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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: 25 Jul 1943 As defeats pile up, Mussolini replaced by Badoglio as Italian Premier.  More 
25 Jul 1944 Operation COBRA starts US breakout from Normandy.
25 Jul 1944 Air combat between an Me-262 and an RAF Mosquito, the first combat involving the German experimental jet fighter.
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 75mm GMC (gun motor carriage, a heavy tank destroyer), Ft. Hood, TX, circa 1941-42. The M3 GMC was based on the White M3 Halftrack with a mounted M1897 or M2 75mm field gun.  The M3 in this photo is an early production unit lacking the larger shield of the later units.
M3 Halftracks stored in England prior to D-Day, circa 1944.
US Army vehicles roll ashore on one of the floating causeways of the Mulberry artificial harbor off Omaha Beach, 16 June 1944. The causeway had been erected by U.S. Navy SeaBees. M3 half-track in the lead, towing a howitzer, and the Jeep behind it with a semi-circle Invasion Marking painted on its grill.
Armored vehicles of the 46th Tank Bn, 13th Armored Div, 1943.  From left to right:  Ford GPA amphibian, MB/GPW jeep, M2/M3 halftrack, M5A1 Stuart light tank, M4 Sherman medium tank, M8 75mm HMC, M3A1 Scout Car, M6 GMC.
Ford T8 3/4-ton Gun Motor Carriage, one of 15 that Ford built in 1941. Artillery mounted on the carrier is the M3 37mm anti-tank gun. Left background vehicle is M2 Halftrack. Courtesy: Hemmings.
M-3 Gun Motor Carriage, with 75mm gun, based on M-3 halftrack.  World War II period postcard.

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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