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Fig.5     Direction of Track in Forward Motion with “Tails” to the Front and Rear

 

In Figure 5 with the “tails” to the front it can be seen that the links, on being engaged by the drive sprocket, are being both pulled and pushed.  The pulling force is being exerted on front edge of the link pin whilst the pushing force is being exerted on the rear edge of the same pin.  These opposing forces are also being transmitted into the two holes the pin sits in.  However with the “tails” to the rear only a pulling force is applied to the link pin and holes.  This in turn would result in less wear in the track components.  The other result would be that the maximum energy is utilised as opposed to a loss of energy in overcoming the opposing pull/push forces.

The source manuals further describe a link as follows.

 The sole of each link has a ridge or bar running the full width of the link to enable it to grip the ground.

With reference to Figure 6 where the “tails” are depicted to the rear, it can be seen that the first point of contact of the link on the ground is the longer edge of the link.  In this orientation the “tails” also resemble two wedges that would bite into the ground prior to and clearing a pathway for the ridge or bar.

A close study of Figure 6 also shows small raised lugs adjacent to the sprocket teeth holes.  These lugs would be the contact point between the sprocket tooth and the link and would provide both strength and wear protection at that point of contact.  If the “tails” were to the front these lugs would not be utilised.

Figure 6 is the track fitted to Carrier 2340 that has “41” cast into its links denoting a 1941 manufacture.

The overall result of the above arguments may appear subtle and minimal, but over a period of time these factors would affect the wear and eventual breakdown of the tracks.  Bear in mind the tracks were made of “malleable cast iron” with the non-lubricated joining pins and pin holes being subjected to enormous friction and stresses.

What is the Answer?

The most important issue to consider is that the only correct benchmarks must be those detailed in the original design specifications utilised by the construction workshops that built the Carriers.  Once the Carriers were released to the military they were immediately subjected to whatever the military workshop manuals and procedures stated and not what was originally designed.

The “tails” to the rear theory is supported by the following facts:
Fig 7
Fig 7A
1. Written references in the LP1 and Pamphlet 7 manuals.
2. The Carrier images and those relating to tracks depicted in these manuals to support the instructions. (Figures 7 & 7a)
3.The fact that these images were never changed in the subsequent manuals.  If it was felt necessary to amend the written text, then that amendment should also have been carried through to changing the images.  The old adage of “a picture says a thousand words” is very true.  More notice is likely to be taken of an image than the written word and hence an incorrect image would be very damaging when used to support an amendment.
4. Photographs of Carriers during the testing phase at their time of completion by the construction workshops.  These photographs originate from South Australia in 1941 (Figure 8 and West Australia in 1943 Figure 8a) and are owned by the military test driver from that time.
South Australia 1941 – Carrier 174    Fig.8a West Australia 1943 – Carrier 5086
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