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WWII Airborne Tractor

The Clarkair Crawler Model CA-1 tractor was developed by the Clark Equipment Co. for the Army during World War II. Its small size permitted airlift by glider or other type cargo aircraft to locations where it could be used to construct landing strips or other facilities. After Clark developed the prototype and manufactured 13 of the vehicles, the Cleveland Tractor Co. built about 145 more. It is powered by a four-cylinder gasoline engine and has a hydraulic bulldozer attachment for moving earth.

An example of the use of these tractors was following the airborne landing of Allied forces behind Japanese lines in Northern Burma. On the night of March 5, 1944, more than 30 gliders carrying men, pack animals, lighting equipment and tractors of this type landed at a jungle clearing designated as "Broadway." Within 24 hours, airborne engineers had prepared a landing strip 300 feet by 5,000, ready for use by more gliders and Troop Carrier Command C-47s, bringing in more men, animals and supplies.

This tractor was donated to the museum by members of the 876th Airborne Engineer Aviation Battalion Reunion Association. It was restored for the museum by the Clark Equipment Co., Cassopolis, Mich.

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