Military Wiki
M5 Half-track
M5 inter.jpg
M5 Half-track
Type Half-track armored personnel carrier
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1941–1960?
Used by see list
Wars World War II, Korean War, Suez Crisis, Arab-Israeli War of 1948, and many others
Production history
Designer International Harvester
Designed 1940-1942
Manufacturer International Harvester
Produced 1943-1945?
Number built ~5000
Specifications (with winch[2])
Weight 18,900 lb (8,600 kg) loaded
Length 12 feet 5 116 inches (3.79 m)
Width 7 feet 3 12 inches (2.22 m)
Height 7 feet 4 inches (2.24 m) overall
Crew 3+10 troops

Engine IHC Red-450-B
141 hp (105 kW)
Suspension Beam axles on leaf springs (front)
tracks (rear)
Fuel capacity 60 US gal (230 l)[1]
125 mi (201 km)[1]
Speed 42 mph (68 km/h)

The Carrier, Personnel Half-track M5 was an armored personnel carrier of World War II. It was produced in the United States by International Harvester as a supplement to production of the M3 Half-track. It was supplied to Allied nations (the British Commonwealth, France, and the Soviet Union) under the Lend-Lease.

The M9 Half-Track was the same vehicle but with a different internal layout to fulfill the same purpose as the M2 Half Track Car.


A M5 Half-track at the Yad la-Shiryon Museum in Israel

In 1942, the US faced a demand for a greater supply of M3 half tracks to the Allies and the existing manufacturers could not provide these. International Harvester could build them but changes in components and construction were necessary. Due to a lack of face-hardened armor, homogenous armor was used. Although thicker at 5/16 inch to the M3's 1/4 inch, it was effectively less protection – armor piercing rifle caliber bullets could penetrate it at 300 yds rather than 200 yds for the M3.[3] At the same time IH was to produce a version of the M2 Half Track Car.

Production History

The first production of the M5 were completed in December 1943. Changes to the demand for half-tracks led to reduced orders within the US Army, and the M5 became "limited standard" for the US, and most all M5 were sent for Allied use. The added weight of the armor reduced the speed to 42 mph, and range was reduced to 125 miles.


During the war the majority of M5 (and M9) production went to the UK which then passed them on to Commonwealth forces or other allies operating with the British Army such as Free Polish or Free Czech forces. The USSR received supplies directly. In British service they were used as utility vehicles for Royal Engineers units, or to motor battalions instead of 15cwt trucks for towing anti-tank guns.

After the war, half tracks were provided under the Military Aid Program.

  •  Canada – 20 received[4]
  •  Egypt -captured from Israel
  •  France -1196[5]
  •  Iraq Lent from Egypt and captured from Israel in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
  •  Israel – acquired in 1948–49 from Europe, and directly from US after 1949
  •  Jordan -captured from Israel
  •  Nazi Germany
  •  South Africa
  •  Soviet Union – 450 received[4]
  •  Syria -captured from Israel
  • United States
  •  United Kingdom


A rear view of the M5 at a museum in Israel

  • M3E2/M5 – An International Harvester Half-track. Virtually identical to the M3. The only differences was the thicker armor (up to 20 mm), different engine (IHC RED-450-B), and lower range (125 mi (201 km)). This model was mainly supplied to the Soviet Union, the British Commonwealth, and France. 4625 produced.
  • M5A1 – M5 with a M49 machine gun mount. It could fit one 0.5 inch (12.7 mm) M2 Browning heavy machine gun, and two 0.3 inch M1919 Browning machine guns.[6] 2159 produced
  • M5A2 – Similar to the M3A2, the M5A2 is was a combination of the M5 and M9 Half-tracks. This was only a projected vehicle that was never produced en-masse.
  • M9 – Same as the M5, stowage arranged as the M2 Half-track, with access to radios from inside (as opposed to outside) and rear doors, plus pedestal machine gun mount.[6] 2026 produced
  • M9A1 – Same as M9, with ring mount and three machine gun pintles.[6] 1,407 produced.
  • M14 Half-track – A version of the M13 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage (based on the M5). It had two 0.5 inch machine guns mounted in a Maxson turret on the rear of the chassis. Several hundred were produced before it was replaced by the M16 MGMC and M17 MGMC. 1,605 built.
  • M17 Half track – M5 with the same quadruple 0.5 inch machine gun turret as the M16. All 1000 supplied to the USSR.[7] It was mainly saw limited use at end of World War II and Korea.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Berndt p152
  2. "TM-9-2800-1 Standard Military Motor Vehicles". US War Dept.. 1 Sep 1943. pp. 34–35. Retrieved 31 Dec 2014. 
  3. Zaloga p12
  4. 4.0 4.1 Zaloga p13
  5. Zaloga p21
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Berndt 1993 p. 147.
  7. Zaloga p39
  • Berndt, Thomas (1993). Standard Catalog of Military Vehicles. Iola, WI: Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-223-0
  • Zaloga, Steven J. (2004). M3 Infantry Half-Track 1940–73. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing.

External links

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