M3 Half Track


(TM 9-710, February 1944)

M4A1 81mm Mortar Carrier (TM 9-710, February 1944)

The M3 halftrack was used as a command and control vehicle by headquarters staff elements in the 781st, and a modified version served as the basis for the self-propelled 81mm mortars used by the Mortar Platoon in Headquarters Company. Although fast and relatively mobile, the main drawback of the lightly armored half tracks were their open tops, which made them vulnerable to shrapnel pelting downward from artillery, rocket, or mortar projectiles which may have detonated above the vehicle. In the heavily-wooded Vosges Mountains, where the tall trees frequently caused such projectiles to detonate before they hit the ground, this was an especial weakness for the design.

M3 Half Track

Height: 6.75 feet
Width: 7 feet
Length: 20.25 feet
Weight: 10 tons
Combat radius (how far one can go on a tank of gasoline):
  220 miles (road).

  Front: .5 inches
  Sides, rear: .25 inches
Maximum Speed:
  Road: 45 mph :

  1 x .50-caliber MG
  1 x .30-caliber MG

The self-propelled 81mm version was designated the M4A1. Its secondary armament consisted of a single M1919A4 air-cooled .30-caliber MG, but the vehicle otherwise possessed similar performance characteristics.

(All data from Aberdeen Proving Ground Series)