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Publication numberUS3566825 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 2, 1971
Filing dateSep 3, 1968
Priority dateJun 5, 1967
Also published asDE1680218A1, DE1808702A1, DE1808702B2
Publication numberUS 3566825 A, US 3566825A, US-A-3566825, US3566825 A, US3566825A
InventorsRuf Walter
Original AssigneeRuf Walter
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Amphibious armored vehicle
US 3566825 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,294,187 12/1966 Walter Ru! [72] lnventor Battigliofen, Landhaus am See Thurgau, Switzerland [21] Appl. No. 756,947

3,409,100 11/ 1968 Kronqvist...... 3,444,837 5/1969 Donofrio....... 3,452,702 7/1969 Slemmons..... Primary Examiner-Andrew l-l. Farrell [22] Filed Sep1.3,1968 [45] Patented Mar. 2, 1971 Attorney-Stevens, Davis, Miller and Mosher from a steering mechanism and by which each wheel is driven.






SHEET USUF 10 PATENTEUHAR 2m 3566825 SHEET 101)? 10 INVENTOR WALTER RUF BY Qfmflmwu/ha ATTORNEYS AMPI-IIBIOUS ARMORED VEHICLE The invention relates to an amphibious armored vehicle which differs from a track-laying vehicle by the fact that instead of tracks, a plurality of wheels, for instance four, are provided in spaced relationship on each side of the vehicle. However, the present vehicle differs from an ordinary wheeled vehicle by the fact that steering is not effected by the by turning of one or more pairs of wheels. Rather, when traveling along curves, the speed of the wheels on one side is reduced as compared with the speed of the wheels on the other side. Such steering and drive means have been disclosed in my US. Pats. 3,303,723 issued Feb. 14, 1967 and 3,294,187, issued Dec. 27, 1966.

Vehicles of this type are in themselves known. They have been used in particular as sport vehicles for hunting or for alpine purposes. The known vehicles are light vehicles in which the individual wheels are not sprung and which also cannot achieve high speed.

Therefore an object of the present invention is to provide a heavy, amphibious armored vehicle of a weight of several tons, and preferably of to 30 tons, in which several wheels are arranged in spaced relationship on both sides of an amphibious tank hull, each wheel being driven by a drive shaft means.

It is a further object of the invention to develop the vehicle in such a manner that the wheels can carry out vertical movements independently of each other by means of a suspension such as the one disclosed in my US. Pat. 3,290,036, issued Dec. 6, 1966. The inside of the vehicle is substantially entirely free, aside from a front portion receiving the engine and the steering mechanism, and is available to receive the crew, the ordinance and other equipment.

In vehicles of the type in question, the front and rear pairs of wheels are usually dragged over the ground transverse to the direction of travel upon steering. In the case of rocky ground or, for instance, when traveling onto a curb, rubber tires can be easily damaged or even pulled off of their rims. This is the reason why up to now only light vehicles have been manufactured in accordance with this principle.

Accordingly, it is another object of the invention to develop wheels and means for their attachment to the tank hull, including their suspension, in such a manner as to avoid damage to the wheels upon traveling around curves.

1 It is known to provide four-wheel or six-wheel vehicles with so-called traction wheels (see, for instance applicants U.S. Pat. 3,234,989, issued Feb. 15, 1966) which are intermediate between the normal rubber-tired wheels and tracks such as those used for heavy construction vehicles, armored personnel carriers and other armored vehicles. These traction wheels differ from pneumatic or solid rubber wheels by the fact that the tread surface is divided. A relatively narrow center strip, the width of which amounts to about half of the total width of the wheel, is formed by a rubber tread surface, while the side surfaces have a strongly profiled or ribbed metal surface. The rubber tread is formed, for instance, by an air-filled rubber tire of U-shaped profile in cross section which must have the proper emergency running properties. If, therefore, the tire is injured by rifle or other fire, it must not be forced out of its bed even if the vehicle is traveling at relatively high speed over a stony or rocky terrain or correspondingly large forces are acting on the rubber tire. When traveling on highways, only the narrow rubber tread come into engagement with the surface of the road. When traveling cross country, on the other hand, the strongly profiled metal rings dig into the surface of the earth to provide traction.

Actual tests have now shown that it is possible with such traction wheels to transmit to the ground drive power which is not much less than for tracks. Since, on the one hand, the price for the tracks is several times higher than the price for traction wheels and since, on the other hand, the traction wheels have a much longer life than tracks, which in general have a life of only 5,000 or at most 10,000 km, and since furthermore higher speeds can be obtained with wheel vehicles, even heavier fourand six-wheel vehicles have already been successfully provided with such traction wheels.

In accordance with another'object of the present invention, an armored vehicle is to be so develop-ed that a plurality of mnsteerable traction wheels are positively driven by a steering mechanism and one drive shaft means for each side of the vehicle.

The need for individual spring suspension of the traction wheels, in addition to their special shape, is of particular importance. Due to the fact that each wheel can spring individually, unevenesses in the terrain upon traveling along curves can be more easily overcome, i.e., the forces acting on the rubber part of the tread remain within limits which can still be taken up by a traction wheel. The particular development of the traction wheels, the individual drive thereof, as well as the possible vertical movement of each wheel with respect to the tank hull and the other wheels, make possible the reduction to practice of the above-indicated principle for heavy armored vehicles.

The means for accomplishing the foregoing objects and other advantages, which will be apparent to those skilled in the art, are set forth in the following specification and claims and are illustrated in the accompanying drawings dealing with several embodiments of the present invention. Reference is made now to the drawings in which:

FIG. I is a side view of the first embodiment a the suspen- SIOII,

FIG. 2 shows a side elevation partially in section, of 1 wheel suspension, the section being taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 3 is a top view, partially in section, of the wheel suspension of FIG. 2, the section taken. along line 3-3 of FIG.

FIG. 4 is a schematic plan view of the entire drive and suspension arrangement;

FIG. 5 is a schematic plan view through the steering mechanism, with parts being shown in section;

FIG. 6 shows, on an enlarged scale, a partial section through a traction wheel;

FIG. 7 shows a section through a shock absorber;

FIG. 8 shows further details of a portion of the shock absorber of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a sectional view of a wheel drive and suspension;

FIG. 10 is a side view of a second embodiment;

FIG. 11 is a bottom plan view of the embodiment of FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is a bottom plan view ofa pair of wheels, partially in section, taken along the line 12-12 of FIG. 10;

FIG. 13 is a sectional view as indicated by the arrow 13 in FIG. 11; and

FIG. 14 is a view seen in the direction of the arrow 14 in FIG. 13.

The vehicle shown has a tank hull 1 which is provided on both sides with a continuous recess 2 which extends from front to rear and in which traction wheels3,4,5 and 6 are arranged. The traction wheels 3,4,5 and 6 are in this connection suspended individually on wheel rockers 7. The tank hull can have any desired superstructure for instance, a gun turret 10. Thus the vehicle is similar to ordinary armored vehicles but is driven by traction wheels rather than by tracks.

Within the tank hull l, in the vicinity of its bottom and on each sidewall thereof, there is provided a transmission shaft 8. The tank hull l is provided, at the height of each transmission shaft 8, with four holes in which rings 9 are welded. To each ring 9 there is fastened a journal member 11 on which there is rotatably supported a multipartite housing for the wheel suspension member 7. In addition to this, there is keyed onto the journal member 11 a lever 12 which acts on a suspension and shock-absorbing device 13.

From FIG. 4 it can be noted that in the front part of the tank hull 1 there is provided an engine 14 which drives a steering mechanism 17 via a clutch 15 and a transmission 16. The

. for steering about the center or are free of any connection with each other for purposes of towing. The shafts 24 and 25 each drive a planetary gearing 26. The planetary gears 26 are associated with cornering brakes 27 and, via clutches 28, with lock brakes 29. Actuation of one' or the other cornering brake 27 causes a reduction in the speed of rotation of a driven shaft 31 as compared with the associated shaft 24 and 25, the equalization being effected via the associated planetary gearing 26. A blocking by engaging the brake 29 with simultaneous release of the clutch 28 has the result that the associated driven shaft 31 is stopped. Each of the driven shafts 31 has associated with it side countershafts 32 which drive an obliquely downward extending shaft 33 on which a bevel gear 34 is seated.

As can be noted in particular from FIGS. 3 and 9, there is rotatably supported in the journal member 11 of each wheel suspension member 7 a drive shaft 35 which bears bevel gears 36 and 37 at its two ends. The gear 36 engages in this connection with the gear 34 and with another gear 38 which is keyed onto the transmission shaft 8. The gear '37 meshes with a gear 39 which is seated on a shaft 41 which is rotatably supported in the housing of the wheel suspension member 7. The shaft 41 bears a gear 42 which in its turn meshes with a gear 43 which is seated on an output shaft 44 of the wheel suspension member 7. The gears 34 and 36 form a first angle drive, the gears 37 and 39 a second angle drive, and the gears 42 and 43 a third angle drive. They are accordingly all bevel gears. It is clear that the housing of the wheel suspension member 7 together with the transmission parts 39 to 44 for the wheel drive power can swing around the axis of the drive shaft 35, the gear 39 rolling on the bevel gear 37.

The drive for the following wheels. 4, and 6 issimilar, While, however, as a result of the obliquely upward directed course of the shaft 33 the drive force is transmitted to the gear 38 via the bevel gear 36, in the case of the subsequent wheels 4, 5 and 6, the gear 38 receives its drive in each case directly from the shaft 8. Connecting flanges 45 interposed in the shaft make possible a corresponding equalization of tolerances and an exact alignment of the shaft 8. I

The shape of the traction wheels can be noted from FIG. 6. The gear 51 which is seated on shaft 44 meshes with a gear 52 which is keyed onto ahollow shaft 53. The axis of-the hollow shaft 53 forms the actual wheel axis. .The gear 52 rotates around this wheels axis together with the other parts of the wheel hub. The gears 51 and 52 accordingly form a reduction gearing arranged in the wheel hub.

The tread 58 of the rubber tire 57 is relatively narrow, i.e., its width is less than in the case of an ordinary automobile tire. Adjacent both sides of the tread 58 are obliquely outward extending side arms 59 which are reinforced by beadlike portions at their ends at 61. In contradistinction to ordinary automobile tires, in which the side laps seated on the rim are substantially thinner than the body forming the tread, the beadlike reinforcements 61 are of approximately the same thickness as the rest of the tire which forms the tread.

In order to give a practical idea of this relationship, it may be mentioned that with a total width of the wheel of about 40 cm, the total width of the tread of the tire is about cm. In the beadlike reinforcements 61 there are embedded two cir- 'curnferentially extending wire rings 62 between which a looppreferably of an aluminum alloy, with each other and with the v wheel disc 63. The wheel rims 66 form strongly profiled traction surfaces 67 beyond which the tread 58 of the rubber tire '57 protrudes a few centimeters. On their facing surfaces, the

wheel rims 66 are adapted in shape to the outer shape of the rubber tire 57. They have a corresponding hollow to be able to receive the beadlike reinforcements 61. Furthermore, each of the wheel rims 66 forms a bearing surface for the rubber sealing rings'68 and for the clamping ring 69. The clamping ring 69 has in this connection, on the one hand, the purpose of forcing the beadlike reinforcements 61 of the rubber tire into the corresponding cavities of the wheel rims 66 upon the tightening of the bolts 65 and, on the other hand, the task of hermetically closing off the inner chamber 56 of the tire at the bottom, which is effected in the manner that the rubber rings 68 are also pressed together upon the tightening of the bolts 65.

The tire is changed by loosening the bolts 65. Thereupon the outer wheel rims 66 are taken off and the clamping ring 69 is removed. Assembly is effected in the reverse manner.

The transverse forces occuring upon steering on the front and rear pairs of the. wheels seek to move the rubber tire 57 out of its clamped position. As a result of the special development, however, the associated wheel suspension member 7 springs back before this occurs, the wheel traveling onto the obliquely extending profilings of the metalwheel rims 66 upon transverse displacement on irregularities in the terrain. The rim rings in this connection crush protruding points of stone or the like or force them into the ground so that they can no longer injure the rubber tire 57.

From the foregoing it is clear that the springing and shockabsorbing characteristic of the wheel suspension member of decisive importancefor the vehicle. For shooting, all wheel thereof. The wheel suspension members 7 lie in protective fashion behind their associated wheels so that the effects of infantry weapons or shell fragmentsare taken up by the wheel rims 66 and do not damage the wheel suspension members.

-l"-he springing and shock-absorbing device 13, as can be noted from FIG. 7 and 8, lies in a cylindrical housing 73 the one end of which is closed by a cover 74. In the annular space between the housing 73 and an inner tube 75 there are arranged plate springs 76 which are clamped between the cover 74 and an annular plate in the piston 77. The lever 12 which is keyed onto the journal member 11 rests via its free end against the piston 77. Since the journal member 11 and the lever 12 are rigidly connected with the tank hull 1, the plate springs 76 are pressed together upon the springing of the wheel suspension member 7. 'The entire arrangement, i.e., the space between the springs 76, the inner tube 75 and the housing, in which the lever 12 is located, is filled with oil. The shock-absorbing effect is obtained in the manner that the oil, as is customary in the .case of double-tube shock absorbers, is forced by a piston 78 sliding in the inner tube 75 through throttle bore holes 79 (FIG. 8). The throttle holes 79 are arranged along a helix. By axial displacement of cylindrical slide 81, which is effected, after the removal of the bolt 82 in the cover 74, by the rod 83 at the end of which a hexagon-shaped end is arranged, a larger or smaller number of throttle holes 79 can be covered over. The shock-absorbing characteristic of the shock absorber is correspondingly adjustable i.e., the friction characteristic increases or decreases linearly with the axial displacementof the 'slide 81. The oil flowing through the throttle holes 79 passes via bore holes 84 into the annular space between the inner tube 75 and the housing 73 and is forced through the spaces, which also represent considerable frictional resistance, between the plate springs 76 and passes from the rear through another valve (not shown in detail) arranged at the rear end of the tube 75, again behind the piston 78.

At the front end of the inner tube 75 there is provided a magnetic coil 85 which, by means of an electrical connector 88, can be fed with current. In this case, an armature 86, via a rod 87, pulls the slide 81 in the direction towards the magnetic coil 85, all the throttle holes 79 being then closed. Since in closed position no oil pressure acts eitherin the one direction or in the other direction on the slide 81, the magnetic coil 85 can be of relatively small dimensions since only the friction of the slide 81 need be overcome. After attraction of the slide 81 and the locking effected thereby, the shock absorber retains its instantaneous position regardless of whether it was sprung out or partially or entirely swung in. Devices can be provided which combine this locking with the firing, for instance in such a manner that the locking is effected for one to two seconds immediately after the firing and therefore as long as the recoil is active. Furthermore, safety devices can be provided in the vehicle which prevent the lock from being actuated during travel.

In the embodiment shown in FIGS. to 14, the wheels 3, 4, 5 and 6 are each fastened to thejtank hull 1 by means of a parallel guide which consists of a link 91 and an auxiliary link 92. Each link 91 is fastened to a sleeve 93 which is rotatably supported on a flanged member 94. The flanged member 94 is fastened in a manner similar to the journal member 11 in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 to 9, in each case to a ring 9 which is welded in a hole in the tank hull 1. The sleeve 93 has a cover 95 in which a torsion bar 96 is held secured against rotation. The torsion bars 96 associated with the two opposite wheels of a wheel pair lie alongside of each other at the bottom of the tank hull 1; the wheels and the corresponding sleeves 93 are accordingly staggered somewhat with respect to each other. The end of each torsion bar 96 lying opposite the associated cover 95 is clamped in a sleeve 97. The sleeves 97 associated with the front and rear wheel pairs are provided with levers 98 (FIG. 11) which are actuated by a piston-cylinder unit 99. A suitable fluid under pressure, for instance compressed air, is fed to the piston-cylinder unit 99. By actuation of the unit in one direction or the other, the associated torsion bar 96 is stressed to a greater or lesser extent.

By reduction of the tension, the associated wheels 3 and 6 spring more easily, while the wheels 4' and 5 must assume more load. Since, however, upon the steering, the wheels 3 and 6 have the greatest transverse displacement, the load on the wheels is decreased by reducing the initial tension.

In contradistinction to the embodiment which was first described, in the case of the embodiment shown in FIGS. 11 to 14, the drive shafts lie outside the tank hull 1. From the side countershaft 32, a first drive shaft 101 leads to the wheel 3. From the wheel 3, another drive shaft 102 leads to the wheel 4, and from the wheel 4, a drive shaft 103 leads to the wheel 5. From the wheel 5, a drive shaft 104 leads to the wheel 6. From the wheel 6, a drive shaft 105 leads to a propeller arrangement 106. All drive shafts 101 to 105 are developed in two parts with longitudinal compensation. There results a drive shaft Z- arrangement.

The drive shaft pieces have ends shaped spherically and seated rotatably in connecting flanges 107. As a result of the parallel guide of the wheels 3 to 6 by the associated links 91 and auxiliary links 92, all connecting flanges 107 move in parallel planes when the vehicleas shown in FIG. 10- -travels over a trough in the ground and the wheels spring to different extents.

From the drive shafts 101 to 105, the gears 43 of the traction wheels 3 to 6 are driven via gears 108, similar to the case of the embodiment which was first described. The develop ment and arrangement of the traction wheels is the same as in the case of the embodiment of FIGS. 1 to 9, so that it is unnecessary to repeat the description.

With the wheels 3 to 6 there are associated shock absorbers 109 which, on the one hand, act on the tank hull l and, on the other hand, on a mounting support 111. The auxiliary links 92 are also pivoted to the mounting support-1.11. Upon maximum springing, the mounting supportilll strikes against an associated buffer 112.

The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The present embodiment is therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than the foregoing description and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore to be embracedtherein.

I claim:

1. An amphibious armored vehicle comprising a hull; a plurality of wheels on each side of the hull, which wheels are in spaced relationship in the direction of travel of the vehicle; wheel suspension members for mounting each wheel on said hull and making it possible for each wheel to carry out vertical displacement with respect to the hull independently of the other wheels, each said wheel suspension member comprising a housing which is rotatably fastened to the tank hull, a plurality of shafts in said housing and having bevel gears mounted on the ends thereof forming a drive train to drive the wheel associated with the wheel suspension member; shock absorber means for damping the vertical movement of each wheel; drive means operatively connected to drive all of said wheels; said drive means comprising an engine mounted within the hull, a steering mechanism operatively connected to be driven by said engine and having at least one drive shaft extending'to each side of the vehicle, transmission means operatively connecting each of said drive shafts to drive said drive train whereby all wheels on one side of the vehicle are driven at the same speed with relative speeds between the wheels on each side of said vehicle being varied for steering.

2. A vehicle according to claim 1, further comprising a series of openings formed in both sides of said hull, a hollow journal member mounted in each said opening with their inner bores in alignment therewith, the housing of each said wheel suspension member being rotatably mounted on each journal member and having therein a drive shaft, a first angle drive and a transmission shaft, the drive shaft being supported in the hollow journal member and being driven by the first angle drive from the transmission shaft. i

3. A vehicle according to claim 2, further comprising a second angle drive arranged on the outer end of the drive shaft, a shaft driven by the second angle drive and a third angle drive with an outward shaft which is driven by the shaft.

4. A vehicle according to claim 2, further comprising ring means inserted in the openings of the hull, a hollow journal member being fastened in nonrotatable manner to each ring means and a lever keyed onto the journal member.

5. A vehicle according to claim 2, in which said shock absorbing comprises a housing, a damping liquid contained in the housing, and valve means to control the flow of said liquid upon the inward springing of the associated wheel.

6. A vehicle according to claim 5, further comprising a lever fixedly mounted on each said wheel suspension member, a plurality of plate springs mounted'in said housing and which are compressed by said lever upon the swinging of the wheel suspension member. I

7. A vehicle according to claim 5, further comprising electromagnetic means associated with each valve whereby energization of said electromagnetic means substantially simultaneously and instantaneously closes said valves to fix the relative positions of the wheels with respect to the hull.

8. A vehicle according to claim 1, in which the steering mechanism comprises, to drive the wheels on each side of the vehicle, planetary gears, brake means, clutch means, locking brakes and side counter shafts operatively connected as a power train, both said planetary gears being operatively connected to said engine.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3765368 *Dec 8, 1970Oct 16, 1973Asbeck WAmphibious vehicle
US3930550 *Aug 15, 1974Jan 6, 1976The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The ArmyVehicle drive and suspension
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U.S. Classification180/6.54, 180/22, 440/12.6, 89/40.3, 180/9.1
International ClassificationB60G3/00, B60G21/00, B60K17/36, B62D11/06, B60K17/04, B62D61/00, B60G11/18, B62D55/125, B60G15/06, B60G5/00, B60G3/14, B62D55/104, B60K17/00, B60F3/00, B62D55/108, B60G11/00, B60G17/027, B60K17/34, B62D55/08, B60G17/02, B60G13/00, B62D11/12, B60G5/01, B62D61/10, B60G15/00
Cooperative ClassificationB62D55/108, B62D11/12, B60K17/34, B60F3/0007, B60F3/00, B62D55/125, B60G17/0277, B60G15/06, B60G5/01, B60G11/183, B60G2300/28, B62D55/1083, B60G3/145, B62D61/10, B60G13/00, B60G21/00, B60K17/36, B60G2204/13, B60K17/043
European ClassificationB60G17/027T, B60F3/00B, B60K17/36, B60K17/04B, B60G3/14B, B62D11/12, B60G13/00, B62D55/108B, B60K17/34, B60F3/00, B62D61/10, B60G5/01, B60G11/18D, B62D55/125, B60G21/00, B62D55/108, B60G15/06