M4 Tractor

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M4 High-Speed Tractor
M4 high speed tractor with 90-mm ammo box
Type Artillery tractor
Place of origin  United States
Service history
Used by US Army & Belgian army
Wars World War II
Production history
Designed 1942
Manufacturer Allis-Chalmers
Variants Anti-aircraft and howitzer towing variants
Weight 14.288 t
Length 5.232 m (17 ft 2 in)
Width 2.464 m (8 ft 1 in)
Height 2.515 m (8 ft 2 in)
Crew 1 + 11

Armor none
M2 Browning machine gun
Engine Waukesha 145GZ six-cylinder inline petrol engine
210 hp (156 kW)
Power/weight 14.70 hp/t
Suspension Vertical volute spring
290 km (180 mi)
Speed 53 km/h (33 mph)

The M4 High-Speed Tractor was an artillery tractor used by the US Army from 1943.[1]

Design and development[edit]

The M4 was based on the chassis and drive train of the obsolescent M2 Light Tank which introduced the trailing[2] idler. This common practice of re-using old vehicles simplified design, allowed for easy production, and made maintenance in the field easier.

One variant was designed to tow anti-aircraft guns and another for howitzers.[1] The rear compartment carried the gun crew and other equipment and some later variants included a crane to assist with heavier projectiles.[1]


155mm Long Tom in tow behind an M4 High Speed Tractor.

The M4 was manufactured by Allis-Chalmers of Milwaukee, starting in 1942 and was in U.S. military service until approximately 1960.[1] Under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program, the M4 was supplied to Greece, The Netherlands, Japan, Brazil, Yugoslavia and Pakistan after World War II ended.[1] In the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 the Pakistani Army used the M-4 Tractor to haul M115 Howitzers to the battlefield of Chamb and then to the Lahore front.[citation needed]


  • M4, base model
  • M4C, The "C" designation indicates spare ammunition racks configured in the crew compartment.
  • M4A1, The "A1" modification designates the wider suspension used for the "duck bill" tracks mirroring the E9 modification on Sherman tanks. these were used post war as a prime mover for the M23 ammunition trailer in M40 Gun Motor Carriage sections.
  • two types of ammunition boxes were used on all models. a 90-MM box with side "tailgates" to access 90-MM shells pigeon-holed in the sides, and a combination box for 155-MM / 8 inch Gun M1 / 240-MM with a rear tailgate, and hoist.

Post-War Use[edit]

After the war many types of these tractors were stripped of their military components and used for log skidders, and power line construction. Many were used as carriers for rock drills, used in logging road construction in British Columbia. The first prototype was designed in the early 1960s by G.M. Philpott Ltd. of Vancouver, BC, and Scott-Douglas Industries, who supplied the M4 Carrier. It was used by MacMillan, Bloedel,and Powell River Company at their Juskatla, BC logging operation. Many improvements were made and when Finning Tractor later bought G.M. Philpott, the machine became the Finning Tank Drill. At least 500 were built, many of which are still in service. The original Finning Tank Drill was replaced by the M32F and M40F Tank Drills which used larger Sherman tank carriers.

Surviving Vehicles[edit]

at Batey ha-Osef Museum, Tel Aviv 2005

One restored and was shown fully operational at War And Peace show in the UK 21 July 2012

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Trewhitt, Philip (1999). Armoured Fighting Vehicles. p 307: Dempsey-Parr. ISBN 1-84084-328-4. 
  2. ^ American AFVs of World War II, Ed. by Duncan Crow, Doubleday, 1972, pp. 2-5
  3. ^ http://www.heartlandmuseum.com/
  • "US Army M-4 High Speed Tractor". olive-drab.com. Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  • TM 9-2800 Military vehicles
  • TM 9-785 18-Ton High Speed Tractors M4, M4A1, M4C, M4A1C
  • SNL G150
  • the Field Artillery Journal, September 1945[6] references the M4A1 as ammunition hauller for M40 Gun sections.

External links[edit]