I am aware that the Royal Armoured Engineers have at their disposal the ‘Maxi Pipe Fascine’; a bundle of around 75 plastic pipes, each 4.6m in length, and 22cm diameter. Presumably this is the standard configuration for the fascine, but are there smaller bundles (perhaps referred to as ‘mini pipe fascines’)? I guess the length of the pipes will be still be the same, allowing a suitable width for vehicles such as Challenger 2 to cross ditches.
As far as I know (and I served on these vehicles (albeit briefly as we were transitioning to Trojan from Chieftan AVRE)) there’s no such thing as a mini fascine, only a standard sized fascine carried by Trojan (and sometimes Terrier as its predecessor CET could do)
Mini fascines were typically carried by FV432 in service with the Royal Engineers slung along the side of the vehicle. These were used to assist in crossing culverts mainly (as they were the right size and allowed the culvert to drain through the length of the pipes).
I may be wrong but I was under the same impression as Khouli, and the only small versions were the ones carried by 43’s until they were phased out. I just thought the standard fascines were one size and could be carried as a double load if needed like below,
from the web for ref only.
The bundle size of pipes does look larger on the chieftain ones, but thats probably just down to new configurations (and cutbacks) and I am pretty sure that Trojan can just double up the loads as well if needed.
The ‘standard’ size of a fascine may have reduced (I don’t think they have), but there is an actual directive on how they are built up (I should know, i’ve built bloody scores of them in BATUS pre-Med Man). which includes the number of pipes to be used - and units are not in the business of ‘tailoring’ fascines to suit their needs.
Interesting, but according to SableLiger’s photos of the Trojan (earlier in the thread), together with other photos that I have come across, fascine bundles can be smaller, consisting of around 30 pipes. I have also read that these are referred to as ‘medium fascines’.
Yes it is interesting. Spoke to a a friend who is still serving at 22 Engineer Regiment, and he’s never heard of a ‘medium’ fascine. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist. He says that RSME are always carrying out trials with equipment which probably included fascines of various sizes. He’s never seen one used in the Field army though.
There’s no such thing as a Royal Armoured Engineer btw.
Everyone in the Corps is a Royal Engineer (Sapper). Armoured Engineer is a specialist trade within the Corps.
so there has been three sizes of pipe fascine
the initial one which came in to service in the 80s was to replace the chestnut palling fascine has it deemed to be to heavy for Whillic AVRE then CHAVRE.
so the initial fascine was the main one with 75 pipes chained together and loose pipes inside . British Army still has them in storage .
in the 80s Engineer filed squadrons would carry fascine pipes along the side of a FV432 this was dropped after Gulf war 1
with the advent of Trojan and terrier the fascine which is now in use is 18 pipes chained together and 10 loose internally held in place by nets.
personally i liked using the big fascines easier to load , but the chestnut Fascine on a Centurion AVRE was a different beast and really heavy if they been crossed a lot .
they are used by the Dutch and Danish army has well , the pipe for the fascine is a specially made plastic pipe for the job
ex Armoured Engineer 1974-87 then worked on them has a civilian totally length of time 43yrs
To continue this thread, I have a few questions relating to my proposed diorama …
(1) Is there a standard width (at ground level) for anti-tank ditches, such as would
be found on BATUS exercises?
(2) Similarly, is there a standard depth to the ditch?
(3) In a situation where the CET is discharging soil over the already-positioned pipe
fascine, where would the soil be sourced … from around the ditch, or further afield?
While these questions may seem trivial, having the answers would help me to create a
so when I was in the army I was involved with the anti ditch trials using various equipment’s to make them.
so a trench 3m wide can be crossed at speed by any modern tank , they only have to be 1.5 mtr deep minimum reason is the tank nose dives in and can not get out due to the track idler wheel being below the the height of the trench
there is a video on you tube showing a leopard crossing a trench at 3mtrs at speed and slow and it gets stuck at slow speed. Leopard 2 tank crosses anti-tank trench 3.5 x 2 m #military #defence - YouTube
main design for a fascine is to breach the gap be a trench or river then the soil could be dozed on to the fascine to make a permeant crossing if needed.
if the gap is to big then a bridge would be used from a AVLB
normally the AVRE or CET would doze the soil in front to make a easy crossing and same with exit and if needed a metal track way could be laid over the top . this would allow wheeled vehicles easy access to cross the gap.
I would say my experiences (1991 - 1997) differ, certainly for CET (CET commander 1991 - 1997).
If a CET was available (each Armoured Engineer Troop fielded x2 from Sqn Support Troop), usually the AVRE would plough up to the mission (if there was a minefield in front of it) and then drop the fascine and reverse out. In fact, I don’t recall in 7 years of my time at 32 ever having seen an AVRE attack the fascine itself. Mainly because if there is a minefield in front of the mission, this requires the AVRE to plough up to the ditch (and see last paragraph).
A full bucket of soil was taken from anywhere available, but the most important thing was to arrive at the mission with a bucket full ready to go.
The CET can’t ‘doze’ in the true sense, so the technique was drop the first load on to the fascine. Then reverse up and begin filling the bucket in a shallow ramp as you approached the fascine, dropping what you had collected onto the fascine. If there wasn’t a minefield in front of the mission, this was easier as you could gather soil from further afield and make a sort of ‘funnel’ into the mission which the chunkies would subsequently defile mark.
When there was enough soil on the fascine, you levelled it as quickly and efficiently as possible before then attacking the bund. The technique here was to drag soil from the bund back down onto the fascine until enough of the bund had been removed that you could push through (this phase was something an AVRE would probably really struggle with, because generally, the base of the bund was above the level of the fascine).
thank you for your description of how a CET was used , CET were just coming in when I left armoured in 32 and willich had just started to be issued we had mainly centurion AVRE both 165 and 105 and AVLB and some centurion bridge layers when I left . Indont remember CETS in 32 then and mine plough had just started to be issued slowly
i was 74-87 all armoured except 3yrs field Squadron
I know, they were rotting on the tank park at Munsterlager when I got posted in. Crews swore by them though.
CET was a less than relaible machine, but when it worked, its output was phenomenal.
It was interesting to read your knowledge on the fascines though, considering I talked to a guy at 22 and he’s never seen a 30 pipe version deployed. I’ll talk to another guy I know, he was the OC Engineering Wing at Bovington - see if he’s any the wiser.
Sorry mate but I was in 31AES sp troop 82/86 we definitely had two Frogs at that time,can’t recall any Cent AVLB they were all Chieftain,
105s had the plough and sometimes a fascine cradle but they were always on the 165s.The plough was also tried on the AVLB but it was very heavy and with the bridge stuff hanging over the front it was very nose down so not fitted often.The plastic fascine was also there from the start of my time as we had many a ‘log’ run with a spare one😵💫
Interesting hearing about our times in armoured
I remember when we moved from 31 sqn osnubruck to form 26 corps before 32 we had 10 tank troops then all cent and AVLB i then went to bovy tank troop late78 then field squadron later
Came back to armoured late 86
Left 87 has i said i don’t remember seeing a CET there but then i was stores issuing whillichs on my return
I am in process of writing about the armoured engineers and had help from my god father , father and DC who still at bovington and alot of ex armoured engineers