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: 9 Jul 1940 Battle of Calabria [Battle of Punta Stilo, the toe of Italy] fought between the Italian Royal Navy and the British/Australian Royal Navies, 30 miles [48km] east of Punta Stilo.  More 
9 Jul 1943 US-British invasion of Sicily begins [night of 9-10 Jul].
9 Jul 1944 British and Canadian forces capture Caen from the Germans, a critical post-D-Day objective in Normandy, France.
9 Jul 1944 US forces reach the northern end of Saipan, finding thousands of Japanese civilian men, women, and children who commit suicide by leaping off the cliffs rather than be captured.
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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.

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.