Friday, March 20, 2015

Scout Cars and Halftracks

Even when the hull was not full of radios and other gear the scout car was cramped; it was officially supposed to seat six men in the rear, but this was always optimistic. Maximum road speed was 55mph. This M3A1's bumper markings identify 2nd Armored Division, 82nd Reconnaissance Battalion, Company A, car 1. The only armor thicker than a quarter-inch (6.35mm) on all these vehicles was the half-inch (12.7mm) steel used for the sliding plates inside the door shields, and the armored windshield which could be lowered over the glass, or propped up as here. The movable armored slats over the radiator were not a successful solution to the conflicting needs for cooling and protection, and vehicles were often disabled when their radiators were pierced by gunfire or shell splinters.

 Interior details of the M3A1 cab, with its simple instru- ments and uncomfortable seats. Note (above) how the skid rail for the machine guns curves up inside the cab area, with a padded canvas cushion strapped on above the door to prevent the driver brain- ing himself. Despite its drawbacks, nearly 21,000 MSAls were built in 1939-44, and it was used by the British, Canadian and Russian armies as well as the US. In the counter-insurgency role it soldiered on in French Algeria into the early 1960s.

Inside the great tanks

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