M3 Half-Track

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(TM 9-710, February 1944)

M4A1 81mm Mortar Carrier (TM 9-710, February 1944)

 

The M3 half-track was used as a command and control vehicle by headquarters staff elements in the 781st, and a modified version served as the basis for the self-propelled 81mm mortars used by the Mortar Platoon in Headquarters Company. Although fast and relatively mobile, the main drawback of the lightly armored half-tracks were their open tops, which made them vulnerable to shrapnel pelting downward from artillery, rocket, or mortar projectiles which may have detonated above the vehicle. In the heavily-wooded Vosges Mountains, where the tall trees frequently caused such projectiles to detonate before they hit the ground, this was an especial weakness for the design.

M3 Half-Track

Height: 6.75 feet
Width: 7 feet
Length: 20.25 feet
Weight: 10 tons
Combat radius (how far one can go on a tank of gasoline): 220 miles (road).

Armor
  Front: .5 inches
  Sides, rear: .25 inches
Maximum Speed:
  Road: 45 mph :

Armament:
  1 x .50-caliber MG
  1 x .30-caliber MG

The self-propelled 81mm version was designated the M4A1. Its secondary armament consisted of a single M1919A4 air-cooled .30-caliber MG, but the vehicle otherwise possessed similar performance characteristics.


(All data from Aberdeen Proving Ground Series)

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