M9 Half-track

The M9 Half-track was a half-track produced by International Harvester in the United States in World War II for Lend-lease supply to Allies. It was designed to supersede the M2 Half Track Car which was mostly outclassed by 1942. It had the same body and chassis as the M5 Half-track (also built by International Harvester for Lend-lease) but had the same stowage and radio fit as the M2 Half Track.

The M9 served for a long time, and is still in service with Paraguay today. 3,500 were produced by the end of World War II. It was used during World War II, the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, the Korean War, the Suez Crisis, the Vietnam War, the Six-Day War, and the Yom Kippur War.

M9 Half-track
Class Vehicle
Type Armoured Fighting Vehicle
Manufacturer International Harvester
Production Period 1942 - 1944
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 1942
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
United States of America 1943 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
International Harvester 1942 1944 3500 View

The US adopted half-tracks in large number as they could be built quickly by civilian vehicle producers and more cheaply. The M2 Half Track Car had first been intended as an artillery tractor but was also used for carrying the machine gun squads of armored infantry regiments and for reconnaissance units until better vehicles were available. In order to supply America's allies, much more production was required than was possible through the firms producing the M2 (and the larger M3). International Harvester could produce half-tracks but some differences had to be accepted due to different manufacturing methods and components. This led to IH producing for Lend-Lease the M5 Half-track as a M3 equivalent and the M9 as the M2 equivalent.

The M9 used the same chassis and mechanical components as the M5 but laid out to provide similar stowage, access to the radios from the inside, rear doors, and a pedestal machine gun mount as the M2. The M9A1 matched the improvements made to the M2/M3 and M5, changing to ring mount machine gun mount and three pintle machine gun mounts.

As with the M5, due to the lack of face-hardened armor, homogenous armor was used. Although thicker, it gave less protection and could be penetrated by armor piercing rifle bullets from 300 yards (270 m) rather than 200 yards (180 m). The armor also made the vehicle heavier though the "performance was essentially similar".

The M9 served in World War II, the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, the Korean War, the Suez Crisis, and many other conflicts. All of the production half-tracks were leased to other countries, like most other International Harvester half-tracks produced in World War II. This time it was leased to both the Soviet Union and the British Commonwealth, the latter providing it to other countries.

Type Half-track armored personnel carrier
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1943–present
Wars World War II
Arab-Israeli War of 1948
Korean War
Suez Crisis
Vietnam War
Six-Day War
Yom Kippur War
Production history
Designer International Harvester
Designed 1940–41
Manufacturer International Harvester
Produced 1942–44
Number built 3500
Weight 9.3 short tons (8.4 t)
Length 20 ft 7 in (6.28 m)
wheelbase 135.5 in (3.44 m)
Width 7 ft 3 in (2.22 m)
Height 7 ft 5 in (2.26 m)
Crew 3
Passengers 10 troops
Armor 8–16 mm (0.31–0.63 in)
1 × 0.50 inch (12.7 mm) M2 Browningmachine gun
2 × 0.30 inch (7.62 mm) M1919 Browning machine guns
Engine IHC RED-450-B
141 hp (105 kW)
Suspension wheels at front
single bogie vertical volute spring tracks at rear
Fuel capacity 60 US gal (230 l)
Speed 42 mph (68 km/h)

End notes