Today in WW II: 21 Sep 1943 In the most bitter combat of the New Georgia campaign [Central Solomons], Japanese lose 600 men in an unsuccessful defense of Arundel Island, withdraw on 22 Sep.   

History of the Cletrac Artillery High Speed Tractor, MG2

During 1940, the Cleveland Tractor Company (Cletrac) collaborated with representatives of the Chiefs of Ordnance and Field Artillery to develop a high-speed tractor to be used as an artillery prime mover. Two tractors, the MG-1 and MG-2, were developed commercially. The MG2 had two versions, the second of which is pictured below. It was accepted by the Field Artillery for testing.

The tests concluded with a report comparing the Tractor, MG-2 favorably to alternative trucks and tractors. They found that when the ground provided good traction, the low-geared truck prime movers could climb grades beyond the ability of the MG2 tractor. However, when the slopes were wet, the tractor was the better grade-climbing vehicle. Furthermore, its ability to cross obstacles was superior to trucks. The MG-2 was able to operate satisfactorily in columns marching at speeds of from 2mph up to about 30mph. It is capable of towing a trailer load of approximately 5-tons up all grades normally encountered on roads in high gear at a speed of 20mph or more. The MG2 was smooth riding, easy to steer, less tiring to drive, and easy to conceal in brush from ground and air observation. It was judged to have greater general ability as a prime mover for medium artillery than the Diamond T 4-ton, 66 prime mover or the Ordnance medium tractor T-1. For light artillery, it was superior in cross-country ability to the 2 1/2-ton, 66, prime movers.

The Cletrac MG-1 was procured by U.S. Army Ordnance as the Model M2 High Speed Tractor. The MG2 was not produced although its general design was utilized for other High Speed Tractors such as the M4, M5 and M6.

Characteristics of the Cletrac MG2 High Speed Tractor

Crew and passengers Driver+8
Weight, fully serviced and without body load 14,130 lbs.
Weight, fully serviced, with complete body load 18,000 lbs.
Width 98 inches
Length 174 inches
Ground clearance 19 inches
Turning diameter, with howitzer 47 feet
Engine Hercules 6 cyl. gasoline
Horsepower 137bhp
Transmission Selective four-speed
Road Speed when towing medium artillery 35 mph
Ammunition capacity (155-mm. howitzer, complete rounds) 24
Fuel capacity 75 gallons, bullet-sealing tanks
Track width 10 inches in prototype, production 12 inches

The Cletrac MG2 was equipped with a front mounted winch, 15,000 lbs. capacity.

Cletrac Artillery High Speed Tractor, MG2, front view
Cletrac Artillery High Speed Tractor, MG2, front view.

Cletrac Artillery High Speed Tractor, MG2, 3/4 side view
Cletrac Artillery High Speed Tractor, MG2, 3/4 side view.

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