Holt tractor

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HOLT (before 1925)
The Holt 120 tractor, circa 1914
A Holt 75 hauling a replica 8-inch howitzer

The Holt tractors were a range of continuous track haulers built by the Holt Manufacturing Company, which was named after Benjamin Holt.
Between 1908 and 1913, twenty-seven of the first 100 Holt caterpillar track-type tractors were used on the Los Angeles Aqueduct project, which provided a good proving ground for these machines.[1]

Military Use[edit]

They were most famously used by the British, French and American armies in World War I for hauling heavy artillery: including BL 9.2-inch howitzers and the BL 8-inch howitzer.[2] Around 2000 Holt 75s along with 698 Holt 120s and 63 Holt 60s saw military use during the war.[2]

Ironically both the Early designs of WW1 French Renault FT and German tanks A7V were based on Holt tractors.

US Army operating FTs on the Western Front, 1918
Panzerwagen A7V

A Holt tractor hauling a 9.2-inch howitzer to a forward area in The Battle of the Somme July–November 1916


There were at least three models used for military purposes: the Holt 75, the Holt 120 and to a lesser extent the Holt 60. The Holt 75 was first produced in 1913.[2] It used two tracks for steering. It had a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour (24 km/h) and had a gasoline engine.[3] In addition to US production 442 Holt 75s were built in Britain by Ruston & Hornsby in Lincoln.[2] Production of the Holt 75 was to continue post war until 1924.[2]

The 120 horsepower (89 kW) model had a tiller-type steering wheel at the front that was usually covered. It weighed about 18,000 pounds (8,200 kg).[4] It was developed in direct response to a request for a heavy artillery tractor.[2] The prototype was produced in 1914 with production beginning in 1915.[2]

The Holt 60 which saw limited use in the war was introduced in 1911.[2]


  • Holt Tractors Photo Archive: An Album of Steam and Early Gas Tractors, ISBN 978-1-882256-10-5
8-inch howitzer Mk V being towed by a Holt tractor at the Battle of the Somme, 1916


  1. ^ "Caterpillar company history".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Orlemann, Eric C.; Haddock, Keith (2001). Classic Caterpillar Crawlers. MotorBooks International. pp. 20–22. ISBN 0760309175.
  3. ^ "Vehicles of the A.E.F. During WWI".
  4. ^ "British 'Tanks' of American Type; Officer of Holt Manufacturing Co. Says England Bought 1,000 Tractors Here". The New York Times. 1916-09-16. p. 1.

External links[edit]

Media related to Holt tractors at Wikimedia Commons