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 Churchill Crocodile
The Churchill Crocodile was a Mark V11 which was converted to a flame thrower. The flame gun had a range of 100 metres and was mounted in the place of the hull machine gun. The trailer carried 1520 liters of fuel which was pressurised to force it from the trailer to the flame gun
Dimensions: 7.32 x 3.42 x 2.7 (h) mt
Weight: 40 tons
Armament: 1x 75mm cannon, 1x fixed flamethrower
Propulsion: Gasoline Bedford, 350hp
Speed (max.): 20 km/hr
Armor (max.): 152 mm
Russian Klementi Vorishilov Kv-8
The flamethrower tanks were intended for assaulting heavy entrenchments because of their great psychological effect. In November 1941, in Chelyabinsk, work on the KV-8 tank began. Under the Soviet pre-war tank theories, all flamethrower tanks were counted as a part of the Soviet Tank Army. During this time, versions of the T-26 light tank (OT-26, OT-130 and OT-133) were used as flamethrower tanks. However they were too weak and too light. The experience of the Winter War showed that flame tanks became the first targets for any anti-tank defense. That's why more powerful and better protected tanks were needed. So, Soviet tank designers decided to re-equipT-34-76 and KV-1 tanks with flamethrowers. The new ATO-41 flamethrower was mounted in the hull of the T-34 (in place of the bow TMG) and in the turret of the KV-1 (in place of the coaxial TMG). Unfortunately, the KV's turret hadn't enough room to mount both the ATO-41 and the 76.2 mm gun, so this gun was replaced with a 45 mm gun mod. 1932. The thin barrel of this gun was camouflaged with a special gun jacket to simulate the common 76.2 mm gun. The KV-8 had 92 rounds for the 45 mm gun and 107 shots for flamethrower with a total of 960 litres of gas mixture. In addition the tank had a bow DT TMG and a DT in the rear of the turret. Also, some tanks were equipped with a DT AAMG. Total ammunition for the machine-guns was 3400 rounds. The ATO-41 could fire up to three times in every 10 seconds. Each shot took about 10 litres of gas mixture. The range of the flamethrower depended on the type of gas mixture:
- 65 litres with 60% mazut and 40% kerosene;
- 100 litres with kerosene-oil mixture.
The production of the KV-8 tank began in 1942. The main advantage of the KV-8 over the OT-34 was the capacity of gas mixture. The KV-8 and the OT-34 were organized in separate battalions of flamethrower tanks (The Chemical Tank Battalions).
Dimensions: 6.75 x 3.27 x 2.85 (h) mt
Weight: 45 tons
Armament: 1x 45mm model 42 cannon, 1x ATO-42 Kerosene flamethrower
Propulsion: Diesel W-2-K, 600 hp
Speed (max.): 35 km/hr
Armor (max.): 110 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 Carro Veloce L.3/35Lf
Designed by Ansaldo but based upon earlier Carro Veloce 29. Although commonly referred to as a tank, this vehicle falls more properly within the classification of a tankette. The Italian authorities showed an interest in a small, light vehicle which would be suitable for use in mountainous terrain, leading to the acquisition of 25 British Carden Loyd Mark VI tankettes in 1929. A Fiat-Ansaldo modification of the Mark VI, armed with a Fiat Model 14 water-cooled 6.5 mm machine gun was designated as the carro i,elo(-e (CV) 29. The armament was subsequently changed to a single Fiat Model 14 air-cooled anti-aircraft machine gun, still 6.5 mm. Subsequent modifications resulted in the CV 3/33, still armed with a single 6.5 mm air-cooled weapon. Apart from its distinctive armament, this first series of CV 3/33 had a characteristic track tension idler mounted in a bracket which was attached to the rear idler wheel. In 1934, the second series of CV 3/33 appeared, with the track tension idler separated from the rear idler, and with two 8 mm machine guns as standard armament. The earlier series of CV 3/33 were eventually retrofitted with the heavier armament also. Development continued, and in 1935 the CV 3/35 appeared, incorporating minor design and production changes, and retaining the 8 mm armament. A final version, of which only a limited number was produced, was introduced in 1938. It differed significantly in its suspension system, and was armed with a single Breda 13.2 mm machine gun. External stowage of entrenching tools, etc, varied from series to series. The designation of both the CV 3/33 and 3/35 was changed to L.3 in the late 1930s. Variations of the L.3 were built for special applications. The most frequently encountered variant was the flamethrower, which was built in a version with a self-contained tank for flame liquid, and also in a version in which a wheeled tank trailer carrying the liquid was towed behind the CV.
Dimensions: 3.78 x 1.83 x 1.183 (h) mt
Weight: 6.8 tons
Armament: 1x flamethrower
Propulsion: Gasoline Ansaldo, 68 hp
Speed (max.): 41.6 km/hr
Armor (max.): 40 mm
Japanese Type 94 Gas scattering Vehicle
The primary role of the Type 94 was to carry supplies in the battlefield area but it was often used in the reconnaissance role for which it was totally unsuited as its armor could be penetrated by ordinary rifle bullets. In 1936, each Japanese Infantry Division had a Tankette Company that had 6 Type 94s, for use in reconnaissance role. It was often used to tow a tracked ammunition trailer in a fashion similar to the British and French tankettes of this period. The Type 97 replaced the Type 92 in service. There was also a chemical/biological trailer constructed for this tank. Model 94 Tankette had a codename, "TK", which means "Tokushu (Special) Ken-in sha (Tractor)". The TK's true purpose was to pull the supply/toxic gas/bleaching powder (to counteract toxins) trailer.
Dimensions: 3.09 x 1.59 x 1.62 (h) mt
Weight: 3 tons
Armament: 1x 6.5mm, MG 1x Mustard gas scatter
Propulsion: Gasoline engine, 32 hp
Speed (max.): 40 km/hr
Armor (max.): 14 mm
Edited by Mig Eater, 09 April 2005 - 02:02 PM.