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M9 half-track

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M9 half-track
Several men and women riding a preserved M9 Half-track with a U.S. Army re-enactor.
Preserved M9A1 half-track
TypeHalf-track armored personnel carrier
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In service1943–present
WarsWorld War II
Arab-Israeli War of 1948
Korean War
Suez Crisis
Vietnam War
Six-Day War
Yom Kippur War
Lebanese Civil War
Production history
DesignerInternational Harvester
ManufacturerInternational Harvester
No. built3,500
Specifications ([2])
Weight9.3 short tons (8.4 t)
Length20 ft 7 in (6.28 m)
wheelbase 135.5 in (3.44 m)
Width7 ft 3 in (2.22 m)
Height7 ft 5 in (2.26 m)
Passengers10 troops

Armor8–16 mm (0.31–0.63 in)[1]
1 × 0.50 inch (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine gun
2 × 0.30 inch (7.62 mm) M1919 Browning machine guns
EngineIHC RED-450-B
141 hp (105 kW)
Suspensionwheels at front
single bogie vertical volute spring tracks at rear
Fuel capacity60 US gal (230 l)
Speed42 mph (68 km/h)

The M9 half-track was a half-track produced by International Harvester in the United States during World War II for lend-lease supply to the Allies. It was designed to provide a similar vehicle to the M2 half-track car. 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 significant amount of time. Three thousand five-hundred 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. It had been used by eleven different countries by the end of its service.


The United States adopted half-tracks in large numbers as they could be built more quickly and cheaply by civilian vehicle producers than vehicles from the established armored vehicle manufacturers. 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 faster and better-armed M8 Greyhound armored cars were available.[3]

In order to supply U.S. allies, much more production was required than was possible through the firms producing the M2 (and the larger M3 half-track). International Harvester (IH) 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 and M9 as equivalents for the M3 and M2 respectively.[4]


The M9 used the same chassis and mechanical components as the M5. It was laid out to provide similar stowage, access to the radios from the inside, rear doors, and a pedestal machine gun mount as with the M2.[5] The M9A1 variant of the M9 matched the improvements made to the M2, M3, and M5, changing to ring mount machine gun mount and three pintle machine gun mounts.[4][6]

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.[4]

Service history[edit]

The M9 started production in August 1942, at IH.[7][8] The M9 and M9A1 were manufactured en masse and 2,026 were produced in total.[9] According to American military historian and defense specialist Steven Zaloga, 2,026 M9s and 1,407 M9A1s were produced in 1943.[10]

The M9 was used in World War II, the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, the Korean War, the Suez Crisis, and many other conflicts. The production of M9s was leased to other countries, like most other IH half-tracks produced in World War II. This M9A1 was leased to both the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom, with the latter providing it to other countries in the British Commonwealth.[4][11]


The M9 was used by many countries but not the United States, as there was sufficient M2 and M3 production for U.S. needs.[6] The UK leased some half-tracks to Free France and other governments-in-exile. The Soviet Union received them directly.[12] Following World War II, the second-hand market was a source of supply for some countries, including Israel.[13] M9 half-tracks were provided by the U.S. under the Military Aid Program[12] to the following countries (except the People's Republic of China, which operated captured ones from the Republic of China during the Chinese Civil War and received more from the Soviet Union afterwards):

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rottman (2009), p. 30.
  2. ^ Ness, p. 201.
  3. ^ Zaloga (1994) p. 4.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Zaloga (1994), p. 12.
  5. ^ Berndt (1993) p. 147.
  6. ^ a b Hunnicutt (2010), p. 46.
  7. ^ Green (2014), p. 280.
  8. ^ Foss, p. 421.
  9. ^ Berndt (1994) pp. 28–30
  10. ^ Zaloga (1994), p. 42.
  11. ^ Ness (2002), p. 192.
  12. ^ a b Green & Green (2000) p. 147.
  13. ^ Zaloga (1994), pp. 22–23.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i Zaloga (1994), pp. 21–22


  • Berndt, Thomas (1993). Standard Catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles. Iola, WI: Krause Publishing. ISBN 0-87341-223-0
  • Berndt, Thomas (1994). American Tanks of World War II. Minnesota, MN: MBI Publishing Company. ISBN 0-87938-930-3
  • Foss, Christopher F. (1987). Jane's Armour and Artillery 1987–1988 (Eighth ed.). London: Jane's Yearbooks. ISBN 0-7106-0849-7.
  • Green, Michael (2014). American Tanks & AFVs of World War II. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-78200-931-0
  • Green, Michael; Green, Gladys (2000) Weapons of Patton's Armies. Minnesota, MM: MBI Publishing Company. ISBN 0-7603-0821-7
  • Hunnicutt, R. P. (2010). Half-Track: A History of American Semi-Tracked Vehicles. Navato, CA: Presidio Press. ISBN 0-89141-742-7
  • Ness, Leland L. (2002). Jane's World War II Tanks and Fighting Vehicles. London, UK and New York City, NY: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-711228-9
  • Rottman, Gordon (2009). World War II US Armored Infantry Tactics. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-78096-083-2.
  • Zaloga, Steven J. (1994). M3 Infantry Half-Track 1940–1973. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-467-9

External links[edit]