M2 Half Track Car
The M-2 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...

was an armored vehicle used by the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 during 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 half-track design had been evaluated by the US Ordnance department using Citroën-Kégresse vehicles. The White Motor Company
White Motor Company
White Motor Company was an American automobile and truck manufacturer from 1900 until 1980. The company also produced bicycles, roller skates, automatic lathes, and sewing machines. Before World War II, the company was based in Cleveland, Ohio.-History:...

 produced a prototype half track using their own chassis and the body of the M3 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...


In 1938, the White Motor Company took the Timken rear bogie assembly from a T-9 half-track truck and added it to an M-3 Scout Car, creating the T-7 Half-Track Car. This vehicle was woefully underpowered, and when a further requirement came down from US Army artillery units for a prime mover (artillery tractor), a vehicle with an uprated engine was devised, then designated the T-14. By 1940, the vehicle had been standardized as the M-2 Half-Track car, and was being supplied to army units as both a prime mover and a reconnaissance vehicle. The latter was to serve in the interim, until more specialized vehicles could be fielded.

Between 1942 and 1943, these vehicles, just like the M3 Half Tracks, would receive a number of modifications to the drive train, engine, and stowage, among other things.

Total production of M-2 and derivatives was about 13,500 units. Later, to meet the needs of the Lend-Lease program, the International Harvester Company was brought in to manufacture vehicles similar to the M-2, the M-9 adding another 3,500 units.


The first M-2s were fielded in 1941, and would be used in the Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, North Africa, and Europe by the U.S. Army, and around the Pacific by the Marines
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

. About 800 M-2 and M-9 halftracks were sent to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Many remaining vehicles initially destined for lend-lease were transferred to other U.S. allies, primarily in South America. These vehicles often received a number of upgrades designed at extending service life. Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

's National Guard
National Guard (Nicaragua)
In Nicaragua, the National Guard was a militia and a gendarmerie created during the occupation of that country by the United States from 1909 to 1933. It became notorious for human rights abuses and corruption under the regime of the Somoza family.-Creation:...

 received 10 M-2s in 1942, which saw heavy action during the 1978-79 Nicaraguan Revolution
Nicaraguan Revolution
The Nicaraguan Revolution encompasses the rising opposition to the Somoza dictatorship in the 1960s and 1970s, the campaign led by the Sandinista National Liberation Front which led to the violent ousting of that dictatorship in 1979, and the...

. The Argentine Army
Argentine Army
The Argentine Army is the land armed force branch of the Armed Forces of the Argentine Republic and the senior military service of the country.- History :...

 retired its last upgraded M-9 in 2006 and donated them to Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...


Former operators

- 2,000 modified M-3/M-9 versions on service with the IDF. - 10 M-2 on service with the National Guard
National Guard (Nicaragua)
In Nicaragua, the National Guard was a militia and a gendarmerie created during the occupation of that country by the United States from 1909 to 1933. It became notorious for human rights abuses and corruption under the regime of the Somoza family.-Creation:...

, 1942-1979. - M-3 in service with the Lebanese Army between 1949 - 1970. Ex-IDF versions supplied by Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 to the Lebanese Forces
Lebanese Forces
The Lebanese Forces is a Lebanese political party. Founded as a militia by Bachir Gemayel during the Lebanese Civil War, the movement fought as the main militia within the Christian-dominated Lebanese Front...

 and South Lebanon Army
South Lebanon Army
The South Lebanon Army , also "South Lebanese Army," was a Lebanese militia during the Lebanese Civil War. After 1979, the militia operated in southern Lebanon under the authority of Saad Haddad's Government of Free Lebanon...

 passed on to the Amal Movement
Amal Movement
Amal Movement is short for the Lebanese Resistance Detachments the acronym for which, in Arabic, is "amal", meaning "hope."Amal was founded in 1975 as the militia wing of the Movement of the Disinherited, a Shi'a political movement founded by Musa...

, Hezbollah, Lebanese Army.


Prime Mover/Scout Vehicle

  • M-2 - White Half-Track with White 160AX engine. Fitted with a skate rail mount, featuring an M2HB machine gun.
    • M-2E5/M9 - International Harvester
      International Harvester
      International Harvester Company was a United States agricultural machinery, construction equipment, vehicle, commercial truck, and household and commercial products manufacturer. In 1902, J.P...

       Half-Track, developed to complement the M2 for Lend-Lease, but did not feature the short hull of the M-2. Also, did not feature the rear access doors, and is outwardly very similar to the M-5, but with a different internal configuration.
      • M-9A1 - As for the M-2A1, an M-9 with the M-49 machine gun mount. The M-9A1 had a rear door.
    • M-2E6/M2A1 - Any vehicle with the improved M49 machine gun ring mount over the right hand front seat. Three fixed pintle mounts for 0.30 machine guns were often fitted at the unit level in the field.

Self-propelled guns

  • M-4/M-4A1 81mm MMC - M2 based Motor Mortar Carriage equipped with the M-1 mortar (81 mm). The mortar was intended to be fired dismounted from the vehicle, but could be fired to the rear in an emergency from a base inside the vehicle. The A1 allowed the weapon to be fixed facing forward and fired from within the vehicle.
  • M-2 w/ M-3 37 mm - Mechanized infantry units in the US Army were supposed to receive the M-6 Gun Motor Carriage, based on Dodge light trucks. With the overall failure in combat of these vehicles, some units removed the M-3 37 mm gun and its assembly and mounted them on M-2 Half-Track Cars.

Anti-aircraft variants

  • T-1E1 - M-2 based mobile anti-aircraft gun featuring an open rear with a Bendix mount featuring two .50-caliber M-2 machine guns. The Bendix mount proved to be unsatisfactory. Prototype only.
    • T-1E2 - T-1 with Maxson M-33 mount in the place of the Bendix mount. The M-33 mount also featured two .50-caliber M-2 machine guns. Would be developed into the M-3 based T-1E4.
    • T-1E3 - T-1 fitted with a partial hard top and a Martin turret, identical to that used on the B-17 Flying Fortress. Proved to be overly complicated and was ill suited to the space available in the M-2. Prototype only.
  • T-28 CGMC - M-2 based Combination Gun Motor Carriage with a single M-1A2 37 mm autocannon flanked by two .50-caliber M-2 machine guns. This vehicle's side armor was removed in order to make room for the mount. The project was canceled in 1942 but revived in the same year, when a decision was made to use the longer M3 Half-Track Personnel Carrier chassis for the subsequent T-28E1
  • T-10 - Variant to test the feasibility of mounting US made copies of the Hispano-Suiza HS.404
    Hispano-Suiza HS.404
    The Hispano-Suiza HS.404 was an autocannon widely used as both an aircraft and land weapon in the 20th century by British, American, French, and numerous other military services. The cannon is also referred to as Birkigt type 404, after its designer. Firing a 20 mm caliber projectile, it delivered...

     20 mm cannon on modified Maxson mounts. Developed into the T-10E1 based on the longer M-3 Half Track Personnel Carrier chassis.

See also

External links

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