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Hair Bear

RAF (?) tractor used for towing what?

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seen many at steam rallies but used for agriculture mainly on smallholdings. Never heard of military use but could be wrong.

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Ransomes supplied a few to the army apparently for use with a small cable/comms layer but I have never seen an ex-military one in the flesh.

They were basically a small holders crawler for pulling a small cultivator or plough.

As for an RAF one, I doubt it but you never know...

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Thanks for the replies.

The reason I ask is that I have had one of these little critters for more than 40 years (gulp!) and it really needs freshening up so I was thinking of a different scheme for it.

Originally it would have been light blue with red wheels, so where green came into it, who knows?. The wheels point to it being an early 40's model.

It appears to have the track set wide and a non standard downswept exhaust, but not have the cultivator lift mechanism, to me suggested a specific role - or maybe not!

I'd love to know more about the comms cable layer.

 

Edit to add... Now I've studied the pic closer, there's something very screwey going on with the wheel arrangement that I can't quite get my head around. Very strange.

Edited by Hair Bear

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Before my time we used to cart Ransomes stuff about now and again. One of the old guys at Ipswich spoke of the British Army having a few MG2's to pull a small mole plough at about 4 inches deep and a cable drum put a comms line in the slot. He reckoned the idea was for keeping cables out of the way on camps etc.

The reason I know about it was that I wanted to make a similar system for laying irrigation lines in large gardens on a site some years ago and was reminded of this system that Ransomes apparently tried by one of our old drivers.

 

Personally, I reckon they only ever reached evaluation level and no further.

As for the RAF coloured one, I think it is a bit of artistic licence along the lines of the larger US Cletracs and Roadless Fordsons.

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They are a super little machine. In Jersey where it used to be that any patch of dirt was ploughed the Ransome was ideal, especially on the Cotils! (The local name for the steep valley sides) If a Ransome couldn't plough it, then you chucked the plough over and towed it up on a winch cable.

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Definitely artistic licence, or rather -i've not come across any mention anywhere of the RAF using them.

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I should have updated this thread sooner...

Ransomes MG2.jpg

Just thought I'd share this, my MG2.

Made in 1938 and owned by us since 1970, restored 1972. Apart from the tracks, idler wheels and spark plug it's all original, and still sporting it's 1972 paint job. It did the ploughing match circuit from 1974-80 then just a couple of shows a year as other toys were aquired.

It's been barn stored for nearly 10 years and was fished out of the shed yesterday as other projects got completed and finally moved out of the way. Cleaned the points, fresh petrol and third swing it was away!

It was a nice day, it'd be rude not to take it for a spin...

I'd forgotten how much fun could be had at 2mph - Ok, so the mud was deeper than I expected (yes, that is mud on the bumper!) but after all that time in the shed I'm suprised I got that far (and back) without breaking any track bolts.

It's now clean and back in the shed, I wonder how long for this time?

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I would have thought it entirely possible that the RAF might have had some of these. Nowadays, the MoD use contractors for the maintenance of the estate who use their own equipment, but that wasn't always the case and there would have been quite a lot of stuff purchased by each of the three Services entirely for domestic use - for maintaining the grounds, sports pitches, gardens and so on. We have all seen pictures of Service road sweepers, dust carts and so on. And while I haven't seen pictures of these in service, I haven't seen pictures of Service lawn mowers either, but we still know they were bought and issued.

 

Whether a vehicle such as this was supplied in RAF blue is one thing, that a local maintenance man on an air station somewhere might have "freshened it up" at some stage in its service with a coat of RAF blue, entirely another. I'm firmly in the "never say never" camp on this and many other things. And if ever there was a Service with a requirement for shallow-burying cables on its estate, then that has to be the RAF, so a small mole drainer - yep, very plausible, I would say.

 

10 68

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Ransomes did a range of the crawlers specifically for industrial use. These included tipper ones, some fitted with winches and used by the railways. Also ones that were wheeled instead of tracked. So I would have thought it is highly possible that the RAF or other military arm used them. The RAF did have a number of Fordson tractors (normal and half track) so a ransomes might have fitted in similar job roles.

 

Ed

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Thats a grand little machine for sure ..:)

.....a crawler vehicle thats within most folks reach to yearn for I'd say :) small enough to fit in a garden shed and not too massive and heavy that you couldn't do any work on it without a gantry , a forklift or a hernia :) ....and also rinkydink enough to go on a normal sort of trailer to take to shows etc......and........it's got tracks so it's win win ! :) A mate of mine had something similar many years ago but very sadly never got around to restoring it and it went for scrap ....sacrilige I know and I should add , I never knew he was clearing his yard otherwise I'd have bought it .... ...his was called a 'Calf Dozer' ...now whether that was it's proper name or a name that folk just gave to mini bull dozers back then ? I don't know ?.....not sure what make it was either?.... but you sat on the front , right above the blade....a bit hairy in todays H&S obsessed world as it would have seemed very easy to fall off it 'frontwards' and end up under the blade :)

it would have appeared very similar to this ....

0_Aveling_Barf_Calfdozer_a50_dozer.JPG

Edited by RattlesnakeBob

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I would have thought it entirely possible that the RAF might have had some of these. Nowadays, the MoD use contractors for the maintenance of the estate who use their own equipment, but that wasn't always the case and there would have been quite a lot of stuff purchased by each of the three Services entirely for domestic use - for maintaining the grounds, sports pitches, gardens and so on. We have all seen pictures of Service road sweepers, dust carts and so on. And while I haven't seen pictures of these in service, I haven't seen pictures of Service lawn mowers either, but we still know they were bought and issued.

 

Whether a vehicle such as this was supplied in RAF blue is one thing, that a local maintenance man on an air station somewhere might have "freshened it up" at some stage in its service with a coat of RAF blue, entirely another. I'm firmly in the "never say never" camp on this and many other things. And if ever there was a Service with a requirement for shallow-burying cables on its estate, then that has to be the RAF, so a small mole drainer - yep, very plausible, I would say.

 

10 68[/QUOAFS and never saw war sevicevas canteens

 

Trouble is that very plausible becomes gospel and next thing we will see squadrons of RAF MG2 crawlers on the scene

It is so easy to distort history, take for example the couple of K2 "NAAFI" wagons on the scene. These were converted from ATVs post war for the AFS

If anybody has a photo of an MG2 in service then fine, if not then let's be careful about misrepresenting stuff

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Ransomes did produce the MG2 as a wheeled version. These were designed for use in large warehouses for moving small trailers about. Their size allowed them to be driven down narrow isles. It is quite possible that branches of the military did use them for this purpose. I know of one locally that was originally used for transporting bales of wool using trailers like a train.

The comment made regards other items of estate management equipment is so true. How many lawn mowers and other such items do we see presented. Still and important role in maintaining a property.

Don't have any ex military lawn mowers, amongst the collection of 200 mowers one of my sons has stored here. Probably no different to the 36 inch Council parks mowers.

Is some one going to say a pair of manual hedge trimmers (shears) if not painted green would not be military!

Find me a set with a broad arrow mark and we are really talking!

Doug

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[/QUOAFS and never saw war sevicevas canteens

 

Trouble is that very plausible becomes gospel and next thing we will see squadrons of RAF MG2 crawlers on the scene

It is so easy to distort history, take for example the couple of K2 "NAAFI" wagons on the scene. These were converted from ATVs post war for the AFS

If anybody has a photo of an MG2 in service then fine, if not then let's be careful about misrepresenting stuff

 

Not in my book it doesn't. Plausible means just that and, I am sure that most people on this forum can cope with that concept. There is nothing in my post which is any more "misrepresenting history" than those which categorically state that they were not used by the Services. The fact is that, at the moment, no one in this debate knows for sure and I would be disappointed to see a search for information by one member stymied by the confident assertion of another that they never saw service. As for photographic evidence, I have seen quite enough mis-captioned photographs in my time to be realistically sceptical about that. I regret not photographing the lawn mower the Army gave me in my married quarter now!

 

Best

 

10 68

Edited by 10FM68

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I think I saw one of these in Jurby Museum on the Isle of Man, they have a good history on some of the machines, maybe they can help.

I cant find a picture at the moment

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At the Tractor World show at Newbury (oct 8/9) there is a gathering of these marking their 80th anniversary. It'll be interesting to see if any service paint schemes/markings show up.

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Nice pic. It'd be interesting to know when that was taken. It's an MG2, the rear idlers suggest a circa 1938. It looks like it's seen some hard work as the MG2 rollers have been replaced with MG5 type. The plough it's pulling is almost certainly a Ransomes TS38. The brackets for mudguards are unusual but not unheard of.

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The only information on the photo is this.

 

Private Robert Oliver of the US Army trying out a Ransome MG tractor and plough at the Worcestershire WAEC's light tractor demonstration at Court Farm, near Evesham.

which is amazing but no date. 

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