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.
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.
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.
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.
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.