Artillery tractor
Artillery tractor is a kind of tractor
A tractor is a vehicle specifically designed to deliver a high tractive effort at slow speeds, for the purposes of hauling a trailer or machinery used in agriculture or construction...

, also referred to as a gun tractor, a vehicle
A vehicle is a device that is designed or used to transport people or cargo. Most often vehicles are manufactured, such as bicycles, cars, motorcycles, trains, ships, boats, and aircraft....

 used to tow artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 pieces of varying weights.


There are two main types of artillery tractors, depending on the type of traction. Wheeled tractors are usually variations of lorries
A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration, with the smallest being mechanically similar to an automobile...

 adapted for military service. Tracked tractors run on caterpillar track
Caterpillar track
Continuous tracks or caterpillar tracks are a system of vehicle propulsion in which modular metal plates linked into a continuous band are driven by two or more wheels...

, and in some cases are built on a modified tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

A chassis consists of an internal framework that supports a man-made object. It is analogous to an animal's skeleton. An example of a chassis is the underpart of a motor vehicle, consisting of the frame with the wheels and machinery.- Vehicles :In the case of vehicles, the term chassis means the...

 with the superstructure replaced with a compartment for the gun crew or ammunition
Ammunition is a generic term derived from the French language la munition which embraced all material used for war , but which in time came to refer specifically to gunpowder and artillery. The collective term for all types of ammunition is munitions...

. The idea of half-track
A half-track is a civilian or military vehicle with regular wheels on the front for steering, and caterpillar tracks on the back to propel the vehicle and carry most of the load. The purpose of this combination is to produce a vehicle with the cross-country capabilities of a tank and the handling...

 tractors was mostly discontinued after the World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...


World War I

The first such devices were designed prior to the outbreak of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, often based on agricultural machines such as the Holt tractor
Holt tractor
The Holt tractors were a range of caterpillar tractors built by the Holt Manufacturing Company, which was named after Benjamin Holt- Military Use :...

. Such tractors allowed the tactical use of heavier guns to supplement the light horse drawn field gun
Field gun
A field gun is an artillery piece. Originally the term referred to smaller guns that could accompany a field army on the march and when in combat could be moved about the battlefield in response to changing circumstances, as to opposed guns installed in a fort, or to siege cannon or mortars which...

s. For example in the British Army it allowed the heavy guns of the Royal Garrison Artillery
Royal Garrison Artillery
The Royal Garrison Artillery was an arm of the Royal Artillery that was originally tasked with manning the guns of the British Empire's forts and fortresses, including coastal artillery batteries, the heavy gun batteries attached to each infantry division, and the guns of the siege...

 to be used flexibly on the battlefield.

World War II

In World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 the horse was still the most common source of motive power in many armies. Most nations were economically and industrially unable to fully motorise their forces. One compromise was to produce general purpose vehicles which could be used in the troop transport, logistics and prime mover roles, with heavy artillery tractors to move the heaviest guns. The Royal Artillery
Royal Artillery
The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery , is the artillery arm of the British Army. Despite its name, it comprises a number of regiments.-History:...

 however, persisted with specialist artillery tractors (known as Field Artillery Tractors or 'FAT's) such as the Morris "Quad"
Morris C8
The Morris Commercial C8 FAT commonly known as a Quad was an artillery tractor of the British and Commonwealth forces during World War II....

 throughout World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, rather than adopt a general purpose vehicle. This was in order to prevent their vehicles being taken from them for other tasks.

Modern warfare

In modern war
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

fare towed artillery has given way in part to self-propelled artillery
Self-propelled artillery
Self-propelled artillery vehicles are combat vehicles armed with artillery. Within the term are covered self-propelled guns and rocket artillery...

, it is also common to find auxiliary power units built into the gun carriage to provide limited battlefield mobility. Traditional towed artillery can still be found in units where complexity and weight are liabilities: e.g. airmobile, amphibious and other light units. In such units, where organic transport is usually limited, any available transport can double as artillery tractors in order to reposition guns when needed. For example engineer vehicles of a different primary purpose such as the U.S. Marines' Light Capacity Rough Terrain Forklift (LCRTF), a versatile telehandler forklift capable of towing gear from either end.

Tank chassis

  • Dragon, Medium Mark IV'
    Vickers 6-Ton
    The Vickers 6-Ton Tank or Vickers Mark E was a British light tank designed as a private project at Vickers. It was not purchased by the British Army, but was picked up by a large number of foreign armed forces and was copied almost exactly by the Soviets as the T-26. It was also the direct...

    – British army, 1928; developed from the Vickers 6-Ton mark E.
  • T-24
    The T-24 was a Soviet medium tank built in 1931. Only twenty-four tanks were built, and saw no combat. This was the first tank produced at the KhPZ factory in Ukraine, which was later responsible for the very successful T-34 and T-54 Soviet tanks...

    • Komintern
    • Voroshilovets
  • M3 Lee
    M3 Lee
    The Medium Tank M3 was an American tank used during World War II. In Britain the tank was called "General Lee", named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and the modified version built with a new turret was called the "General Grant", named after U.S. General Ulysses S. Grant.Design commenced...

    • M33 Prime Mover - converted by removing turret and recovery gear from M31 TRV. 109 converted in 1943-44.
  • M4 Sherman
    M4 Sherman
    The M4 Sherman, formally Medium Tank, M4, was the primary tank used by the United States during World War II. Thousands were also distributed to the Allies, including the British Commonwealth and Soviet armies, via lend-lease...

    • M34 Prime Mover - converted by removing recovery gear from M32B1 TRV (M4A1 Sherman tank chassis built as an Armoured recovery vehicle
      Armoured recovery vehicle
      An armoured recovery vehicle is a type of armoured fighting vehicle used to repair battle- or mine-damaged as well as broken-down armoured vehicles during combat, or to tow them out of the danger zone for more extensive repairs...

      ) and adding air brakes to tow heavy artillery. 24 converted by Chester Tank Depot in 1944.
    • M35 Prime Mover - converted by removing turret from M10A1
      M10 Wolverine
      The M10 tank destroyer, formally 3-inch Gun Motor Carriage, M10 was a United States tank destroyer of World War II based on the chassis of the M4 Sherman tank. It was numerically the most important U.S...

       tank destroyer (M4A3 Sherman tank chassis) and adding air brakes to tow 155 mm and 240 mm artillery.
    • Sherman Gun Tower - British field conversion in Italy by removing turrets from old M4A2 Sherman tanks to tow 17 pdr AT gun and carry crew with ammunition
    • Wolverine Gun Tower - British M10 (M4A2 chassis) or M10A1 (M4A3 chassis) converted by removing turret, 1944–45
  • Crusader II, Gun Tractor Mk I – British army, variant of the Crusader tank
    Crusader tank
    The Tank, Cruiser, Mk VI or A15 Crusader was one of the primary British cruiser tanks of the early part Second World War and perhaps the most important British tank of the North African Campaign...

Other full-track

  • pre- and First World War
    • Hornsby tractor
      Richard Hornsby & Sons
      Richard Hornsby & Sons was an engine and machinery manufacturer in Lincolnshire, England from 1828 until 1918. The company was a pioneer in the manufacture of the oil engine developed by Herbert Akroyd Stuart and marketed under the Hornsby-Akroyd name. The company developed an early track system...

       – British army, 1910
    • Holt Tractor
      Holt tractor
      The Holt tractors were a range of caterpillar tractors built by the Holt Manufacturing Company, which was named after Benjamin Holt- Military Use :...

    • Best
      Best Manufacturing Company
      The Best Manufacturing Company of San Leandro, California was a manufacturer of farm machinery, now probably most well known for its steam tractors....

  • Renault UE Chenillette – France, 1932
  • C7P
    C7P was a Polish tracked artillery tractor, used by the Polish Army before and during World War II...

    – Poland, 1934
  • Universal Carrier
    Universal Carrier
    The Universal Carrier, also known as the Bren Gun Carrier is a common name describing a family of light armoured tracked vehicles built by Vickers-Armstrong. Produced between 1934 and 1960, the vehicle was used widely by British Commonwealth forces during the Second World War...

    – British, 1936; "Bren Gun Carrier", armored utility tractor
  • Lloyd carrier - UK, 1940
  • M4 High Speed Tractor
    M4 Tractor
    -Design and development:The M4 was based on the chassis and drive train of the obsolescent M2 Light Tank. This common practice of re-using old vehicles simplified design, allowed for easy production, and made maintenance in the field easier....

    – USA, 1943
  • M5 High Speed Tractor
    M5 Tractor
    The M5 High-Speed Tractor was an artillery tractor used by the US Army from 1942.-Construction:The M5 is a fully track vehicle designed to tow the 105 mm Howitzer M2, and the 155 mm Long Tom field artillery, and carry the gun crew and ammunition. A winch and roller system allows the M5 to pull...

    – USA, 1942
  • M6 High Speed Tractor
    M6 Tractor
    The M6 High-Speed Tractor was an artillery tractor used by the US Army in World War II to tow heavy artillery pieces such as 8 inch Gun M1 and 240 mm Howitzer M1.- See also :* List of U.S. military vehicles by supply catalog designation* List of U.S...

    – USA, 1944
  • M8 High Speed Tractor
    M8 Tractor
    -Construction:The M8 is a full-track tractor based on the chassis of the M41 Walker Bulldog light tank. It was used to tow cargo trailers and artillery such as the Skysweeper 75 mm anti-aircraft gun and the M59 Long Tom gun. The basic M8 variant could be quickly adapted for carrying projectiles and...

    – USA, 1950
  • Snow Trac
    Snow Trac
    The Snow Trac is a small personal Snowcat that is roughly the size of a modern compact car.-Origins and description:In 1954, Lars Larsson, the chief design engineer for a Swedish farm equipment company, AB Westeråsmaskiner, decided to develop a tracked vehicle to take him and his brother on fishing...

    – 1957, UK Royal Marines Light WOMBAT
    Wombats are Australian marsupials; they are short-legged, muscular quadrupeds, approximately in length with a short, stubby tail. They are adaptable in their habitat tolerances, and are found in forested, mountainous, and heathland areas of south-eastern Australia, including Tasmania, as well as...

     gun carrier
  • AT-L - Soviet Union
  • ATS-59
    Artilleriyskiy Tyagach Sredniy - 59, or ATS-59 was a Soviet Cold War era artillery tractor.-External links:*...

    - Soviet Union
  • AT-S - Soviet Union
  • AT-T - Soviet Union
  • MT-LBT
    The MT-LB is a Soviet multi-purpose fully amphibious auxiliary armoured vehicle which was first introduced in the late 1960s...

    - Soviet Union, mid-1970s, variant of the MT-LB armoured personnel carrier.
  • Hitachi Type 73 – Japan, 1974


  • Unic P107
    -History:In the 1920s and 1930s Citroën developed a long line of half-tracks based on the Kégresse patent. In 1934, the company introduced its newest and more powerful P107 model as a successor to the Citroën-Kégresse P17. But before mass production could take place, Citroën went bankrupt and its...

     – France, 1934; towed the French 75 and short 105 mm field guns
    The SOMUA MCG was an artillery tractor and recovery vehicle of the French forces during World War II.It was used to tow medium artillery pieces such as the 155 mm mle 1917 howitzer and the 105 mm mle 1936 field gun, as well as their specific ammunition trailers...

     – France; towed the French long 105 and short 155 mm field guns
  • SdKfz 7
    SdKfz 7
    The Sd.Kfz. 7 was a half-track military vehicle used by the German Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe and Waffen-SS during the Second World War....

     – Germany, 1938; 8-ton half track often towed the Flak 36 88 mm
  • SdKfz 10
    SdKfz 10
    The Sd.Kfz. 10 was a German half-track that saw very widespread use in World War II. Its main role was as a prime mover for small towed guns such as the 2 cm FlaK 30, the 7.5 cm leIG, or the 3.7 cm PaK 36 anti-tank gun...

  • M2 Half Track Car
    M2 Half Track Car
    The M-2 Half Track was an armored vehicle used by the United States during World War II.-History:The half-track design had been evaluated by the US Ordnance department using Citroën-Kégresse vehicles...

     – USA, 1940
  • M3 Half-track
    M3 Half-track
    The Carrier, Personnel Half-track M3 was an armored vehicle used by the United States, the British Empire and the other Allies during World War II and the Cold War. Nearly 43,000 were produced, and supplied to the U.S...

     – USA, 1940


  • Thornycroft "steamer" - UK, Second Boer War
    Second Boer War
    The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

  • Thornycroft
    Thornycroft was a United Kingdom-based vehicle manufacturer which built coaches, buses, and trucks from 1896 until 1977.-History:Thornycroft started out with steam vans and lorries. John Isaac Thornycroft, the naval engineer, built his first steam lorry in 1896...

     Gun Tractor - UK, World War I
  • Latil
    Latil was a French automaker specializing in heavy duty vehicles, such as trucks, tractors and buses, from 1898 to 1955.- History of the Compagnie Latil :...

     - France, World War I
  • Thornycroft Hathi
    Thornycroft Hathi
    The Hathi was an early four wheel drive lorry built by Thornycroft in the 1920s. It was used by the British Army as an artillery tractor.- Development :...

     - UK, 1924; early 4x4
  • Krupp Protze
    Krupp Protze
    The L 2 H 43 and L 2 H 143 "Krupp-Protze" was a six-wheeled German truck and artillery tractor used by German forces in World War II. It was powered by a 55 hp or 60 hp Krupp M 304 4-cylinder petrol engine. Its main purpose was to tow artillery, especially the PaK 36...

     – Germany, 1933; towed the 3.7 cm PaK
    PaK 36
    The Pak 36 was a German anti-tank gun that fired a 3.7 cm calibre shell. It was the main anti-tank weapon of Wehrmacht infantry units until 1942...

  • Scammell Pioneer
    Scammell Pioneer
    The Scammell Pioneer R100 was a British vehicle that was used in the Second World War. The basic vehicle was used as an artillery tractor for heavier pieces such as the 7.2 inch howitzer. This had an 8-ton winch and an overhead runway with a 10-cwt hoist. Early war use included towing the six inch...

     – British, 1937; lorry used for the largest guns
  • Morris C8
    Morris C8
    The Morris Commercial C8 FAT commonly known as a Quad was an artillery tractor of the British and Commonwealth forces during World War II....

     – UK, 1938; the "Quad" British tractor; towed the QF 25 pdr, 6-pr Anti-tank gun, and 40-mm Bofors Light AA gun.
  • Bedford 4 x 4 Gun Tractor, introduced in the late 1950s to tow 25-pr.
  • AEC Matador
    AEC Matador
    The AEC Matador was an artillery tractor built by the Associated Equipment Company for British and Commonwealth forces during the Second World War.AEC had already built a 4 x 2 lorry, also known as the Matador ....

     – UK, WWII; lorry used for pulling mediumartillery such as the 5.5 inch gun
    BL 5.5 inch Medium Gun
    The BL 5.5 inch Gun was a British artillery gun introduced during the middle of the Second World War to equip medium batteries.-History:In January 1939 a specification was issued for a gun to replace the 6 inch 26 cwt howitzers in use with most medium batteries...

     and 3.7 inch heavy AA Gun
  • FV1103, Medium Artillery Tractor, 10-ton, 6 x 6 Leyland, replaced Matador in the late 1950s.
  • Laffly V15T
    Laffly V15
    The Laffly V15T was a French light 4WD artillery tractor used during World War II. It was used to tow the 25 mm SA anti-tank guns. A personnel carrier and reconnaissance vehicle based on the same chassis was designated as V15R...

     – France, WWII; towed 25 mm AT guns
  • Laffly S15T
    Laffly S15
    The Laffly S15 was a familty of all-terrain military vehicles from French manufacturer Laffly that shared the same six-wheel drive chassis. They were used by French forces during World War II.-Variants:...

     – France, WWII; towed the French 75 and short 105 mm field guns
  • White Scout Car
    M3 Scout Car
    The M3 Scout Car was an armored car in U.S. service during World War II. It was also known as the White Scout Car, after its manufacturer, the White Motor Company. It was used in various roles including patrol, scouting, command vehicle, ambulance and gun tractor.-History:Design of the vehicle...

     – USA, 1941; 4x4 utility armored car
    The CMP FAT , officially the Chevrolet 8440/CGT Tractor, 4x4, Field Artillery, was an artillery tractor of the British and Commonwealth forces during World War II...

     – Canada, WWII
  • Karrier
    Karrier is a marque of car and commercial vehicle, the origins of which can be traced back to Clayton and Company, a 1904 company from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK. In 1908, they started making Karrier cars and in 1920 changed the company name to Karrier Motors Ltd.In 1929, Karrier started...

     KT4 – UK; for the British Indian Army
    British Indian Army
    The British Indian Army, officially simply the Indian Army, was the principal army of the British Raj in India before the partition of India in 1947...

  • Pinzgauer High Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle
    Pinzgauer High Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle
    The Pinzgauer is a family of high-mobility all-terrain 4WD and 6WD military utility vehicles. They were manufactured in Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom, by BAE Systems Land & Armaments. The vehicle was originally developed in the late 1960s by Steyr-Daimler-Puch of Graz, Austria, and was named...

     – UK, 1971
  • Land Rover 101 Forward Control
    Land Rover 101 Forward Control
    thumb|right|300px|Side View.The 101 Forward Control was a vehicle produced by Land Rover for the British Army.-History:The vehicle was primarily produced to meet the Army's requirement for a gun tractor, and was designed to tow a field gun with a ton of ammunition and other equipment in the rear...

     – UK, 1972

See also

  • Self-propelled artillery
    Self-propelled artillery
    Self-propelled artillery vehicles are combat vehicles armed with artillery. Within the term are covered self-propelled guns and rocket artillery...

  • G-numbers
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