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Half-tracks - USA: books - history, models and technology

A book on half-tracks from the United States? Here are books on the history, technology and deployment of the American half-tracks, including the M2 and M3.

Half-Track - A History of American Semi-Tracked Vehicles

Featuring over a thousand photos from the National Archives, diagrams, and detailed specifications, Hunnicutt's "Half-Track" remains the definitive development history of half-track vehicles for the military historian, professional soldier, and tank restorer.
In this ambitious work, Hunnicutt details the developmental history of half-tracks, examining its modifications and effectiveness. Products of a pre-war development program, half-track vehicles served in all theaters of operation from the first to the final days of WWII, and many models remained active long after the Korean War. The armored half-track was one of few vehicles available to equip the new divisions being formed just prior to WWII.

Part I traces the early development beginning with the slow half-track of WWI to the faster vehicles developed after the evaluation of the French Citroen-Kegresse P17 in 1931. These vehicles were unarmored half-track cars and trucks intended for use as prime movers and reconnaissance vehicles.
In 1938, the half-track suspension was installed on the M2A1 scout car, and the converted vehicle became the half-track personnel carrier T7. This was the first armored half-track, but tests showed that it was underpowered. Based upon the experience with the T7, a new vehicle was designed in 1939 and designated as the half-track scout car T14. Using the half-track suspension from the T7 and a more powerful engine, it became the prototype for all of the half-tracks produced during WWII.

In Part II, the development and production of half-tracks during WWII is described showing the many roles for which it was adapted. In addition to the original armored scout car, the basic chassis was adapted as a personnel carrier, mortar carrier, tank destroyer, self-propelled artillery, and other specialized applications. Some of these vehicles were temporary expedients, but others were so successful that they remained in use until long after WWII.

Part III briefly describes some half-track operations during WWII and Korea. However, it is not intended to be an operational history, but to illustrate the effectiveness of the half-track in active service. The characteristics of the various half-track vehicles and the weapons with which some of them were armed are tabulated in the data sheets in Part IV.

Author:Richard Pierce Hunnicutt
Specs:244 pages, 28 x 21.5 cm / 11 x 8.5 in, paperback
Illustrations:1000+ b&w and colour photographs
Publisher:Echo Point Books & Media (USA, 2015)
Book: Half-Track - A History of American Semi-Tracked Vehicles

Half-Track - A History of American Semi-Tracked Vehicles

Language: English

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US Half-Tracks - In World War II (Legends of Warfare)

Based on an adaptation of the White Scout Car, the US half-track vehicles of WWII combined the cross-country ability of a fully tracked vehicle with the road performance of a medium truck. A myriad of variations of these vehicles were produced, including prime movers, armored personnel carriers, mortar carriers, and a wide range of heavily armed variants.

Anti-aircraft versions were often used against ground targets with devastating results. In fact, despite half-track production ending in March 1944, demand for half-track vehicles mounting quadruple .50-caliber machine guns was so great during the Korean War that additional examples were produced through the wholesale modification of personnel carriers.
Although phased out of service by the US military in the late 1950s, the Israeli forces continued to use these remarkable vehicles through the 1980s.

Pages of the book US Half-Tracks - In WW II (1)

This volume includes coverage of the vehicles produced by Autocar, Diamond T, and White for use by US forces, as well as the similar International Harvester-built vehicles supplied to our allies through Lend-Lease. Illustrated with over 200 vintage photos, as well as line drawings and color profiles.

Author:David Doyle
Specs:112 pages, 21.5 x 24.5 x 2.5 cm / 8.5 x 9.7 x 0.98 in, hardback
Illustrations:233 /w- and colour photographs
Publisher:Schiffer Publishing Ltd (USA, 2022)
Series:Legends of Warfare
Book: US Half-Tracks - In World War II (Legends of Warfare)

US Half-Tracks - In World War II

Language: English

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U.S. Half-tracks (Part 2)

Explore the development, production and deployment of America's heavily armed half-track variants. Illustrated with 700 period photos and described in detail in the 448 hard-bound pages of this volume are the myriad of half-track based mortar, howitzer and gun motor carriages ranging from the ubiquitous but uncelebrated M4 Mortar Carrier to the obscure twin-40mm Bofors-armed T68 to the acclaimed M16 antiaircraft vehicle, which armed with four .50 caliber machine guns remained in the US arsenal until the late 1950s.

Drawing heavily on obscure manufacturer documents and long-forgotten government records, this volume, when combined with Part 1, published in 2015, is the only complete study of these vehicles.

Author:David Doyle
Specs:435 pages, 29 x 22.5 x 3.1 cm / 11.4 x 8.9 x 1.22 in, hardback
Illustrations:700 b&w photographs
Publisher:Ampersand Publishing Company, Inc. (USA, 2016)
Book: U.S. Half-tracks (Part 2)

U.S. Half-tracks (Part 2)

Language: English

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M2/M3 - American Half-tracks of the Second World War (Land Craft)

Among the most successful armoured vehicles produced by American industry - known as the Arsenal of Democracy - during the Second World War were the M2 and M3 half-tracks. They served on every battlefront and were as recognizable as other famous American wartime vehicles like the Sherman and the Jeep, and around 40,000 were produced between 1941 and 1945.
They were easy to assemble, operate and maintain, and their versatility allowed them to fulfil a variety of purposes.

This volume in Pen & Sword's LandCraft series traces the design, development and manufacturing history of the M2/M3 and describes its operational role within the Allied armies.
A selection of archive photographs showing the M2/M3 in action gives a graphic impression of how adaptable these vehicles were and records the range of equipment they could carry.

The book is an excellent source for the modeller, providing details of available kits, together with specially commissioned colour profiles demonstrating how the M2/M3 used by different units and armies appeared.

Author:Robert Jackson
Specs:64 pages, 30 x 21 x 0.3 cm / 11.8 x 8.25 x 0.12 in, paperback
Illustrations:b&w and colour photographs, profile drawings in colour
Publisher:Pen & Sword Books Ltd (GB, 2019)
Series:Land Craft
Book: M2/M3 - American Half-tracks of the Second World War (Land Craft)

M2/M3 - American Half-tracks of the Second World War

Language: English

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M3 Infantry Half-Track - 1940-73 (Osprey)

As armoured warfare tactics matured, mechanised infantry became a key ingredient in what is now called 'combined arms' doctrine. For the US Army of World War 2, the most important technical aspect of infantry mechanisation was the development of the M3 half-track personnel carrier.
Steven Zaloga guides the reader through the early 1930s development of the half-track, its first deployment in action in the Philippines in 1941 and its varied and vital role in international deployments since World War 2. This authoritative text also examines the operators of half-tracks and the troops that they carried.

Contents: Design and Development - Early Combat - M3A1 Half-tracks - Tactical Improvements - Half-tracks in Combat - 1944 - International Half-tracks - Half-Track Variants.

Author:Steven J. Zaloga
Specs:48 pages, 25 x 17.5 x 0.4 cm / 9.8 x 6.9 x 0.16 in, paperback
Illustrations:photographs and drawings (in b&w and colour)
Publisher:Osprey Publishing (GB, 1995)
Series:New Vanguard (11)
Book: M3 Infantry Half-Track - 1940-73 (Osprey)

M3 Infantry Half-Track - 1940-73

Language: English

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Basic Half-Track Vehicles M2, M3 Technical Manual (TM 9-710)

Prior to the outbreak of WWII, the U.S. Army Ordnance Department began testing prototype half-track vehicles, including a White Motor Co. design that combined an M3 Scout Car with a White chassis. With armored bodies, an armored radiator shutter and bulletproof glass windscreen, the half-track offered crew protection and endurance under fire, while its speed - up to 45 mph - added a new dimension to infantry mobility.
After testing and acceptance, the White design was standardized and during the war built by White, Autocar and Diamond T as the M3 half-track. Nearly 41,000 would be produced during the war, along with an additional 13,500 units of the smaller M2. Variants included the M13, M15 and M16 gun motor carriage, the M21 mortar carrier, and the T19 and T30 Howitzer motor carriages.

Created in 1944, this TM 9-710 technical manual includes many photos and over 350 pages of text that reveal a great deal about the weapon's design and capabilities. Intended as a manual for those charged with operation and maintenance, this manual shows many aspects of its engine, cooling, power train and other systems.
Originally labeled restricted, this manual was declassified long ago and is here reprinted in book form. Care has been taken to preserve the integrity of the text.

Author:U.S. War Department
Specs:368 pages, 23 x 15 x 1.9 cm / 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.75 in, paperback
Illustrations:numerous photographs and drawings
Publisher:Periscope Film (USA, 2011)
Book: Basic Half-Track Vehicles M2, M3 Technical Manual (TM 9-710)

Basic Half-Track Vehicles M2, M3 Technical Manual (TM 9-710)

Language: English

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Half-Track (Volume 2)

This second volume opens with a description of the Half-Track's incarnation as a weapons carrier, with all variants and versions presented on 75 pages of drawings along with a collection of photographs.
The next chapter discusses further development of the vehicle's versions, which were not mass produced, illustrated with photographs and fabric drafts. Also included is a description of the usage of the Half-Track during World War II, when it was utilised by the US Army and the USMC mainly for supplies of land-lease.
Polish Armed Forces also used these vehicles both in the West and in the East, even after the war had ended.

This monograph contains a chapter about camouflage and the different markings of the Half-Trak's versions, in 12 superb colour plates. For modellers, there is a list of models and accessories, and the book comes complete with 34 pages of 3D colour graphics, colour photographs of museum exhibits and current running restored vehicles.

This book is bilingual, with Polish and English text and captions.

The Gun Power series of books focuses on the armour, armoured vehicles and artillery. Every book contains a chapter about the design's history, drawings in modelling scales, colour plates presenting camouflaging schemes and a modelling chapter.

The part covering the design's development history is illustrated by a large number of photographs. The plans show different variants, all non-standard versions and modifications of the vehicles or guns in several views, and depict the details in the highest possible quality. Specifically for the modellers, the included colour profiles are printed in the same scale.
A separate, comprehensive modelling chapter goes through the models and accessories sets available.

Author:Patryk Janda
Specs:240 pages, 29.5 x 21.5 x 1.6 cm / 11.6 x 8.5 x 0.63 in, paperback
Illustrations:119 b&w and 40 colour photographs, 3D graphics, drawings
Publisher:AJ-Press, Adam Jarski (PL, 2011)
Book: Half-Track (Volume 2)

Half-Track (Volume 2)

Language: English + Polish

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Last update:05-04-2024