Topic: BatzS - Sinai
Where Australians Fought
Sand Sled Plans
Sand Sled Plans
Below is an account describing the construction of the sand car and the blue prints to produce the cart.
When men were in and around camp at Romani and camel transport was fairly scarce horses that had been used for limbered wagons were used, and the Dicvision issued instructions to the AASC to get a standard pattern sled made for the division as Third Section had offered to have these sleds built in Kantara.
A Wheeler Sergeant was sent round to look at the various patterns of teh sleds in use in the division and the attached drawing was the result of the investigations and trials.
The runners were made of 6" 6" Pine, and a bow was scarfed into the forward end of the runner. This was shod with a 3/8" steel plate to strengthen the scarf necessary in the runner, and to stand the wear, as all the friction of forcing a way through the sand came on the forward part of the runner.
Two cross pieces were scarfed into the runner, and through the forward cross place a hole was bored to take a piece of steel wire rope to which was fastened a swingle-bar for traction.
On top of the cross pieces were 2 4" x 4" lengths running directly above the runners, and the full length of the sled on which were nailed the 6" x 1" flooring boards.
The height of the sled was 14 inches and it was discovered by experiment that if the height was at all increased, it had a tendency to top heavyness with a load of any weight.
It was found that two horses could draw this sled carrying from 800 to 1,000 obs all day very easily, and these sleds were even used when the division was out on operations, mostly by the AMC who used them for bringing in the wounded. A lighter pattern was also built for that work, being drawn by one horse, the driver b eing mounted on the horse.
The pattern of the sled as attached was sent down to Kantara and finally became the standard pattern of sled used in the Third Section.
The solution was simplicity in itself - the sand cart. By placing skis under a cart base, the lack of cohesion and thus resistance in the sand became an assistance rather than a hindrance. Clever use of the low resistance of loose sand meant that a team of two horses could draw a fully laden sand cart with a 450kg load over the trackless desert for a day without causing any great discomfort. It was the breakthrough design that supplied the mobile forces in the Sinai for the duration of the campaign.
Citation: Where Australians Fought, Sinai, 1916-1917, Sand Sled Plans and Description