Military cranes are used for construction activity, similar to their civilian roles, as well as military-specific duty such as artillery barrel replacement, ammunition handling and other assignments. See also Wreckers.
In the U.S. military, Engineer units use a wide variety of cranes as lifting and loading equipment. The cranes are of three basic types: crawler, truck mounted, and wheel mounted. They are capable of operating various attachments. The 12 1/2-ton crawler cranes and 20- to 25-ton truck- and wheel-mounted cranes are capable of operating with hook, 3/4-cubic yard clamshell and dragline, concrete bucket, wrecking ball, and 7,000-pound diesel-operated pile driver. The 40-ton crawler crane is capable of operating a hook, 2-cubic yard clamshell and dragline, and a 12,000-pound diesel-operated pile driver. In addition, crawler cranes are capable of operating backhoe and shovel front attachments. The 25-ton truck-mounted crane is hydraulically operated, whereas the 20-ton truck- and wheel-mounted cranes and crawler-mounted cranes are hoist/drum operated.
The truck- and wheel-mounted cranes are employed by units that have material-handling and excavating capability to support combat support missions. The crawler cranes are employed by construction support units that have a primary mission to operate quarries or construct port facilities.
Crawler cranes are authorized in the U.S. Army equipment platoons and quarry sections of the Engineer Construction Support Company, Engineer Equipment Maintenance Company (Combat Heavy), Engineer Port Construction Company, and in various Engineer Teams. The 25-ton hydraulic crane is found in the same TOEs. The 20-ton wheel-mounted crane is authorized in the Engineer Combat Battalion (Corps), Engineer Bridge Companies, and in supply/support TOEs. U.S. Navy and USMC usage is similar but adapted to the service-specific needs of the U.S. Naval Construction Force (SeeBees) or Marine Corps Combat Logistics Engineers for building airfields, emplacing pads for vertical/short take-off and landing aircraft, clearing landing zones, creating fuel berms, and general construction.
This section adapted from: FM 5-104 General Engineering.
Chart of Military Cranes
In this chart of military cranes, click on the photo link to go to the page of photos and information for the specific vehicle.
WW II Crawler Crane
Crawler cranes were used for many tasks including construction, bridging, port operations, and logistics. Crawler-mounted cranes are similar to truck-mounted cranes, but their crawler treads spread the weight more evenly over the surface so they can track over weaker soil areas. They have about the same handling capacities as the truck-mounted cranes, 5 tons up to 40 tons.
Bucyrus-Erie Model 22BM Crane, Shovel, Crawler Mounted, 12 1/2 Ton, 3/4 cu yd
Crane-Shovel Unit, Crawler Mounted, 40-ton, 2 cubic yard. P & H Diesel Division-Harnischfeger Corp, Model 855B
Crane, Crawler Mounted, 60 ton, DED Harnischfeger Model 1125
Crane, Crawler Mounted, Self-propelled, 40 ton Harnischfeger Model 5060
Truck Mounted & Wheeled Self-Propelled Cranes
WW II Truck Cranes
Truck mounted cranes were widely employed by Engineers and maintenance units.Truck-mounted - cranes. Military truck-mounted cranes are a little more versatile than crawler cranes and come in capacities from 5 tons up to 40 tons.
1950s Truck Cranes
Truck mounted cranes used in the 1950s were often units built during World War II, along with newly acquired equipment.
Crane, Truck Mounted, 25 ton. P & H Diesel Division-Harnischfeger Corp, Model MT250
Rough Terrain Crane, 20 ton, American Hoist & Derrick Company Model 2380
Crane, Truck Mounted, GED 6x6, 20 ton capacity. Harnischfeger Corp, Model M320T2
All Terrain (ATEC) 22T Crane, Truck Mounted, Wheeled. Grove Manufacturing Co. Model AT422.
Crane, Truck Mounted, 25 ton, Grove Manufacturing Co. Model TMS-300-5.
H446 & H446A
Crane, Wheel Mounted, 5 ton, Model H446 and H446A, made by Hanson Mfg. Co.
U.S. Marine Corps LRT-110 Air Mobile Crane, 7 1/2 ton capacity.
Crane, Truck Mounted, 4-Ton Aircraft Maintenance Grove Model RT41AA (SCAMP)
Rough Terrain Container Crane (RTCC)
Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) Caterpillar and Kalmar