M5 Halftrack in British use

Discussions on all aspects of the The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth during the Inter-War era and Second World War. Hosted by Andy H
yantaylor
Member
Posts: 800
Joined: 20 Mar 2011 14:53
Location: Cheshire

M5 Halftrack in British use

Post by yantaylor » 23 May 2020 19:25

High everyone.

The British made use of the M5 HT, thus they issued them to Motorized battalions, regiments or brigades, but I cant find which battalions, regiments or brigades actually had the M5. I found on line that the British still called them motor battalions no matter what they travelled in for example 8 ctw truck or halftrack.

So which units used the halftracks, as I dont think that the Americans sold us enough to equip every motor battalion.

Thanks
Ian

Typhoon66
Member
Posts: 12
Joined: 05 Jun 2020 19:00
Location: Germany

Re: M5 Halftrack in British use

Post by Typhoon66 » 12 Jun 2020 21:06

After this source

https://www.amazon.com/-/de/dp/14728200 ... 670&sr=8-1

Britain received the following number of rather similar halftracks from the USA: 10 M2, 1053 M9, 2 M3 and 188 M5.
So do you mean exactly the use of only M5 which were manufactured by International Harvester (188 vehicles) or all all the other types too?

Alanmccoubrey
Financial supporter
Posts: 3032
Joined: 19 Sep 2008 13:44

Re: M5 Halftrack in British use

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 13 Jun 2020 07:54

Typhoon66 wrote:
12 Jun 2020 21:06
After this source

https://www.amazon.com/-/de/dp/14728200 ... 670&sr=8-1

Britain received the following number of rather similar halftracks from the USA: 10 M2, 1053 M9, 2 M3 and 188 M5.
So do you mean exactly the use of only M5 which were manufactured by International Harvester (188 vehicles) or all all the other types too?
I notice that you don't include any M14 in that list and yet we all know that many British Half-tracks clearly show the folding side armour indicative of being repurposed M14s.
Alan

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2541
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: M5 Halftrack in British use

Post by Sheldrake » 13 Jun 2020 10:22

yantaylor wrote:
23 May 2020 19:25
High everyone.

The British made use of the M5 HT, thus they issued them to Motorized battalions, regiments or brigades, but I cant find which battalions, regiments or brigades actually had the M5. I found on line that the British still called them motor battalions no matter what they travelled in for example 8 ctw truck or halftrack.

So which units used the halftracks, as I dont think that the Americans sold us enough to equip every motor battalion.

Thanks
Ian
The Gunners also used 15cwt half tracks. They were, on the establishment of SP Field artillery units as battery command posts, one of the vehicles used as a 17 pounder gun tractor (mainly by the divisional anti tank regiments of armoured divisions) There were also used as one of the two vehicles issued to each Forward Observation and Bombardment parties.

In NW Europe there were enough half tracks to equip the motor battalions in each armoured Brigade.

yantaylor
Member
Posts: 800
Joined: 20 Mar 2011 14:53
Location: Cheshire

Re: M5 Halftrack in British use

Post by yantaylor » 13 Jun 2020 19:43

So would we be looking at four half tracks to each platoon with twelve in all plus a couple more in the company HQ to give fourteen. Would I be correct in saying that this company would have a few carriers to carry Vickers and mortars and a carrier platoon?

Thanks everyone
Ian

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2541
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: M5 Halftrack in British use

Post by Sheldrake » 13 Jun 2020 20:37

yantaylor wrote:
13 Jun 2020 19:43
So would we be looking at four half tracks to each platoon with twelve in all plus a couple more in the company HQ to give fourteen. Would I be correct in saying that this company would have a few carriers to carry Vickers and mortars and a carrier platoon?

Thanks everyone
Ian
Try here
http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/mo ... its.23759/

Gary Kennedy
Member
Posts: 845
Joined: 28 Mar 2012 18:56

Re: M5 Halftrack in British use

Post by Gary Kennedy » 13 Jun 2020 20:56

If you're asking specifically about the Motor Battalions as they were termed (not Motorised), found one per Armoured Division, and in some Independent Armoured Brigades, then the actual issue of halftracks is difficult to confirm. I think you and I have also discussed the organisation for the Motor Battalion in an earlier thread? Anyways, the WE was for three Sections and a HQ in each Motor Platoon, with one 15-cwt personnel truck to lift each element, so four trucks per Platoon. The 1943 era Motor Company had a HQ with two more 15-cwt pers trucks, and two 3-in mortar detachments, each with a Universal carrier fitted for mortar. Finally there was the Scout Platoon with 11 carriers, in three Sections of three, plus two more at HQ, along with a scout car. Support Company had two MMG Platoons (four guns each, and eight carriers) and three Anti-tank Platoons (four towed 6-pdrs each and nine carriers). HQ Company added the Signal and Administrative Platoons. Overall it had circa 100 cars, trucks and lorries, 82 carriers (Loyds and Universal) and six scout cars).

Prior to Normandy the 15-cwt personnel trucks were replaced by halftracks, so that would indeed have been 14 per Motor Company. I've been looking around myself for a contemporary document that indicates whether there was a straightforward like-for-like replacement of 15-cwt personnel trucks by halftracks as part of this change. That is the general opinion but it would be nice to know it's based on something solid. I have a copy of outline organisation of the Motor Battalion, seemingly written by 'an eager' recruit or cadet in 1943, around the time the unit received its new WE. This refers to 53 White scout cars, 14 per Motor Company, 5 in HQ Company and 3 in Battalion HQ. The White scout car referred to was more likely the US wheeled M3A1 scout car than the halftrack, and I've seen it detailed that the White scout was initially going to replace the 15-cwt personnel trucks in the Motor Battalions. There are suggestions that units actually fielded a mixture of halftracks and wheeled White scout cars, which is something I'd personally like to clarify. Knowing how to is the trick of course...

As to which particular types of halftracks were used by particular units, I don't know if that can be confirmed. The UK received the M5 and the M9, and as noted the M14, which was originally an AA vehicle, with the ones sent to the UK being rebuilt as personnel carriers, comparable to the M9 in terms of seating.

I have been on a halftrack history blitz recently...

Gary

Typhoon66
Member
Posts: 12
Joined: 05 Jun 2020 19:00
Location: Germany

Re: M5 Halftrack in British use

Post by Typhoon66 » 14 Jun 2020 11:33

Alanmccoubrey wrote:
13 Jun 2020 07:54
Typhoon66 wrote:
12 Jun 2020 21:06
After this source

https://www.amazon.com/-/de/dp/14728200 ... 670&sr=8-1

Britain received the following number of rather similar halftracks from the USA: 10 M2, 1053 M9, 2 M3 and 188 M5.
So do you mean exactly the use of only M5 which were manufactured by International Harvester (188 vehicles) or all all the other types too?
I notice that you don't include any M14 in that list and yet we all know that many British Half-tracks clearly show the folding side armour indicative of being repurposed M14s.
You´re right, I forgot the rebuilt M14s. For the statistics: The US delivered 1525 M14 in 1943 to Britain (and two M16), and 680 T48 with the 57mm Gun from which 650 were sent further to the Sowjet Union. Britain only kept 30 of this vehicles with the gun removed.

But all of these Half Tracks were not only used by the British Motor Battalions, Polish 1st Armoured Division in Normandy used M5 as well with their Motor Battalion (10th Dragoons).

Return to “The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth 1919-45”