Combat Engineer Tractor Query

Studying photos of the British Army’s Combat Engineer Tractor, I notice that on certain examples there is a large rectangular hinged panel over the front of the vehicle. Am I correct in thinking that this, when extended, serves as a bow plane when the vehicle is travelling through deep water?


This is how Accurate Armour shows the CET rigged for swimming.

Washboard deployed and buoyancy aids attached


Many thanks … just as I thought.


I think … that when the fording plate was up, they would or could have x 2 flotation drums secured behind it ? I always figured that was their purpose ?

Cancel my above post :see_no_evil::see_no_evil: I just read the whole of Robin’s post :grin:


You and my wife,
think you know what I’m saying/writing halfway through
:+1: :grin: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


It’s called a washboard, and since swimming was actually quite rare (despite the vehicle’s primary role (and raison d’etre) as a ‘Pathfinder for River Crossings’) it was an ideal place to stow the cam net under normal circumstances. There was an actual cam net bin usually attached to the rear of the smoke stack which seems to be missing in the picture - but usually that was used to stow other items of CES.

And, before you ask…

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Two flotation bags were deflated and strapped to the underside of the washboard when not in use. When required, they were inflated from a hose attached to an outlet to the side of the steering/transmission deck.


Just to clarify … you have highlighted the large side panel (in the above photo) as ‘access door for the
propellor intake tunnel’. I was under the impression that the CET was propelled through water simply by its tracks movement. Presumably I was wrong, in which case, where would the actual propellor be located?

Re; my earlier query, I think I’ve found the answer …
‘The amphibious propulsion is provided by two Dowty water impellers, one mounted on each side of the vehicle and controlled by the commander in the rear seat facing forwards. The water jets are used to steer the vehicle when swimming, this is with the use of movable cowls directing the flow of water. When not in use, the propulsion unit water intakes are closed off with armoured covers to prevent damage during digging operations.’ (from Wikipedia)


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swimming configuration can be seen in this article


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We also kept the drive to the tracks engaged during swimming, as this did indeed contribute towards propulsion. Although this was not taught.

The Frog was suprisingly quick and dare I say it, agile in the water, but it took a lot of strength to steer it using the control levers inside. They weren’t power assisted and simply used a mechanical linkage.

These are the steering controls

There are some really good pictures of the vehicle, and interior here:



Most informative … many thanks.


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Incidentally, here is a CET in BATUS garb. not sure why the duplex drive doors are open, but they are. Also, the generic Battlegroup Callsign isn’t present. It would normally be in the area forward and below of the cooling fan intake (large grill visible on the side) and rear of the fire extinguisher handles recess. In this picture it seems to be taped over with someting. Anyway, the marking was a large black square with white callsign ID. For BATUS CETs, this was always E42, E42A, B, C or D.

And here is a CET swimming. What is immediately obvious from this picture is that the RPA is missing, and that was SOP for swimming - usually. IIRC it wasn’t absolutely necessary if the water obstacle was well known in terms of depth, ingress & most importantly, egress. Certainly, operationally, a CET would never swim without an RPA - remembering that its primary role is pathfinder for river crossings - and if you don’t know what the enemy bank is like, you’re going to want to make sure you can self-recover.

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Noob is curious …

Rocket Propelled Anchor???

Yes, correct.

Roly, I think that BATUS finished one you showed is a wagon in private hands and it was at a military veh show prob in UK ?
same wagon .(they just didnt finish the painting properly or left those markings off for whatever reason)…

see the inlet doors are still open ?

On this old BATUS one you can see the BATUS ID black panels as they should be. The Large rear one would be the vehicle callsign, and the smaller black box would be for the veh zap number.

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That is actually the front on a CET. The rear becomes the front when the commander is facing rearwards operating the digging controls… :upside_down_face:

You can also see the cam net bin at the rear near the stack (it has an ‘18’ marking on it). It was hardly ever used for stowing cam nets mainly because the bin wasn’t large enough to accommodate a cam net of sufficient size to civer a CET… :man_facepalming:


I always forget that part :+1: