Sd.Kfz. 10 Halftrack

Shown below are Bundesarchiv photographs of the German Sd.Kfz. 10 halftrack. (Sd.Kfz. = Sonderkraftfahrzeug or special-purpose motorized vehicle.) The Sd.Kfz. 10 was used extensively by the German military throughout WWII as a light tractor and prime mover with over 14,000 produced. The Sd.Kfz. 10 chassis also formed the basis for the Sd.Kfz. 250 light armored personnel carrier.

Sd.Kfz. 10 Halftrack Tows 37-mm Pak 36 Antitank Gun

An Sd.Kfz. 10 halftrack tows a 3.7cm Pak 36 in Russia in October 1941. Both the tractor and antitank gun have a crude white winter camouflage, and several of the crew wear improvised camouflage over their uniforms. (Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-268-0176-14 / Böhmer / CC-BY-SA)

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Japanese Type 98 Halftrack

The following U.S. intelligence report on the Japanese Type 98 halftrack personnel carrier and prime mover was published in Enemy on Luzon: An Intelligence Summary:

A Japanese combination personnel carrier and prime mover was recovered near Manila, Luzon.

The vehicle was without armor or armament of any kind. It had a folding canvas top and four wide seats providing seating capacity for approximately 16 persons. Storage compartments for equipment and luggage were provided under the seats. The vehicle was equipped with a large winch and towing pintle in the rear.

Japanese Type 98 Halftrack WW2

Halftrack Personnel Carrier and Prime Mover

The engine, a 6-cylinder, in-line, water-cooled diesel type, was connected to a four-speed forward, one-speed reverse, spur-gear transmission. The chassis layout was similar to the German standard half-track, while the suspension and steering followed the Opel truck half-track conversion. The front transverse leaf spring, independent wheel suspension was an original and effective feature. The vehicle was 18 feet 3 inches long, 6 feet 4 inches wide, 7 feet 10 inches high, had a ground clearance of 13 inches, 110 horsepower, and weighed approximately 6 tons.

Performance tests indicated a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour, an estimated radius of action of 125 miles, and proved that the vehicle could manipulate a trench 3 feet wide, a vertical wall 18 inches high, a 50% slope, and a stream 3 feet deep. Ample power and cross-country mobility were provided to allow it to fulfill the functions of a prime mover and personnel carrier.

 

Japanese Type 1 Ho-Ki Armored Personnel Carrier

The Japanese produced a limited number of the innovative Type 1 Ho-Ki, fully-tracked armored personnel carriers. The Ho-Ki APC was developed in 1941, but full-scale production did not start until 1944. A limited number of Ho-Ki were deployed with Japanese reinforcements to the Philippines in 1944, and several Ho-Ki were captured by the U.S. on Leyte and Luzon.

From Enemy on Luzon: An Intelligence Summary:

Although not encountered before our return to the Philippines, several of these vehicles were captured there by U.S. forces. One was recovered on Leyte, and at least four were found on Luzon.

Japanese Type 1 Ho-Ki APC Armored Personnel Carrier

Full Track Personnel Carrier

The vehicle was full tracked, armored, and powered by a six cylinder air-cooled Diesel engine. The bogie wheels and suspension were similar to those of the Type 95 Light Tank, but the track was both longer and wider than that of the tank. This carrier, 15 feet 9 inches long overall and 6 feet 8 inches wide, was protected with ¼-inch armor on all sides and rear, but was open at the top except for the driver’s compartment. There were doors at the rear and one on each side to permit personnel to leave the carrier rapidly. The driver’s compartment was on the left front of the body and was equipped with metal vision slits for driving under fire. The vehicle had four speeds forward in addition to high and low range transfer case and was equipped with a spring-mounted towing pintle.

Being much lighter than the Type 95 Light Tank, employing an engine of similar power, and having roughly the same track contact, the vehicle gave excellent cross-country performance. The addition of the transfer case increased the range and power as compared with a light tank. U.S. combat troops found these vehicles to be highly satisfactory artillery prime movers.

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