    • M32B4 - M32's converted from M4A4's.

  • M74 Tank Recovery Vehicle - Upgrade of the M32 to provide the same capability with regards to heavier post-war tanks, converted from M4A3 HVSS tanks. In appearance the M74 is very similar to the M32, fitted with an A-Frame crane, a main towing winch, an auxiliary winch, and a manual utility winch. The M74 also has a front mounted spade that can be used as a support or as a dozer blade.
    • M74B1 - Same as the M74, but converted from M32B3s.

See also

Notes and references

External links

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