Holt tractor

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HOLT (before 1925)
The Holt 120 tractor, circa 1914
A Holt 75 hauling a replica 8-inch howitzer

The Holt tractors were a range of continuous track haulers built by the Holt Manufacturing Company, which was named after Benjamin Holt.

Between 1908 and 1913, twenty-seven of the first 100 Holt caterpillar track-type tractors were used on the Los Angeles Aqueduct project, which provided a good proving ground for these machines.[1]

Military Use[edit]

They were most famously used by the British, French, and American armies in World War I for hauling heavy artillery; including the BL 9.2-inch howitzer and the BL 8-inch howitzer.[2] Around 2000 Holt 75s along with 698 Holt 120s and 63 Holt 60s saw military use during the war.[2]

Ironically the early designs of the WW1 French Renault FT and German A7V tanks were both based on Holt tractors.

US Army operating FTs on the Western Front, 1918
Panzerwagen A7V
A Holt tractor hauling a 9.2-inch howitzer to a forward area in The Battle of the Somme July–November 1916


There were at least three models used for military purposes: the Holt 75, the Holt 120 and to a lesser extent the Holt 60. The Holt 75 was first produced in 1913.[2] It used two tracks for steering. It had a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour (24 km/h) and had a gasoline engine.[3] In addition to US production 442 Holt 75s were built in Britain by Ruston & Hornsby in Lincoln.[2] Production of the Holt 75 was to continue post war until 1924.[2]

The 120 horsepower (89 kW) model had a tiller-type steering wheel at the front that was usually covered. It weighed about 18,000 pounds (8,200 kg).[4] It was developed in direct response to a request for a heavy artillery tractor.[2] The prototype was produced in 1914 with production beginning in 1915.[2]

The Holt 60 which saw limited use in the war was introduced in 1911.[2]


  • Holt Tractors Photo Archive: An Album of Steam and Early Gas Tractors, ISBN 978-1-882256-10-5
8-inch howitzer Mk V being towed by a Holt tractor at the Battle of the Somme, 1916


  1. ^ "Caterpillar company history".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Orlemann, Eric C.; Haddock, Keith (2001). Classic Caterpillar Crawlers. MotorBooks International. pp. 20–22. ISBN 0760309175.
  3. ^ "Vehicles of the A.E.F. During WWI".
  4. ^ "British 'Tanks' of American Type; Officer of Holt Manufacturing Co. Says England Bought 1,000 Tractors Here". The New York Times. 1916-09-16. p. 1.

External links[edit]

Media related to Holt tractors at Wikimedia Commons