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Item No. HS-007
A History of
American Semi-Tracked Vehicles
R. P. Hunnicutt
The armored half-track was one of the few vehicles available to equip the new divisions being formed just prior to World War II. A product of a prewar development program, the first production vehicles were delivered in May 1941.
Part I traces the early development beginning with the slow half-track of World War I 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 World War II.
In Part II, the development and production of half-tracks during World War II 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 World War II.
Part III briefly describes some half-track operations during World War II 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.
Hard cover, large format: 8 1/2" x 11", 240 pages, 139 to-scale line drawings, 534 b&w photos, 7 color plates