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M-2 Half Track
M2-Halftrack
Type Half-track armored personnel carrier
Place of origin Flag of the United States.svg United States
Specifications
Weight 9 metric tons
Length 5.96 m (19 ft 7 in)
Width 2.2 m (7 ft 3 in)
Height 2.26 m (7 ft 5 in)
Crew 2 + 7 passengers

Armor 6 - 12 mm
Primary
armament
0.5 inch M2 Browning machine gun
Engine White 160AX
147 hp (110 kW)
Suspension Wheeled front axle, rear track
Operational
range
200 miles (320 km)
Speed 40 mph (64 km/h)

The M-2 Half Track was an armored vehicle used by the United States during World War II.

HistoryEdit

The half-track design had been evaluated by the US Ordnance department using Citroën-Kégresse vehicles. The White Motor Company produced a prototype half track using their own chassis and the body of the M3 Scout Car.

In 1938, the White Motor Company took the Timken rear bogie assembly from a T-9 half-track truck and added it to an M-3 Scout Car, creating the T-7 Half-Track Car. This vehicle was woefully underpowered, and when a further requirement came down from US Army artillery units for a prime mover (artillery tractor), a vehicle with an uprated engine was devised, then designated the T-14. By 1940, the vehicle had been standardized as the M-2 Half-Track car, and was being supplied to army units as both a prime mover and a reconnaissance vehicle. The latter was to serve in the interim, until more specialized vehicles could be fielded.

Between 1942 and 1943, these vehicles, just like the M3 Half Tracks, would receive a number of modifications to the drive train, engine, and stowage, among other things.

Total production of M-2 and derivatives was about 13,500 units. Later, to meet the needs of the Lend-Lease program, the International Harvester Company was brought in to manufacture vehicles similar to the M-2, the M-9 adding another 3,500 units.

UsageEdit

The first M-2s were fielded in 1941, and would be used in the Philippines, North Africa, and Europe by the U.S. Army, and around the Pacific by the United States Marine Corps. About 800 M-2 and M-9 halftracks were sent to the Soviet Union. Many remaining vehicles initially destined for lend-lease were transferred to other U.S. allies, primarily in South America. These vehicles often received a number of upgrades designed at extending service life. Nicaragua's National Guard received 10 M-2s in 1942, which saw heavy action during the 1978-79 Nicaraguan Revolution. The Argentine Army retired its last upgraded M-9 in 2006 and donated them to Bolivia.

Former operators Edit

VariantsEdit

Halftrack-fort-benning-1

M2 at Fort Benning, Georgia, 1942. Note the shorter hull compared to the M3s (left and background) and hinged doors of ammunition compartments in the side armor.

Halftrack-production-4

Partly finished M2s travel along an assembly line.

Prime Mover/Scout VehicleEdit

  • M-2 - White Half-Track with White 160AX engine. Fitted with a skate rail mount, featuring an M2HB machine gun.
    • M-2E5/M9 - International Harvester Half-Track, developed to complement the M2 for Lend-Lease, but did not feature the short hull of the M-2. Also, did not feature the rear access doors, and is outwardly very similar to the M-5, but with a different internal configuration.
      • M-9A1 - As for the M-2A1, an M-9 with the M-49 machine gun mount. The M-9A1 had a rear door.
    • M-2E6/M2A1 - Any vehicle with the improved M49 machine gun ring mount over the right hand front seat. Three fixed pintle mounts for 0.30 machine guns were often fitted at the unit level in the field.

Self-propelled gunsEdit

  • M-4/M-4A1 81mm MMC - M2 based Motor Mortar Carriage equipped with the M-1 mortar (81 mm). The mortar was intended to be fired dismounted from the vehicle, but could be fired to the rear in an emergency from a base inside the vehicle. The A1 allowed the weapon to be fixed facing forward and fired from within the vehicle.
  • M-2 w/ M-3 37 mm - Mechanized infantry units in the US Army were supposed to receive the M6 Gun Motor Carriage, based on Dodge light trucks. With the overall failure in combat of these vehicles, some units removed the M-3 37 mm gun and its assembly and mounted them on M-2 Half-Track Cars.

Anti-aircraft variantsEdit

  • T-1E1 - M-2 based mobile anti-aircraft gun featuring an open rear with a Bendix mount featuring two .50-caliber M-2 machine guns. The Bendix mount proved to be unsatisfactory. Prototype only.
    • T-1E2 - T-1 with Maxson M-33 mount in the place of the Bendix mount. The M-33 mount also featured two .50-caliber M-2 machine guns. Would be developed into the M-3 based T-1E4.
    • T-1E3 - T-1 fitted with a partial hard top and a Martin turret, identical to that used on the B-17 Flying Fortress. Proved to be overly complicated and was ill suited to the space available in the M-2. Prototype only.
  • T-28 CGMC - M-2 based Combination Gun Motor Carriage with a single 37 mm Gun M1A2 autocannon flanked by two .50-caliber M-2 machine guns. This vehicle's side armor was removed in order to make room for the mount. The project was canceled in 1942 but revived in the same year, when a decision was made to use the longer M3 Half-Track Personnel Carrier chassis for the subsequent T-28E1
  • T-10 - Variant to test the feasibility of mounting US made copies of the Hispano-Suiza HS.404 20 mm cannon on modified Maxson mounts. Developed into the T-10E1 based on the longer M-3 Half Track Personnel Carrier chassis.

See alsoEdit


ReferencesEdit

  • Mesko, Jim. M-3 Half-tracks in Action. Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1996
  • United States, War Department. TM 9-710 Basic Half-Track Vehicles (White, Autocar, and Diamond T). Washington, DC: War Department, 1944.
  • Zaloga, Steven J. (2004). M-3 Infantry Half-Track 1940-73. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. 
  • Janda, Patryk (2009). Half-Track vol. I.. Gdańsk, Poland: Aj-Press Publishing. ISBN 978-83-7237-207-9. 
  • TM 9-2800 army vehicles dated 1947
  • SNL G102

External linksEdit

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