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Tank Recovery Vehicle, M32

M32 Tank Recovery Vehicle, or M32 TRV, was a variant of the M4 Sherman Medium Tank chassis with turret fixed in place and the installation of an 18 foot A-frame crane and 60,000 lb winch. The M32 Tank Recovery Vehicle slowly replaced the T2 (M31) Tank Recovery Vehicle, starting in 1944.

Tank Recovery Vehicle, M32B1 based on the M4A1 Sherman Medium Tank
Tank Recovery Vehicle, M32B1 based on the M4A1 Sherman Medium Tank.

The A-frame crane was mounted to the front of the hull, but folded back to the rear in a horizontal position for travel or for towing. The winch on the M32 Tank Recovery Vehicle could be attached to a load in the front or rear, over the crane or direct. To prevent movement during lifting operations, track chocks were used since no spade was provided.

About 1562 units were built, the total of all variants and a number of manufacturers. U.S. Allies, including the British, received some of the M32 Tank Recovery Vehicles.

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Vehicle, Tank Recovery, M32 Series (G-185)

The M32 TRV was produced as the T-5 prototype, then in a series of models, with first deliveries in March 1944. The models in this table were classified Standard or Limited Standard:

  • M32: M4 Sherman conversion (Continental R975 C1 9 cyl radial 340hp gas engine) (Standard)
  • M32A1: M4 Sherman conversion (Continental R974 C4 9 cyl radial 340hp gas engine) (Standard)
  • M32A1B1: M4A1 Sherman conversion, HVSS suspension. (Continental R975 C1 9 cyl radial 340hp gas engine) Late production with crane upgrades and w/o 81 mm Mortar (Standard)
  • M32A1B3: M4A3 Sherman conversion, HVSS suspension. Late production with crane upgrades and w/o 81 mm Mortar (Standard)
  • M32B1: M4A1 Sherman conversion with HVSS suspension. (Continental R975 C1 9 cyl radial 340hp gas engine) (Limited Standard)
  • M32B3: M4A3 Sherman conversion (Ford GAA V8 450hp gas engine) (Limited Standard)

As the M4 Sherman evolved, the changes were passed on to the M32 TRV. The M32 and M32B-series were earlier models with tracks 16 9/16 in wide. The M32A1-series are later models with a 23 in wide track.

The armament of the M32 TRV consisted of a .50 cal. M2 machine gun on a turret ring mount, plus an M1919A4 .30 cal. machine gun in a ball mount in the right front of the hull. An 81mm mortar was mounted on the hull front, just ahead of the turret, to lay down obscuring smoke. The mortar was eliminated in later production.

Tank Recovery Vehicle, M32 Characteristics

Length (sandshields removed)233 7/16 in
Width (sandshields removed)105 1/2 in
Width (tread)83 in
Height (turret top, crane lowered)107 3/4 in
Height (crane top, lifting position)252 in
Weight61,700 lbs
Max speed26 mph, governed
Range (average conditions)100 mi
Crew???

Table based on M32A1 values. Other models had slightly different dimensions, different engines and other details.

Manuals for the Tank Recovery Vehicle, M32

  • TM 9-738 Tank Recovery Vehicles M32, M32B1, M32B2, M32B3, M32B4 (9 Dec 1943)
  • TM 9-1725 Ordnance Maintenance: Ordnance Engine Model R975-C4 ( Continental)
  • TM 9-1731D Ordnance Maintenance: Azimuth indicators M20, M21 for tanks and GMC
  • TM 9-1750, 1750A,B Ordnance Maintenance: Power train unit for medium tanks M3, M4 and modifications
  • TM 9-1750C Ordnance Maintenance: American Bosch magnetos
  • TM 9-1750D Ordnance Maintenance: Accessories for Wright R75-EC2 engine for medium tanks M3 and M4
  • TM 9-1750K Ordnance Maintenance: Tracks and suspension, turret and hull, for M4 and modifications
  • TM 9-1825B Electrical Equipment (Auto-Lite)
  • TM 9-1826B Carburetors (Stromberg)
  • TM 9-1828A Fuel Pumps
  • TM 9-1829A Ordnance Maintenance-Speedometers, Tachometers, and Recorders
  • Supply Catalog SNL-G-185,6,7,8

These manuals listed for the Vehicle, Tank Recovery, M32 Series in TM 9-2800-1 dated February 1953.

T-5 prototype of the M32 Tank Recovery Vehicle (M32 TRV), Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, September 1943
T-5 prototype of the M32 Tank Recovery Vehicle (M32 TRV), Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, September 1943.

An M32 Tank Recovery Vehicle uses its crane to remove the damaged turret from a M4A3 Sherman tank during the Korean War
An M32 Tank Recovery Vehicle uses its crane to remove the damaged turret from a M4A3 Sherman tank during the Korean War.

M32 Tank Recovery Vehicle on road to Hamhung, Korea, 10 November 1950
M32 Tank Recovery Vehicle on road to Hamhung, Korea, 10 November 1950.

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