U.S. Half-Track Vehicles

Published on
July 3, 2017
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
David Doyle
Other Publication Information
Soft Bound (Squared), 8.5” x 11”, 80 pages, 216 photos, Armor In Action Series
Product / Stock #
Provided by: David Doyle Books - Website: Visit Site
Book cover

David Doyle’s latest book continues to expand on Squadron Signal’s long standing In Action series that initiated back in 1971. This is a completely updated and expanded edition over Squadron’s earlier Armor in Action 34, M3 Half-Track by Jim Mesko that was published in 1996 with 50 pages.

After many years of being published in enthusiast publications focused on military vehicle restorations, David Doyle ‘graduated’ to full-fledged books in 2003. His first book was a hefty 512 page history of US military vehicles. He has now had more than 100 books published in military vehicles, aviation and naval topics. David and his wife Denise have amassed a collection of ten Vietnam era military vehicles that they still display at shows. In June 2015, he was honored with the Military Vehicle Preservation Association’s Bart Vanderveen Award, given in recognition of "...the individual who has contributed the most to the historic preservation of military vehicles worldwide." Be sure to check out David’s website at www.DavidDoyleBooks.com where you can see and buy at a discounted price off of MSRP all his books that are still available.

This book follows the normal format of the In Action series, detailing the development and service history of U.S. Half-Track Vehicles. This is expanded from Squadron’s standard 60 page version of their In Action format, and it runs 80 pages packed with large, clear photographs. The front cover features a color photograph of an M15A1 gun Motor Carriage being backed onto a landing craft in preparation for D-Day. The rear cover features a M4A1 and a M16 owned by Kevin Lockwood on display at the “Thunder Over Michigan” airshow on August 29, 2015.

I counted 216 well captioned photographs; 8 in color and 208 in black and white. There were 16 black and white drawings and two color profiles highlighting the variants. You can find a video highlight of the books contents at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nMuOiXlvXU .

David Doyle kicks off this book with the beginnings of half-tracks. Based on a French and Russian collaboration out of WWI, the US Army became interested and bought two examples of the Citroën-Kégresse model for evaluation. Test results were promising and the led to the T1, the United States’ first production half-track. An endless band track was introduced by Goodrich in 1934 and utilized on the T5, this would provide the foundation for all future US half-track vehicles. Multiple US manufacturers ended up producing approximately 46,000 half-tracks between 1933 and 1944. They were used is many roles from personnel carriers to a variety of heavily armed versions. US half-tracks were used by both the US Army and Marines as well as our allies in WWII through Lend-Lease. After WWII, many of the half-tracks were sold off to other countries. The Israeli Army had some 600 half-tracks still in service as late as March 2008 and several South American countries still are using half-tracks currently

David Doyle does hit all the major variants as can be seen by the following Table of Contents:

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • M2 and M2A1 [Page 8]
  • M3 and M3A1
  • Vehicles Based on the M3 Chassis
  • M3A2
  • Mortar Carriers
  • Gun Motor Carriages [Page 24]
  • Howitzer Motor Carriages
  • Multiple Gun Motor Carriages [Page 38]
  • Combination Gun Motor Carriages
  • M15
  • Bofors-Armed [Page 52]
  • Field Modifications
  • IH Half-Track Vehicles
  • IH Anti-Aircraft Vehicles
  • Field Use [Page 66, 74]

I found the chapter on Bofors-Armed half-tracks quite interesting. The M1 40mm Bofors gun was another example of something that the half-track originally towed until they decided to mount it on the half-track. This gun was very effective against ground targets and aircraft, and the developers thought it would make a potent weapon. Two T54 half-tracks were ordered, but were a bit unstable. Correcting the stability of the new gun platform led to the T59E1 40mm Gun Carriage. A T60 variant added twin 50 caliber machine guns to either side of the Bofors 40mm, and the T68 Gun Motor Carriage featured two Bofors 40mm guns in an over-under configuration.

This is a gorgeous soft-bound book and is well worth the money. David Doyle provides lots of detailed photographs with detailed captions. I’ve always enjoyed Squadron’s In Action format as their line drawings focus on the differences from variant to variant, make it easy to spot the different versions in the period black and white or color photographs. If you want to get really serious, you will want David Doyle's pair of previously-published hard bound books on US Half-Tracks, that clock in at 906 pages between the two. Still, this 80 page overview provides a great value for an overview of U.S. Half-Track Vehicles, and includes many previously unpublished photographs.

Highly recommended!

My thanks to David Doyle Books at (www.DavidDoyleBooks.com ) and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.


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