25 décembre 2007
The M3 halftrack started development in the 1920's and became the Half-Track M2 as a gun motor carriage. French-built Citroen-Kegresse variants were purchased for trials by the US Military and engineers went to work, melding the hull of a White Scout Car M2 to the Kegresse halftrack suspension. Production ensued in 1941 and halftracks rolled off assembly lines in the thousands.
The M2 graduated to the designation of M3 Halftrack as the halftrack became a full-fledged armored personnel carrier. In this way, the M3 effectively replaced the M2. A .50 caliber heavy machine gun was mounted to the cab rooftop (a pulpit mount would later make the M3 the M3A1) and a pintle-mounted .30 caliber light machine gun was stowed in the rear (original M3's did not include the .30 caliber machine gun mount - the M3A1 did however). Original M3's would have the .50 caliber pintle-mounted in the center of the rear quarters. A longer hull and bench seating also was part of the M3 models.
Halftracks came in a multitude of 'looks' as can be seen from the canvas sided rear quarters, to the open top or armor-plated versions. The halftrack chassis was also used for a variety of armament mounts, one which included a shielded anti-aircraft version that wielded quad-fifty caliber heavy machine guns. Seating varied per model from 10-13 occupants. Anti-tank mine racks were often fitted to the sides for operational vehicles.
The US Army began to scale back production of halftrack vehicles by 1944 in favor of fully-tracked vehicles. The British were using American halftracks in the battles raging across North Africa.
The Israeli Army is reported to still utilize the halftrack (albeit refurbished and modernized to some extent) in some limited supplementary roles. Other nations continue to use the American halftrack as a battlefield recovery vehicle. Production of American halftracks numbered 41,170. The halftrack was also shipped to the Soviet Union in large numbers from 1942 onwards through the Lend-Lease Act.
Major Series Variants:
• M2 - Base Production Model (gun tractor)
• M3 - Longer hull; APC variant; White 160AX engine.
• M3A1 - Circular pulpit gun mount introduced
• M3A2 - Designed as mortar carrier, APC or air defense system.
• M3 - Communications Variant
• M3 - Ambulance Variant
• M3 - Artillery Tow Vehicle
• M3 - Mortar Carrier
• M16 MGMC - Quad-50 Air Defense Variant
• M5 - Alternative production methodology; Lend-Lease production model.
• M5A1 - M5 with M49 machine gun mount
• M5A2 - M5 and M5A1 combination production
• T-12/M3 GMC - 75mm Gun Motor Carriage
• T12 HMC - 75mm or 105mm Pack Howitzer
• T48 GMC - 57mm Gun Motor Carriage
• T30 HMC - M1A1 75mm Gun Motor Carriage
• T38 HMC - T7 105mm Pack Howitzer
• T19 HMC - M2A1 105mm Howitzer
• M21 MMC - 81mm Motor Mortar Carriage
• T21 - 4.2 inch mortar carrier (never produced)
• M13 MGMC - 2 x 12.7mm machine gun AA variant.
• M16 MGMC - Shielded 2 x 12,7mm gun AA variant.
• M16A2 MGMC - Addition of rear door to hull.
• M17 - Based on M5 chassis for Lend-Lease to Soviet Union.
• T58 - Quad-Fifty mount with electrically powered turret (prototype)
• M15 CGMC - 2 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns fitted above 37mm autocannon with added crew protection.
• M15A1 CGMC - 2 x 12.7mm machine guns fitted under 37mm autocannon.
• M15 Special - Fitted with 40mm Bofors L/50 guns.
• Various other minor prototype versions as well.
| M3A1: General |
| Date of first acceptance || October 1943 || Total acceptances || 2862 + 2209 converted from personnel carriers M3 + 1360 converted from 75mm GMC M3 + 281 converted from 57mm GMC T48 + 90 converted from 105mm HMC T19 |
| Manufacturers || |
- Autocar Co.
- Diamond T Motor Car Co.
| Crew || 13 men |
| M3A1: Dimensions |
| Combat weight || 20,500lbs |
| Height || 106" |
| Length with winch || 249.63" |
| Width over mine racks || 87.50" |
| Front tread || 64.5" |
| Rear tread || 63.8" |
| Wheelbase || 135.5" |
| Ground clearance || 11.2" |
| M3A1: Armament |
| Type || Mount || Ammunition || Traverse || Elevation |
| .50cal M2HB MG || Flexible on ring mount M49 || 700 rounds || 360° |
| Manual |
| .30cal M1919A4 MG || Flexible on pintle mounts || 7750 rounds || 360° |
| Manual |
| M3A1: Armor |
| Assembly |
| Bolting |
| Hull |
| Rolled face-hardened steel |
| Location || Thickness || Angle from vertical |
| Radiator louvres || .25" |
| 26° |
| Windshield cover || .50" |
| 25° |
| Sides || .25" |
| 0° |
| Rear || .25" |
| 0° |
| Hood top || .25" |
| 83° |
| M3A1: Automotive |
| Engine || White 160AX; 6 cylinder, 4 cycle, in-line gasoline || || || || |
| Horsepower || Net: 147@3000rpm || Torque || Net: 325 ft-lb@1200rpm || Fuel capacity || 60gal |
| Transmission || Spicer 3461 constant mesh, 4 speeds forward, 1 reverse || || || || |
| Steering || Steering wheel || || || || |
| M3A1: Suspension |
| Type || Road wheels || Track return rollers |
| Front: Semi-elliptic longitudinal leaf spring |
Rear: Vertical volute spring
| Front: Steel ventilated disc |
Rear: 1 bogie/track;
| 1 dual/track |
| Drive sprockets || Idlers || Shock absorbers |
| 18-tooth front drive || Spring-loaded at rear of track || On front wheels |
| M3A1: Track |
| Center guide band type |
| Width || 12" |
| Pitch || 4" |
| Pitches/track || 58 || Track ground contact length || 46.75" |
| M3A1: Performance |
| Max level road speed || 45mph |
| Max grade || 60% |
| Max vertical obstacle || 12" |
| Min turning diameter || 59' |
| Max fording depth || 32" |
| Cruising range || ~200mi, roads |