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A History of

American Semi-Tracked Ve,hicles

By R. P. Hunnicutt




R.P. Hunnicutt

Line Drawings by Michael Duplessis

Color Drawing by

Uwe Feist


Major General Oscar C. Decker, U.S .. AI."1llY (Retired)


Copyright © 2001 by R, P. Hunnicutt First Edition.

Published by Presidio Press 505 B San Marin Drive Novato, CA 9494Sg1340

All fights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced Dr utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, in.dudi:ng photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval systems, without permissionin writing from the Publisher" Inquiries should be addressed to Presidio Press, 505B San Marin Drive, NOV'.', CA 94945~[340

Hunnicutt, R P .• 1926-

Half- Track: A history of American semi- tracked vehicles! by R. P. Hunnicutt; line drawings by Nfic.had Duplessis; color drawing by Uwe Feist; foreword. by Oscar Decker. p. em ..

Includes bibliographical references and index .. ISBN 0-8914li-742~7

li. HaU .. track vehicles, Mill tary,

2. United States-Armed :F erces-e-Armored troops., I. Title UG446.5 ... H8467 200 li

623.1' 4072-dc2 [

Printed inthe U nited States of America


Foreword, " ,' '" , , , , , , , "., , ,' , , " , , 5

Introduction , , ._ , , , , ' " , "" , " , , , , - .. - 6


Early ·Deve]opment.." ,,' ,,' ,,' , " , , ., .. __ _., , , , , ,' , 9'

H.alf .. Track Cars .. , , ,' ,,' , , , , , , , , , ,' , " ,... 12

lIaJf·-Track Trucks " , ,,' " , , , , __ ., .. __ ., , , , ,' , ,,' , ,,' 15

PART II HALF-TRACKS FOR WORLD 'V.I\.R n .. " __ ., . __ ., , ,' , ,. 23

Armored Half-Tracks. , " , , , , , _ , , , , , , " , " .. ,' , " .. , 25

Half-Track Cars and Personnel Carriers , .. _ H ••••• , , •••• , , , ••• , " ••• , ••• , , " ., , " ••• , , • • . 29

Mortar Carriers, , , " ,. " , "" , _ , , , , ,. , , , " , " .. " , " , , , .. ,. 80

Tank Destroyers .. , , , , , , . ., '" , ., , , , , " .. "., " .. " , " .. " , , , , .. 97 .

Self-Propelled Artillery , , , ' , , ,," , " , , " ,' , , ,... 112

Antiaircraft Vehicles .. , , , " , ,,', , , , , , , ,' , , ._ .. , :122-

Specialized HaH:· Track Applications. , ..•. , , , , , , .. _ _ __ _ , , ,.. 158

Three-Quarter Track Vehicles, , ,,' ,,' , , , , , , .. __ __ . , _., , , ,. 16"1

Ha]f .. Track Amphibians. ,' " .. ,,' ,., , , , _ .. , , ' ,' , ,., , ,.. 172

Lightweight I~Kalf-Tl!"acl.s, , " ,' , , , __ ' , , , , , ,' ,.. 174

I~ART III THE IL<\.LF-TRACK GOES l'O''\'AR." , " , , , ". __ ]75

Half-Track Operations During World "rar 11."" ", " , , " ..... , _,. .. _ ... _..... I77

Korea .. , , , , ,. _ .. , , , , , , " , , , , , , , , , , ....•.. _ :....... . 195

Ha:lf:'Tracks In Foreign Service .. "", ,' , , , .. _ , .. _., , , , ,' ,. 199

PART I\' REFERENCE Di\.TA." ,' " ,., , , , , _ _ .. ,._ .. ,._ _ .. , ,' 201

Color Section ".H' , , , ,,' " , , ,,_'" , ' ...• ' , ,., 203

Half-·T rack Acceptances , , , , , , , " , , ,. , " - .. H •• ; ••• '., , _ ••••••• ,. • • • • • 208-

Vehicle Data Sheets., , , , ,,' " .. ,,' " ,." _ .. H-" •• _., •••• , .••• ,' •••• ,. 209

\V·e .. apon Data Sheets.. ._ , , ,' ,' " , , , , , -H • __ • ,'_'" • __ ., , ,. 227

References and Selected Bibliography", .. "', ,', ,, , , , .. __ ." _ .. , ... " ... , .... , , 238

Index.. .. ,"'" ... __ ...... , .... ,' .... ,' ... ,,' ... ,' .... , , , .. - --H • __ • , .... , ..... , •••. , ••••. , •••• , •••• ,. 239


first. 1 would like. to express my thanks to M<lj or General Oscar C. Decker who kindly agreed to wri te the Foreword for this book,

Also; lam particularly indebted to David R. Haugh who allowed me to use much of the research material for his excellent book "U.S, Half- Tracks. Theil' Design and Development".

Fred Pernell, formerly v .... ith the National Archives in Washington D. C. was a great help in finding my way through the mass of material available, in the Archives. In met, he tracked down many of the key documents himself

At the Patton Museum, John Purdy, Charles Lemons, and Candace Fuller located many valuable items, much of which came from the collection of my old friend the late Colonel Robert J. leks. His collection is now in the Museum Library, Also at F ort Knox. BiU Hansen, Chief Librarian at the Armor School, was most helpful in finding material on. armor operations in the Philippines during the early days of World War U,

Jon Clemens at Annat Magazine found numerous half-traek photographs which are included in the bock.

The United States Marine Corps Museum at Quantico, Virginia was the source of l1lrulY photographs showing Marine Corps half-tracks in operation. Ordnance Specialist Dieter Stengerwas particularly helpful.

The' Ordnance Museum and Li brary a:~ Aberdeen Proving Ground provided valuable information from their collection. I am particularly grateful to the Director. Dr. WilHam F. Atwater, and to Alan KiHiugel'

for their help. Dr. Peter S. Kindsvatter also located some very useful information,

Most of the material on the International Harvester half-tracks would not have been available without the help of Greg Lennes and Julia Brunni of Navistar International Transportation Corporation. A photograph of the M2 half- track cal' also was received, from. Mr. Phil Rumba of Volvo Truck of North America.

Michael Duplessis pre-pared! the five view drawings and did much of the research on the details of the various vehicles. As usual. the color drawing of the 7Smm. gun motor carriage 1\13 was the 'work: of Uwe Feist

Many of the photographs would not have been available without the help of Steve Zaloga, His numerous works on half-track vehicles were a valuable source of information on :t]'l!.~ny of the field modifications made by the troops ..

Fred Crismon was the source for both data and photographs of some of the more 0 bseure vehicles, In this regard, hiscolleetion is unmatched.

Mike Green also located numerous photographs for the book.

A number of problems were solved during the research program: by examining the half-tracks in the collection of my friend Jacques Littlefield. Ray Hamilton was particularly helpful in. sorting out the details of the half-track suspension development

Special thanks go to Randy Deana and the crew at Ritz Camera for helping s-olve some of the problems with the photographs.


Major General Oscar C. Decker, U.S. Army (Retired)

I know of no one more dedicated or more qualified to tell the story of U. S. armored vehicles than Dick Hunnicutt. As we 11a ve come to expect from hi s outstanding books covering the history of U. S ,::tl'mored vehicles, he has done it again. The detail in this 8t01")' of the half- track carefully descri bes the. process of taking the results of slow early development (pre-1040s) and then hurrying one of the firstarmored "horses' through development, production and :many model changes. It demonstrates again the painstaking research forwhich Dick is famous,

As I look back to the days of the venerablehalftrack and my introduction to it as an enlisted soldier in Armor during World War II, it brings mixed memories. In. nonnalterrain, it provided excellent mobility, but in mud the wheels tended to dig themselves in so that the uacks literally seemed to drive the wheels further into the ground. Mountm:g the ,50 caliber machine gum made ita formidable vehicle against ground troops and thin skinned vehicles. I recall one particular day outside a small town north of Munich, Germany when I saw it come into play rapidly and effectively. OUf tank battalion was temporarily halted and a number of 1US were out On the ground, Suddenly, a German soldier, a pparently wanting to be a hero, opened fire from a nearby building. Before any tank could react, the Sergeant on the maintenance half-track swung his ,50 caliber machine gun around and CULt out the window frame and the resistance. After I was commissioned in 1951. mv memories of the half-track are on. border duty wi til the "8.2nd Reconnaissance Battalion where we used [t as a communications relay station. The engine could. r!LUI 24 hours a day with. minimal maintenance and excellent reliability, a greatccmfort to us.

Having had several assignments at the Army Tank Automotive Command, it occurs W me that the apparent rapid development Bind acquisition process that was demonstrated ]]1 the early 19405 history of the half-track might be instructive to us today as we continually by to improve and shorten the acquisitioa cycle, Ideas from the armor soldier seem to have been. quickly studied and incorporated, As the history unfolds. in some cases they were put into place by eur ever ingenious maintenance soldiers even. before they were approved, Components were directed to multiplemanufacturers while today we seem to be reluctant to give that type of specific direction, In another interesting approach to development, Colonel Hinds is described as acting On an idea from two of his soldiers for replacing the fixed idler with. <I coil spring, He paid fOI the parts to test itand took it to :Maj or General Harmon who approved and had it installed on the half-tracks slated for North Africa.

The book skillfully takes us from me meager development effort in the pre- 1940s, wh:~ch ;NTIS primarily modifying wheeled. vehicles wi til a partial. track) to the fonnal armored half-tracks which. most World. War Hand. early postwar veterans know so welt I trrace.'l the lineage as personnel carriers. reconnaissance vehicles, artillery prime movers, selfpropelled weapon. carriers incl uding mortars, tank destroying guns and antiaircrsftweapons, command and engineer vehicles, ambulances, and communication vehicles, As descri bedvthe half-track perhaps should also be credited with being One of the first ~~·C()m.l1JlJOn chassis') vehicles which we like to talk about today.

This is another important book to add tOMe libraries of CUJ.'reD:t .and.fumre generations to. show U. 8. armored vehicle development



The family of half-track vehicles that served 'the United States and its allies during World Wat Il was descended from the early Citl'OOO.- Kegresse JilaJ:f-trnck purchased from France in 1931. Although. the semitracked configuration had been applied to numerous earlier vehicles, most of them were slow and not capable of rapid movement on roads. Tests of the CitroenKegresse P17 resulted in the irutlation of a development program for a series of half-track cars and trucks prior to World War Il, A few of these were produced in small numbers and went into. service with the troops as personnel carriers or prime movers for light field artillery.

In 1938. an M2Al scout car was modified by replacing the rear wheels with a tracked suspension from one of the half-track. trucks. The converted vehicle was designated as the half-track personnel carrier T7. Although lit was underpowered} the test program of the T'Zprovided valuable Information for further development, It. also was the first armored half-track in the U. S. Army, Based upon the experience with the T7 ~ a new vehicle was designed during 1939 and designated as the half-track scout car T14. After modification, tills vehicle was standardized as the half-track car 1vI2 and it provided the basis for all of the half-tracks produced during World War II. In addition to the half-track cars, they included personnel carriers, mortarcarriers, tank destroyers, self-propelledartillery, and other specialized vehicles based upon the standard half-track chassis. Many of these were expedient solutions until a properly designed vehicle '\VaIS available for a particular application. In the early days of the war, the half-track often was the only vehicle in production that could be utilized, Some of the expedient vehicles were replaced by full track. vehicles as soon as they became available, Others were so successful that they remained in. production.

TIle half-track in its various modifications served, from the first days to rhe end of World War n. Its early production made it available fb:r the defense of the Philippines after the attackon Pearl Harbor, It continued

to serve in all theaters of operation during World 'iv'ill H until the Japanese surrender in 1945 and a few 'versions were nat declared obsolete until long after the end of me Korean War.

Although this volume is primarily a development history, a few photographs are included showing its service both in training and in combat However it is not an operational history. This part is intended to illustrate die effectiveness of the vehicles and some of the modifications made by the troops in the field. Combat experience resulted in some modifications being standardized and applied to a number of vehicles on a production basis. The M16Al and M16A2 multiple. gun motorcarriages are examples of such improved vehicles resulting from battle experience during the Korean War. In Japen, the M15Al combination gun motor carriage was rearmed with a single 40mm gun because of the shortage of 37mm ammunition during the early fighting lin Korea, The modified vehicle was then designated as the 40mm_ gun motor carriage M34. and classified as Limi ted Standard,

After KO:I:ea~ the half-track rapidly disappeared from tile U. S. Army, but it remained On active sendee in numerous foreign armies. Israel in particular, utilized large numbers of half-tracks. Many of these were modified, rearmed with new weapons and powered by new engines to improve their performance. Even today, these World War II half-tracks in modified form are still employed in some foreign armies more than half a century after their introduction.

The specifications for many of the half-tracks and some of their weapons are outlined in Part IV. Some production data also are included in this reference section.

As usual, many questions are raised during the research OIi. a project such as this and many of them are never satisfactorily answered, Frequently, some of the answers appear after the book is published. The author would be grateful for <l!ny additional information that would help complete the story.

R .P. Hunnicutt Granite Bay ~ Califomia Octobee 2000




Aboveare rwo vlewsof the S ton ~rfQrd",~:l(l~t half-tracle designed fOl.' the Qllarie~.'m!lster Corps, It was p'hotogrophed duriog J~!:I,e 19l!:L The 3 roll Packard ~:rlld fitted withthe HQIt track rear suspcasion appearsbelow 1!iL ttii.c right.


In the U nited States, most of'the early commercial tractors utilized the semi-tracked configuration. This design carried the main weight of the vehicle on. 11 tracked suspension to lower the ground pressure and used separate wheels for steering. In many cases, track braking also was used for greater maneuverabiljty, These vehicles used in. construction and agricultural applications were heavy and. slow moving. Eventually) the steering wheels were discarded. and track steering alone was used to guide the vehicle. Even the early Mark I British tanks were provided with two rear wheels fOT steering purposes. These wheels were discarded early in the program in. favor of track steering alone.

In addition to the use of heavy artillery tractors during World War ]: the semi-tracked configuration was considered to be 1:;1 possible sot ution to the pro blem of improving the cross-country mobility of trucks and other light . vehicles. For evaluation purposes, small Holt tractor suspensions were installed to replace the rear drivmg wheels on some trucks, One of these was the conversion of the 3 ton Galford truck tested during 1918, The front wheels were not powered 0:11 this vehicle, Although it \V.<'lS slow.with a maximum speed of

only about seven miles per hour ~ this installation reflected the half-track configuration that was to be widely developed in the future.

During this Same period, the Holt Tractor Company modified at 3 ton. Packard. truck by replacing the rear wheels with the same tracked' suspension used on the Garford. Unfortunately, it too was extremely slow.

Although it was not completed until 1919)a:!lollier half-track intended for World W09if ] VIaS the F om Whee] Drive (FWD) Auto Company Model Btmck convened to a balloon winch carrier by the McKeen Motor CaJi' Company. This vehicle alsoteplaced the rear wheels with a small Holt tractor suspension, but it retainedthe powered front wheels ofjhe Fvro truck.

The Four Wheel Drive M.:odei. lil truck c:an Il€ seen below couvertedto the half-truck coll;fl.g~ratkm. The vehicle at the .~e:fr is equtpped! as a b!l!looil winc~l carrier with a second engine at the rearto power the winch, Note tilt;: radiatorat ead end of'the vcirlcie, ,

Two phNographs oftite Jeff1"cy;;Nash Quad are shown above, The action ,ofthe rear mounted track suspension wlJendumbing oyer an obstacle can he seen ill the rlgl.i't view.

Another half-track conversion of a truck with four wheel drive was the Jeffrey (later Nash) Quad. It was based. upon a 2. ton Model 40 li 7 4x4 truck. Once again, the Holt tracked suspension replaced the rear wheels" AU of these conversions exhibited improved crosscountry mobility, hut they were too slow to operate with truckconvoys,

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; ... r ~"~'~{..' /H-i:-;. -!'r19i.L~ .. "';.-:1- Hr ...... ~~I' - .... i'o-I"~ 1)." r - ...... :1.0.

During the postwar years, a variety of half-track conversions were evaluated based upon just about: every suitable truck or tractor available. J. Wal ter Coo stie produced several half-track conversions based upon various models of the Mack truck. Although greater speeds were obtained, none of these vehicles were reliable enough for troop use.

Above are t..-V(I Christie conversions of the Mack Model he truck to a half-track_ I1~e vehicle at ¢he left, photogmphGd 011 15 May 192.2" was fitted win'n tracks around 'the SQlid tires on the four real' wheels, all of which were chain drivea TIle front 'wheels W'I}Te not powered. The Christie cerrversion at the right utilized a I1(iM1 ttadk.ed suspension onthe real' with pl~.ellm.atic It;e~ on. the fro.nt wheels. 'FilLS vehicle was tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground during June 1924. Neither ofthe Christie conversions was successful,

TIl,e two phOlogr'~I)hs below show the M~ack "Rcadless" bssed upon the AB series Mackn·~ck. Evaluated !It Aberdeen dllrL~g 1923; itwas well liked, but considered somewhat underpowered wjth its foul' cylinder, 28 horsepower engine,


The 1(1 horsepower Citroen-Kegresse half-track is shown above at Aberdeen l>roving Ground on 4 August 1925. At tile ts the Class BB \V belted six. wheel five ton tnlCk assembled 'by the Quartermaster COI'P~ a£ Fmt Hol.'9J}]['{I Maryland. The latter photograph was da,t~~ 1929,

An evaluation of the French Citroen-Kegresse half'track at Aberdeen Proving Ground provided a further advance in the development program. Two of these vehicles powered by 10 horsepower engines were purchased in 1925 for considerationas prime movers for the 75mm gun.

In 1931, a later version of the Citroen-Kegresse half-track was procured for test at Aberdeen. Designated as the F'- ]7:, it weighed 4300 pounds and was driven by an engine del/eloping approximately 28 horsepower at 2500 rpm. It could pull 3500 pounds and carry a load of about 1000 pounds. Maximum speed was approximately 18 miles per hour. Front wheel steeringwas combined with a braking action on the 9 inch wide tracks" The overall dimensions of the P=17 were 16il1 inches long, 62'/~ inches wide and 781/2 inches high. Although the test results were promising, both types of Ci troenKegresse vehicles were considered to' be too small and under powered for the proposed application, Neither of the Citroen-Kegresse vehicles had froru wheel drive.

The photograph below' and the two vlcws above <1.( the right show the Citroen- Kegressc P-17 ,at Aberdeen Pro'vi;ng Ground during June 193 L In the lower photograph above, the P~17 is being usedln its ro]e as a p!i.~ne, m01lJoel' tor the 75mm glm.

TIle h."Jf~trad{ car T1 can be seen in the two phetographs sbove, The original oonflgUI'!liti(l!l ofhalf-track car TiEl appears at the bortem of the page during the tests in the Summer {If 193 3. Note the larger bodyand strengthened idler frame.


After the evaluation of the Citroen-Kegresse halftracks, procurement was authorized for a pilot half-track from the James. Cunningham, Son and Company of Rochester, New York. The new vehicle was designated as the half-track car T 1 by Item 995'7 of the Ordnance Committee Minutes (OeM) dated 7 July 1932.

The T 1 had been buil t during 193 1 and was larger and more powerful than the Citroen-Kegresse vehicles, It was fi tied wi th a leaf spring bogie suspensionand a new 6 i /2 inch. wide track with a 2 inch pitch consisting of a roller chain with robber blocks. The sprocket drive was at the front of the tracked suspension with a spring loaded idler at me rear, TIle front wheels, fitted with 7:00 x 20 tires, had a tread of 633/", inches. They were not powered. The Tl had an empty 'weight of 6300 pounds and carried a load of 1900 pounds. It measured 178 inches in length,. 8 l inches in width, and 66 inches in height The wheelbase was 105 inches, The vehicle was powered by a Cadillac V8 engine develcping 1 l :5 horsepower at 3200 rpm. It had a maximum toad speed of 42 miles per hour with five speeds forward and One reverse.

After testing, some modifieations were made.

These included a strengthened idler frame and a new body with a larger passenger compartment and driver's seat.

Thirty of the modified vehicles, now designated as tile half-track car T LEI, were assembled. at Rock Island Arsenal from c0111 ponents procured from James Cunningham, Son and Company. The specifications

were much tile same-as the T I except the weight with the new body had increased to 6620 pounds and the cargo capacity VI,o'f[S now 2000 pounds, The overall dimensions increased to 1801 rio inches in length, 82 L /2 inches in width and 77 inches in height These vehicles were issued to the Cavalry. In. March 1939,. OCM 14965 belatedly recommended that they be classified Limited S andard as the half-track car M I, Durling their troop service, the vehicles were used in the development of tactics and various modifications such as the front mounted roller for use in crossing ditches. ill December 1940; they were declared obsolete by order of the Secretary of War ..

The original half-track car 1'1 pilot was used to evaluate a number of modifications. The spring loaded idle:r was replaced by a rigidly mounted, adjusta ble, unit and the new T6 rubber jointed track was . installed. Unfortunately, this track failed during the tests at Aberdeen Proving Ground which ran from June to October 1933. Ordnance Committee action designated this modified vehicle as. the half-track car TiE2.

Additional modification of the original pilot replaced the leaf spring track suspension with a volute spring artieulating bogie. Now designated as the halftrack car 'I'l E3; the pilot was evaluated at Aberdeen during 1934. This new volute SP11ng track suspension 'vas the forerunner of those adopted for the half-tracks during Wodd War II.

A half-track car 1'2 was the Sltbj eel of a design study; but it was never built,

Interior details of the body on the haJf-track cal' TIEl ail'e visible ill the view above at the-left, A rear door is now provided and the ~pm\e tire is stowed at Ule frout of the troop compartment. The T1 E I as modjfie>(1 forproducnoe appears at the top right, The suspension has been redesigned with a fixed idler replacing the spring loaded versian, The vehicle is operating on the washboard ecurse .\it Aberdeen Pl'(lving Ground on 22 August 1934,

The half-track car TIm ls abo've at the left. It is still markedas the hfllf-tl1'lck cat' TI. Details ofthe fixed real' idler and the track can be seen above at the r,ight_ 'rile reworked half- track car T'l is shown ~.g~Jn below. Now it is de-signated as the half-track car T1E3 with tI'Ie volute sprulg bogie replacing the earlier leaf spring saspensico. The o;rig~nal short body is obvious and! it still carries the; marking half.:itack car TI _ The photographatthe left W(iS taken at Aberdeen Proving Ground on 25 S-eptember 1934, The right photograph was dated 23 August 1934 at Rock Island Arsenal,


Some oftlhe thirty hHilf-track Cal'S ,M1 (TIEl) are shown here in servicewith tile troops. They are armed with ,30 caliber !,,,,1]919A4 macnlne guns and the two vehicles immediately below' we e.quip[)e.a with radios.

The half-track truck T1 can be seenabove at the left at Aberdeen Pl'O\,fng Ground 00 24 August 1933. At the top right, the T1 is towing a 7.'lmm howitzer at Aberdeen on 7 January 1936"

In 1933. parallel with. the work on the half-track cars; development was authorized for the half-IT,a,ck truck T li, This vehicle "vas converted fmm a standard General Motors. 2 ~J2 ton Model T -33 truck. A tracked suspension, similar to that on the half-track car 'llE2, replaced the rear axle and wheels, A two speed auxiliary transmission 'was installed in addition to the standard four speed transmission. providing a total of eight speeds forward and two in reverse. Fitted with a new cab and body, 'the T I WBiS tested at Aberdeen from August to November 1933. The six cylinder GMCttuck engine developed 96 horsepower at 30.00 rpm providing a maximum speed of 41 miles per hour. The T]_ 4 rubber block track was 61/2 inches wide with a 2 inch pitch. The T 1 half- track truck weighed 77 80 pounds and carried a load of 2000 pounds. Its overall dimensions were 197 inches in length, 78 inches in width, and 85 inches in. height. The tests at Aberdeen showed superior performance when the T 10 rubber hand track was installed, However ~ its durability was unsatisfactory and further tests were suspended until a satisfactory band type track could be developed, As a, result, the six vehicles then on order were canceled,

Two vlews of the Cunaingham-Chevrolet half-track truck are at the right The upper phl)¢(Igraph was dated 8 August 1934. Below is a photograph of the Cut:millgham-Foran.alf-o'aGl\:. truck at Aberdeen ProvingGround on 10 AuilL~t 1933,.

A proposed modification of the half-track truck Tl was the half-track scout car T6. It was intended to have two "swivel chair" type turrets, However, itwas not built.

Another vehicle evaluated at Aberdeen from August to December 1933 was the half-traek truck T2. This vehiclewas a conversion of a standard 1933 Ford l i /2 ton truck by the installation ofa Cunningham rear track suspension similar to that on the half-track car T lE l. It proved to be very satisfactory during tile tests, but it was barred from procurement because of the manufacturer's non-compliance with the NRi\ codes then in effect.

Another conversion, similgr to the helf-tracktruek n, W<'I;S made using the Chevrolet 1 ton truck, ]t also was tested at Aberdeen during August ]934 fitted with the Cunningham Tl7 rubber block track. However, it VI.'<IS inferior to the T2 Ford conversion because of its lower power engine.

The Lhm ha:lf,track truck T3 is shown above. At the dglIt,.the Ljnn half-track is carzying the light tank HE6-

The half-track truck T3 was OiL higher powered version of the standard Linn Tractor Model WD~:I2. The new engine was the American Laf ranee V 12 developing 222 horsepowerat 2400 rpm. The T3 weighed 18;230 pounds and had a normal cargo load of 16;000 pounds with a maximum load of 20;000 pounds .. The T3 was 268 inches long, 93 inches wide; and 78 inches high. Its front wheels were not pOV.'efOO. fitted with 9:75 X 20 tires, the front tread "vas 5S1f2 inches .. The Linn track was 14indles wide with a pitch of8 inches .. A top speed. of 19 .. 6 miles per hour could be reached on level roads.

The half-track truck 'Y4 was similar to the half-track truck T 1. but it was a new design 'with. the obj ective 0 f increasing the performance and life. Itwas a commercial Genera] Motors truck with the rear wheels replaced b)1 the Cunningham tracked suspension. The T4 weighed 8100 pounds and its overall dimensions were 209inciles in length, 81 inches ill width, and 981/2 inches in height. The front wheels were not powered, They had a tread of

60 L J ~ inches and were fit-ted with 7 :00 x 20 tires. TIle T 4 weighed 8100 pounds and carried a C~l'80 of 2000 pounds, The six cylinder GMC engine developed 90 horsepower at 2500 rpm. With a four speed standard transmission plus a two speed auxiliary transmission; the vehicle had eight speeds forward and. two in reverse. The maximum road speed "vas about 26 miles per hour.

The batf-track jruck TolEl was a speciflcation intended for the procurement of wire laying trucks for the Signal Corps. None of these were produced since wheeled vehicles were considered preferable for tills application.

The wire laying half track truck T4 .appeal'S in tile photographs below fitted 'ivith the no rubber bandrrack, The vehicle was being evaluated nt Aberdeen Proving Ground on 15 June 1934.

Tests of the half-track truck T'l indicated that its higher speeds were desirable for a prime mover of light artillery, To meet this requirement, General Motors Truck Corporation produced the half-track truck T5,. It utilized many commercially available components and the rear wheels were replaced by the Cunningham articulating bogie. leaf spring; tracked suspension" The T14 track was 8{/B inches wide with a 2 inch pitch, Goodrich sponge flllertires were installed on the front wheels with a tread. of 63 inches, The T5 was 222 inches long; 80 inches wide, and 96 inches high. It weighed 8840 pounds empty and 12,580 pounds with a load. The six. cylinder engine produced 125 horsepower at 2800 rpm providing a maximum road speed of 39,2 miles per hom. A total of 24 ISs were manufactured.

During the test program, a T5 was converted to the TSEt by the installation of a differential with a ratio of 7,45: l replacing the differential with a ratio of 5 .. 57: 1. This change reduced! the maximum speed to 29.3 miles pel' hom, Tests at Aberdeen from October 1935 to, September 1936 indicated that the 1'5E li was inferior to the T 5 when towing the 155mm howitzer.

The original TS was fitted with 10 inch wide bogie wheels and tracks and designated as the half-track truck T SE2. Tests at Aberdeen showed. thewider tracks and bogies wheels to be far superior to the narrow type,

Tile wide track suspension ,of the half·h~ac:k truck T.5E2 appears above. Below areviews of another h.M-h'<lilic trnck 1':5.

TIle production version {lftile half-track truck T5 can be seenin these pllotogl'.aphs in service with the troops. Above, the 7Smm howitzer Ml is i_n thefiring position. Below, it is being rowed by thebalf-track. truck,

Below are OlddiHmud views of the, Ilalf:uack truck T5 in its role as. tile prime mover for the 75mm howitzer M 1, 11:1e normal stowage can be seen. on these vehlcles,


The' Linn hali':.trad: truck TIS appears in the photogr~ph$ above 1I1'Id below. The'kIp pl1otog:raij)h shows the vehicleas flilffiishe.d to tile U _8., Army in Hawaii w.ith the rear canvas COVel' and the side curtains installed, In the- bottom view; the 1'6 is under test at Aberdeen Pm\llil~ Ground on 13 July 1934.

The half-track truck T 6 was another product of the

Linn Manufacturing Company. It was similar to the T3 de scribed earlier t but somewhat smaller and a little heavier, It was rated for the same 16:;000 pound cargo load as the T3. The ove-rall dimensions were 246 inches long. 92 inches wide, lind 98 inches high. The Linn 14 inch wide. 8 inch pitch, manganese steel track was used as on the n. A Hercules IcliXE engine developed 174 horsepower at 1600 rpm, In addition to a main transmission with five speeds forward and one reverse, there was a reverse transmissionwhich allowed all of the main transmission speeds to be used in the reverse direction. The maximum road speed of the vehicle was 15,7 miles per hour.Jt was tested first at Fort. Bragg and later at Aberdeen Proving Ground. demonstrating excellent reliability.

The half-track truck T7 WdS a designation assigned for a vehicle suitable for use as a prime mover fer medium artillery, No vehicles were produced under this designation,

The. half-track truck T8 was a modified Ford 1'/2 ton truck chassis with an extended frame and the Trackson tandem drive attachment, It "vas 11 tied wi ill the Trackson cable track around the two rear tires. TIlls track was 153/4 inches wide providing a low ground pressUl'e. Tests at Aberdeen revealed the system to be unrelialbleand no further development was recommended.

A,t the right is the half4rack truck T8 with the Trackson tandem drive aUEI.Qhmellt and cable tracks on (} F ebruary 1937.

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The productiou "'~SiOIi of the half-track truck 1'9 can be seen above and below in these photographs at Aberdeen Proving Ground dated 28- Jauuary 1938. Thls ""<IS the vehicle subsequendy standardized as the half·nack truck 1'.-n.

The ha]f~track trucks T9 and T'9El were: identical except for the tracked suspension, Both were based upon a 1936 Ford truck chassis modified with a MarmonHerrit)gton front whee]. dri ve, It was fitted wi tb a pressed steel cab and a 1] Ii 'ton capacity cargo body. The 1936 Ford V8 engine developed 83 horsepower at 3800 rpm. The standard transmission was modified and assembled to a, Marmon-Herrington auxiliary transmission wilh an over-running dutch ]]1 the gearing to the front wheels. This provided eight forward and two reverse speeds. On the ini tial installation, the front wheels could not be driven in reverse. The volute spring bogie on the T9 had four 12 inch diameter steel wheels on each side. On the half-track truck T9E 1, the bogie had two 20 inch diameter Wheels OJ! each side. These could be either steel or solid rubber tired wheels. The 19 was fitted with a I'll rubber block. track 10 inches wide with a 5 inch pitch. The T9El used a nOE2 rubber block track 8. inches wide with a 5 inch pitch. The empty weights of the T9 and. the T9El were 8560 pounds and 8410 pounds respectively. The cargo load "las 3250 pounds in both cases. The maximum speeds were 25 miles per hour for the T9 and 35 miles pel' hour for the T9El.

At the right is", close-up view of the suepension fcrtbe half-track truck ·F9' with the bogie wheel j'ammed durillg a run on. the washboard course.


The produotlon version of the half-track. truck T9E] was photographed. at Aberdeen along, w.ith th~ T9 on 28 January 1938

Two production models each were built of the T9 and 1'9E 1 with. the following changes, The front wheel drive was modified so that it would operate in. reverse, two hand brakes were added. on the sprocket shaftsto aid in steering, the battery was shifted from the right running board to the upper right on the engine side of the dash, a new mifitary body with seats for sixwas installed, and the suspension on. both vehicles was modi fied to use the 10 inch wide 124 E l robber band tracks. F Or a time, the T9 was standardized as the half';' track truck r..12.

The pilot T9E] was fitted with special pneumatic, tires on the bogie wheels and designated as the rm]ftrack truck T9E2. Tests: at Aberdeen had unsatisfactory results and the vehicle was returned to its original state.

Tests of 'the 1'9 series vehicles proved the feasibility of synchronizing the front wheel and track drives on the half-track vehicles.

The half-track truck T H) was a. proposed light: halftrack truck intended for 'lime laying, It WM never built.

At the left is a close-up view of the pneumatictiredbogie wheels v.'ith and without the skleflange as illStalledO!l the half-track truck T9E2. 111h; photograph was dated 30 July 1'937"


·Ahove is another view of the production half-track truck TIEl. Below, ,tbe earlier 1'9£1 is at the left on 25 January 1937 and the earlier 19 is at the right {lli 29 October 1937 ..

Below, the, half-track truck M2(T9) is ]!1 servlee with the troops towing the 75mm howitzer Ml over rough terrain,


Above, the h~lf-emc1~. personnel carrier T7 shows its close relationship to the scout csr 1i2Al from w'hicJl it W<lB converted.


l1le first armored half-track resulted from a project authorized by oeM 14188 to convert an :M2A 1 scout car to a half-track vehicle, Some sources refer to the vehicle converted as fhe M3 scout c-ar. Since the designation of the scout car M2A 1 was subsequently changed to M3, both. SOurces are correct. The- work was carried out at Rock ]Sland Arsenal whh help from the Wbite Motor Company. Subsequently designated as the half-track personnel carrier T7; there was no change in the chassis, the 95 horsepower Hercules engine. or the transmission. The converted vehicle retained the front wheel drive of the scout car and two tracked, volute spring; suspensions with rubber band tracks similar to those on the half- track truck T9 replaced the rear wheels. Larger front tires were installed as well as shorter front and longer rear propeller shafts. A transfer

case with a de-clutching device was added, .The gear ratio was changed in the front and rear axles, The face hardenedarmor plate was U j 4 inch. thiekexcept on. the windshield cover where it was 3/a inches thick, The total weight of the 1'7 was 12; 170 pounds. with til pay]o~.d of 1800 pounds, It was intended to carry a crew of eight men with two . 30ca1i'be-r machine g-uns and one .:50 caliber machine gun,

T ests at A berdeen Proving Ground extended from 21 September to 24 October 1938. It was noted that the front wheel drive gave the '17 superior Cl'OSS-C(RUltry performance, but the vehicle. was under powered, A front mounted. roller was installed, during the tests and proved to be of great value in crossing ditches. After completion ofthe test program, the 1'7 was converted back to a scout car _ and returned to the troops.

Details ofrhc half-track personnel carries T7 ,can be seenin the photographs below, The vehicle is shown with and without its canvas top"


TIle half-track scout car Tl4 appears above and. in the left photograph ilit the bottom of the page. It is now equipped with the front mounted roller evaluated on the half-track personnel carriej' 1'1.

By ].939, it was becoming obvious that the Army would require large numbers of half-track vehicles during its future expansion. As a result; on 26 December. the Artillery Division, Industrial Service of the Ordnance Department submitted drawing D42876 and a speclfication for an armored half-track incorporating the results of the various experimental programs, They recommended the construction of a pilot vehicle .. The Ordnance, Committee approved two days later . in. OeM 15544, dated 28 December 1939; designating the new pile! as the half-track scout car T 14. It was to be the. basis for all of the American half-tracks to see action during World War U.

The: pilot T14 was built during the first part of 1940 at the White Motor Company in Cleveland, Ohio. Us rust operation was an. overland road march from Cleveland to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland on 28-29 May 194ij" The rest program at Aberdeen continueduntil 2: 8 September 1940.

As delivered, the T14 did not COID.I11.etely meet the specification requirements, To expedite construction of

The hood of the Tl4 at the right i..~ modified for the Buick engine.

the pilot, the tracked suspension from the half-track personnel carrier Ti' was installed on the T14. This suspension hadthe drive sprocket at the rear and ... vas fitted with steel bogies and. 10 inch wide tracks. The specification required front mounted sprockets and rubber tired bogies with. 12 inch wide tracks, Abo, an engine with a maximum torque rating of 325 footpounds was specified. The o1igj.nal engine installed in. the pilot was the White Model 20A which produced II maximum torque of 280 foot-pounds at 1200 rpm. .. This was a six cylinder L-head engine developing 116 horsepower at 3000 rpm. However, four additional six cy linder engines were evaluated in the T 14 during the test. program, These were the Whi te I40A, the Whi te 160A, th.e Hercules W'XLC3, and the Buick Series 60. The latter was a valve in head passenger car engine which produced 142 horsepower at 3600 rpm. The highest performance was obtained "villi the Buick engine and the Whi te 160A. The latter engine developed 147 horsepower at 3000 rpm and had excellent torque characteristics.

Note the rubber tired bogie wheels on the ha]f·trncl:: ~(:OU¢ car. "f14 above it! these photogn'lp.il1:: diat(;)d 4 December 1940, Compare these with the odg~nal ooglev,'!l$ds in the close-up view of'the suspansiou below,

Even before the Proving Ground test reports were published, the Ordnance Commi ttee acted to standardize three basic half·track vehicles. OeM I 6112, dared li 9 September 1940~recou;nllended that the modified T14 be standardizedas the half-track car M2 with seats for .~. 0 men, Wl th the body and frame of the vehicle extended 1 0 inches to the rear, it WlIS standardized as the half- track personnel carrier M3 '",,1 th acapacity of [3 men. This version was devdopedby the Diamond T Motor Car Company as the half-track personnel carrier T8" When the T 14 body was modified to carry an 8 lmm mortar with its crew and ammunition, it was standardized as the 81 rnm mortar carrier M4. AU three chassis had the same I3 5.5 inch wheelbase as measured from the center of the front wheels ill the center of the track assembly.

This phowgropb oftheTl-l, also dei¢ed 4 DeDembe~ 19'40., c~e"r~y shows the new bogie wheels tl!Jld tile armament censisdng .50 m~ibet, M2.ffB machine gmt and one 30 caliber Mt 919.A4 machine glUl. Note thllt: the side compamnem door is hinged"~(mg the side sofua:t i¢ swings open to the rear,


These two views show the half·track scout car 1'14 during its evaluation at l~,J;leOOleen Proving Ground on 10 December 1940. In the photograph above, it is towing the l05mm howitzer. The rai] for the skate mounted machineguns is. clearly visible,

Two weeks after standardization was recommended, theWhite 160A engine was selected for all of the production half-tracks, The cooling system was redesigned to accommodete the higher power engine and. it was provided with an adequate oil bath air cleaner. The tests of 'the TI 4 had shown excessive trackwear. However, it was expected that this would be reduced with. the production suspension using rubber tired bogie wheels and the 12 inch wide track. The frnnt mounted sprccketsalso were expected to reduce the damage to the track guides.

By September 1940. the requirements for half-track vehicles had increased beyond the capacity of any single manufacturerand orders were placed with the Autocar Company, the Diamond T Motor Car Company, and the \VJllte Motor Company, On 28 September and 1 October, meetingswere held in Washington D. C+ and Ardmore, Pennsylvaniaresulting in the formation of the Half-Track Committee. Consisting: ofrepresentati yes of all three companies and the Ordnance Department, it "vas responsible for the designof the half-tracks. and to ensure that all parts, except armor plate; were interchangeable between me vehicles built by the three manufacturers,

By mid October 1940. the standardization of the three vehicles had been approved, and procurement was authorized,

A privately developed armored half-track also appeared during 1940. This was the Marmon-Herrington DHT-,S. Similar in appearance to some of the MarmonHerrington pre\Vaf armored ears, it was equipped with a: turret mounted 37mm gun as main armament. The rear tracked suspension appeared to be a heavier version of that installed on the half-track trucks T9 and T9El. The DH'I'-5 was not evaluated by the U. S. Army.

Below is the Mannon-Herrington DHI·5 half-track armed! with the turret mounted 37mm guu. Note the vertical volute suspension in the half-tl'1'lcl:bQgie_


Above, the flrst production half-track cat M2 is accepted by the U.S;" A_i'fI'lY arthe White Motor Company,


The first production vehicles were accepted in May 1941 with 62 M2 half-track cars delivered by the White Motor Company. This began the long run that would produce 11,415 new M2s from A utocar and the ,,"Vhite Motor Company until it w-as succeeded on the production lines by the later WAt

As mentioned earlier" the half-track car W "vas similar to the half-track scout. car T14 which served as a pilot for all of the half-track vehicles, Like the n4~ the 112 was, protected by face hardened steel armor 1/4 inch thick en all surfaces except for the lh inch thick plate over thewindshield, The open top vehicle was provided 'with a canvas top for bad weather. 'but it was rarely used in a combat area because of the restricted visibility and interference with the skate mounted armament.

Initially, the armament specified for the M2 consisted of ODe air-cooled, heavy barrel, .50 caliber machine gl.U1. lvfl and two water-cooled ..30 caliber machine guns M1917 At The water-cooled we·apons were replaced later by a single air-cooled .30 caliber machine gun M1919A4. An ofthese weapons were on skate mounts riding en the gun mil that: surrounded the open top of the vehicle just below the top ofthe armor.

At the riglir, I>.12 h&lJf:cr~ck caes are lined up for delivery at the

Whhe Motor Company _ .


TI~e half-track car IVIl above is at the Raritan Arsenalon 23 June 1941. Note- that the stowage compartmeet side doors ill the hull arc now hing,cd at 'the bottom .. Below is a view of the M2 chassis with all of tile armor plate removed.

The W was intended as an armored co-mba t and reconnaissance vehicle and as <I prime mover for artillery, Two large ammunition storage compartments were installed. one on each side of the vehicle. The top of these could be opened providing access to the top Shelf from inside the vehicle. TIle lower shelves could be reached from the outside through doors in the side armor, These side doors were hinged at the bottom, unlike thoseon the T 14 which were hinged at the side.

The ten seats hl the M2 were arranged with two in tb.edri ving compartment and two between the two. storage compartments. The latter were back to back facing to. the front and. to the rear, Three additional seats were on each side In the back. facing toward the center. A 30 gallon self sealing fuel tank was installed on each side at the rear of the crew compartment,

The pilot half'::¢r~ck.C<lir M2 app~ars boJow ae Aberdeen Proving Ground on 9 Ap'ri1194 L The armor flaps on the sidle doors and. the windshield cover are closed and the vehicle is armed with one .50 caliber M2I;IB machine goo sud two .300 caliber Ml917 Al machine guns.


Above is a later production half- tHIck eill; 112 fully sto .. ved with the stow.Bge eompartmem OJ]~. This vehicle is fitted willi mine racks and is armed with one j 0 callber M2UB machine glill and two .30 caliber Ml 917 Al machine gUilS.Below ere two views of mJ: eatlly M.2 with the canvascover installed,

Further de .. tails. 01 the early haJ.f·track ear 1\·12 can be seen below. Note the ~rly headlights (II) tbi.:> vehicle. The rail for the skate mounted machine gUlls is visible in the left photograph.


Half-Track Car 1\'121 early prQdllctioD

e M. Dllp]e.ssiii


The early half-track p-er1Jo:t;H1e1 carrier ill above and below Is at Aberdeen Proving, Ground on 27 June 1941. The vehicle is ann~xl with n siltg~e .30 caliber M19E.9A4 machine gun on a pedestal X!1QU!1t_

A single 113 halif~track personnel carrier also was received in May 194 J. from the Diamond T Motor Car Company. Production of new M3s would increase from that single vehicle to' 12,391 by the time production shifted to the later M3A 1. The M3 was produced by all three manufacturers.

The M3 half-track was developed as a personnel carrier for armored infantry, but it proved to be extremely adaptable for many applications. Among these were an ambulance, a command vehicle, an engineer vehicle, a radio carrier, a prime 1l10Ver for artillery, as well as a chassis for several expedient sel fpropelled weapons ..

The armor protection. on the M3 was the same as on

the M2, but, as mentioned before, the boody liWIs.ten <,

inches longer and it was fitted with <I door in the rear [0 permit easy passage in and out of the vehicle. The storage compartments on the lv12 were eliminated and the nVQ 30 gallon self sealing fuel tanks were shifted forward to. Just behind the chi ving compartmenf Three seats were in the driving compartment with the center seat slightly to the rear, Five additional seats were installed On each side- of the crew compartment bringing the total to thirteen. A .30 caliber M 19li 9 A 4 machine gun "vas installed 0.;0, a pedestal mount in the crew compartment. Frequently, the troops would replace the .30 cali bel' 'I.\o'eapon wifh .50 caliber machine gun.

The e~r'l.v half-track personnel carrier M3 a~ tile right is fined with the canvas top,


The ph(lt()gr~fl'hs on this and the following Il,age show the early half-track personnel carrier M3_ In the views above and .at the le.ft, the side armOr flaps on the doors an') closed, the wlndshleld cover is op-en, and the canvastop hils not been iustaHed, At the bottom of the page, the armor door flaps are open and the can vas top and side curtains are in place.


These phorogrnphs of the early h~lfctrack. personne; carrier M3 show many detaH~ ofthe vehicle. The early type headllglus and the ftoru roller are cle8dy visible above, Noreme dlrectlotla~ tire tte~d 0<),1 ti):ts early vehkk The interlor arJ.'i!llgement and the 13 crew seats can 'be seen below and at the ri~llt.


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The late production chassis for the half-track car 142cru'i. be seen above and below <It the right. Now~h~ double ecll, spring loaded .• idler and the late type headlights, 'TIU!i frame of' ¢he haU~t:t'·~t{ is in the drawing below, The letters ill the dra-wing htdica¢e the dimensions to he taken when checking the aUgfilllel1;~ of the frame,

~ .. ~,:.~ . t::i L~fiJ§."'~' ";" .

-r ..' I' . ~ .. "

~H--"'" - ,I~

Above an: the d.ri vel" S im;cr~llnelltsmlld controls on the h~lf-¢racks msnufaceured by Wllite, Autocar, and Diamond or. They 8J'e identified as follows:

A [ftCil(}Jllerer, ]3, twuble ligl1it receptacle, C. left wiper control, [} ]NLTJcl Hghtccarrol, E. main light switch. F. instrument ctuster, G. throtrle, 11 starter button, I. l£l1il]Otl, 1. speedometer, K. compass, L,f\.lel tilmk selector, M. blackout light, N, d~5h lisllt, O. voltmeter, P. voltmeter button, Q, map compartment, R. right wiper contro], S. regisrration plate, T. fi~ exling!.lishe~, U. radiator slmtrer control, V. winch caution plate. W. tront orL\'e silift¢,r, X. right ventilator control, Y. IHI!15fl;'r case .shift lever, Z. 'choke, i'v\. [}a:ddllg brake, A.B. accelerator, AC. transmissieu sh ift lever, AD.powe.r take off shift. lever, AEi. brake, AF. left ventilatCfT control, AG. ekC!1]C brake load control, rill. clutch, .4J ge~r shift plate, AL engine caution p.:!'Lk.

Details of the right-hand fael tank can be seen above. The partic,uli!it instal.lati.Oll shown is in the half-track personnel earricx l\,I). Note tile rifle rackat the right side oftlie photograph, At the [eft is a sketch of the fuel system on the half-track> except for tile M1 Sand M 1 5A 1 motor carriages .. The ~atrer had one vertical fuel tntlk to the I'ear 'of the driving compartmentsnd one, horizontal fuel tank under the from section of tile turret.


TIle White ].60AX engine is shov.u above with 11 cutaway view at the right. Close-up views ofthe from roller and the winch app·ear at the bottem (If the page.

The power train in the production half-tracks consisted of the White 160AX gasoline engine driving the vehicle through the Spicer 3461 transmission, Thi 5 transmission had four speeds forward and one reverse and it engaged and disengaged the front wheel drive. A two speed transfer case was bolted to the rear of the transmission, Its high and low ranges doubled the number of speeds available. The front propeller shaft transmitted power to the front axle and. then to the wheels, The front wheels were fitted with. 8.25 X 20 tires, Early vehicles used self sealing tires, but later halftracks were fitted with n ply combat tires on split bead rims with metal bead locks. The front wheels supported the front of the vehicle through leaf springs.

The ear ly production half-tracks were fl tted with the front mounted roller to aid in crossing ditches and

other rough terrain, The later vehicles had ei ther the roller or a 10,000 pound capacity Tulsa Model 180 winch mounted just behind the front bumper. A power take-off on the transmission supplied power to the winch ..

Above, the early half-track suspension with the fixed idler is at the left and details of the bogie can 1;Joe seen at the right, The Goodrich rubber band track assembly is at the rigl~t.

The rear propeller shaft powered the rear axle and then the trade drive sprockets. These 18 tooth sprockets at the front of the rear suspension. drove the rubber band tracks developed by Goodrich. Tins track consisted of tubber molded around steel cables bolted together by steel cross pieces to which center guides were anached, The cross pieces extended out of the track edge to aid in traction, Track tension was set. by theadjustable fixed idler wheel at. the rear of the tracks. The ln4jOl' part of the vehicle vi/eight was carried on the bogie fitted with two vertical volute springs. The springs transmitted the load through the crab to the suspension arms and then to the four rubber tired rollers on each side of the vehicle. A steel roller on top of the track frame assembly support-ed the upper track run.

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Hydraulic brakes were installed on 'the front wheels and the track drive sprockets. A mechanical parking brake was fitted on. the real' propeller shaft.

On 21 August 1942, the Office, Chief of Ordnance directed that mine racks be added to each side of the vehicles, On the M2:, these were fitted to the rear of the doors to the ammunition storage compartments, On the M3 they extended the full length of the, sides, Modification Work Order G li 02 -wai, dated 24 February 1943;w[ls issued for the installation of mine racks on half- tracks in the field.

Detaijs oJ the pintle hook and 'tIte bumperette on the half-tsack pcrscnnel carder M3 alY;) shown below at ,he le-ft. At the bottom right; this. h!lilftrack car 11..f2 at Fo.r¢ Keox has been fitted with nune racks, Note the earlytype headlights_


The early single coil, spring loaded, jdler is illustrated in these photographs. At the right. tile spring, is heing, removed.

With the half-tracks in. the hands of the troops, reports from. the field as well as additional proving ground test results revealed the need for a number 0 f modificatlons, A particularly serious problem involved the tracked suspension, As descri bed earlier. this suspension had a front mounted sprocket and a fixed. buradjusrable, rear idler to maintain track tension. It worked well for travelling on. roads, but it could not compensate for track movement when crossing rough terrain. This often resulted in a thrown track or damaged suspension components. Ordnance was considering design modifications, but the 2nd Armored Division took matters into their own hands. Scheduled to leave for the invasion of North Africa in the Fall of 1942, their solution to the pro blem is described in the following excerpt fr·OID their history, HHeM on Wheels" by Donald E. Houston.

"The question of half-tracks came up and for a time it appeared that the infantrymen were on the verge of losing their personnel carriers, because the rear idler spindle was fixed in place andcould not bend or give when. moving over rough terrain .. First Lieurenant Thomas Hauss and Master Sergeant GeiTY No ble came up wi th a scheme to replace the fixed idler with an eyebolt and nut. and a coil spring from a Caterpillar tractor. Colonel Sidney R. Hinds personally paid for the items and directed th . .at it. he testedand that he be informed of the res-ults. lit was successful Hinds took the idea to the division ordnance officer, Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Crabb. who took the suggestion to Maj or General Harmon. Harmon quickly npproved it and had ordnance buy the modification parts and install the device on all the half-tracks slated for North Africa,"

The Office, Chief of Ordnance had issued a directive on 4 September 1942 to provide a spring loaded

idler for the half-track suspensicnand on 29 N overnber 1942~ Modification \Vork Order Gl02~W14 was issued covering a field fix to serve as an expedient until a production type spring loaded idler could be designed. This expedient "vas a single coil spring arrangement Eke that Installed by the 21~d Armored Division, which by this time ... vas in North Africa. On 15 July 1943, Modification Work Order GW2-\V36 V,,'aS issued for the field Installation of the new double coil idler spring then in production.

Operations with the half .. track self-propelled artillery had shown that the headlights were frequently broken by the muzzle blast from the cannon, To eliminate this problem, a. directive Vi/as issued to standardize demountable headlights for all new halftrack vehicles. For vehicles already in the . field, Modification Work Order GL02-Vl34: dared 2[ June' 1943, was issued to modify only the artillery motor carnages.

The. larger diameter aide!' lights were fixed. On the front fenders behind brush guards, A small blackout marker light 'was installed outboard of each headlight behind the brush. guard. The new demountable lights were smaller and were located in brackets on each side of the hood armor. A combination headlight and blackout marker light was mounted behind a brush guard in each bracket. A combination blackout driving light and it blackout marker light could replace the headlight and blackout marker light only in the left bracket The taillights also were modified on the later haJf-t1'acks.

Operations in. the field, as wen as the production of vehicles carrying heavier loads, resulted in increased weight on the various half-tracks, This caused. a rapid increase in failures of the front springs .. To correct this problem, the manufacturers were directed to install heavier f1'011t springs in the new production vehicles. Tills modiflcarion also was applied to the vehicles in the field.


TIle late pro-duction half-track suspension and tracks call be seen above. Note Ih~ double coil, spring loaded, idler, Alt the .right, the tracks have been ficled with challis.

The early headlight with its smaIl blackout marker light ls shown above. At the righ~ <Ire two views of the later demeuntable headlight and blackout marker light. ThIJ later type taillights are shown below,

Interior a:!l'rui,ge.metlts 011 the half4mck car }'·12 call be seen above with the various stowage compartments open and closed .. The vehicle at the top left is fitted with fl.·ont mo\mte{l roller <lfld the one at the top right has the winch. Armament installed 011 the i.alter vehicle ccnsisis of one .50 caliber lv12HB machine f,,'ll!llfland one .300 caliber rvn919A4 machlne gun. The late type demountable head.liglns are mounted 011 both vehicles,

The :M2 half-track cars below are 'both fiUed with the latetype demountable headlights and the double coil, .spring loaded, idler. Miue racks

have been installed on the 1Yn ae the left and the side srowagecompartmeutla open_ .


Half-Track CarM2, mid productiou.

© M. Du:plessis


The interior of the half-track personnel carrier .M3 is visible above with the compartments open ami closed. Tile '[v13 on the left is equipped with the front roller and '~he winch ls Installed on the one at the right_ The latter is armed with a $b),g~,e pedestal mounted ,30 callber M1919A4 machine gun, The M3belQw is fitted with mine racks and the double con, sp.rulg loaded. idler, All have the ~aL:e derncunrable headliglus,

The seat:jng arrangement and armament tor the various armored infantry squeds are shown in ~hese mr:@les. Dared 31 J.lI!1m~ry 1945, tilt)' ~!re b~setl upon. the hal:fc~r~ck pei'$Onnel q:u-rier MJ..A.l. H(fV{C1{{;:r, tlW ~!t~'iJ,g~meJlt would bJ,: th~ sam~whhth~ half-H~ck p{llilo:n_m;~l G~rd~r M3. TllG whklG' WG~p(lllS fur each t~lle- of 5qU~c\ ~JG t~5W OO1Qw,

gifi~ S(j~!4td.; (~) ,30 G~ljb(1r M 11)17 A l. r.-1G (1) 2.36iuch rocl:Gt lauoct11W:

I_MG Sqll~d; (J ) ,$0 c~lib~ M2H.:6 MG

(1) :,36 inch l"Qctet launcher MUUll MOltlllf Sqtmd1; (l) ,30 cal, M I9l7 Al (I) 2,36 inch rocket ~aUJ.~cherr 1':1.1>,10 Seetiou: Neille, but their (2} M l 9] ? A l MGs cwn be mouITted

S finm Gun Squ~(~: (I ) .50 C~~, },j2HB \10 or (l).30 cal, M1917Al MG

J..jght Machine GUll SqLl;;l.d

Pro gress in the development of welding techniques for thin armor plate had reached a POm:E by 1941 that :UJ was considered for the fabrication of half-track armor. OeM 16410. dated i6 January 1941, recommended that two welded bodies be procured for the half-track car 1V1I2 and one fo1" the half-track personnel carrier rvf3. When the vehicles were assemhledvtheywere designated as the half-track car M2E 1 and the half-track personnel carrier M3El. The tests at Aberd.een Proving Ground revealed that the welded bodies were less vulnerable to lead splash than the standard bodies with their many joints. Also, there were no cap screws that mightbe dri v en. into the vehicle by a direct hi t, However. the tests did show thatthe welded homogeneous steel armor was more easily penetrated than the face hardened plate. It was necessary to increase the thickness to achieve adeq uate protection. In April 1942,. the Ordnance C om- 111i tteenntherized welding for 'the fabrication of thin armor plate and it was W be used by International HM\'6 ster Company when they entered half-track production,

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On 16 June 1941, OeM li 6913 authorized the procurement of a Hercules DvV:X:C diesel engine for installation. and test in the half-track car .Iv12, The modified vehicle was to be designated as the half-track car M2.E4,. The D"\¥'XC was a six cylinder, fom cycle, diesel engi ne, U nfortunately, the delivery of the engine was delayed because of a low priority and a new policy directive eliminated the use of diesel engines in U. S, combat vehicles, The lvI2E4project was canceled in April 1942 without a vehicle being con vetted ,.


Above, tile pilot half-track CHT M2E5's· at the left and the pilot half-track personnel CHIT.ier M3E2 is f:lt the right. Both vehicles, manufacturedby Inrernstionel Harvester Company (mq, were belngtested at the General Motors, Proving Ground during July 1942.

. .

The great expansion of the War Munitions p,l"ogram after the attack on. Pearl Harbor resulted in 81 large increase in the requirement for half-track vehicles. This increase was far beyond. 'rue capacity of the three manufacturers in. the program and many of the critical components such as engines and transmissions were in short supply, Fortunately, the truck manufacturing facility of the International Harvester Company (IHC) Vilas available and. they could a]sQ furnish many of the critical ccmponenrs,

In April 1942, the Ordnance Committee directed thai pilot vehicles be procured £1"0111 IHe for evaluation. These pilots were designated as the half-track car :tv.r2E5 and the luJf-track personnelcarrier M3E2 corresponding to the standard. M2 and M3 vehicles. Although they used many new ccmponents, the performance of the M2E5 and the M3E2 during tests at the Genera] Motors ProvingGround was comparable to the standard half= tracks. The bodies of pilots followed the configuration of the standard half-tracks with the M2E5 having the shorter body of the M2 as wen as the side doors for the ammunition storage compartments. However, they could easily be identified by the front fenders. These fenders had an angular profile with a fiat cross section, The

early large headlights 'Were mounted on the fenders behind new brush guards.

T11e production version of the M3E2 was standardized as the balf-track personnel carrier MS by oeM 18310 em li8 June 1.942. Standardization of the

production model of the M2E5 was approved by oeM 18509 on 10 July 1942 as the halt- track car M9.

The production models of the- IHe half-tracks differed widely in appearance from :M2E:5 and M3E2 pilots. Externally, the bodies of both vehicles were identical and were fabricated from homogeneous steel armor. This armor was easily welded and could be formed. The latter resulted in an obvious identification feature of the new vehicles, Smooth round rear corners 011 both replaced the sharp comers on the I\.12 and 1\1) and the side doors. of the IVI2 were eliminated. on the M9" Both the M5 and M9 designs had a rear door in the C!'e\V compartment. The angular profile of the fenders on the pilots was replaced by a smooth curve, but they retained the flat Cr-OSS section. 111e armor plate thickness was increased from 1/4 inch to ~ It (, inches 'to partially compensate for the softer homogeneous steel armor, The windshield cover plate was increased to a thickness of ~/s inches,

Below are two views of a model of dle half-track: personnel carrier 'z,,1ij _Pl't)pose,d for lnaJUlfa.ctufe at Internatlonal Harvester Company (IHC). The model iUu&tt£!Jte-s the smooth welded armor and :is fitted with other late features such as mine racks and demountable he.wligbts.


Tbese phowgrnph~ show the prodw~tion balf_Ji:r.~ck peroormel M5 fined wi¢l~ the canv,as tap, 'll~e main iclenltifLcatkm features such as the rounded rear comers a!Ild the dl~tll1ctive front fenders are clearly visible:,


Scale 1:48

HaM~ Track Persounel Carrie •. " J\.15


TJHl top views show the fnterler derails of the, half4l'''lck personnel carrier M5 with the Mowag~ ¢olnpilrrnlC;rlit~ opetland closed, JEI~IO'l't" th,e d~t!l:n& oflhe windshield and the ru'lTIOr windshield cover can be S6€Il,

The lnf>ITLIID~nt panel ana the driver's comrots for the :m'le b!llf-trac:ks areUUustrnted below, Ibe items Jll¢he latter are ide:tU.ific.::llIs fbHow~;

A. steering wheel, B, g'e!luhift p,j;ate. C, wj~ch operatjon caut-ion pla~ D, vent control, g, 1I01J11. F, throttle, G, choke, It wjmishiend wiper, J, Pillild light, K_ blnckuut ~i1);lit, 1. inspection light soeket, M blaekourand service ~jght swjt~l, N_ oil pressure w1IIl'ning light. 0 speedlometet, .1"" ojl pre:;:s<u~e g'2l1le, Q, panel ,light cover, R ~f!lmeL!t:r, S_ :l'u.el gage, T. voltmeter, U, compass.Y, p.lIill.ellight cover, W, coelent temperature g~ge, X coolallt \vam:iflg HgM, Y inspection light SQd:et" Z, map comp~rtrne:n~, AA, lock, BE. ~~r cleaner ooruwo,], Cc. registratlon plate, DD_ radia~or shutter control', EE, wJ~tm~ fCif trailerbrakes, FF, t'll:il.p lish~, OG, ~1'L~p light switch, I-Il·I. front drive 8hifit lever, JJ. ~flilmfer case shiit lever, KK, tachometer, LL fue] tank selector, M!l.-l hru~d brake, NN_ tra.[l£muss~rlJ]~hift levw, 00, $l~O:It1etor ,reset sh~fl, pp_ i~nuti(Jn switch QQ, S'l~r.ter,


Above are two views of the Intenradonal Harvesrer Company Re,d-450·B engine, The items ill the two photographs are Iden(ifie.d as follows; Left photo: A CJ<I1i!lo;ca5~ 1;'C'ntilaror,. '8_ oil IUle.r., c_ rockerarm cover. D. distr~b~Ltilr, E. cylinder breather, F. lgniticn coil, G_ :fuel pump. H. 5tMWJ, .J. cil pml, K. ()i~ filters, L oil le¥el ga.g.c, M_ ge~~er<l!t(lj", N. water pi.llllJJ, 0_ fan, R~glu pJlO!(I; A. cylinder head, .8. engtue temperature w~m:iilg unit, C. 'cyiilldier hG~d breather, D. intake manifold. E. engine tempcsature sendsng t1llit .. F. exIHU1S( manitQld. G. thermostat housing, H. crenkcase breather, J. fan, K. vibration damper, L water pump, M_ oil cooter olltlet, N. oil QlJoIgr inlet, 0. oil pilll, P _ oil cooler manifold, Q. carburct(~r, R. £,ollelilof

The new half-tracks were powered by the urc Model RED-450-B sixcylinder engine developing 143 horsepower at 2700 rpm. It drove the vehicles through a Spicer designed Model [856 transmission produced by IHe. The front wheels were fitted with 9:00 x 20 combat tires and heavier front springswere installed. The IHC vehicles benefited from the proving grOtm(t tests and field experience of the M2 and M3 half-tracks, This also resulted in the installation of heavier front and rear axles, radiator cross braces, and other improvements indicated bythe experience with the earlier vehicles, A new tank type removable instrument panel was provided [OJ the ru.ivet . Although the thicker armor and. heavier components resulted in a weight increase, the performance of the me vehicles remained about the same as the. earlier balf-tt,acb.

IRe delivered the first M5 half-track personnel carrier in December 1942. Production continued until September 1943 for a total I'lJIn of 4625 vehicles, No M9 half-tracks were manufactured as the M9AJ modiflcations were introduced before production began.

Details of fJJ.e front roller a.nd the rear bumpers on the half .. track personnel carrl·er M5 can be seeniu the, two photographs at the ~tght ..


Above, the first pilot half-track car 1f2E6 is at Aberdeen Proving Ground on 3 Augusr 1942 with. the original de:;igl1 ring mount for the .50 caliber machine gIRl.

On 19 May 1942, the Ordnance Committee recommended that the machine gun mounts in the halftrack. car 11,112 be changed eliminating the gun rail with the skate mounted machine guns, It was to be replaced by au M32 truck type ring mount over the right front of the vehicle, This concept was approved by OeM 18394, dated 25 June 1942. and the modified vehicle was designated as the half-track car M2E6. Two pilot vehicles were authorised, The first pilot was modified at A berdeen Proving Ground by installing jhe 42 inch diameter ring, cradle and carriage fr-om the M31, truck mount supported by three brackets over the right front of the half-track car M2. After test by the ArmoredF orce Board at Fort Knox, it was recommended that the :tv12E 6 be standardized and replace the M2 in production,

However, the second pilot was an even benet solution. On this vehicle. the three mounting brackets were replaced by armor plate cove~'ing the front and side of the mount providing additional protection to the gunner, The Ordnance Committee adopted the latter design and directed that it he applied to all future production of half-track cars and personnel new ring mount was designated as the 1\'149, With the new mount, the vehicles became the half-track cars M2Al and M9A 1 and the half-track personnel carriers M3Al and 1HA L In addition to the M2 ~50 caliber machine gun, armament on the new vehicles included a single M1919A4 .30 caliber machine gl.lIl for which three pintle socket mounts were provided, One On each side and. one in the rear.

Below, the second pilot half-track car 1Yt2.E6 is under test at Aberdeen Oll 1 February 1943.. Note: the improved protection for the gunner around the ,50 caliber machine gun ring mount.


The half-track C~J:' M2A.l, shown 011 this andthe tlIree following pages, was Ordnance serial number 19496 and i¢ was manufactured Ily the White M(!Itor Company, These photograph~ and those 0.". the three following p,l'lges were taken at the Engunee:ril1g Standards Vehicle Laboratory in Detroit, Michigan on 15 February 19414,

The .M2A 1 replaced the M20n the production lines at Autocar and White Motor Company and the IvBAl took over from the M3 at A utocarand Diamond T, Total production of new M2Al half-track cars and new M3Ai half-track personnelcarriers was 1643 and. 2862respeclively" In addition; 1360 M3Ats were converted fWID 15mm goo motor carriages M3.

International Harvester Company (IT-Ie) shifted production from the M5 to the M5Al half-track personnel carrier in October 1943 and it continued until March 1944. A total of 2959 IV15A ],13 were built The

M.9Al entered production at THe in Match 1943 and a total of 3433 were completed before production was terminated in December of that year. Some documents list-ed the first 2026 vehicles as M9s. however. they were completed as M9Als with the ring mount for the .50 caliber machine gun.

The M5, M.5Al. and M9AI half-tracks were classified as Substitute Standard and were allocated. to international aid under the Lend-Lease program. Some were assigned no U. S. Army units in the United States for use in training.

Below lire additional vic ... vs of tlle- fully stowed half-track car MtAlwith the canvas top and side c.urtains installed.


Half-track CM IvtlAl app~s here with the canvastop removed, The vehid~]$ armed Wil~l a ,50 caliber M2J'ID machine gun oJllme Ji'in:g, rno,un.t ~md a .30 caliber MI919A4 machine gllil on a pint.le mOIl11i¢, The radio antenna mcunt hasbeen ingt~lIed,


1iI@S22S? __ "~_~ ~=-~-.~:.;..>~- ~ ~v~

Above,~he external stowsge can be seen on half-track car M2A 1 t serial 1Ull'111her 19496, A full load! of t.2 M liAl antiraak mines (IJ:'e stowed in th-e twO cxeemal racks. ·The lntemalarraugement ofthe velilcle i~ visible in the top view below'. The machine gun armament has been removed til the latter photograph.

Above, details of the winch alld demomuable headHghts ~re visible at the I~H and the machine gUll tl'ipod m.Q1il1lt appear~ at the right. Belowis a view of'tlie driver's eompurtmensou the half-track Car JM2A1. This is es..sentiany the sameas the other late model h~lf-tHicli..'dnanl!facll,lr-ed by White, Autocar and Diamond. T.


I '

S~1I1e :nl:48

HaIf- Track Ca.if l\1:2Al


Scale 1:<18


The half-track personnel carrier M3A] apP,ca"rs on this and the following ¢hrec pages, lllts vehicle was lTIaI"i'uJ:acrurecl by the Diamond T Motur Cal' Company and had Ordnance serial number 2541.3. Thephotographs on this and the next three pages were taken at the Engineering Standards Vehide Labornto:ryin Detroit, Michigan em 16lF ebruary 1944,


These views of the hllM-track personnel carrier M3Al show the fullystowed vehicle with the canvas top removed and! th~ armament (If one .50 caJibe.r M2HB machine gunand one .30 caliber M1919A4 machine gun installed. Two radio antenna bases have boon mounted ..


Above, the, 24 MIA 1 antitank mines can be seen stowed in the twoside racks 011 the half-track personnel carrier M3A 1, serlal number 25413, The top view below shows the intel']ol' ru'rangement of the vehicle.

Details on the front and rear of hatf~tr.ack personnel carrier :l\.BAl, serial number 254B, ere visible :tn the two viewsabeve. Below is a photograph showing the interior of the vehicle from the· rear door ]O(lki:ng to-ward the front.


Here are two views , persQ.rme:l carrier 1YBAl manufactured by the Internatlonal ffilnres¢ei' Comp<Jiny. This vehlcle, with Ordnance s~d!jjl number 18392; was photographed ae the Engineering Standards Vehicle Lalboratol:Y in Detroit, Micliigan On 29 April 1944. In these photographs, it is fully sto'wed and the canvas top is installed,


The canvas top has been removed and the side curtajns are fitted on the half-track personnel carrier M5A 1 above <It the Studebaker P.rovin,g Ground. This ph(ltogr.~fJh was dated! 8 November 1943, Note that fueyh~ve managedto get 13 ,MIA 1 antitank mines in ¢h~ l~ft mine rack. S elow is another view of our old friend, half-track personnel carrier M5Al, serial Humber 1 &392, fully s~o'we(1 with its armameat installed.



These phol\Ographs tI!.t'ld mese on the next page ~h(lw further details of half-track personnel caIT]~ M5Ali. serial number 1 B 3 92, on 29 A.pril ~944" The lmedol' aiI'.ra:tl~emellt and sto1y..-age are visible in the view below, The rouadtear cornees of the huH and the distlnctlve fenders oftnG ltu,WllaHonal Hareester .ha~ttaQks are obvious,

Prout and rear views of the h<llHmck. personnel carrier M5Al can be seen above. Tile j',~dklrtor louvers are fully onen, Be'~~}w at the left, the hood is OP(ID revealing the right sidle of the engine.

The driver's compartment ofthe half-track personne] carrier 1vI5AI appears above at the right, Below are views looking forward (left) and toward the rear (righ¢) in the troop compartment of th~ half-tI'ac·k persounel carn'el' M5Al. Note tile variety cf rifles stowed on the vehicle.



SCII]C 1;48

Half- Trad( CarM9Al

© 1\1. Duplessis


The hillf~ traok car M9A 1 on rhi s and th~ following three [I~ge$ W8l': photographed on 11 F ebruary 1944 at the Engineering Standards V ehicle Laboratory in Detroit, Michlgal1,l>.1anuf~ctt1reJ by the international Harvester Company. it was ,~S$ig11ed Ordnance serial number 25::\3, III e vehicle is fully stowed with the canvas top installed,


N.alf:'track car I\.'19Al is shown here with the csnvas top removed. The armament is installed c-Ofisisti,ng of one _50 caliber M2HB mach lne gUll on the ring mount and one .3.0 calib~r M 1919'A4 machine gun on one of tlie side p intle mounts. The round rear corners of the welded homogeneous steel armor andthe characteristic Intemational I-u!J .... ester fenders are obvious.


TIle fully stowed .nal:f·m_;jck em M9Al, serial uumber 2583, can be seen above find below. A tQtal·of24 ]\,{l.Al antitank mines are oarrled in the side mine racks. The location of the radio and the ~eati.Jn:g arsangcment are vis~hle in the top view.

The front and rem' ofthe IHe half-track cat' M9Al appea~' in the two plwtogmphs above. T11is vehicle is equipped with a. front mounted winch in place of the roller. An inMlot view (If the hoop cQmpru'C1t1i~ttU appears below looking forward Wv. ... rd the dlivili.,g eompertment, Note the rear door is blocked by the radio installation.


Abov.eal'e photographs of the hn~f-traQk Cilr T2.9 at Aberdeen Prov(i)g Grounden 2:5 June 1943, Note the ne>v rod~e side &l~(JwagG racks and the folding rear srowage racks, TIle ~,mer are ~h(lwu In nlQre d.erraH below lilt the right, Thispilon vehicle Is equi~)ped with tile o~il s~y16 flxed he.<ldligln~,

A report by the Armored Force Board on Project 302~1~ dated 12 December1942. recommended that the half-track car M2 and the half-track personnel carrier tw3be replaced by a single vehicle based upon the .M3, ln February 1943,. III similar recommendationwas made to consolidate rhe M5 half-track personnel carrierand the M9 half; car intO:. a single vehicle. Five M3 and three M5 half-track personnel carriers were diverted from producticn and shi pped to fu:temational Harvester Company for modification. The proposed replacement forthe JI.12 andM3 was designated as the h.aJlf""l["'atC.k car T29 and that for the M5 and M9 became me h.a]f-track car T31. Both of the pilot vehicles were modified so that they 0011]d. be adapted for different roles by c.hanges in stowage and items such as radics, The crew was expected to vary from 5 to 12 depending upon. thepartieularapplication, Both vehicles were armed with the .50 caliher M2 machine gun onthe M49 ring mount as OIl the M3A i a:nlcl. M5A 1. The three pintle sockets, one on each side and oneat the real', also were retained for an Ml 9li 9A4 .30 caliber machine gun, Oilier annament depended upon the particular appllcation of the vehicle.

Both of the vehicles were fitted with the new folding stowage racks on rthe rear and a new side

stowage rack, The latter consisted of two rods mounted on the side armor, one above the other, givillgfue appearance ofa ladder. The top rod replaced the loops

. ,

on the side armor used for seeming the canvas top and

both could be used to attach stowage to the outsideof the vehicle,

Below are ~wo views ,oftHl.!.l half-track car T31 at Aberdeen an. 25 June ]943. The 1'(Il!Jnd rear corners offue hull and the fenders characteristic· oi" the II,;~C vehkle.s ere clearly visible, I~ also has the ns .. vtypG st:uwage racks and is rutt:ed w'ith the demountable headliglns.

The llltemal arrangeraens of the half-track cars 1'29 (le-£!) and the 131 (right) can be seen above, T]le annament has not been installed 0']'1 either of the two vehicles, The SCR .'iOS radio has beeemoeuted ill 'the TI9. Note how the se-.attng varies wjth difterlZnt stcwsge arrangements.

Afterevaluation, the T29 and T31 were designated as the half-track cars M3A2 and M5A2 respectively. The lvBA2 'WaS classified as Standard and the M5A2 was Substitute Standard. Like the earlier Intemational Harvester vehicles, the latter 'was intended for the I endLease program. Production of the new half-track cars was scheduled for 1 March 1944. However. changing requirements terminated all new balf-track production nod. only the pilotvehicles were completed.

Later in the war, many half .. tracks used in training 'were remanufactured and used to meet the, tro 01'

requirements after production of D.eW vehicles had ceased.

The verticalarmor on the half-track vehicles had always been of concern, particularly' when compared with the highly sloped armor 011 many of the German half-tracks, As a result. a 3 h (} inch thick spaced. armor shell was designed for installation on the M3 half-track, It was highly sloped 011 the front and sides and a periscope was provided for the driver. However, interest was no-w shifting to full track carriers for future use and the pro] ect was terminated ..

Below ls au artist's eoncept of the half-track personae! csrrier M3 modified by the ]nstfl~hvtion {lithe spaced al·~tOr shell.


These pnOitogrnplu and! those Oil the next three p:lges show the pilot half-track car M.3A1 at the Engineering Standards Vehicle Laboratcr; v in Detroit, Michigall on 15 September 1944_ "[he vehicle is fllUy stowed, NOite how the canvas top is secured to the upper rod of the new side stowage rack. This vehicle, Ordnance aerlal number 42977, was manufactured by Autocar.


V,lith the canvas top removed on the hllif:tl'ack cat .NI3.A1,. the amulmeln of one .50 caliber M2HiB maci'iine gun on the ring mouns and one .30

caliber M1919A4 machine gun is clearly visible. 111e latter weepon is installed on the. rear pillUe mount. .


Details of the stowage 011 lutlf·track cur M3A2, serial n'Umber 42917. can be seen in tile photographs aiOOveal).d below. Note dwt the bows for the C<lIlV<1S top are stowed behind rJJ.~ new ro·d tJ'II)e side s:rowagc racks, The seattl'J.!!; arrangeme'J1~ ~ s visible jn the top view below, but thi~ would, no doubt, vary depending upou the use of the vchlcle.

Above are frontand real' views of the Autocar halfc'!rack ear M3A2 pilot, Nate that this vehicle is equipped with the demountable headlights and it is fitted with the fiVt1t mounted roller. The new folding stowage raekscao be seen ill the real' view. The driver's co:mpartment appears in the view below.


HaU:' 'Jnd{ Car M3A..2



The pilo! half-track 8]nllR mortarcarrier M4 above is at Aberdeen Proving Ground Oil 20. August 1941.


Although the 81 nun mortar c .. artier M 4 was standardized in the Fan. of 1940 along with fhe halftrack car M2and the hal f-track personnel carrier M3, the production pilot of the mortar carder was not deli vered until August. 1941. Afte .. r this single M4I was stripped to Aberdeen Proving Ground. no additional vehicles were received until March 1942, when a total of 278 were completed fhat month at the Vlhlte Motor CompanyAnother 293 M4s were delivered in September and October '1942 bri.nging the total production to' 572. AU of the M4s; as well as all of the other half-track mortal' carriers during World War Il, were manufactured by the White Motor Company.

Additkm.~l photographs of the pHot half~tl'ack 8hrun mortas carrier M4 appear above and below, III the views, below, the vehkl.€ is shown -with rear door open and closed. The 8lmIH mortar can b€ Se~TI Ihrough the open door,

As. thetop left is a view of theleft side ernmuoition C(lmplli'tm.entoll~he ha!f·track 8hruu mortar carrier M4pilot At the top right, the ammunition racks 1md the installed S·l rom mortascsn be seen, These photographs show ~to" space for a total of 1]2 wunds of 8 hlllll ammunition,

As mentioned. previously, the M4 was, based upon the half-track car M2, A steel support for the mortar base plate was installed with the mortar mounted to fire toward the rear. Initially, the mortar was intended to fire from the vehicle only in emergency situations and the traverse was limited to the 130 mils in the standard mortar biped mount. Under normal conditions, It was expected that the mortar would be removed from the vehicle and fired, from the ground, The hull of the :M2 was modified by the installation of a rear door on the M4. However, the gl,Ul rail VI.'aS retained with the skate mounted machine guru; so that it 'vas necessary to crawl under the gun rail to use the rear door. The M4 retained the two ammunition compartments with the top and side

doors as 011 the tv[2~ but the compartments were: rearranged sothat each could stow 28 rounds of 8 Imm mortarammunifion, On the pilot M4, 56 mortar rounds were stowed in open top racks bringing thetotal 81 mm ammunition stowage to 112 rounds. This resulted from the early concept of using the half-track only for transportation and firing the weapon from the ground, At one point, ill was expected to carry 126 rounds of ammunition, ahhough the stowage space for the additionalmunds is. not obvious. After tests <It Aberdeen.jwo eight round open top racks were removed to provide space for the mortar crew reducing the ammunition stowage to 96 rounds for the: production vehicles,

Below, an early production half-track 8lmm mortar carrier M4 is at Aberdeen Proving Ground on 25 June 1942,i\1ith the c<lrl.'v<hswj) installed, the (-lXtenla~ appearance of the fo;'14 is the same as that of the half-track car IY12 except for the rear doer.

hi. these two photogmpilR, the eanvastop has been removed from the early prcdueticn half-trackStmm mortar c~nieL' M4. In the upper view, the door armor (laps are closed, bu.t the windshield armor rover is open. Below, the door armor flaps are abo open.


As call be seen in the phot(lgr~h above, the early production 8l m.m mortae carrier M4 retained the stowage space for 1] 2 rounds of:3 1.mUl ammuainon. The 8lm:m mortar appears below tU the left througlt the open rear door. Note how the I.·ail for the skate mounted machine glIDS b]ocks the rear door.

The SCR·:ilO radio is installed in the half·track&lll'lltl center M4 above at the right. Below rue two view's of the later production hatttrack s: 1 mrn mortar carrier M4. Note that file 8 lmm .'immUllitioJI stowage been reduced to 96 rou~d$.


Half- T-rack 81mm M(!!dar Ca.f'I·~er M4t early production


the half-track 31nun mortar carrier M4A]. appears in th~ plrotographs on this and the ne:;.:¢ ~"ro pages ~t the B11.g1:nee.l'.Lng Standaeds Vehicle Laboratory in Detroit, Mlch~gan OIl 9 February 1944, This vehicle carried Ordoance serial number 11.945,

When the new mortarcarrier reached the troops, it became obvious that the mortar should be able to fire fr0111 the vehicle under all conditions. Since the limited traverse delayed the alignment of the mortar with the target, a traversing fixture. was installed to increase the range of traverse tc 600 mils in 100 mil increments. fine ad j ustments Were still made on 'me biped 1110'Unt. The socket plate assembly had to be raised 7~ J 3 inches to accommodate the new traversing arc, On 2.8 January 19'43. the Ordnance Committee recommended the standardization of the modified vehicle as the 81lllill mortar

carrier M4A L A new sight with 6400 mil traverse and an elevation scale in mils was, standardized as the M6 for us-e on the M4Al mortar carrier, If any of the M4 mortal' carriers in the field -could not be upgraded because of their location, they were veclasaifled as Limited Standard.

Production of new M4AR 8hnID mortar carriers began at the White Motor Company with the delivery of 100 vehicles. in May 1943. The production run continued until October of the same year for a total of 6ClO M4A 1 8111'un mortar; carriers.

.1\11 of these photograplLs show the M4Al finlly stowed w1l:h the canvas top and siat:! curtains Installed.,


The canvas top and illd,ccllrtain~ have been removed from the hll.l:f~FJ:ack ghnl1l mortar casrier M4Al in these ewo photogr.aphs- The &lmll1 mortar is visible and the .30 caliber MEH9A4 machine gun has beeninstajlcd on the skate mount


Halt-track B lmm mortar carrier M4Al, serial number 1945, appears in all cf these views, This is a ]iItt::! productlon vehicle with the doubte co·n spring on the ·¢J:ad idler. By reve:t'.'>tn;£; some of the mines, t~H:y liavt! I11i!J.l~ged to stow a toW! of 14 MIAI antitank mhies hi the two slde racks, The photograph below shows the interior arrang.eme_~t (If the M:4AJ. Note the :3 Imm liIntI'JILlni~looI] stowage remains at 96 !OllI!lds. The tta'lie:t's;[rng m.'C on the 116'>V morrer mounr is. clearly vusihle..


TIle ime:rio.r stowage and crew positions in the half-track 31 mm usortar carrier M4AI can be seen in the views above alid ilt the, right:. These' photographs were taken <It Fon KIlOx. BelowIs another vi,~'W .of .M4AI, serial number 194:5, in Detroit on 9 February 1944.


Sc:de 1:48

Half- Track S'lmm Mortar Ca.['r.iie:r M4Al


The hw_f~track 8 hnm mort<ll: carrier M4 above was modifitirl by the 2nd Annored Division sofhat the mortar fired in the tOrv.'<lra direction, Note that the 81mm ammnnitiou stowage h~s been reduce(] and the rear door is ooll1!pletely blocked, At the right is the:: half-track S'lmm mortar carrier T19 at Aberdeen Provjng Ground on 8 June 1943.

Field experience seon indicated that it would be preferable 11:0 have the mortar mounted. in the vehicle so that it fired toward the front, New studies of such a mortar carrier based upon the half-track personnel carrier M3 we-re begun by the Armored Force Board. However, the 21ld Armored. Division did not wait for a new development program to provide them with an improved IDOIta:r carrier. They converted their M4 carriers by remounting the mortar so that it fh .. ed toward the from of the vehicle, These modified M4s operated successfully until the end of the war in Europe,

The new vehicle with the forward t1rmg mortar recommended by the Armored Force Board was designated as the half-track 8limm mortar carrier T19 by Ordnance Committee action in October 1942, Based upon. the half-track personnel carrier M3 j it was manned by a crew of six men. The pilot 'I'l 9 was built by the White Motor Company and shi pped to Aberdeen Proving Ground for tests which ran. from April to July 1943. TIle' Proving Ground recommended some minor modifications including the addition. of stiffeners to the pedestal mount for the- .50 caliber machine gun to, reduce dispersion, With these changes. the T19 was standardized as the half-track 81 min mortar carder 1v121 by OeM 2.0846 dated 7 June 1943, A total of ltO W1 mortar carriers were delivered by the White Motor Company starting in January 1944 and ending in March of the same year, These late production vehicles could be identified by the; new rod type side stowage racks.

the half-track 81lmli mortar carrier T19' a\ppears at lhe right The mortar is aimed forward! and a .. 50. caliiber M2HB machln.(il gun is

in&wfied on II pedestsl mount -


These photographs show the hil1lf,truck Sl!lutl mortatr carrier .kl11 at the Engjneetmg Stnrlootd~ V ehicle LabonJ:w.ry Oil, 28 April 1944. ·'~']is vehicle, Ordnance serial !ll:unber 25,. was manufactured by the \Vhite Motor Company.


Thehalf-track .s: 1 mm mortar carrier 1121 shown here ill·C.i)rporate~ the latest production features such as the new rod lYll'e side and folding: rear st"Qw.a;ge racks, The 811ii1ri1 moetar is !limed forward and tl:iJ(i) ~eoondazy armament coru;:ists of a si~:t,g~e· pedestal mounted ..5 0 caliber Ivl2F03 machine gun,

The interim stowage of the halr-'track 81mlJl mortar carrier M21. serial number 25; canbe seen below, The vehicle is equipped with a winch, Note fhe new 8lmm .alllJutllliti(l,n stow.age arrangement.

The lnrerlor (If the!l a ~f~traQk 131 mm mortar carrier 1121 can [lei seen above looking; toward the rear, Note the extra S 1 mm tOUilds stowed a}ongsidefuc mortar mount. A view looking toward the front appears at the ri:~;1;!i¢, The mortar base p.late for ground use is stowed 011 the rear doorbelow compa_red to tile rear hull in the l~t~ photograph at the right


SC~I!C 1:<18

Ralf- Track Slmm Mortar Carrier M21


The haM·track 8hnm l:t.lOl1IaJ: carder M21 is slriown in the photographs Q'J!i. this page durlng its evahiatlon at Fort Knox, TIu:: opening for 'the mortar hi the canvas top call be S~ above and at the left: below, Below at the right, the rear view shows the mortar ground bas-e' plate stin stowed on the rear door. No dO'ubt the door was somewhat heavy to move with the addition of the ~,5 pound base plate,

Below aretwo views of the half-track s: 1 mm mortar carrier M2i with the full Crew on board, At the bottom dght, the loader is abuut to drop the 8Inun round int.o¢hc mortar tube and. another member of'the crew is m<linttingthe pedestal mounted ,.50 caliberJo.'Ulffi machine gun.


In response to a request f-rom the Chief of the Chemical Warfare Service, studies were initiated at Aberdeen Proving Ground in December 1942 to investigate the installation' of the 4.2 inch mortar on the ha]f .. track. The first tests 'were made; by replacing the 8 hum mortar on the. 11,114 carrier with a "*.2 inch M2 chemical mortar. Despite the use of atwo inch thick layer of ruobes under the base plate, the firing tests caused considerable damage to, the supporting structure of the vehicle" The program was then switched 'W using a half-track personnel carrier J'vf3A] with a reinforced chassis, This vehicle, designated as the 4.2 inch mortal' carrier T21 , retained the ring mounted 50 caliber machine gun and installed the mortar firm:g toward the rear. Although the initial fIXing tests were successful, subsequent '.IIring caused severe damage to the half-track chassis which would require a complete rebuild. At this point, the specifications for the new vehicleVY'e:re changed requiting the mortar to be aimed toward the front of the vehicle with a greater range of traverse. oeM 21810, dated 14 October 1943., designated the new vehicleas the 4.2 inch mortar carrier T21El. The pilot T21 E l 'WaS manufactured by the Autocar Company inc-orporating the latest half-track design features. With the forward firing mortar, the machine gun ring mount was eliminatedand the .. 50 caliber weapon \VaS relocated to a rear pedestal mount.

Although the firing tests were satisfactory, interest had !!lOW shifted 1;0 the development ofa full track 4.2 inch mortarcarrier. OeM 27124, dated. 29 March 1945, recommended the termination of the 1'21 E R project.

The h[' 4.2 inch mortar carrier T:21 is 8110"01). above and below at the rigill.t. The mortar is aimed toward the rear and the vehicle retains the annamen; of the half-track personnel carrier M3Al whh the "50 caliber M2HB machine gu.n onthe ring [noun! anda pintle mounted.30 caliber M1919A4 machine gun.

111e half-track 4.2 inch mortar carrier T21El below is based upon the half-track peracunal carde.r 1M3 with 'me mOltar aimed rorw(I;l,'d, TIle secondary armatnent now consists of a single pedestal mounted .5 0 caliber NI2.[1J3 machine gun,


The original pilot 75 mm gun IU'\JWr carriage Tl2 is ahcwu here Md at the bottom ofthe page <!it Aberdeen Proving, Ground 0,1'1 21 July 194], Note the tlefl(,).CI:~OJi of tlirl.~ suspension under the load,


The effective employment of German armored forces was a subject of serious study by the U S. Army after the fall of France in 1940. [nearly 1941. General George C, Marshall commented:

.. It occurs to me that possibly the best 'Vv<Ly to combat a mechanized force would be to create anti-mechanized units on self-propelled mounts; whh emphasis on visi bili t)' (for the gunner), mobility, heavy armament, and very little armor",

In 1941, there was little available in the way of guns or suitable chassis for such ill self-propelled weapon, The 75mm gun Mt897A4 was One weapon that existed in sufficient numbers for such an application. This was the modernized version of the French 75 adopted by the U.S. Army during World War L At: 111e same 'time, the half-track personnel carder M3 was just coming into full production. A conference at Aberdeen Proving Ground on 25 June 1941 between representatives -of the Ordnance Department and the Assistant

Chief of Staff 03 initiated a project to mount the 7Snun gun on the lVI3 as an expedient tank destroyer, This would make good use of theexisting stocks of the old 75n1Llll field gun and it might provide a suitable \ve<lpon for a new tank destroyer unit during the maneuvers in the F~]i of 1941.

A team led. by ~1ajo:r (later Colonel) Robert J. leks rapidly assembled a pilot vehicle at Aberdeen, Destgnatedas the 75mm gun 1110tor carriage T 12, it served asa guide fbr the Autocar Company which reed ved an order for 36 production vehicles. This was ShOltiy increased to 86 and they were al! delivered in August and September 1941. The firsf 36 gun motor carriages were assigned for field testing at Aberdeen. and to the 93 rdl Antitank. Battalion, one of the early tank destroyer units. The remaining 50 vehicles were rushed to the PhHipplnes where they served in the defense of the islands against the Japanese. It obviously was a rare occurrence for a new combat vehicle to be in action approximately six months after its conception.

The windshield ilrm>Or cover is shown apen and closed h~ thetwo photographs above, These were taken at Aberdeen Proving Ground on .'5 kll.gllst 1941, Nate thoyt the g,lm m,(}lmt [~tairuJ the original shield from til,e 751Ml field, gun,

Modification of the half-track personnel carrier to the, gun motor carriage includedl:emov:al of the glass windshield and tile armored windshield cover 'W<IS hinged at the bottom instead of at the top so that it folded down. 0'11 top of the hood. A notch was cut into the top of the armored cover to provide clearance for the barrel of the 75mm gun when it was locked in the travel position. The seats. sub-floor, and gun racks were removed from the M3 and, the fuel tanks were relocated on each. side at the real'. A steel base was mounted on the half-track frame to support the upper par1s of the standard Rv.I2AJ gun carriage. The gun was aimed forward over the hood 'with a total traverse of 40 degrees (19 degrees leftand 21 degrees right). The elevation ranged from +29 degrees to almost -10 degrees .. The converted mount was standardized as the 7Smn1 gun mount M3. The shield for the M2A3 carriage,Vi/Rs retained. as well as the standard sight. A pedestal mount was installed for a .50 caliber machine gun. A new subfloor was added with ten four round boxes for 75mm ammunition and one box for .50 caliber ammunition, An additional 19 rounds of 75m.m ammunition were, stowed below the gnu mount

At the right; the upper phO'toyaph shows the rear of the gun mOll!l't '011 the half-track 75mrrr gun. motor carriage T 12. Note lheol·.iginal shleld ,ilIIlid the $,to'w;a~ space fur 19' rounds of 751'I1m afllllUlnitio]'Q beneath the lnorunt. The bottom photograph shows the real; of the 75mm glijll motor carriage on 21 July 194 I _ Note the early taillights on this vehicle,


Above at the left, the half-truck 75mm g'Utl motoe carriage' Tn is still fitted with the original shield Emil} the field gun. Note the Hrnitcd protection offered by ntis aJ'rang#mc.llt.

As a result of the field tests, a number of modifications. were made to. the T12. A new shield was required offering better protection for 'the gun crew. Several concepts were considered before. the adoption of a low silhouette shield sloped on the front and top. Originally; the T11 was manned by a crew of four consisting of the driver, assistant driver (radio operator), gmmer, and loader, The Armored Force, Board reported that this was. inadequate and that two additional seats for crew members should be provided. Eventnafly, the crew was set at five men including a gun commander. rile .50 caliber machine gun and its ammunition were eliminated and two sheet metal stowage boxes were added to the rear of the vehicle, The standard fire centrolequipment for the 75mm field gun originally proposed was, not availableand the Ordnance Committee authorized the use of the telescope 11,'133, telescope mount M36, and instrument light M 17. Although. the T 12 had been standardized as: the 75mm gun motor carriage M3 in. October 1941~. the later modifications were applied to tbe new vehicles then in production. Also, the changes specified for 'the later production M3 personnel carriers were applied to the gun motorcasriages.

Thethree photographs at the right show uie half-track 7511\111 ~un motor earrlage 1'12 'ivifrl an interim shield design which, although it was .sn improvemerrt, was not c·onsl(leredCO ·be satisfactory.


Th,e final version of the goo shield is shown {lin the half-track 75m.:m gun motor carriage Tl2 at Aberdeen 'Ih~ upper and lower photogl'~ph~ were dat,o(I29 November 1941 and 4 Ap,ri11942 resp'-'ctively. A, pedestal mount for a.50 caliber M2HB machine gun has been installed on the ",chicle in the lower photogtDiph"