M5 Halftrack Personnel Carrier
From the beginning of the Second World War, the Americans were the principal suppliers of weapons and material of the allied forces because of their fantastic industrial capacities and the absence of bombardment on their territory. The same applies to the halftracks, however the firms up to now charged to produce them (White, Autocar and Diamond T) could not assume a such increase in the production and a fourth firm was recruited, International Harvester Company.
The models which were produced by this firm, present some differences with the models of the other firms. Indeed, modifications had been brought in the specifications of the half-tracked vehicles. One of most important is the replacement of the tempered steel plates by rolled homogeneous steel plates. With these plates, the shielding was 7.9 mm instead of 6.4 mm. The thickness of the shutter of the windshield was now 15.9 mm instead of 13. These plates were not any more bolted but were welded between them. The increase in the weight because of the shielding more raised, somewhat decreased the performances on the maximum speed level (68 km/h instead of 72 km/h). Harvester also includes there elements of its manufacture like engine RED-450-B (gasoline) of 6 cyl. developing 143 hp to 2700rpm, a new front axle, a new box of transfer and a new transmission (Spicer 1856) comprising 5 speeds (4/1). Harvester proposed two models, one of both, the M3E2 (based on M3) will become M5 Halftrack Personnel Carrier. To outside, the differences between M5 and M3 related to the mudguards of the nose gear which on M5 were flat and not rounded as on M3 (and M2), the corners were ounded to the back. The interior of M5 was arranged same manner that that of M3 and could accomodate 13 men. M5 was produced only by Harvester to 4625 specimens in 1942-1944.
As for M2 and M3, the armament of M5 was improved by the adoption of a circular mounting M49 installed to the top of the right part of the cabin as on the M2A1 and the M3A1. This mounting accomodated an anti-aircraft .50cal machine-gun. This model was called M5A1 Halftrack Personnel Carrier and was produced to 2959 specimens by Harvester in 1943-1944. In order to simplify, the production of the halftracks, Ordnance Department decided at the beginning of 1943 to amalgamate M5 and the M5A1 in only one model. The T31 prototype was accepted for the production in as M5A2 Halftrack Personnel Carrier. At that time, however, the need for half-tracked vehicles was less significant and this model was never manufactured in mass.
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