Forces of Valor 81014 US M3A1 Half-Track - 5th Armored Division, Normandy, 1944 (1:32 Scale)
"In war there is no second prize for the runner-up."
- General Omar Bradley
The best known American half-tracks were the M series made as a standardized design by Autocar, Diamond T, International and White. The M series had a similar front end to the White M3A1 Scout Car but used more powerful engines: a 147bhp 6.3-liter White AX in the Autocar, Diamond T, and White, and a 143bhp 1HC in the International. Each version had four-speed gearboxes with two-speed transfer boxes and drive to the front axle as well as the tracked bogie. The M series half-tracks were widely used by US forces in most theatres of the war, and were also supplied under the Lend-Lease Program to Great Britain, Canada and the Soviet Union. A total of 41,170 were made.
This particular 1:32 scale replica of a US M3A1 half-track was attached to the US Army's 5th Armored Division.
Length: 8 inches
Width: 2.8 inches
Height: 3.25 inches
Release Date: October 2005
Original Issue Price: $34.99
Historical Account: "Hard Fighting" - The 5th Armored Division plunged into combat in August 1944, when it was charged with seizing Le Mans in France. The unit swept between Coutances and St Lo, then across the Selune River thus starting the organization's 300 mile exploitation behind the German Seventh Army. Le Mans fell and the 5th pursued the enemy, wrecking their armor and inflicting heavy casualties all the way to the Seine River. The Euro-Seine Campaign, waged toward the end of August, was the culmination of a successful strike to the south bank of the Seine.
When September opened, the 5th began a 130-mile push from Paris north to Belgium. The Division cut through the Compiegne Forest, crossed the Olse and Aisne Rivers, and then the Somme. New orders sent the unit racing another 100 miles to the Meuse River, advancing southeast below the Belgium border. Speeding onward, the 5th figured in the freeing of Luxembourg. On September 11th, the Our River was crossed in the vicinity of Stalzembourg, and Germany had been entered. In November, the 5th Armd Division, along with the 90th Inf Division, participated in the original crossing of the Moselle River. Retarded by the terrain, weather and thousands of mines, the tankers and infantrymen fought a slow, hacking foot-by-foot engagement through the Huertgen Forest. They lived in mud, rain and ice and were constantly exposed to tremendous artillery fire. Fighting hard in December during the 'Bulge' period, the 5th greeted 1945 by continuing to advance through Germany and by crushing enemy armor within XV Corps objectives. At Coblenz, the unit smashed and then mopped up all enemy resistance. By Spring 1945, the Division had rolled to the Wesser River and in May, driving north of Brunswick, it reached the Elbe, fanning out in the vicinity of Tangermuonde, 50 miles northeast of Magdeburg. In crossing the Elbe the 5th became the nearest US unit to Berlin just prior to V-E Day.