M2 Half Track
The M2 was a rear track-driven vehicle with a wheeled front axle. She was assigned a base 2-man crew made up of a driver and an assistant driver. A mount for an M2 Browning heavy machine gun was fixed above the forward cab and up to 1,000 rounds of ammunition was generally carried. Seats for seven passengers including applicable field gear could fit in the rear area. The M2 had up to 12mm of armor thickness protecting the crew and passenger areas and up to 6mm of armor around the engine block. The light armor coverage would only protect the crew and passengers from small arms fire and remained open-topped, exposing the passengers to plunging fire or hand thrown explosives. The 147hp engine was powerful enough to move the 9-ton vehicle with nine onboard personnel with supplies some 200 miles at 40mph.
The United States Army learned by experience in World War 1 that trying to move men and machine through mud and snow proved a logistical nightmare. Early attempts at "half-track" vehicles were built by the Citroen Company were viewed as crude machines at best. However, the new concept finally allowed for more modernized transport over soft or uneven terrain.
M2 Half-Track as received and under restoration
As soon as the M2 entered production and began shipping to US Army posts, the war in Europe had exploded. Requirements for the M2 skyrocketed (via Lend-Lease) to the point that the International Harvester Company received a contract to build the M9, an offshoot of the base M2. The White Company continued what production it could but was already hard at work in designing and developing a newer, larger, and heaver version of the M2 to become the more famous "M3" half-track. Unlike the M2, the M3 would be able to field an entire rifle squad into combat. As the war in Europe, North Africa and the Pacific progressed, there proved the need for a more mobile and adaptable force. As such, the M2 would receive a number of modifications to her armor protection, drive train, engine, and equipment stowage options. Some served as test beds for anti-aircraft systems that ultimately evolved into production forms on the M3 chassis.
Though the initial M2 offering was a relatively limited one, it served the United States and allies well throughout the World War 2 effort. The M2 saw combat action in North Africa, Europe and the East Front, supporting both offensives and retreats against a stellar German foe. Similarly, the US Marine Corps in the Pacific utilized the M2 to good effect in their island hopping campaigns, attempting to dislodge a stubborn Japanese defense. With some 13,500 M2´s delivered along with an additional 3,500 M9 copies produced, the vehicle showcased fifty years of dedicated service worldwide.
|Powerplant:||1 x White 160 AX engine|
|Height:||7.41 ft ft|
|Personnel:||2+ 7 passengers|
|Armament Suite:||Optional 1x.50 calier M2 Browning MG|
|Max Speed:||40 mph|
|Max Range:||199 miles|
|Range:||500 miles (combat)
1,065 miles (ferry)
|Ammunition:||1,000 rounds .50 caliber|