Welcome to this blog which is intended to accompany a website on how Suffolk was defended during the Second War. The blog will describe my trips out and about looking for the remains of the Second War defences while the Website will concentrate on putting these into context.

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Monday, 12 December 2011

WW2 Mechanical Earth Moving Equipment - Part 2

This post will look at the excavator. The base machine built by Ruston Bucyrus was the standardised  machine  used by the British Army during WW2. The normal base machines used were:

10 Roston Bucyrus
19 Roston Bucyrus
22 Ruston Bucyrus
37 Ruston Bucyrus

The RB 10 and RB 19 were normally employed in the field due ease of mobility. The RB 22 and 37 were considerably heavier and required special transport to move.

Above: Roston Bucyrus 19 Base Machine

All were powered by a diesel oil engine. The RB 19, 22 and 37 were started by compressed air - a small petrol driven donkey engine operating a compressor. The RB 10 was equipped with an electric self-starter assembly.

10 RB
Type of Engine: 3 VRON
Horse Power: 30
Weight of Base Machine: 9 tons
Ground Pressure lbs./sq.ft.: 1,440
Rated Capacity of Bucket: 3/8 cu.yd.

19 RB
Type of Engine: 3 VRON
Horse Power: 55
Weight of Base Machine: 17 tons
Ground Pressure lbs./sq.ft.: 1,650
Rated Capacity of Bucket: 5/8 cu.yd.

All the machines were fitted with three rope drums, or winches, which operated the jib or derricking rope, hoist rope and drag rope. Interchangeable front-end equipments were available for the base machines enabling the unit to be used for a variety of purposes.

Transporting Excavators
The only trailer normally available for the movemment of excavators was the Roston Bucyrus Trailer. It would take a load of up to 20 tons. It consisted of a triangular girder frame fitted with a removable platform. The front wheel assembly was detachable allowing the apex of the railer to be lowered to the ground. The usual prime mover was an A.E.C Matador or Scammell.

To transport excavators, the platform was removed and the front wheel assembly detached. A timber ramp was put in place  allowing the excavator to travel onto the trailer. The apex of the frame was then jacked up allowing the front wheel assembly to be slid back into position. With the platform in place the trailer could be used to tow any size tractor as well.

Above: Top - Excavator mounting trailer ramp. Bottom - 19 RB mounted on RB trailer attached to prime mover.

Subsequent posts on this thread will look at the various front-end equipments available to the base machine - dragline, back actor, skimmer and face shovel


  1. I need few earth moving equipment's. Can you please suggest me few of them with their functionality.

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