The Info List - Artillery Tractor

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An artillery tractor, also referred to as a gun tractor, is a specialized heavy-duty form of tractor unit used to tow artillery pieces of varying weights and calibres. It may be wheeled, tracked, or half-tracked.


1 Traction 2 History

2.1 World War I 2.2 World War II 2.3 Modern warfare

3 List of artillery tractors

3.1 Wheeled 3.2 Half-tracked 3.3 Tracked, tank chassis 3.4 Tracked, other chassis

4 See also 5 References

5.1 Notes 5.2 Bibliography

6 Further reading 7 External links

Traction[edit] There are two main types of artillery tractors, depending on the type of traction: wheeled and tracked.

Wheeled tractors are usually variations of lorries adapted for military service. Tracked tractors run on continuous track; in some cases are built on a modified tank chassis with the superstructure replaced with a compartment for the gun crew or ammunition.

In addition, half-track tractors were used in the interwar period and in World War II, especially by the Wehrmacht. This type of tractor was mostly discontinued in the postwar. History[edit] World War I[edit] The first artillery tractors were designed prior to the outbreak of World War I, often based on agricultural machines such as the Holt tractor. Such vehicles allowed the tactical use of heavier guns to supplement the light horse drawn field guns. "Horseless artillery" available prior to World War I
World War I
weighed 8 tons, had 70 horsepower and could go 8 mph.[1] For example, in the British Army it allowed the heavy guns of the Royal Garrison Artillery
to be used flexibly on the battlefield. World War II[edit]

German RSO towing 105 mm howitzer, Albania, 1943

In World War II
World War II
the draft horse was still the most common source of motive power in many armies.[citation needed] Most nations were economically and industrially unable to fully motorise their forces. One compromise was to produce general purpose vehicles which could be used in the troop transport, logistics and prime mover roles, with heavy artillery tractors to move the heaviest guns. The British Army had fully mechanized prior to war. The Royal Artillery
persisted with specialist artillery tractors – known as "Field Artillery
Tractors" (FAT) – such as the Morris "Quad", Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) "Quad" and AEC Matador
AEC Matador
throughout World War II, rather than adopt a general purpose vehicle. Artillery tractors were different from "General Service" (GS) vehicles by having a compartment for the gun detachment immediately behind the cab and separated from the cargo space containing ammunition and gun stores. German forces used half-tracks as artillery tractors, such as the Sd.Kfz. 7. Half-tracked tractors were not commonly used in this role in other nations. Compared to wheeled vehicles they had better off-road capabilities, but were slower on roads and were more prone to breakdowns. However, for Germany horses remained the most common way of towing artillery throughout the war.[citation needed] Modern warfare[edit] In modern warfare, towed artillery has given way in part to self-propelled artillery, it is also common to find auxiliary power units built into the gun carriage to provide limited battlefield mobility. Traditional towed artillery can still be found in units where complexity and weight are liabilities: e.g. airmobile, amphibious and other light units. In such units, where organic transport is usually limited, any available transport can double as artillery tractors in order to reposition guns when needed. For example, engineer vehicles of a different primary purpose such as the U.S. Marines' Light Capacity Rough Terrain Forklift
(LCRTF), a versatile telehandler forklift capable of towing gear from either end. List of artillery tractors[edit] The following is a non-comprehensive list of artillery tractors, classified by its traction system and era. Wheeled[edit]

artillery tractor in the journal Horseless Age, 1918

AEC Matador
AEC Matador
towing a 3.7 inch gun, Caen, 1944

pre- and First World War

"steamer" – UK, Second Boer War Thornycroft
Gun Tractor – UK, World War I Latil
– France, World War I

Interwar and Second World War

Hathi – UK, 1924; early 4x4 Krupp Protze
Krupp Protze
– Germany, 1933; towed the 3.7 cm PaK Scammell Pioneer
Scammell Pioneer
– British, 1937; lorry used for heavy artillery Morris C8
Morris C8
– UK, 1938; the "Quad" British tractor; towed the 25-pdr gun, 6-pdr AT gun, and 40-mm Bofors AA gun Karrier
KT4 – UK; for the British Indian Army AEC Matador
AEC Matador
– UK, World War II; lorry used for pulling medium artillery such as the 5.5 inch gun and 3.7 inch AA Gun Laffly V15T – France, World War II; towed 25 mm AT guns Laffly S15T – France, World War II; towed the French 75 and short 105 mm field guns Mack NO
Mack NO
– USA, World War II; 6x6
truck used to tow the 155mm “Long Tom” field gun and similar medium artillery pieces Dodge WC4 & WC22 – USA, World War II; 4x4 truck designed to tow the M3 anti-tank cannon, its crew and ammunition White Scout Car – USA, 1941; 4x4 utility armored car CMP FAT
– Canada, World War II Radschlepper Ost
Radschlepper Ost
– Germany, 1942


Bedford 4x4 Gun Tractor – UK, introduced in the late 1950s to tow the 25-pdr Leyland Martian (FV1103) – UK, Medium Artillery
Tractor, 10-ton, 6x6; replaced the Matador in the late 1950s. Pinzgauer High Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle
Pinzgauer High Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle
– UK, 1971 Land Rover 101 Forward Control
Land Rover 101 Forward Control
– UK, 1972 Coyote 6x6
TSV – UK, 2009[citation needed][2][3]


SdKfz 10
SdKfz 10
towing 5cm AT gun, Russia, 1942

Unic P107
– France, 1934; towed the French 75 and short 105 mm field guns SOMUA MCG
– France; towed the French long 105 and short 155 mm field guns SdKfz 7
SdKfz 7
– Germany, 1938; 8-ton half track often towed the Flak 36 88 mm Sd.Kfz. 9
Sd.Kfz. 9
– Germany, 1938; used for heavy towed guns such as the 24 cm Kanone 3 SdKfz 10
SdKfz 10
– Germany, 1938; also basis for the SdKfz 250
SdKfz 250
armored light half-track Sd.Kfz. 11
Sd.Kfz. 11
– Germany, 1938; 3-ton tractor for medium towed guns, including the 3.7 cm FlaK 43 anti-aircraft gun and the 10.5 cm leFH 18 field howitzer M2 Half Track Car
M2 Half Track Car
– USA, 1940 M3 Half-track
– USA, 1940

Tracked, tank chassis[edit]

Voroshilovets artillery tractor, Soviet Union

Dragon, Medium Mark IV – British army, 1928; developed from the Vickers 6-Ton
Vickers 6-Ton
mark E. T-24

Komintern Voroshilovets

M2 light tank
M2 light tank

M4 High Speed Tractor – USA, 1943

M3 Stuart
M3 Stuart

M5 High Speed Tractor – USA, 1942

M3 Lee
M3 Lee

M33 Prime Mover – converted by removing turret and recovery gear from M31 TRV. 109 converted in 1943-44.

M4 Sherman
M4 Sherman

M34 Prime Mover – converted by removing recovery gear from M32B1 TRV (M4A1 Sherman tank chassis built as an Armoured recovery vehicle) and adding air brakes to tow heavy artillery. 24 converted by Chester Tank Depot in 1944. M35 Prime Mover – converted by removing turret from M10A1 tank destroyer (M4A3 Sherman tank chassis) and adding air brakes to tow 155 mm and 240 mm artillery. Sherman Gun Tower – British field conversion in Italy by removing turrets from old M4A2 Sherman tanks to tow 17 pdr AT gun and carry crew with ammunition Wolverine Gun Tower – British M10 (M4A2 chassis) or M10A1 (M4A3 chassis) converted by removing turret, 1944–45

Crusader II, Gun Tractor Mk I – British army, variant of the Crusader tank M41 Walker Bulldog
M41 Walker Bulldog

M8 High Speed Tractor – USA, 1950

Tracked, other chassis[edit]

A Holt tractor
Holt tractor
used by the French Army in the Vosges, Spring 1915.

An American M6 Tractor, on display

pre- and First World War

Hornsby tractor – British Army, 1910 Holt Tractor Best

Interwar and Second World War

Renault UE Chenillette
Renault UE Chenillette
– France, 1932 C7P
– Poland, 1934 STZ-5
– Soviet Union Universal Carrier
Universal Carrier
– British, 1936; "Bren Gun Carrier", armored utility tractor Lloyd carrier
Lloyd carrier
– UK, 1940 M6 High Speed Tractor – USA, 1944 Raupenschlepper, Ost
Raupenschlepper, Ost
(RSO) – Nazi Germany, 1942


Snow Trac
Snow Trac
– 1957, UK Royal Marines Light WOMBAT gun carrier AT-L
– Soviet Union ATS-59
– Soviet Union AT-S – Soviet Union AT-T
– Soviet Union MT-LBT – Soviet Union, mid-1970s, variant of the MT-LB
armoured personnel carrier. Hitachi Type 73 – Japan, 1974

See also[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Artillery

Self-propelled artillery Ballast tractor G-numbers

References[edit] Notes[edit]

^ "Horseless Artillery". The Independent. Jul 13, 1914. Retrieved August 14, 2012.  ^ Ministry of Defence (22 April 2009). "200 new armoured vehicles for front line operations". Archived from the original on 13 May 2009.  ^ "Coyote / Jackal 2 Tactical Support Vehicles, United Kingdom". army-technology.com. 2009. [unreliable source?]


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Further reading[edit]

TM 9-2800 military vehicles

External links[edit]

Olive-Drab website, US A