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Armor/AFV: Allied - WWII
Armor and ground forces of the Allied forces during World War II.
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Query on M16 Half Track Variant ...
pbennett
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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 08:09 AM UTC
I can't remember where I saw it, but I recently came across a photo of what I believe was a modified M16 Half Track with quad-mount .50 cals. The vehicle had its tracks/running gear replaced by standard road wheels, presumably fitted to the existing rear axles. Does anyone know the designation of this particular vehicle?
Frenchy
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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 08:43 AM UTC
Are you sure it wasn't a BTR-152 fitted with a TCM-20 twin 20mm AA gun (as used by the IDF) ?



H.P.
GulfWarrior
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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 08:47 AM UTC
Nope...the M16 half track was built as a quad 50.
pbennett
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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 10:20 AM UTC
Must have been one of my 'senior moments'! ... or perhaps it was a photo of someone's model of a 'what if' subject.
RobinNilsson
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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 10:40 AM UTC
I also remember seeing something like that. There was at least a drawing of some proposed rebuild to make a hybrid between an M16 and a truck for some special unit in the continental US.
I think it was in some thread about US halftracks and oddball variants. Maybe it was only a drawing ...

There is a wartime image of an M2 or M3, plain personnell carrier, with the rear end replaced by the rear end of a 2.5 ton Deuce truck.


/ Robin
salt6
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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 10:49 AM UTC
I seem to remember seeing some photos of halftracks that were used in DC during the war. They were converted from tracks to two rear axles. Never been able to find the photo again.
Grauwolf
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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 11:36 AM UTC
Some info can be found here:

http://halftrackinfo.com/index.php?topic=483.0

Cheers,
Removed by original poster on 06/13/19 - 05:39:10 (GMT).
Frenchy
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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 05:38 PM UTC

Quoted Text



On a side note, the first vehicle pictured in the thread above is a BTR-152, not a converted US half-track....

H.P.
KurtLaughlin
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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 - 12:18 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I can't remember where I saw it, but I recently came across a photo of what I believe was a modified M16 Half Track with quad-mount .50 cals. The vehicle had its tracks/running gear replaced by standard road wheels, presumably fitted to the existing rear axles. Does anyone know the designation of this particular vehicle?



It would be impossible to mount tires on the existing axles, even with new hubs. Just take a drawing and draw two tire-sized circles on the center of the track wheels. Nothing much larger than the existing track wheels would fit.

On top of that, the rear wheel on each side was an adjustable idler, so the right rear could be further forward than the left rear; and neither axle was designed to carry a vertical load.

KL
KurtLaughlin
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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 - 12:49 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Some info can be found here:

http://halftrackinfo.com/index.php?topic=483.0

Cheers,



Sheesh, that article has about one short paragraph of useful information in over three pages. To wit:

George J. Phillips was stationed at Ft McNair from August 1947 to September 1948. He was in the 712th MP Bn and claims that the unit had four M3 halftracks modified to use two, 2DT axles instead of the tracks. Phillips also claims that the vehicles used a partial MG skate mount instead of the M3's pedestal mount. The rear axles are believed to have come from a 2-1/2 ton truck. No photographs have been found or are known to exist.

The rest is speculation or unrelated background. The author goes into a detailed explanation of how the conversion might have been done, but this ignores a critical design feature: The size of the tires. Halftracks had their front tires sized to match their circumferential speed with that of the tracks. If they didn't, either the wheels or tracks would be perpetually skidding while moving. Because of a shortage of transfer cases with the ideal gear ratio, somewhat odd-sized tires were used on the M2/M3 types. To use tires the transfer case ratio (whether original, from a truck, or altogether new) would need to be calculated to drive the two powered axles at the same circumferential speed. This might involve new tires on the front, new tires on the rear, a new transfer case, some combination, or all three. It might not even be possible without creating a new transfer case gear train. As the article states, this would be too complicated of a conversion for a unit. One must ask why a depot facility would do such a thing and where they would get parts and funding in the cash-strapped late 40's US Army. (This was in CONUS, under the noses of the the top brass, the auditors, and the accountants; in peacetime and not on the front in wartime or on some atoll with a mountain of salvage vehicles and lots of free time available.) There were plenty of excess M8 and M20 armored cars available, and even the de-turreted T17 cars used by other MP units. Why make this conversion?

Seems unlikely . . .

KL
salt6
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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 - 03:04 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Some info can be found here:

http://halftrackinfo.com/index.php?topic=483.0

Cheers,



Sheesh, that article has about one short paragraph of useful information in over three pages. To wit:

George J. Phillips was stationed at Ft McNair from August 1947 to September 1948. He was in the 712th MP Bn and claims that the unit had four M3 halftracks modified to use two, 2DT axles instead of the tracks. Phillips also claims that the vehicles used a partial MG skate mount instead of the M3's pedestal mount. The rear axles are believed to have come from a 2-1/2 ton truck. No photographs have been found or are known to exist.

The rest is speculation or unrelated background. The author goes into a detailed explanation of how the conversion might have been done, but this ignores a critical design feature: The size of the tires. Halftracks had their front tires sized to match their circumferential speed with that of the tracks. If they didn't, either the wheels or tracks would be perpetually skidding while moving. Because of a shortage of transfer cases with the ideal gear ratio, somewhat odd-sized tires were used on the M2/M3 types. To use tires the transfer case ratio (whether original, from a truck, or altogether new) would need to be calculated to drive the two powered axles at the same circumferential speed. This might involve new tires on the front, new tires on the rear, a new transfer case, some combination, or all three. It might not even be possible without creating a new transfer case gear train. As the article states, this would be too complicated of a conversion for a unit. One must ask why a depot facility would do such a thing and where they would get parts and funding in the cash-strapped late 40's US Army. (This was in CONUS, under the noses of the the top brass, the auditors, and the accountants; in peacetime and not on the front in wartime or on some atoll with a mountain of salvage vehicles and lots of free time available.) There were plenty of excess M8 and M20 armored cars available, and even the de-turreted T17 cars used by other MP units. Why make this conversion?

Seems unlikely . . .

KL



I think you over thinking this. The easy answer is to swap the complete drivetrain from a duce to the halftrack. The army was flush with equipment by the end of the war.
165thspc
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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 - 03:29 PM UTC
[/quote]
I think you over thinking this. The easy answer is to swap the complete drivetrain from a duce to the halftrack. The army was flush with equipment by the end of the war.
[/quote]


I fully agree however there is nothing to indicate that the front axle continued to be powered. As to the North African conversion either it was impressed upon the driver to NEVER shift into all wheel drive unless on very soft sand or loose gravel OR the forward driveshaft was removed entirely.

KurtLaughlin
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 01:13 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I think you over thinking this. The easy answer is to swap the complete drivetrain from a duce to the halftrack. The army was flush with equipment by the end of the war.



Sure, "easy", if the spacing between the transmission, transfer cases, and differentials was the same on trucks as on halftracks, both horizontally and vertically. Otherwise you need custom shafts, universals, suspensions, etc. Easy, sure.

And you guys are over-wishing this. You want it to be true, so much so that you are willing to ignore the practical, engineering, economic, and administrative realities of the time in favor of one man's sparse claims 40 plus years after the fact. The article and these last posts are just one "if they did this, they coulda done that" after another. You have to remember the rule for sports talk radio shows: When talking about your favorite team for next season, you get two "ifs". When you say ". . . and if they do this" the third time, they hang up on you because you are just dreaming.

You should be answering other questions first, like WHY would they do this? What mission is the unit performing that would need this to be done? What is a more plausible explanation? Could the guy be mistaking M3A1 scout cars (that were used for security in DC during the war and already had an MG skate rail in place) for modified halftracks?

KL
salt6
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 01:36 AM UTC
You do know it's not hard to make a drive shaft? You do know that the army was testing halftrack trucks prior to the war? You do know that the suspension for the duce and the halftrack was bolt on?

Nothing custom at all.

Just because you don't want it to be true doesn't mean it isn't. Lots of things that were done were not well documented.

165thspc
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 01:46 AM UTC
If the model is any indicator (there's that first if.)

The Half-track frame rail side-to-side spacing was just a little wider than that of the GMC Deuce. In the case of the North African wrecked vehicles the frame rails could possibly have been "telescoped" so the two frames could be joined at the proper distance allowing the use of one or the other of the stock tranny to transfer case driveshafts.


Sorry the telescoping portions of the frames are hidden in this photo under the white patching plates.

As to the DC vehicles apparently there were plans considered for mounting an armored halftrack body to a 6x6 chassis for use as security in the Washington DC area. It is unclear weather these plans were ever put into action.

More on the "Half a Deuce" at the following link. Scroll down and check the pages that follow:

https://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=203281&ord=&page=8


A dedicated thread on the topic can be found at:

http://armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=209849
KurtLaughlin
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 02:51 AM UTC

Quoted Text

You do know it's not hard to make a drive shaft?



If you are an MP unit without a machine shop, I reckon it would be though.


Quoted Text

You do know that the army was testing halftrack trucks prior to the war?



Yes, and the Germans and Russians used them during the war. None of which has any relevance to the question of whether a single MP unit made four conversions in 1947.


Quoted Text

You do know that the suspension for the duce and the halftrack was bolt on?



Yeah, and jeep wheels and halftrack wheels both bolt on too, so it wouldn't be anything but wrench turning to put halftrack wheels on a jeep, would it? Oh, wait . . .

"Nothing custom at all." Have you looked at the actual dimensions and bolt patterns of the equipment of the two vehicles? If you haven't, it may not be wise to opine on the difficulty of the conversion.


Quoted Text

Lots of things that were done were not well documented.



True, but likewise there is NO documentation on things that were just fantasy. Here's there's no documentation. The arguments For are easily challenged and rebutted by options that require more and more effort and less and less likely to be accomplished. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. What we're heading toward here is the ultimate argument of "You can't prove it didn't happen!!" If it comes to that, go ahead and build your model and enjoy the process. That's why like building models. Just remember to put it under sci-fi on the shelf though.

The more common situation in my research experience is that we find the proof or the documentation that something existed but we can't find any explanation of what it was or why it was done.

KL
18Bravo
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 03:17 AM UTC
You know what would be cool? A motorcycle with a P-51 Mustang wheel on it.

Why in the world would you want to do that?

Like I said, it would be cool.

Do you know how impractical that would be? Have you considered the economic factors? Do you even know anything about engineering?

Okay, how about this then - a .50 caliber charging handle assembly as a suicide shifter on a bike?

Again, you really have no clue how things work, do you? You need to take something with linear reciprocating motion and make it work on a lever designed to rotate about an axis? Why don't you just go back to building, or should I say assembling, plastic models?

Hmmm, rear end of a rocket used for an air intake?

You know rocket venturies are designed to expel gasses, not suck them in, right?

Imagine Joe wanted to mate a halftrack with a truck. Why? No one's done it. It would look cool. Or why not, we have two busted vehicles we could turn into one. Hope he didn't listen to his "friends."

One need only read the Pentagon Wars to realize that indeed, the military does wastes a lot of time and money and things that may not have been as practical as originally envisioned.

By the way...



165thspc
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 03:44 AM UTC
GUYS - Enough with the negative waves!

Mechanically many things are possible - and many other things are not.

The challenge is to figure out which things are and which are not possible.


Mike

p.s. Cushman did use Piper L-4 tires for their paratrooper motorbike. Not exactly a P-51 wheel on a hog but similar thinking. The idea increased parts availability and reduced inventory.
salt6
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 06:54 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

You do know it's not hard to make a drive shaft?



If you are an MP unit without a machine shop, I reckon it would be though.


Quoted Text

You do know that the army was testing halftrack trucks prior to the war?



Yes, and the Germans and Russians used them during the war. None of which has any relevance to the question of whether a single MP unit made four conversions in 1947.


Quoted Text

You do know that the suspension for the duce and the halftrack was bolt on?



Yeah, and jeep wheels and halftrack wheels both bolt on too, so it wouldn't be anything but wrench turning to put halftrack wheels on a jeep, would it? Oh, wait . . .

"Nothing custom at all." Have you looked at the actual dimensions and bolt patterns of the equipment of the two vehicles? If you haven't, it may not be wise to opine on the difficulty of the conversion.


Quoted Text

Lots of things that were done were not well documented.



True, but likewise there is NO documentation on things that were just fantasy. Here's there's no documentation. The arguments For are easily challenged and rebutted by options that require more and more effort and less and less likely to be accomplished. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. What we're heading toward here is the ultimate argument of "You can't prove it didn't happen!!" If it comes to that, go ahead and build your model and enjoy the process. That's why like building models. Just remember to put it under sci-fi on the shelf though.

The more common situation in my research experience is that we find the proof or the documentation that something existed but we can't find any explanation of what it was or why it was done.

KL



Where did I say wheels, nope. I said suspension. You know the mount for the axles onto the frame. You do know they were bolted on, not welded or riveted? So, how did you come up with wheels?

I also think you are giving the motor sergeants and motor officers of the day a short shrif. Do you think they would say we canít do this here, so itís a nogo? Would you give up? Lots of assets on post and the local civilian area.

Just because you donít want to believe a first person account doesnít make it false. Oh, by the why there have been conversion done by other countries.
pbennett
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 08:55 AM UTC
Thanks to you all for the clarification. At least I know that I wasn't imagining it. The image I saw was definitely a conversion of the Quad M16. Of course, the rear wheels couldn't have been fitted to the existing axles, but were most likely from the 2.5ton cargo truck.
GregCopplin
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 09:07 AM UTC
Didnít AFV make a gun truck kit that kinda fits this bill. Iím not positive on the suspension though but it would have been a Vietnam era kit.
KurtLaughlin
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 09:26 AM UTC

Quoted Text

You know what would be cool? A motorcycle with a P-51 Mustang wheel on it.

Why in the world would you want to do that?

Like I said, it would be cool.

Do you know how impractical that would be? Have you considered the economic factors? Do you even know anything about engineering?

Okay, how about this then - a .50 caliber charging handle assembly as a suicide shifter on a bike?

Again, you really have no clue how things work, do you? You need to take something with linear reciprocating motion and make it work on a lever designed to rotate about an axis? Why don't you just go back to building, or should I say assembling, plastic models?

Hmmm, rear end of a rocket used for an air intake?

You know rocket venturies are designed to expel gasses, not suck them in, right?

Imagine Joe wanted to mate a halftrack with a truck. Why? No one's done it. It would look cool. Or why not, we have two busted vehicles we could turn into one. Hope he didn't listen to his "friends."

One need only read the Pentagon Wars to realize that indeed, the military does wastes a lot of time and money and things that may not have been as practical as originally envisioned.

By the way...






Well then, that's absolute proof that an MP company converted four halftracks right after the war. End of discussion, I guess. Thanks for posting.



KL
KurtLaughlin
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 09:49 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Where did I say wheels, nope. I said suspension. You know the mount for the axles onto the frame. You do know they were bolted on, not welded or riveted? So, how did you come up with wheels?



To prove the point, as simply as possible, that just because part A bolts onto part B, and part 5 bolts onto part 6, there is no reason to think that part A will fit on part 6. (Not simply enough, I guess . . .)


Quoted Text

I also think you are giving the motor sergeants and motor officers of the day a short shrif. Do you think they would say we canít do this here, so itís a nogo? Would you give up? Lots of assets on post and the local civilian area.



Enough people with enough time and enough money can do nearly anything. The problem is, why would they do it? Given that there was limited time, limited money, and limited people, why would the men who were responsible for those give them up to do this rather than something else?


Quoted Text

Just because you donít want to believe a first person account doesnít make it false.



Let's clearly differentiate between our two viewpoints:

A. I want to stick with reality.
B. I don't care one way or the other if this vehicle existed.

A. You want this vehicle to have existed.
B. You don't care one way or the other about reality.


Quoted Text

Oh, by the why there have been conversion done by other countries.



And what does that have to do with an MP company making four of them in 1946 or 47? The Israelis put a Cummins diesel in an M4A4. Is that proof that a tank company did the same thing in Italy in 1944? Does it mean some handyman in an MP company could easily convert four halftracks? You said this would not be a custom job at all. That's just wrong, and the fact that it is wrong makes the idea that there were four off-the-books conversions completed even less plausible.

Maybe they were made, just like the single eyewitness has described. Until there is some tangible proof that they existed it's just some modeler's or wargamer's fantasy. You want to make a model of it? That's great! Go ahead and enjoy yourself. Just don't kid anybody about what you have.

KL
salt6
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Posted: Sunday, June 16, 2019 - 10:38 AM UTC
Kurt,

Who put a burr under your saddle?

Most of the stuff you are posting is just your opinion and my opinion is that it shows how narrow-minded you are and can't think outside the box.