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M-5 High Speed Tractor

The Tractor, High Speed, 13-ton, M5 was designed as a prime mover for towing large field artillery guns such as the 90mm Anti-Aircraft gun, the 155mm Long Tom, the 8in. Howitzer, or other heavy weapons (See the Towed Artillery Chart). In addition to moving the gun, the M-5 High Speed Tractor carried the gun crew plus ammunition in cargo space racks.

Today in WW II: 25 Oct 1943 American and New Zealand troops land at Mono and Stirling, Treasury Islands, south of Bougainville [25-27 Oct].  More 
25 Oct 1944 First operation by the Japanese Kamikaze Special Attack Force: 55 kamikazes strike 7 carriers and 40 other ships, sinking six, off Leyte, Philippines.
25 Oct 1944 Battle off Samar [Leyte]: US Admiral Sprague skillfully prevents a loss to the stronger Japanese force under Japanese Admiral Kurita.
25 Oct 1944 Battle off Cape Engaño (Leyte): lopsided naval battle resulting in the loss of most of Japanese Northern Force to US Admiral Halsey's carrier planes and battleships [25-26 Oct].
25 Oct 1944 Soviet Red Army enters Kirkenes, the first town in Norway to be liberated from the Germans.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

M-5 High Speed Tractor (G162)

The M5 High Speed Tractor (HST) was standardized in October 1942 and manufactured by International Harvester from May 1943 through May 1945 when the M5A1 superseded it. The main distinction of the M5A1 vs M5 was an enclosed cab similar in style to the M4 High Speed Tractor.

The M5A2 and M5A3 were M5 and M5A1 units with upgraded suspension systems, produced after World War II. The original vertical volute springs (from the M3 Stuart light tank) were changed to a horizontal volute design, since vertical volute springs cannot be satisfactorily damped. The M5A4 is equivalent to the M5A2 but with additional storage capacity in cabinets that run along both sides above the tracks.

Characteristics of the M-5 High Speed Tractor (G162)

All models of the M-5 High Speed Tractor share these characteristics:

  • Engine: Continental R6572 207hp inline 6 cyl
  • Transmission with 4 forward speeds
  • Dual range clutch gear reduction unit
  • Maximum towed load: 20,000 lbs
  • Turning radius: 20 feet
  • Fuel capacity: 100 gallons
  • Fording depth: 53 inches
  • Cruising range: 150 miles
  • Maximum speed: 30 mph
  • Ground Clearance: 19.75 inches
  • Air and electric brakes to match brakes on the towed load
  • Rubber or steel tracks
  • Garwood winch, 15,000 lbs capacity
  • Ammunition storage (rounds): 56 105mm or 24 155mm, 550 .50 cal.

An anti-aircraft .50 cal. machine gun on a M49C ring mount, accessed through a hatch above the crew compartment, is mounted on some M-5 HST vehicles after the gun was added in February 1944.

These characteristics vary by model variant of the M5 HST:

 M5M5A1M5A2M5A3M5A4
Suspensionvertical volutevertical volutehoriz volutehoriz volutehoriz volute
Crew911911 
Weight, fighting (lbs)2857230405261493035029804
Length (in)191.125196.375191.125196.375199.125
Width (in)100100114.5114.5115.5
Height (in)104105.5104105.25102.5
Track width (in)11.62511.625212117.125
  • TM 9-786 Operating and Maintenance Instructions, 13-Ton, High Speed Tractor M5 (Nov 1943)
    April 1950 TM 9-786 covers M5, M5A1, M5A2, M5A3
  • TM 9-1786A Ordnance Maintenance for power train, tracks, 13-Ton, High Speed Tractor M5 (1944)
  • TM 9-1786B Ordnance Maintenance for engine, 13-Ton, High Speed Tractor M5 (1944)
  • ORD 9 SNL G-162, Supply Catalog, Group G List of All Service Parts for M5 HST (1947)
    Change No. 1 (including M5A4), 20 December 1955

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the M-5 High Speed Tractor at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup:

M5 High Speed Tractor dragging sleds of ammunition to the front as a jeep equipped to lay wire waits on the side of the road, Guam, July 1944.
M5 High Speed Tractor with towed artillery, during WW II.
Advancing toward the 38th Parallel, M5 High Speed Tractors of the 196th Field Artillery, U.S. Eighth Army, pull 155mm guns through a detour near the town of Tari-Gol, Korea, 8 April 1951.  Jeeps and cargo trucks follow.
M5 High Speed Tractor, artillery prime mover, with .50 cal. machine gun on ring mount.
M5 HST (high-speed tractor) pulling two M10 ammunition trailers, Biak Island, New Guinea, 8 June 1944.
M5 tractor (left with cover and ring mount removed) and M4 tractor (right), prime movers for heavy towed artillery.

M-5 High Speed Tractor Photo Gallery

M-5 High Speed Tractor, with towed artillery
M-5 High Speed Tractor, with towed artillery.

M5A1 High Speed Tractor, the prime mover for 155mm and other heavy artillery, circa 1945
M5A1 High Speed Tractor, the prime mover for 155mm and other heavy artillery, circa 1945.

M5A3 High Speed Tractors, normally artillery prime movers, used to transport SCR784 radar on trailers for the 1st FA Observation Bn, 29 Aug 1950
M5A3 High Speed Tractors, normally artillery prime movers, used to transport SCR784 radar on trailers for the 1st FA Observation Bn, 29 Aug 1950.

M5A4 High Speed Tractor, based on the M5A2 augmented with additional, rearranged storage. From a US Army Technical Manual
M5A4 High Speed Tractor, based on the M5A2 augmented with additional, rearranged storage. From a US Army Technical Manual.

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