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M-3 Halftrack

The M-3 Halftrack was widely used by mounted units during World War II and afterwards. It was a slightly longer upgrade of the similar M2 halftrack with additional rear armor, a rear door, a winch and other changes. It carried twelve men (ten in the rear, and two in front) plus the driver and was initially armed with a single .30 cal. machine gun on a post mount.

An M-3 Halftrack towing a howitzer rolls ashore from a Mulberry floating causeway, an artificial harbor constructed by Navy SeaBees off Omaha Beach, 16 June 1944
An M-3 Halftrack towing a howitzer rolls ashore from a "Mulberry" floating causeway, an artificial harbor constructed by Navy SeaBees off Omaha Beach, 16 June 1944.

Today in WW II: 23 Nov 1940 Ford delivered the Pygmy prototype jeep to the US Army.  More 
23 Nov 1942 SS Ben Lomond sunk by German U-boat off the coast of Brazil.
23 Nov 1943 Deutsche Opernhaus, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, and many other buildings destroyed by a 764 aircraft RAF bombing raid on Berlin [22-23 Nov].
23 Nov 1944 Strasbourg, in eastern France, liberated by French General LeClerc's 2nd Armored Division. Eisenhower orders controversial halt at the Rhine by US Sixth Army Group.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

M-3 Halftrack (G-102)

The M3 halftrack was designed primarily as a troop carrier, with reduced storage but more seating compared to the M2 halftrack. To distinguish the M3 halftrack from the M2 halftrack, note that the ten-inch longer M3 body extends further beyond the tracks (and has no step) while the M2 body stops close to the end of the tracks. During the production life of the M3 many small changes were made, in parallel with the M2, including spring-loaded idlers, demountable headlights moved from the fenders to the side of the hood, mine racks, and a winch.

Over 42,000 M3 Halftracks were produced between 1939 and 1944, in a number of variants. M3 halftracks had a post mount machine gun, rather than the skate rail found on the M2. The M3A1, introduced in 1945, had an additional .50 cal. machine gun in the front, center next to the driver, on a ring mount. The 10 ton vehicle was powered by a White 160AX 6 cyl. 128 hp gasoline engine that moved it at up to 55 mph on the road. They were used through World War II and later, until replaced by the M75 Armored Personnel Carrier.

Among the many variations of the M3 and M3A1 halftracks were:

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the M-3 Halftrack at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup:

M3 Halftrack vehicle belonging to a medical unit fording the river during the Second Army middle Tennessee maneuvers, 1942.
M4 Sherman medium tank awaits a mission on the last day of operations on Tinian, 3 August 1944. Tanks operated with great effectiveness in the open countryside of  Tinian. A 75mm M-3 Gun Motor Carriage half-track and two more tanks stand by farther down the hill.
A pair of T19 Howitzer Motor Carriage (HMC) vehicles, a mobile tank-destroyer based on the White M3 Halftrack with a mounted 105mm howitzer, Rabat, Morocco, 19 December 1942. Gen. George Patton Jr. is in the reviewing stand, along with French Gen. Charles Nogues.  This event is described in Patton's book, War as I Knew It.
US Army M3 half-track, towing a fuel or water trailer, rolls off a LCT onto a Rhino (RHF) ferry, en route to a Normandy beach, 15 June 1944. Note bollards in use as elevated standing positions.
M3 Halftracks stockpiled for the D-Day invasion, England, 1944.
M3 Gun Motor Carriage, a mobile tank-destroyer based on the White M3 Halftrack with a mounted M1897 or M2 75mm field gun. The gun and its shield were mounted in the cargo space of the halftrack, positioned to fire forward over the drivers compartment. Photo:  Popular Science, December 1941, P78.

Recommended Book About the M3 Halftrack

M-3 Halftrack Photo Gallery

M3 half-track during training exercises at Ft. Knox, KY, June 1942
M-3 half-track during training exercises at Ft. Knox, KY, June 1942.

Rear view of M3 half-track during training exercises at Ft. Knox, KY, June 1942
Rear view of M-3 half-track during training exercises at Ft. Knox, KY, June 1942.

Interior of an M3 half-track during training exercises at Ft. Knox, KY, June 1942
Interior of an M-3 half-track during training exercises at Ft. Knox, KY, June 1942.

An M-3 half-track carrying the flag of a medical unit fords a river.  Photo taken during the Second Army's Middle Tennessee maneuvers in 1942.  A second halftrack can be partially seen in the brush, upper left.
An M-3 half-track carrying the flag of a medical unit fords a river. Photo taken during the Second Army's Middle Tennessee maneuvers in 1942. A second halftrack can be partially seen in the brush, upper left. Thanks to Bukvoed for proper ID of the M3 halftrack.

M-3 Halftrack crossing the Seine River in France, 1944
M-3 Halftrack crossing the Seine River in France, 1944.

M-3 Halftrack at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005.   Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit
M-3 Halftrack at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

M-3 Halftrack at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005.   Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit
M-3 Halftrack at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

M-3 Halftrack dataplate
M-3 Halftrack dataplate. Photo: Courtesy of Benny De Maeyer.

M-3 Halftrack restored
Restored M-3 Halftrack. Photo: Courtesy of Benny De Maeyer.

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