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Allied (US/UK) Usage of Halftracks in the attack

Discussion in 'Weapons & Technology in WWII' started by Wolfy, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    German usage of SPW (250/251) carriers is well documented. On the Eastern Front, they were very boldly used and heavily armed.

    What about allied use in the attack?
     
  2. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    The half track used by the allies, primarily the M3 which was used by all forces, was very versatile. It was used a lot as a personnel carrier and weapons carrier. It was very effective with the .50 cal mounted for protection. It was also one of the best field anti-aircraft weapons with the quad .50 mounted. With a mounted howitzer or mortar, it could follow troops and provide artillery support. Generally, the uses depended on the forces, objective, terrain, and what they had.
     
  3. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    thanks. there are plenty of German/British/etc. accounts about panzer and SPW action (releasing, then supporting the armored infantry with 75mm/20mm/8mm/mortars, etc.) .
    But I don't see too much about US/British Halftrack support in combat.
     
  4. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Here is a pretty good link which covers the half-tracks of the US/UK from the earliest M2 on. It does have production numbers and stuff as well, and with the numbers made it would appear they were used extensively by the allies.

    United States' Half Tracks - World War II Vehicles

    Some were only "prototypes" and not produced in numbers or deployed, but the concept of a half-track vehicle was accepted and utilized extensively. At least it would appear so to me at least.
     
  5. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Member

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    did micky witman not shoot some up in villers-bocage?.cheers.
     
  6. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    That is a surprise to me, considering that on the PzDiv's TOE are 2 infantry battalions, and in the first one (one!) company is to be fitted with Sch├╝tzerpanzerwagens, while the US Armored Division contained 3 infantry battalions, all mechanized on half/tracks.

    Funny you didn't notice them, that's 9 companies against 1.
     
  7. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    In the early war stage (1941 and onward), the German Panzer divisions had only one company of SPW mounted elite infantry. By 1944, it was upped to one battalion of SPW infantry with some favored Heer Panzer Divisions receiving 2-4 battalions. They were used rather boldly in the attack on all fronts and were the most firepower dense German infantry formation.

    I believe Panzer Lehr (only in Normandy) and GroBdeuschland Panzer Division were the only German formations with fully SPW (4 battalion) equipped Panzergrenadier Regiments.

    All US Armored Divisions had fully mechanized Halftrack infantry but their total infantry contingent was generally smaller.
     
  8. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    An increase in SPWs in TOEs and in practice? Do you honestly believe that? You already know what I am going to ask next, don't you?
     
  9. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    You want to search out descriptions of the armored infantry companys in combat. Preferablly firsthand accounts. The many summarys or secondhand descriptions I've read dont seem to have usefull detail, or were written by fairly sloppy historians. One usefull description I found was from the US 4th Armored Div attacking into the Ardennes as part of the Bastonge relief effort. In the case of each attack the infantry dismounted in the nearest coverd position they could get to and completed the assualt on foot. I am guessing if those veterans of five months were attacking dismounted they must have had a reason.
     
  10. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    I'm pretty sure it's accurate. SPW production reached its peak in 1944 even though motorization of the German army decreased as the years went on. The Panzer Divisions involved in the Normandy battles had 200-400 SPW 250/251 carriers each.
     
  11. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    I'm curious about US halftrack deployment behavior. The only accounts I've read had them dismounting first in a safe area and staying behind.
     

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