M4 Tractor

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M4 Tractor, High Speed, 18 tons
M4-High-Speed-Tractor-1.jpg
M4 high speed tractor with 90-mm ammo box
Type Artillery tractor
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1943–1960
Used by US Army
Belgian Army
Wars World War II
Production history
Designed 1942
Manufacturer Allis-Chalmers
Produced March 1943 – June 1945
Number built 5,552
Variants Anti-aircraft and howitzer towing variants
Specifications
Weight 31,400 lb (14.2 t)
Length 210 in (5.33 m)
Width 97 in (2.46 m)
Height 99 in (2.51 m)
Crew 1 + 11

Main
armament
M2 Browning machine gun
Engine Waukesha 145GZ OHV I6 gasoline engine
210 hp (156 kW)
Power/weight 14.70 hp/t
Suspension Vertical volute spring
Operational
range
100 mi (160 km)
Speed 35 mph (56 km/h)

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.[citation needed]

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]

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 155mm / 8-inch / 240 mm ammunition with a rear tailgate, and hoist.[citation needed]

History[edit]

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]

Variants[edit]

  • 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.

Civilian 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.[citation needed] At Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands, at least two refurbished M4s were used by the airport fire brigade in the 1960s and '70s.[3]

Surviving vehicles[edit]

An M4 at Batey ha-Osef Museum, Tel Aviv, 2005
  • one M4 in a private collection in Molsheim, France
  • one was restored and shown fully operational at the War And Peace Show in the UK on 21 July 2012
  • one M4 at O'Neill Ne fully operational
  • one M4 in a private collection in Troyes, France. MILITAIRE ASSOCIATION TROYENNE

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
Bibliography

External links[edit]