M5 Tractor

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M5 High-Speed Tractor
WW2 artillery tractor, Fort Lewis.jpg
M5 tractor in Fort Lewis Museum
TypeArtillery tractor
Place of origin United States
Service history
Used byUS Army
Belgian Army
Japan Self-Defense Forces
Austrian Armed Forces
Yugoslav People's Army
Lebanese Army
Pakistan Army
WarsWorld War II
Korean War
Lebanese Civil War
Production history
ManufacturerInternational Harvester
Mass13.791 t
Length5.03 m (16 ft 6 in)
Width2.54 m (8 ft 4 in)
Height2.69 m (8 ft 10 in)
Crew1 + 10

1 x M2 Browning machine gun
EngineContinental R6572 six-cylinder petrol engine
235 hp (175 kW) at 2,900 rpm
Power/weight15.0 hp/t
125 mi (201 km)
Speed35 mph (56 km/h)

The M5 13 ton High-Speed Tractor was a World War II era artillery tractor that was used by the US Army from 1942 to tow field and medium artillery.


The M5 High-Speed Tractor was a fully tracked artillery tractor designed to tow artillery pieces that weighed up to 16,000 pounds (7,300 kg). It could tow the gun and carry the gun's ammunition, the crew and their equipment.[1]

The M5 was developed from the prototype T13 High-Speed Tractor, it shared the latter's Continental R6572 in-line six-cylinder petrol engine which developed 235 horsepower (175 kW) at 2,900 rpm and, like the T13 before it, derived its tracks and its vertical volute spring suspension from the Stuart tank. The M5 had a maximum road speed of 35 miles per hour (56 km/h) with a range of 125 miles (201 km).[1][2]

To assist in the movement and placement of its gun, the M5 High-Speed Tractor was equipped with a front mounted engine-driven winch that had a maximum pull of 17,000 pounds (7,700 kg) and was fitted with roller below the winch that permitted pulling of loads behind the tractor.[1][2]


The design of the M5 High-Speed Tractor was standardized in October 1942, with production being undertaken by International Harvester, the design was to evolve into five marks. The M5 was accepted into US Army service as the standard gun tractor used to tow the 105 mm Howitzer M2, the 4.5 inch Gun M1 and the 155 mm Howitzer M1. Standard ammunition stowage was:[1][2][3]

  • 105 mm Howitzer M2 – 56 rounds
  • 4.5 inch Gun M1 – 38 rounds
  • 155 mm Howitzer M1 – 24 rounds

M5 High-Speed Tractor[edit]

Production of the original M5 High-Speed Tractor began in May 1943, running for 24 months with a total of 5,290 tractors produced. They had a simple folding top with side curtains for the protection of the gun crew from the elements, the driver was located in the front centre and there were inwards facing seats for total crew of 9. After 1944 the vehicles were fitted with the M49C ring mount that allowed it to be armed with an M2 Browning machine gun for local and air defence.[1][2][3]

M5A1 High-Speed Tractor[edit]

Introduced in May 1945, the M5A1 High-Speed Tractor introduced a new steel cab with the driver moving to the front left and forwards facing seats for the crew for a total crew of 11. A total of 589 M5A1s were produced before production ceased in August 1945.[2][3]

M5A2 High-Speed Tractor & M5A3 High-Speed Tractor[edit]

Introduced after WWII, the M5A2 High-Speed Tractor and M5A3 High-Speed Tractor were updated M5s and M5A1s with a horizontal volute spring suspension system instead of the original vertical volute spring suspension and a new tracks that were 21 inches (53 cm) wide compared to the older tracks that were 11.625 inches (295.3 mm) 11 5/8 inches wide.[2][3]

M5A4 High-Speed Tractor[edit]

The M5A4 High-Speed Tractor reorganised the ammunition stowage boxes along the sides of the vehicle for easier access.[3]


World War II[edit]

The M5 High-Speed Tractor entered service with the US Army in 1943 and was the field and medium artillery prime mover in 1944-45. In 1944, 200 M5s were provided to an appreciative Soviet Union for use by the Red Army who quickly rushed it into service.[4][5]


The US Army continued to use the M5 during the Korean War, retiring them shortly afterwards. Post-war surplus M5s were supplied to Austria, Belgium, Japan, Lebanon, Pakistan and Yugoslavia.[4]

A number of M5 Tractors were used in British Columbia, Canada, as carriers for rock drills. The Chapman "Drilmobile", manufactured by Chapman Motor & Machine Shop of Delta, British Columbia was designed specifically for logging road construction.[4]

Surviving examples[edit]

Surviving examples of the M5 High-Speed Tractors of various marks can be seen at:[4]

Technical manuals[edit]

See also[edit]

M5 tractor in Korea.


  1. ^ a b c d e Ian V. Hogg, The American arsenal: the World War II official standard ordnance catalogue of small arms, tanks, armoured cars, artillery, anti-aircraft guns, ammunition, grenades, mines, et cetera, Frontline Books, Barnsley, ISBN 978-1-84832-726-9.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Russian tanks of World War II, "High speed tractors (continued)", russian-tanks.com, retrieved 30 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e Doyle, David, Standard catalogue of U.S. military vehicles, Krause Publications, Iola, 2014, ISBN 0-87349-508-X.
  4. ^ a b c d Ray Merriam, World War 2 in review: American fighting vehicles no. 1, Merriam Press, Bennington, 2017, ISBN 9781365876097.
  5. ^ Steven Zaloga, Armoured victory 1945: U.S. tank combat in the European theatre from the Battle of the Bulge to Germany’s surrender, Stackpole Books, Machanicsburg, 2012, ISBN 978-0-8117-0771-8.

External links[edit]