The U.S. half-track was first used in the Philippines where several initial design problems arose. The suspension was modified for increased reliability, but one of the main criticisms, the lack of overhead armor, was never changed throughout the life of the vehicle since the added weight decreased mobility. After the surrender of Bataan, several half-tracks were utilized in the Japanese army. In North Africa the half-track was improved with heavier road wheel springs and heavier springs for the rear idler. During the battle of the Kasserine Pass, several half-tracks were captured and used by the Germans. At the time of the invasion of Sicily, the half-track had settled into its role as an armored infantry transport vehicle that was able to deliver infantry closer to the battle since they were less vulnerable to rifle fire. The vehicle would hold supplies and infantry field equipment, leaving the infantry unencumbered by heavy field packs. The half-track was highly mobile and could follow tanks quite easily, unlike trucks which were more at home on the road. The half-track was often criticized as too lightly armored, but this could partially be attributed to abuse of the vehicle. Some units used the half-track as an armored assault vehicle which was not its role by design. The M2 and M3 half-tracks, the machine gun/armored personnel carrier versions of the vehicle, were widely used in the European theater. The German SdKfz 251 half-track was similar to the American half-track. The 251 had better armor protection, but the U.S. half-track had superior mobility with more horsepower, a driven front axle and a ditch roll. Half-tracks were also used as gun motor carriers or gun carriages, the most common being the gun motor carriage (tank destroyer), the Howitzer motor carriage, the mortar motor carriage and the multiple gun anti-aircraft motor carriage. The tank destroyer version of the half-track was marginally successful and eventually was replaced by the Sherman chassis based tank destroyers such as the M10. The M16 quadmount version of the half-track proved very successful and became the standard light anti-aircraft armored vehicle. Over 30,000 vehicles were produced during the war.
Dimensions: 6.5 x 2 x 2.26 (h) mt
Weight: 8.45 tons
Armament: 4x 50 M2TTHB machine guns
Propulsion: Gasoline White 160AX, 147 hp
Speed (Max): 72 km/hr
Armor (Max): 12 mm
British CrusaderIII, AA MkIII
The Crusader concept stemmed from the "Fast Tank"concept, designed and produced around 1930 by the American Walter Christie, and could have evolved to generate an all-round fine tank. Instead, Crusader paid the consequenses of ill-defined high command theories and uncertain piecemeal decicions, hastily made by committee, and suffered from unfortunate shortcomings for most of its existence.
Crusader came from a lineage of "Cruiser Tanks" produced to complement the heavier armoured and slow going "Infantry Tanks" Then in service, such as the Matilda. By 1943, the Crusader series of Cruiser tanks was being phased-out of the combat role, and a new source of chassis became available. With the larger capacity of the Crusaders, larger weapons could be mounted, and the British were quick to seize the opportunity. Experiments were made with the excellent 40mm Bofors AA gun and with a triple 20mm Oerlikon mount. Originally, the 40mm field mount simply replaced the turret on the Crusader III tank. This became the Crusader III,AA, Mark I; and later modifications included a lightly armoured turret, surrounding the gun. The triple 20mm version was never mass-produced: however, a new mark, with a fully enclosed turret, soon appeared. The Crusader III, AA, Mark II, as this variant was called, carried a twin 20mm mount, similar to the weapons used for anti-aircraft defense on naval vessels. An additional modification to the new turret resulted in a third Mark of the Crusader II, AA; however the changes were primarily internal, and principally involved moving the radio from the turret to the hull.
Dimensions: 6.31 x 2.27 x 2.24 (h) mt
Weight: 20.085 tons
Armament: 2x 20mm AA guns, 1x 7.92 Besa MG
Propulsion: Gasoline Nuffield Liberty Mark III, 340 hp
Speed (Max): 43 km/hr
Armor (Max): 51 mm
French Laffly S20, with model 39 AA
Dimensions: 5.5 x 2.1 x 2.5 (h) mt
Armament: 1x 20mm mod.39 AA gun
Propulsion: Hotchkiss 680
Speed (Max): 65 km/hr
Armor (Max): n/a
Russian ZSU 37
In early 1942, the design team at Zavod in Kirow began its development of a self-propelled gun based upon the T-60 chassis, specified as OSU-76 (Opytnaya Samokhodnaya Ustanovka). The OSU-76 was armed with a 76.2mm ZiS-3 gun mounted on the rear of a modified T-60 light tank. Inadequate size of the chassis resulted in the T-60 chassis being replaced with a T-70 chassis and a new project. In the spring of 1942, the Grabin team at Zavod #92 in Gorki designed the SU-12. This was practically an enlarged chassis with a 76.2mm ZiS-3 gun in an open-top superstructure at the rear. After completed trials in the summer of 1942, the GKO accepted it for production, known as the SU-76 light mechanized gun. The new vehicle was intended to provide fire support for rifle and tank units, and eventually to act as a tank destroyer. A total of 26 SU-76 were built during 1942. Engine system proved to be very unreliable on early vehicles and in the spring of 1943 design responsibility shifted to Astrov's Bureau and later a modified vehicle appeard, known as SU-76M. In 1944, very few SU-76M were refitted with a single 37mm anti-aircraft gun and was specified as ZSU-37-1. A twin-barelled version with two 37mm guns was specified as ZSU-37-2. 70 ZSU was built in 1944, and when production ceased in 1948 some 340 vehicles had been built.
Dimensions: 5.25 x 2.745 x 2.28 (h) mt
Weight: 11.5 tons
Armament: 1 x 37 mm model 1939 AA gun
Propulsion: 2 x carburetor GAZ-203, 70 hp each
Speed (Max): 45 km/hr
Armor (Max): 35 mm
German Flakpanzer IV Wirblewind
Wirbelwind and Ostwind were successors to the Flakpanzer IV Mobelwagen (armed with 37mm Flak 43 L/89) - "interim solution" produced before the introduction of real Flakpanzer. In July of 1944, prototype of Ostwind (Eastwind) - an air defense armored vehicle build on Panzer IV's proven chassis was produced. Its design was very similar to that of Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind (Whirlwind) which prototype was build in May of 1944 and was to become the first true Flakpanzer. Both vehicles were build on retired or battle damaged Panzer IV (mainly Ausf F/G) chassis/components returned from the front for major repairs. The concept of Wirbelwind was that of Karl Wilhelm Krause, an officer of 12th SS Panzer Division "Hitler Jugend", who in summer of 1944, proposed to mount four barrelled 20mm Flak 38 L/112.5 gun on PzKpfw IV's chassis. Wirbelwind and Ostwind were fitted with very similar (especially designed) open-top (Wirbelwind's turret had 9 side panels and Ostwind's had 6 side panels) turrets mounted in the place of standard turrets. Ostwind's turret was nicknamed Keksdose - cookie tin. Main difference was that Wirbelwind was armed with quadruple 20mm Flak 38 L/112.5 guns while Ostwind was armed with single 37mm Flak 43 L/89 gun (both could be used against ground targets as well).
Dimensions: 5.92 x 2.90 x 2.76 (h) mt
Weight: 22 tons
Armament: 4 x 20mm Flak 38 L/112.5 MG, 1 x 7.92mm MG34 MG
Propulsion: Gasoline Maybach HL 120 TR 112, 272 hp
Speed (Max): 38 km/hr
Armor (Max): 80 mm
Italian Autocannone SPA Dovunque 35 da 90/53
Of all the anti-aircraft guns in service with Italy from 1941-1943, none was better than the Cannone da 90/53. It was an excellent weapon that could stand comparison with any of its contemporaries and it was a good, sound and modern design. The Cannone da 90/53 was built and designed by Ansaldo and the first examples were produced in 1939, with production being authorized in three main versions. The most numerous version was supposed to be the modello 41P intended for static emplacement only with 1,087 guns of this version being ordered. A further 660 guns were ordered as the towed modello 41C, while another order was for a further 57 guns to be mounted on a variety of heavy trucks and called the autocannoni da 90/53. A later order requested yet another 30 barrels for mounting on self-propelled tracked vehicles. The Italians used the 90/53 as a multi-purpose weapon on occasion, but some were emplaced as dual-purpose anti- aircraft/coast defense weapons. At times they were used as long-range field guns and the performance of the gun was such that it could match the 88 as an anti-armor weapon. Numbers of the gun were also diverted to the Italian Navy. The Germans valued the 90/53 so highly that following the Italian surrender in July 1943, they impressed as many of the 90/53s as they could find and sent many of them back to Germany for defense of the Reich as the 9-cm Flak 41(i), although the official designation was the 9-cm Flak 309/l(i). By December 1944, 315 such guns are mentioned in German records, though many were emplaced in Northern Italy. The Allies too captured many 90/53s in their march north and used them for the coast defense role with British coastal batteries around the main Italian captured ports.
Dimensions: 4.3 x 2.9 x 2.76 (h) mt
Weight: 7.4 tons
Armament: 1x 90mm AA/AT gun
Propulsion: Gasoline SPA 18D, 57 hp
Speed (Max): 45 km/hr
Armor (Max): N/A
Japanese Type 98 SPAAG
The Type 98 20mm AAG "Ho-Ki" is a well-known Japanese AAG. During the process of Ho-Ki's development and improvement, the Japanese Army produced some SPAAG types experimentally. The single AAG type had the codename "Ta-Se", which means "Taikuu (Anti-Air) Sensha (Tank)". Development of Ta-Se was based on the failure of Ki-To, so Ta-Se had circumferential protected turret. A trial product of Ta-Se was completed in November 1941, but adoption was canceled again, because the hit ratio of Ta-Se's AAG was inferior. Development of twin AAG type began in 1941, and was canceled in 1943. Completion would be planned in March 1944.
Dimensions: 4.78 x 2.19 x 2.58 (h) mt
Weight: 22 tons
Armament: 2x Type 2 20mm AA guns
Speed (Max): 42 km/hr
Armor (Max): 25 mm
Edited by Mig Eater, 09 April 2005 - 02:15 PM.