Modern halftracks?

cluttonfred

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Does anyone know of any modern (say, since the 1980s) application of the halftrack configuration to combat vehicles? I don't mean upgrades of WWII-era designs, I mean new designs on paper, in prototype form or in production.

With the resurgence in wheeled combat vehicles since the 1980s or so, and the criticisms sometimes leveled at them in Iraq and elsewhere, I wonder if anyone is considering halftracks?

Thanks and regards,

Matthew
 

Rickshaw

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In the late 70s, early 80s, a British company called "Centaur" developed a series of modern half-track vehicles. Soft-skinned, they combined the body of a Landrover 4x4 vehicle with elements from the running gear of the CVR(T) Scorpion light tank. They were in .5 to 1.5 ton class of soft-skin vehicles. They advertised heavily in the defence journals of the day and it appeared to be an excellent idea. They offered superior mobility without much increased cost. As far as I know, they were never adopted by any army.
 
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CostasTT

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Modern armored halftracks:

The Chilean BMS-1 Alacrán. Note that the rear suspension is identical to that of the wartime US halftracks.



And the Iranian halftrack mentioned in another thread.



And the Centaur already mentioned:

 

cluttonfred

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Those are cool, but that's it? Why no more? Why were haftracks so popular in the WWII period and relatively unused?
 

Apophenia

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CostasTT said:
So, this Iranian halftrack was identical to the Alacrán APC with the new rear suspension? Did Cardoen sell the whole project to Iran? Was it licenced?

http://jedsite.info/halftrack/alpha/alacran_series/alacran/alacran-intro.html
 

Rickshaw

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Mole said:
Those are cool, but that's it? Why no more? Why were haftracks so popular in the WWII period and relatively unused?

They were cheap and relatively easily constructed. Their utility though, as APCs was limited, tending to be both open-topped and of limited mobility compared to full-tracked vehicles. Which was why full-tracked APCs were adopted after WWII.
 

lastdingo

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Mole said:
Those are cool, but that's it? Why no more? Why were haftracks so popular in the WWII period and relatively unused?


The gearboxes were simpler, cheaper and driving an half-track was easier than driving a fully tracked vehicle (especially at high speed).
That and the similarity to truck design was the reason for their prominence in the 20's to 40's. The invention actually took place before the First World War iirc.

The gearbox issue was solved at the time of WW2 and post-war vehicles became fully tracked ones, with accordingly more compact dimensions (less armour weight) and an ability to pivot.


The Iveco Trakker hovertruck and Mattrack-equipped light trucks are modern half-tracks.


btw:


Uploaded with ImageShack.us
 

robunos

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Re-posted the above picture, rotated as
a forum attachment.
I believe it to be a Crossley Armoured Car,
Indian Pattern, of the immediate pre-WWII
period.
Also, along the same lines, an FV 601,
(Saladin prototype), with a half-track,
from the early 1950s, source AFV Profile
No. 52, 'Saladin Armoured Car'.


cheers,
Robin.
 

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robunos

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Apologies, working from imperfect memory again... :'(

Dug out my ancient and decrepit copy of B.T.White's
'British Tanks and Fighting Vehicles 12914-1945'
and on page 126 found this :-

Crossley six-wheeled chassis of different models formed
the basis of several types of armoured cars supplied to the RAF
as well as the British Army and other countries in the 1930s.
One of the earliest of these was a large vehicle built by
Vickers-Armstrongs on the Crossley 30-70hp medium chassis
with 4 cylinder engine. This vehicle had a hull, with dome-shaped
turret, similar to the Indian Pattern armoured cars of the same
period.

The six-wheel chassis had dual tyres at the rear, and could be
fitted with tracks to improve performance in bad going.

(my bold)


cheers,
Robin.
 

Petrus

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robunos said:
(Saladin prototype), with a half-track,
from the early 1950s, source AFV Profile
No. 52, 'Saladin Armoured Car'.

The AFV Profile booklet on the Saladin has actually had Number 27. No. 52 is about the M47 Patton tank.
Everything else seems quite correct.

Best regards,
Piotr
 

ultrasabre

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rickshaw said:
In the late 70s, early 80s, a British company called "Centaur" developed a series of modern half-track vehicles. Soft-skinned, they combined the body of a Landrover 4x4 vehicle with elements from the running gear of the CVR(T) Scorpion light tank. They were in .5 to 1.5 ton class of soft-skin vehicles. They advertised heavily in the defence journals of the day and it appeared to be an excellent idea. They offered superior mobility without much increased cost. As far as I know, they were never adopted by any army.

I believe one of the issues was that the tracks had no return rollers, so when travelling at speed the top of the track flapped up and down at high speed , banging against the body work. The noise this made was unacceptably high (ear damageingly high!)
 

robunos

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The AFV Profile booklet on the Saladin has actually had Number 27. No. 52 is about the M47 Patton tank.

DOH!! :-X


cheers,
Robin.
 

lastdingo

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rickshaw said:
Mole said:
Those are cool, but that's it? Why no more? Why were haftracks so popular in the WWII period and relatively unused?

They were cheap and relatively easily constructed. Their utility though, as APCs was limited, tending to be both open-topped and of limited mobility compared to full-tracked vehicles. Which was why full-tracked APCs were adopted after WWII.

The German armoured half-tracks halved the losses of the infantry in the armour divisions.
The remaining losses were still incredibly high; being transferred to such a unit was practically a death sentence with your death before you could even dream of the next vacation.
 

Silencer1

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Hi!

Half-trucks were great :cool:
Here is the Soviet experimental APC with combined track-wheel gear "Object 19"

More pictures here
http://otvaga.narod.ru/Otvaga/armour-rus-obj/a_019.htm
 

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Grey Havoc

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ultrasabre said:
rickshaw said:
In the late 70s, early 80s, a British company called "Centaur" developed a series of modern half-track vehicles. Soft-skinned, they combined the body of a Landrover 4x4 vehicle with elements from the running gear of the CVR(T) Scorpion light tank. They were in .5 to 1.5 ton class of soft-skin vehicles. They advertised heavily in the defence journals of the day and it appeared to be an excellent idea. They offered superior mobility without much increased cost. As far as I know, they were never adopted by any army.

I believe one of the issues was that the tracks had no return rollers, so when travelling at speed the top of the track flapped up and down at high speed , banging against the body work. The noise this made was unacceptably high (ear damageingly high!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfW4l3SxCg0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeB1Y0oYkik


Not mentioned in the videos is that one prototype was fitted with an Asp-30 30mm cannon during trials.
 

Kat Tsun

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http://www.military-today.com/apc/alacran.htm

Not counting the US Army's weird infatuation with all things flying, wheeled, and deathly:

“When we first looked at a way of approaching the requirement we modeled and simulated about 10 different configurations – everything from putting band track over the wheels to half-track-like vehicles, to full track width, to changing the tire sizes,”

http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/general-dynamics-land-systems-debuts-tracked-stryker-concept/

Somewhere, someplace, sometime, there was a request for information from the US Army submitted online. They were looking for band tracks that could "slip over" the Stryker's rear wheels and improve its cross-country mobility by making a very silly vehicle which ended up being worded as implying they wanted to fit the tracks over the tires themselves. Not a bad idea (for the US Army), but it seems to have vanished off the Internet many moons ago.
 

TomS

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A company called GS Engineering got some work developing the concept under an SBIR award. They demoed it on a medium truck chassis.

http://www.gsengineering.com/content/success-story-bandtrack-over-tires
 

jsport

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TomS said:
A company called GS Engineering got some work developing the concept under an SBIR award. They demoed it on a medium truck chassis.

http://www.gsengineering.com/content/success-story-bandtrack-over-tires
yes, hope someone works out all the issues ie these become ease on, off useable affordable etc. for stryker hemtt FTT etc.
 

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cluttonfred said:
Why no more? Why were haftracks so popular in the WWII period and relatively unused?


My dear cluttonfred, I read your question some time ago, and knew I'd seen a written response to you question somewhere, and happy to say I think I might have found you some sort of answer - well at least from the WWII German perspective!

"....in cost terms, weight for weight the halftrack was and still is, more expensive than the tank.
The high degree of technology required to make a halftrack reliable is such that each example was an engineering achievement purchased at high cost in time and facilities. If onlya small sector of that effort had been diverted to other weapons or equipment things might have been different for the German armed forces"


(Source: Chris Bishop, 1998. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of WWII: The Comprehensive Guide to over 1,500 Weapons Systems, Including Tanks, Small Arms, Warplanes, Artillery, Ships, and Submarines)



Regards
Pioneer
 

cluttonfred

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That's an interesting point of view, thanks for sharing the quote, but I wonder about the logic behind it. I have always understood half-tracks to be less complex than tanks both mechanically and in terms of driver training.
 

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Cluttonfred, that paragraph referred to German halftracks. The German halftracks could more properly be called 3/4 tracks. They had the complex and expensive FAMO suspension, and quite honestly they might as well have put a couple more roadwheels on and turned it into a full track. The Germans also had the philosophy of "why use a sheet metal stamping when two precision machined carbon steel fitting will do just as well".
 

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royabulgaf said:
Cluttonfred, that paragraph referred to German halftracks. The German halftracks could more properly be called 3/4 tracks. They had the complex and expensive FAMO suspension, and quite honestly they might as well have put a couple more roadwheels on and turned it into a full track. The Germans also had the philosophy of "why use a sheet metal stamping when two precision machined carbon steel fitting will do just as well".

As an example of German halftracks' complexity, their steering was a system where you had conventional steering in small-angle(up to 15°, IIRC) turns, switching to track braking in larger turns. By contrast, US halftracks steered like like the trucks they were based on.
 

BB1984

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"....in cost terms, weight for weight the halftrack was and still is, more expensive than the tank. The high degree of technology required to make a halftrack reliable is such that each example was an engineering achievement purchased at high cost in time and facilities. . . "

The German 3/4 tracks were originally designed to do things that a contemporary fully tracked vehicle couldn't do as well, so yes they were expensive but half tracks are not inherently expensive. Simpler designs, like the interwar French designs and the US WWII halftracks, had the huge advantage that they could be made using existing truck components on existing truck manufacturing lines, i.e. much cheaper than an equivalent full track vehicle.

It is also worth noting that the Germans didn't view their armored half tracks as an ideal solution. Using existing halftrack designs enabled them to get an armored personnel carrier into production quickly and the resulting vehicle was enormously valuable to the PanzerGrenadiers. Then the wartime imperative to maximize production of existing designs with their limited industrial base meant the Germans were stuck with what they had, even though they had superior second generation 3/4 track and, late war, fully tracked APC designs.


gral_rj said:
As an example of German halftracks' complexity, their steering was a system where you had conventional steering in small-angle(up to 15°, IIRC) turns, switching to track braking in larger turns. By contrast, US halftracks steered like like the trucks they were based on.

The German 3/4 tracks originated with gun tractors where the wheeled steering was, at the time, the only way to get sufficient turning precision for high speed road marches. The elaborate tracked arrangement was designed to combine both high road speed and good cross country performance. The system also worked well with vehicles much larger than the ones the US made, progressively heavier vehicles towing progressively heavier guns.

US halftracks were never designed for the same levels of performance, nor to scale in size (the US having a range of fully tracked gun tractors for larger artillery). This, and the very practical US desire to have easily mass produced weapons, kept the US vehicles much simpler.

The German design concept was overly complicated for APC sized vehicles, and they introduced simpler 3/4 tracked and fully tracked designs to augment the original series (e.g., the Schwerer Wehrmachtschlepper and Raupenschlepper Ost), but they were stuck with older designs the same way they were stuck with the ME-109 and PzIV.
 

lastdingo

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I remember having seen Reichsmark price figures of SdKfz 251 or 250, and it did cost but a fraction of what a Pzkpfw III did cost.
Those vehicles weren't all that expensive.

I don't remember any sources claiming that German half-track APCs hadn't bulletproof plates; the American M3 sure did not adequately protect against all widely issued cartridge types used by German normal machineguns. They had a reputation of getting penetrated.
 

riggerrob

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".... Using existing halftrack designs enabled them to get an armored personnel carrier into production quickly and the resulting vehicle was enormously valuable to the PanzerGrenadiers. ...........
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yes!
Preserving manpower was important to the German Army. They could never afford to absorb as many million casualties as the Russian Army.

As for the thickness of armour ..... you don't necessarily need "bullet-proof." During WW2, the majority of Canadian infantry casualties were caused by mortars or artillery. As long as armour is thick enough to slow shrapnel, it is hick enough to keep mot of your soldiers alive until they reach the start-line.
 

Foo Fighter

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With respect, no. Just not realistic.
 

eshelon

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Track Over Wheels concept. (Terrex 8x8)

"Land systems developer Singapore Technologies (ST) Kinetics has unveiled a new concept that is aimed at improving the mobility of military vehicles over soft and difficult terrain at the Singapore Airshow 2016 held from 16-21 February.

Called the 'track over wheels' system, the concept is being showcased on a specially modified 8 x 8 Terrex armoured vehicle which has been painted in the Australian Army camouflage scheme and designated the 'Terrex 1+'.

This unique variant incorporates a number of features that are essential for the ongoing Australian Department of Defence's (DoD's) Project Land 400 Phase 2 requirement for up to 225 wheeled combat reconnaissance vehicles (CRVs) to replace the ageing Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAVs), although it is understood that the company is to offer its new 30-tonne Terrex 2 platform for the programme instead of the 24-tonne Terrex.

The variant on display includes its Adder remote weapon station armed with a 30-mm cannon, coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun and non-line of sight (N-LOS) missile launcher, blast attenuating seats, as well as a spare wheel on the side of the hull.

Wrapped over the two forward wheels on the starboard side of the vehicle, however, is a set of optionally fitted rubber caterpillar tracks which ST Kinetics claims has been designed to enhance the vehicle's mobility over soft and difficult terrain.

"It's an idea that has been adapted from the agricultural and forestry industry, where tracks are fitted over existing wheels to overcome the loss of traction in soft, muddy grounds," an ST Kinetics representative told IHS Jane's . "This could be an option for [military forces] to consider in the future."

IHS Jane's understands that the process of installing the track requires minimal preparation and installation time. The vehicle is driven forward and positioned over a set of tracks, which is manually looped around the wheels and secured via a link bolt."

source: Jane's
 

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shin_getter

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Called the 'track over wheels' system, the concept is being showcased on a specially modified 8 x 8 Terrex armoured vehicle which has been painted in the Australian Army camouflage scheme and designated the 'Terrex 1+'.
Christie is spinning out of his grave to find the closest lawyer?
 

GTX

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Errr...when was that Janes article from? Land 400 Ph2 was decided years ago.
 

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Errr...when was that Janes article from? Land 400 Ph2 was decided years ago.

First sentence in todays post #29:
"Land systems developer Singapore Technologies (ST) Kinetics has unveiled a new concept that is aimed at improving the mobility of military vehicles over soft and difficult terrain at the Singapore Airshow 2016 held from 16-21 February. "
 

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I seem to remember hearing about the US Army successfully testing at least one half-track design in the late 1980s, intended for service with the 10th Mountain Division among other specialised units.
 

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