Volvo Truck, TVA and TVB - 1930


The late 1930s was a dark period in Europe. It became clear that a new major war was getting closer and closer. Under threat from the growing German forces, most countries started to increase their defence capability to protect themselves against a possible invasion.

Supporting the Swedish defence
The management of Volvo, being in the lead of an international company, naturally saw the signs in the sky and started to consider the design and production of military cross-country vehicles intended for the defence of Sweden in the event of a war.

In 1937, a very skilled designer was employed by Volvo to design a heavy-duty high-mobility vehicle.The design of the new vehicle was completed in two years, in spite of the fact that the new off-road truck was radically different from any previous Volvo truck.

Six wheels -  for off-road towing
When the 'TVA' was presented to potential customers in various parts of Europe, it proved to be a very rugged 6x4 truck intended mainly for the towing of artillery and anti-aircraft guns. In addition to six 'normal' wheels it also featured two (smaller) wheels between the first and second axle, which lowered the pressure on the ground in circumstances where the vehicle would tend to dig itself down into the soft ground.

Mechanically, the new TVA vehicle was very powerful. It featured for the first time a two-axle drive, together with extremely strong tyres of thick rubber and an off-road tread. It was powered by an extremely powerful and large petrol-engine, similar to the one used in the LV29 'Longnose' trucks but with a sump adapted to improve lubrication even when this terrain vehicle was climbing at great angles.

A unique adhesion to the ground
The most radical departure from traditional practice, however, was the use of a central frame formed by a tube, to which independent axles were attached. This design gave the vehicle a unique adhesion to the ground. Despite the front axle being non-driven, the TVA had extremely good cross-country mobility. This was, perhaps, due to the fact that a relatively limited part of the vehicle weight rested on the front axle.

Since most countries in Europe had their own national truck production, no TVA trucks were ever sold outside Sweden. A slightly improved version, the TVB, was however chosen by the Swedish Army for production in 1940, and served well in the Swedish armed forces for about two decades. Some of these TVA vehicles are still in service today as basis for cranes, operated by civilian companies who have bought these off-road trucks as surplus material from the Swedish Army.