WWII British M5 half-tracks (Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge entry #13)

20 Mar

To complete my ever expanding British forces, here are some more rides for my poor bloody infantry. This time something heavier than those Universal Carriers, namely some M5 half-tracks. Now the M5 was created when the usual manufacturers like Autocar, Diamond T and White could not keep up with the demand. Additional models were produced by the International Harvester Company. But since they had different machinery from the others, changes had to be made to the design. Most of all a different type of steel was used for the armor, which made the vehicle heavier and made the armour was slightly less effective against small AP rounds but reduced the chances of shrapnel. This lead to the use of different axles and a strengthened hull. But the only outward difference between the M5 and M3 models were that the rear corners were rounded, while the mudguards had right angeles ends. Anyway, the US government saw these features as shortcomings and as a result the M5 became an export (lend-ease) version. Which is why I picked it for my Brits.

M5 Halftracks (group shot - front)

M5 Halftracks (group shot – front)

The halftrack model itself is by Warlord (I thought they were now OOP, but last weekend I saw one in their online store again). I had initially thought about using Corgi models for my Brits like I did with my Americans, but decided against it on the grounds, that I wanted M5 for them. Plus the good people at Warlord gave me its dimensions before ordering and I found that it was the same size. Well that is until the models arrived and I found that it actually was smaller. I decided not to care since chances of US and British infantry operating side by side on the tabletop are about the same as finding a snowball in hell. When I finally cleaned the models up this Christmas I regretted that decision, since I spend more than two hours on each of them just cleaning them up.
M5 Halftrack (group shot - rear)

M5 Halftrack (group shot – rear)

Now looking at the markings, you will find, that these are not for 3rd (British) Infantry Division like all my infantry and carriers, but for the Guards Armoured Division. Now I had a bit of a problem finding out if 3rd Infantry Division actually had these or not. What I found seemed to indicate their use as ambulances or for HQ´s but I remained constantly unsure if they were used as a troop carrier. On the other hand, they were used as such with the Armoured Divisions so this seemed like a natural choice. Why the Guards? Well as you know I am modeling my infantry on the South Lancs from 3rd Infantry Division. Now on D-Day and in Normandy they were supported by the 27th Armoured Brigade. Unfortunately the 27th were disbanded late summer 1944 and distributed to other units so I would not get much milage from them. And they were using a lot of  DD Shermans, but no Fireflys so they would not have fit my needs anyway. So I chose the Irish Guards for my tank formations. In that sense, I painted the halftracks to fit.
M5 Halftrack (front)

M5 Halftrack (front)

Now the passengers are by Victory Force Miniatures. I only bought enough for one carrier, since these were designed to it into a Corgi halftrack and I wanted to make sure they would fit this on first. Since they do fit like a charm, I will have to get myself two more sets of passengers from them in due time, as well as drivers and a passenger for the gunners position.
M5 Halftrack (passenger compartment)

M5 Halftrack (passenger compartment)

While we are talking about the gunners position. The M5 was supplied to the British with a full complement of .50cal and .30cal machine guns. Most British formations chose to remove these and did not use them. I chose to do the same here, so these are unarmed.

10 responses to “WWII British M5 half-tracks (Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge entry #13)

  1. Ray

    March 20, 2014 at 23:31

    Nice painting!

  2. Phil

    March 22, 2014 at 10:26

    Excellent work!

  3. Monty

    March 22, 2014 at 20:39

    Great work, I really like the weathering and wear. I know you posted up a formula so I’m going to go back and find it, now that I’ve got the WW II bug!

    Thanks for the backstory too, I’m curious why the Brits pulled the .50 cal and .30 cal? Maybe just the issue of supply. I’d sure want them if I was driving near the front. 😉

    • Burkhard

      March 24, 2014 at 09:29

      Thanks Monty!

      I guess when I get around to the scout cars, I might do a step by step anyway, but until then, the formula can be found in the universal carrier post!

      As far as I know most units did without the .50cal since it did not fit the normal British inventory and therefore ammo was hard to get on the supply chain. I think this is also the reason why you often see British Shermans without the AA .50cals.

      I know the Guards Armoured Division was a notable exception in that many of their halftracks and tanks retained the .50cal, but I always liked this more basic appearance of the British halftracks and tanks and therefore went for it.

      Not sure why they omitted the .30cals as well. Since these used the same ammo as the box and co-ax MG´s´on the Sherman, their ammo sure was no extreme pain to find on the supply chain. But then again you often see American halftracks without these side and rear mounted MG´s as well (the most I have seen them way on Russian lend lease). But I guess this might have to do with the fact that the western allies used halftracks. While the Germans fought off the halftracks often dismounting them in the thick of battle, the western allies rather used them as a transport and dismounted them, before they got under fire. As such they probably felt they did not need this much all round firepower.

      • monty

        March 27, 2014 at 17:36

        Fascinating, thanks for sharing Burkhard. That makes sense.

        • Burkhard

          March 27, 2014 at 22:23

          You are welcome! Glad if I could be some help!

  4. Michael

    March 24, 2014 at 15:18

    Terrific work, B. The overall painting is spot on and I love the way you do the understated weathering – very effective.

    • Burkhard

      March 25, 2014 at 07:41

      Thank you Micheal. Thze funny thing is, that during all the steps I always feel they are going to come out crap and once they are finished, I simply love the results, too. I only fear, that i will have to go back to some of my German and American tanks so they can match up!


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: