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US Army land train.

sferrin

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This was suppose to "roam the Alaskan tundra". Why I have no idea. The only place I'd ever heard of it was in an old C.B. Colby book on army weapons back in elementary school. Then MUCH later I saw the wheels on Bigfoot (or is it Bearfoot?) and they are rather distinctive.
 

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TinWing

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sferrin said:
This was suppose to "roam the Alaskan tundra". Why I have no idea. The only place I'd ever heard of it was in an old C.B. Colby book on army weapons back in elementary school. Then MUCH later I saw the wheels on Bigfoot (or is it Bearfoot?) and they are rather distinctive.

These huge "land trains" were built specifically for the construction of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line or radar installations.
 

sferrin

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TinWing said:
sferrin said:
This was suppose to "roam the Alaskan tundra". Why I have no idea. The only place I'd ever heard of it was in an old C.B. Colby book on army weapons back in elementary school. Then MUCH later I saw the wheels on Bigfoot (or is it Bearfoot?) and they are rather distinctive.

These huge "land trains" were built specifically for the construction of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line or radar installations.

I was pretty sure I'd heard a different account. Basically, in a nut shell, they only made 1, it was about 520 or so feet long, and it didn't work very well. This site seems to support that.

http://movingnorth.blogspot.com/2005/03/ultimate-suv.html


I'm not sure where you got the story about them using land trains to build the DEW line but it seems they made the story up.
 

TinWing

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sferrin said:
I'm not sure where you got the story about them using land trains to build the DEW line but it seems they made the story up.

Well, that was the claimed purpose. The DEW Line radar stations were spread out through the high arctic, and it isn't easy to traverse hundred of miles of permafrost during the summer melt.

The "Land Train" concept might not have been successful, and damaging permafrost would be considered ecologically disasterous today.
 

sferrin

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Tracked down a bit more info. The show mentioned on the link I posted above is actually "Modern Marvels - Monster Trucks". In it they have a segment on the "Snow Train". It ran for 7 years and made the last run in 1962 and it was used to supply the DEW line (so TinWing was sorta right ;) ). Apparently it only had the tug and three cars. (I could swear the artist's impression I saw way back in the day had more like 20 cars and was shown in an "S" "formation". The guy who put the tires on his monster truck found the thing in a junk yard in Seattle. So you have one guy that takes a picture of a tug in Alaska and another of them shooting footage of a tug in a junk yard in Seattle. So it either moved or they had more than one.
 

JC Carbonel

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I think the picture with one truck and twenty trailers in S formation was in an article in Popular mechanics of the times.

there were a big article about the design in Wheel and tracks with one or two colour shots of the surviving tractor ...

JCC
 

FastMikie

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I saw an amazing vehicle a couple of weeks ago in at the US Army's Yuma Proving Grounds (Yuma, AZ).
After I did some research on the internet, and could find very little info on it (the Army Land Train), and no photos similar to what I saw, I figured I would add something to this old thread, in case anyone is still interested.

Attached are photos and info.

I notice that the control vehicle has MK II on the front, so this unit may have never made it to the Alaska tundra. It would be interesting to know how it got to Yuma. I'll keep trying to find out.
 

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Remko

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These were designed and built by the legendary Texan R.G. Letourneau. He is most famous for his wide variety of very special earthmoving equipment (including the larges wheelloader ever built), but also designed various military vehicles, including a 4 axle variant of a dumptruck designed to move ballistic missiles over land. I have some photo's of it from a book and will post them later, as well as the title of the book.
 

Triton

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Remko said:
These were designed and built by the legendary Texan R.G. Letourneau. He is most famous for his wide variety of very special earthmoving equipment (including the larges wheelloader ever built), but also designed various military vehicles, including a 4 axle variant of a dumptruck designed to move ballistic missiles over land. I have some photo's of it from a book and will post them later, as well as the title of the book.

I look forward to seeing the images and I am interested in the title of the book. ;D
 

ouroboros

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more
 

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ouroboros

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amsci99

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There was a series of post-apocalyptic novels called 'The Amtrak Wars' by Patrick Tilley that featured land trains as a main feature of the plot.

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/t/patrick-tilley/illustrated-guide-to-amtrak-wars.htm
 

smurf

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There is a 5-page article on these things in the April 2009 (Issue 95) Classic Military Vehicle magazine, just out.
 

SlickDriver

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I remember in the early '60s the US Army experimented with a single 'vehicle' to supply an entire Division. It was enormous and made up of several drive segments coupled with non-motorized units.

They finally realized what a target that it would be and how hard it was to maneuver. They only made one as I recall.
 

Michel Van

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from LIFE magazine
http://images.google.com/images?sa=4&imgc=&imgsz=&q=Overland+Train+Arizona+source%3Alife

around 80 picture
 

Nik

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Those 'desert train' photos gave me a double hit of deja-vu...

An artist's impression of a Mars settlement, with a 'road train' trundlin' down Marineris ?

An ancient 'Eagle' SciFi cartoon had a coal-fired road-train, wheels equipped with hinged feet or mud-paddles like a WW1 howitzer or that experimental Waffen mine-treader ??

Weird...
 

somekidwithanm4

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Hey. I was reading up on the snow train. Here's a vid if you want to see it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nvmnc0TJFto
Also, look at the pics. There is more than one type and there is more than one location they are found, so therefore there is more than one land train. There's one in Fairview according to the blogspot thing, there's one in seattle and one in Alaska and one in Yuma
 

Triton

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LeTourneau Model VC-22 Sno-Freighter

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URbE0iY3GhQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hvjhBB7JmA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lh-EeZLm6dI
 

Michel Van

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THX for the Videos, Triton

also for usefull link here
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,12887.0.html
 

Nico

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Hi Friends,
I really love those Land Train developed by Le Tourneau, as well as the same era Rolligon and the awesome Teracruzer of the Mace missile system. All those machines remember me my childhood and some Revell models.
About the Le Tourneau projects I noted that is often forgotten the M2 Self-Propelled Erector for the Corporal tactical missile. Not quite a Land Train but another really fascinating vehicle

Nico
 

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HeavyG

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LeTourneau is no stranger to building monster equipment like their land train. They are stiil in the business of manufacturing very heavy equipment for mining and logging. Their corporate website can be found here at www.letourneautechnologies.com
 

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Greetings all, Pardon the unsolicited opinion of a newbie here, well posting-wise have lurked forever, but to me the concept of a land train in a military campaign would be a ground attack aircraft pilot's dream !
 

sferrin

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patron_zero said:
Greetings all, Pardon the unsolicited opinion of a newbie here, well posting-wise have lurked forever, but to me the concept of a land train in a military campaign would be a ground attack aircraft pilot's dream !

Given what it was used for (support for construction of the early DEW line) an attack pilot would be hard pressed to get anywhere near one.
 

Madoc

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Folks,

Another thing to consider is the mobility of the land train - it is not stuck to just rolling along rail lines. Nor is it even confined to using roads. You'd have a vehicle with all the off road mobility of a tank along with ample space on board to load it up with what ever AAA would be most appropriate.

Yes, they'd be big targets. But they'd be very mobile targets, ones which could move in unpredictable ways, and targets which would be quite happily shooting back at any attacker.

Madoc
 

Abraham Gubler

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I doubt anyone considered the Land Train as a shooting asset. It was conceived as a logistics system to provide rail level loads where rail infrastructure didn't exist. So like trains it would utilise the same defensive measures against enemy air interdiction: maintenance of air superiority, reduced exposure via night travel and escorted travel for high value runs.

The problem with the concept is that it’s too big for most terrain. To push roads and rail through the countryside usually requires a lot of engineering: chopping down trees, making cuttings, etc. The Land Train is too big for these channels and otherwise has to find its own way, which often doesn’t exist. It would therefore require open terrain that only exists in desert and plains areas. So outside North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, the Russian Steppes, Outback Australia, the American-Mexican deserts, the Kalahari/Great Karoo, the Thar, the Great Plains and Arctic tundras it is pretty useless.

Since the US Army found its theatres of action at the time (50s and 60s) were in West Germany and South VietNam it was not useable. However it would have been extremely useful in contemporary campaigns in Iraq and the south west of Afghanistan. Its size would enable it to be defensible to the degree of immunity against mine, IED and ambush attacks and the loads it would carry would greatly reduce supply traffic reducing exposure to the enemy.
 

Madoc

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Abraham,

A "shooting asset?" No, not hardly. At least not in the sense that a "land train" would do well as an offensive combat vehicle. My point though was more about it being big enough to mount its own ADA and such. Thus it would not be a defenseless thing on the ground.

As to its being to big, I don't think so. It is big enough to push its own way through quite a bit of otherwise impassible terrain. That was a key feature of the machines. In any event, what terrain they couldn't get through was terrain that few vehicles - if any - could get through to begin with. Thus, their range of territory in which they'd be able to be used is quite a bit greater than what you've limited them to.

Now, that being said, they'd not be the most efficient system for terrain which already has roads pushed through them to begin with. Regular trucks and such would be far more economical and flexible. But, where there are no roads, a land train would have a great degree of utility.

Madoc
 

Abraham Gubler

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Madoc said:
A "shooting asset?" No, not hardly. At least not in the sense that a "land train" would do well as an offensive combat vehicle. My point though was more about it being big enough to mount its own ADA and such. Thus it would not be a defenseless thing on the ground.

The same logic applies to trains and truck convoys used for logistics resupply. They can carry air defence units but they don’t. Why? Because the best method to provide air defence coverage for lines of communications is air defence zones as an air defence system is much more effective if emplaced (so it can search, track and engage targets) on high terrain (enhanced field of regard). There is only a need to provide air defence capability if the unit is leaving the air defence zone like an offensive manoeuvre.

Madoc said:
As to its being to big, I don't think so. It is big enough to push its own way through quite a bit of otherwise impassible terrain. That was a key feature of the machines. In any event, what terrain they couldn't get through was terrain that few vehicles - if any - could get through to begin with. Thus, their range of territory in which they'd be able to be used is quite a bit greater than what you've limited them to.

Push their way through terrain? Any truck convoy can be headed by a pioneer unit to chop down a few trees. This is not the problem. The problem is hills and ridges. The big wheels of the Land Train are not there to knock down trees but to go over trenches, gullies, and so that would stop a cross country truck (or tank). But a conventional sized vehicle is actually much better at going over larger terrain like hills than a very big one because it can find a path.

Madoc said:
Now, that being said, they'd not be the most efficient system for terrain which already has roads pushed through them to begin with. Regular trucks and such would be far more economical and flexible. But, where there are no roads, a land train would have a great degree of utility.

Only if the terrain is flat enough to accommodate the size of the land train. They were tested and found to be inadequate in rolling terrain. The experimentation in size was to overcome the little obstacles that stop conventional vehicles. But an 8x8 truck with tank like mobility was almost as good and had the advantage of being able to cross larger obstacles that would stop a land train.
 

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Am writing article about three of Robert LeTourneau's overland trains:

The Sno-Train; the Sno-Freighter and the Overland Train.

Have you ever seen, worked with, or been involved with any of these vehicles?

Welcome your stories for my article if you have.

Kind regards, jg
 

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Triton

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United States Army nuclear-powered overland carrier concept photo circa 1957 found on eBay.

Source:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1957-Press-Photo-Nuclear-Powered-Overland-Carrier-US-Army-Concept-Vehicle-/390696041694?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item5af74c7cde
 

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sferrin

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Looks like the land train to me. Never heard of a nuclear powered version. :eek:
 

Mark Nankivil

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Greetings All -

Always fun to resurrect a old thread! Had these three photos included in a donation to our Museum (Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum) of primarily Army Aviation material. Note that two of the images specifically note they were taken at the Yuma Test Station.

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

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moin1900

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Hi

Nuclear powered land train
Question Mark IV LeTourneau Sno-Freighter with quad machine gun.
http://atomic-skies.blogspot.de/2016/08/atomic-powered-tanks-part-2-tank-harder.html

Mobile Nuclear Power Plants 1960-1970
http://www.dtic.mil/docs/citations/ADC011900
Page 44 Land Train with MM-1 reactor.
 

jsport

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moin1900 said:
Hi

Nuclear powered land train
Question Mark IV LeTourneau Sno-Freighter with quad machine gun.
http://atomic-skies.blogspot.de/2016/08/atomic-powered-tanks-part-2-tank-harder.html

Mobile Nuclear Power Plants 1960-1970
http://www.dtic.mil/docs/citations/ADC011900
Page 44 Land Train with MM-1 reactor.
A great find
thank you for posting.
 

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