- For the Steel Division: Normandy 44 unit see M3 HT (SD2)
M3 HT a United States Transport unit. Produced in large numbers and used extensively by the United States, It is one of the most iconic vehicles of the Second World War and saw widespread service. Large quantities of the M5 halftrack variant were also distributed to the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and other Allies. In the game, the armoured personnel carrier is widely used by many Allied divisions and is a common sight on the battlefield, shielding infantry from enemy fire and providing firepower with its Browning M1919 machine gun. An improved variant, the M3A1 halftrack, is also present in the game.
Overview[edit | edit source]
The M3 Half-track, known officially as the Carrier, Personnel Half-track M3, was an American armored personnel carrier half-track widely used by the Allies during World War II (and in the Cold War). Derived from the M2 Half Track Car, the slightly longer M3 was extensively produced, with about 15,000 units and more than 50,000 derivative variants manufactured.
The M3 was adopted by the US Army and Marines, and was found in all theaters of war, North Africa, Europe and the Pacific. It proved reliable and versatile and was fielded by British and Commonwealth forces under Lend-Lease, as well as by many reconstructed Allied forces (Free French, Polish, etc.).
Initially, the vehicle was unpopular among troops. Complaints mainly arose from the lack of overhead protection from artillery shrapnel and the inadequate armour against machine gun fire, though its reputation gradually improved as the war progressed.
Relevant M3 variants:
M3A1 – A M3 with the improved M49 machine gun ring mount over the right hand front seat. Between 1942 and 1943 all M3 Half-Tracks (standard and A1s) were continually upgraded. These improvements included a number of drive train, engine, and stowage improvements. Used to transport American leader units and some American infantry in the game.
M3E2/M5 Half-track – International Harvester Half-Track, externally largely identical to the M3, but with significant internal differences. In fact, only the chassis, bogies, track, idler and drive sprockets, wheels, winches, transfer case, rollers, and machine gun mount were interchangeable. The M5 is heavier than the M3, due in part to heavier armor. Its body was welded, rather than bolted. The M5 was primarily for Lend-Lease, to Britain, Canada, France, and the Soviet Union. It is this exported variant that is used by the French, Polish and British in the game.
M5A1 – As for the M3A1, an M5 with the M49 machine gun mount. It could fit one .50-caliber (12.7 mm) and two .30-caliber (30.06) machine guns. The IHC models had a slightly lower top speed (only 42 mph (68 km/h)) and lower range (125 mi (201 km)) as well.
Strategy[edit | edit source]
Most American infantry (as well as some French, Polish, Canadian and British infantry) arrive in halftracks on the battlefield, as do some German infantry. Amongst them, the M3 halftrack is an unremarkable vehicle. It is a handy unit since it provides firepower against enemy infantry and can quickly ferry troops or field guns to their positions. Furthermore, it is a reasonably expendable unit and can be used to lead an attack, drawing fire from the enemy and making them expose their positions.