M2/M3 American Half-Tracks of the Second World War

Published on
August 20, 2019
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Editor: Robert Jackson
Other Publication Information
Paperback, 64 pages, color and B&W photos, 9.3x11.5 inches.

This is one of three books in Pen & Swords Land Craft series. The other books include The Jeep and Bren Gun Carrier. The Land Craft books are good resources for modelers as they provide background on the design of vehicles, detailed descriptions, and description of variants. They also include a gallery of completed models and kits available.

M2/M3 Half-Track Book Contents


Provides a brief description of the history of half-track vehicles subsequent to World War I, including early French vehicles and the half-track car T1. These early vehicles were tested for use as prime movers.

Design and Development

This section describes the early development of half-tracks based on converted 4 x 4 armored cars. Early Half-tracks in 1938 were developed based on a Scout Car M2A1, later designated the M3. In 1939 the US Army released specifications for the half-track Scout Car T14 pilot and in 1940 modified versions became the half-track car M2. The book has small black-and-white photographs of each of the early variations of half-tracks. This section also includes some detail photos of half-track suspensions. The book describes the manufacturers of the half-tracks, White, the Autocar Company, Diamond T Motors, and later on International Harvester Company. Distribution of the half-tracks to US allies and armored units is described.

M2/M3 in Detail

Black and white photographs are used to illustrate exterior and interior details of the M2/M3. This chapter also describes communication methods used by armored infantry battalions, and further describes differences in the manufacturer’s different versions.

M2/M3 Variants

This chapter describes the different variants of half-tracks including the half-track car T29, half-track truck T17, personnel carriers, mortar carriers, tank destroyers, self-propelled howitzers, anti-aircraft half-tracks, and combination anti-aircraft gun half-trucks

Camouflage and Markings

This chapter provides color profiles of the following gun trunk variants:

  • 10 man M2 half-track car
  • 75mm howitzer motor carriage T30
  • 37mm anti-tank gun M3
  • 75mm gun motor carriage M3
  • Half-track personnel carrier M5
  • Multiple gun motor carriage
  • M21 81mm motorized motor carrier
  • Six-man 105 MM howitzer motor carriage T9

Model Showcase

This chapter shows color photos of scale models of half-tracks including, M2, M3A1, M4, M16 MGMC 1/16 scale. The chapter also lists scale model kits from different manufacturers in scales ranging from 1/72 to 1/16.

In Service and In Action

This chapter describes the use of half-tracks in different engagements and description of their effectiveness. Sections include early encounters in the Far East, use in 1942 by armored divisions, misuse of tank destroyer as frontline combatants, 1944 armored division, issues raised by armored infantry men, late war impressions of the effectiveness of half-tracks, comparisons to Axis vehicles, and use of half-tracks post World War II, as in Korea.


The book is a nice reference for modelers as it includes good descriptions of the vehicles, many illustrative photographs, and inspiration through the color profiles and completed models. The text is fairly brief on the topics covered but there are lots of clear black-and-white photographs and color profiles. This is a great reference for modelers of half-track vehicles.

Thanks to Pen & Sword for providing the review sample of the book and to the IPMS review program.


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