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Vehicle, Tank Recovery, T2 (M31)

The Vehicle, Tank Recovery T-2 was an armored tank retriever made by modification of the M-3 Lee Medium Tank chassis. The designation T-2 was later changed to M-31.

Vehicle, Tank Recovery T2, France, 1944
Vehicle, Tank Recovery T2, France, 1944.

The turret of the Tank Recovery Vehicle T-2 (M31) mounts a Gar Wood power boom crane with 10,000 to 30,000 lb. capacity, depending on how supports are deployed. There is also a 30 ton winch mounted inside the hull which can operate with its cable over the boom crane or hooked directly to a load.

The M3 Lee 75mm main gun was replaced by a hatch with a dummy gun barrel attached to obscure the identity of the vehicle. The T-2 (M31) also mounted two .30 cal. M1919 machine guns.

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Vehicle, Tank Recovery, T2 (M31) (G-169)

Although this M3-based Tank Recovery Vehicle was initially designated as the T-2, after standardization the nomenclature changed to M31 with these variants:

  • M31 (based on M-3 Lee Medium Tank with Continental R-975-C1 9 cyl. radial gasoline engine, riveted hull)
  • M31B1 (based on M3A3 with twin GM diesel engines, welded hull)
  • M31B2 (based on M3A5 with twin GM diesel engines, riveted hull)

Just over 800 of the Tank Recovery Vehicle T-2 (M31) were produced in all variants, in service through 1945. The T2 (M31) was slowly replaced by the M32 Tank Recovery Vehicle, based on the M4 Sherman tank, starting in 1944.

The British converted M3 Lee tanks (called Grant in the UK, with minor modifications) to armored recovery vehicles, known as the Grant ARV I. This is similar to the T-2 (M31) but of simpler design. When M31 vehicles were obtained by Britain under Lend-Lease, they were referred to as Grant ARV II. About 125 T-2 (M31) vehicles were sent to the Soviet Union during WW II. Other Allies also received units or converted their own M3 tanks.

The M33 Prime Mover (for towing artillery) was based on the Vehicle, Tank Recovery, T2 (or M31) minus the crane, turret and recovery equipment. As the M31 TRV was being replaced by the M32 Tank Recovery Vehicle, over 100 of the M31 TRVs were converted to the M33 Prime Mover in 1943-1944 to be used as an alternative to scarce high speed tractors.

Vehicle, Tank Recovery T-2 (M31) Characteristics

Length (hull)18ft 6in
Width8ft 11in
Height (crane lowered)10ft 0in
Weight34 tons
Max speed25 mph
Range (average conditions)100mi
Crew6
ManufacturerBaldwin Locomotive Works

Manuals for the Vehicle, Tank Recovery T-2 (M31)

  • TM 9-739 Operators Manual, Vehicle, Tank Recovery, T2 (M31) (11 August 1943, 30 August 1944)
  • TM 9-1739 Maintenance Manual, Vehicle, Tank Recovery, T2 (M31)
  • TM 11-2703 Installation of Radio and Interphone Equipment in Tank Recovery Vehicle T2 (M31)
  • SNL G-169 Parts List, Vehicle, Tank Recovery, T2 (M31)

Tank Recovery Vehicle T-2, USA 40103693, on PRR flat car, awaiting loading on HR-118, MATT RANSON, Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, Newport News, VA, 28 February 1943.
Tank Recovery Vehicle T-2, USA 40103693, on PRR flat car, awaiting loading on HR-118, MATT RANSON, Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, Newport News, VA, 28 February 1943.

Tank Recovery Vehicle T-2, USA 40103727, in Tunisia during WW II
Tank Recovery Vehicle T-2, USA 40103727, in Tunisia during WW II.

M4 Sherman tank from Co A, 741st Tank Bn, 16th RCT, 1st Infantry Div, being towed by Tank Recovery Vehicle T-2, Colleville, Normandy, France, June 1944
M4 Sherman tank from Co A, 741st Tank Bn, 16th RCT, 1st Infantry Div, being towed by Tank Recovery Vehicle T-2, Colleville, Normandy, France, June 1944.

M31 Tank Recovery Vehicle of Co B, 752nd Tank Bn, near Udine, Italy, November 1944.  Note the dummy cannon tube attached to the hatch cover
M31 Tank Recovery Vehicle of Co B, 752nd Tank Bn, near Udine, Italy, November 1944. Note the dummy cannon tube attached to the hatch cover.

Reference photo: Vehicle, Tank Recovery, T-2.  From TM 9-2800 (1 Sep 1943)
Reference photo: Vehicle, Tank Recovery, T-2. From TM 9-2800 (1 Sep 1943).

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