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U.S. Half-Tracks Part 2

U.S. Half-Tracks Part 2 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2016 Title U.S. Half-Tracks Part 2
Author David Doyle Publisher Ampersand Publishing
Published 2016 ISBN 978-0-9861127-4-4
Format 444 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $49.95

First Look

Author David Doyle has released in-depth study of another much-overlooked group of U.S. military vehicles - half-tracks. Several years ago, the author published a 500+ page study on the GMC CCKW truck family which had morphed into a wide variety of support vehicles in all theaters of war during WWII and beyond. That title led to a second volume that used the GMC chassis to render another Army classic, the DUKW. This time around, the focus is on the US Army's half-tracks based upon the M2 and M3 standard vehicles (covered in Part 1 of this two-part set).

In Part 2 of U.S. Half-Tracks, the author looks at the wide variety of adaptations of these vehicles into GMC - not General Motors Corporation, but Gun Motor Carriage. As the Germans had created a wide variety of gun platforms from their family of half-tracks, so did the US Army with its vehicles. The advantage of vehicle mounted guns allowed for the weapons to be moved relatively quickly to anyplace on the battlefield, quickly be ready to fire, and move on to the next position without the time needed to set up and tear down towed weapons. Half-tracks were even more mobile as they could move across muddy and rough terrain that would bog down wheeled vehicles. There were a wide variety of weapons mounted to these half-tracks including mortars, howitzers, field guns, anti-aircraft guns, machine guns, and quad-machine gun mounts.

The author acknowledges the extensive work by Richard Hunnicutt Half-Track title and its perspective from the Army's point of view. This title comes at the subject from the manufacturer's point of view as well as from operations in the field and details the production and detail differences with each of the major variants of these gun platforms. Coverage includes:

  • 81mm Mortar Carriers
  • Gun Motor Carriages
  • Howitzer Motor Carriages
  • Multiple Gun Motor Carriages
  • Field Modifications
  • Field Use 1940-45
  • Field Use Post WWII
  • Three-Quarter Tracks

The title is extensively illustrated with period photographs of these vehicles from a variety of sources including training, testing, advertising, and in-theater combat images which really provide a nice contrast from the 'clean' factory-fresh vehicles to the war-weary examples at work.

Whether you are a military historian, scale modeler, or both, you'll want to have both parts of this title on your shelf. I've finally learned to grab Soviet/Russian aircraft titles from author Yefim Gordon and vehicle references from David Doyle. That practice has not let me down yet...

My sincere thanks to Ampersand Group for this review sample!