The AEC Matador was a heavy 4×4 truck and medium artillery tractor built by the Associated Equipment Company for British and Commonwealth forces during World War II. AEC had already built a 4×2 lorry, also known as the Matador (all AEC lorries received 'M' names).
|AEC O853 Matador|
AEC matador tows 3.7-inch gun, Caen, 7 August 1944.
|Type||Medium artillery tractor|
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|Length||20 ft 10 in|
|Width||7 ft 10 in|
|Height||9 ft 7 in|
|Engine||AEC 7.6 litre diesel|
|Payload capacity||4 tons|
|Maximum speed||30 mph|
The Matador was distinctive with its flat fronted cab with gently curved roof, wheels at the corners and a flat load carrying area covered by a canvas or tarpaulin tilt. As an artillery tractor, rather than a cargo vehicle, the wooden sides were fixed in place without folding down, but did have a narrow crew door on each side.[i] Two transverse bench seats were provided for the gun crew, accessed through the side doors, at the 1st side bay on the left and the 2nd on the right.
The cab was framed in ash and clad in steel. It was equipped with a winch (7-ton load in its case) like all artillery tractors. The O853 provided the basis for the 'Dorchester' armoured command vehicle.
AEC also produced a larger 'Marshall' 6×6 vehicle (model O854) based on the 4×4 Matador which were generally, if not officially, also called Matador. The O854 also provided the basis for an armoured command vehicle, the O857.
About 9,000 Matadors were built, some going to the Royal Air Force (RAF).
For the British Army, it fulfilled a role between field artillery tractors (FATs) such as the Morris C8 Quad, which towed smaller guns such as the 25-pounder gun-howitzer, and the Scammell Pioneer, used for towing the 7.2-inch howitzer. It was commonly used to tow the 5.5-inch medium gun and the QF 3.7-inch AA gun. The Matador was found to be a generally useful vehicle and was adapted for other roles, including carrying a 25-pounder gun.
The RAF used Matadors in the flat bed form for load carrying. The 6-wheeler Matador Type A with refuelling pumps and equipment by Zwicky Ltd, was used as a refuelling tanker, capable of carrying 2,500 Imperial gallons of fuel and also for towing ashore Short Sunderland flying boats at their stations.
Six armoured flamethrowers, the 'Heavy Cockatrice' on the 6×6 chassis, were used by the RAF for airfield defence.
The Canadian Army used the Matador during World War II.
Post-war, the Matador was found in civilian use as a recovery truck, a showman's vehicle, and general contractor use. It was also useful for forestry work because of its good off-road performance. When used as a bus fleet recovery truck, many were fitted with lifting jibs for suspended towing and re-bodied with semi-enclosed bodies, often based on bodywork from scrapped buses.
- The Scammell Pioneer had a similar arrangement.
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