Craig Moore comes face to face with a Cletrac Medium M2 Tractor

Classic military vehicle enthusiast Chris Till jumped at the chance of owning a Cletrac Medium M2Tractor when he saw one advertised on Milweb by its Belgian owner. He bought it as a running restoration, and immediately transported it to Tey Vehicle Restorations in Essex for service and a cosmetic repainting restoration.

The Cletrac had been painted military green, but different parts had also been painted in different shades of green. The new coat of paint gave each part of the tractor a unified matt, light olive drab colour.

On show at last year’s Wartime Experience, the unusual looking Cletrac drew a lot of attention. It is a brute of a vehicle that appears to be just a massive engine with tracks attached to the sides. Its strange looking configuration and additional equipment attached to the front, rear and sides made many show visitors ponder what its original function was.

The United States Army Air Force (USAAF) M2 Tractor had been used to tow aircraft onto the runway at US Army Air Force bases during World War Two. They were fitted with an Ingersoll type 30 air compressor located on the back that was capable of supplying 9cfm @2000psi to help aircraft that needed topping up with compressed air. It was also fitted with a 5kW 110 VDC Accumulator generator, and an external starter motor, which was used to take the initial starter load off the aircraft’s internal batteries. Also fitted was a winch on the front, towing cables and ropes. This was a multifunctional airfield vehicle, commonly referred to as the ‘Cletrac,’ but it also had the nicknames of ‘bomber nurse’ and the ‘iron mule.’

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