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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: 28 Jul 1941 Oil agreement between Japan and Dutch East Indies suspended, part of a general order freezing all Japanese assets, pushing Japan toward war.  More 
28 Jul 1941 Soviet Union agreement with London-based Polish Government-in-exile invalidates the border negotiated with Germany and enlists Poles detained in the USSR for Allied armies.
28 Jul 1942 6000 Jews brought to pits by German SS and shot dead in Minsk, Belarus, a total of 30,000 slaughtered over four days of the Great Pogrom [28-31 Jul].
28 Jul 1944 Rapid Red Army advance through Poland overruns German defenses and captures Brest-Litovsk, Jaroslaw and Przemysl.
28 Jul 1945 B-25 Mitchell bomber, lost in fog, crashes into 79th floor of the Empire State Building in Manhattan, causing 14 deaths and extensive damage.
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:

After assembly for maneuvers in an area behind McKinley High School, Honolulu, M3 Stuart light tanks roar out to attack a mock opposing enemy force, 30 August 1942.  Several M3 halftracks are in the background.
Prototype of self-propelled 75mm gun, 1941. M3 Halftrack mated with a 75mm gun M1897A4.
M2 Halftrack, Fort Benning, GA, 1942.  M3 Halftracks appear further back in the photo.
T30 7Smm HMC, an M3 Halftrack with M1A1 75mm howitzer, during the landings at Licata, Sicily, 10 July 1943.
M3 Halftrack at the New York City Veterans Day parade, 11 November 2013.  Photo courtesy Phil Gilson.
M-16 Gun Motor Carriage, Halftrack in Normandy, France, July 1944.  The M-16 is built on the M3 Halftrack as a platform for Quad-50 antiaircraft machine guns, consisting of four M2 HB .50 cal. machine guns in an electrically powered turret.  This vehicle was a weapon of an antiaircraft artillery unit, but the lack of enemy air activity in Normandy made possible its use in other roles.

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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