The fast-moving tank battles of World War 2 (1939-1945) were not lost on warplanners before the end as dedicated engineering-minded vehicles were developed from existing chassis to undertake various roles - including obstacle and mine-clearing. This piece of battlefield equipment has remained a part of every modern land force's inventory today (2016) as the need continues for such elements to go ahead of the advancing force.
With the cancellation of the U.S. Army's M1 "Grizzly" program in 2001 (detailed elsewhere on this site), the service still sought "breaching" vehicle solution and this arrived in 2008 in the form of the "Assault Breacher Vehicle" (ABV) which, like the M1 Grizzly before it, was built atop the existing chassis and running gear of the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT) for "logistical friendliness". The vehicle carries the nickname of "The Shredder" in service with the USMC and Army and thirty-nine of the type have been procured to date - a far cry from the 366 M1 Grizzly's originally planned by the Army.
The 72-ton, 40-foot-long Shredder sports a dozer blade at its bow and retains a powered turret but lacks the main gun armament of the Abrams combat version. It is modestly armed through 1 x 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) for local defense and can generate its own smoke screen by way of smoke grenades. Over the turret is fitted the M56 MICLIC (MIne Clearing LIne Charges) system which showcases explosives-tipped rockets for clearing soft obstacles (as well as detonating enemy explosives and mines at range).
The design of The Shredder is largely influenced by American actions in the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars of the 2000s where obstacles, mines, and hidden Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were the norm faced by infantry and vehicle crews. Development and funding of the ABV was headed by the USMC after the M1 Grizzly program was lost.
The vehicle retains much of the form and function of the Abrams combat tank but obviously lacks its full combat functionality. It utilizes the Honeywell 1,500 horsepower gas turbine of the Abrams and features the same rear-mounted drive-sprocket, front-mounted track idler and seven double-tired road wheels to a hull side. Its operating crew numbers two.
At this writing, the Army has planned for 187 of the type with the USMC standing to acquire a total of 52 units. They have been used actively in Afghanistan and are present in South Korea as of 2013.