For any AFV Club Centurion
No two BARVs were the same. Over time, the recovery equipment carried changed from operation to operation. They were also individually modified during maintenance. There are many optional parts in this kit, so research which particular vehicle you would like to build, and choose your options.
The BARV (Beach Armoured recovery Vehicle) was the last variant of Centurion to serve in the British Army. Just twelve were constructed on Centurion Mk.3 hulls, completed in 1963. They were replacements for long-serving Sherman BARVs, dating back to WW2, which were now out of their depth (pun intended) when dealing with heavier vehicles and landing craft.
The role of the BARV was to assist in amphibious landings – to push landing craft back out to sea or pull them into shore. It could also pull stranded tanks off the beach, or even be used as an anchoring point for small vessels.
It could operate in 2.9 metres of water, though the usual operating depth was 2.4 metres. At depths up to 1.5 metres, the driver had direct vision via a laminated glass screen in an armoured ‘box’ over his position. The superstructure had 25 mm thick armour plate. Equipment was stowed on the sides of the superstructure – pioneer tools, fire extinguishers, towing equipment and spare road wheels. On the roof was a large two-piece hatch (the only crew access) from which the commander would guide the driver when the vehicle was submerged. The BARVs job required it to operate in soft ground and deep water where the effective weight of the vehicle was reduced to as low as 15 tons. Therefore, all shock absorbers were removed and blanked off. The standard trackguards were replaced by heavy-duty, wire mesh catwalks.
The vehicle could tow 28 tons on dry land, but every foot of water reduced this by 2 tons. A 2:1 pull could be achieved with a snatch-block stowed above the driver’s compartment. To physically push stranded tanks or push vessels back out to sea, a wooden block at the front of the vehicle was later covered in thick rope. A stowage bin behind the block was used for stowing recovery equipment.
The two amphibious assault ships, HMS Fearless and HMS Intrepid each carried a Centurion BARV with a Royal Marine crew. Both ships took part in the amphibious landings during the Falklands War at San Carlos Bay. The BARVs were the largest land vehicles ashore. Later, on board HMS Ocean, the BARV would see its final days of service in the Second Gulf War of 2003.
A separate engine removal gantry set (SMM3548G) will be available soon
SMM3558 Centurion BARV Conversion
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More kits will be available for posting mid-January
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