Why Halftracks? Why limited to WW2 only? (Featuring Tank Fest 2018)

So while I was at tankfest a question, which is quite recurring, came up again: Why half-tracks in the first place? And the second question relates to this, Why did half-tracks basically disappear after the second world war, at least in production. This particular question was started because there was a movement of vehicles and there were half-tracks in the beginning, but om post-war vehicles there was no half track anymore. So The changes were a lot and you will see the footage of course here So what is the reason for this that we see half tracks initially, but then they basically disappear so There mainly there for the Second World War and then of course the surplus vehicles are still used but they are not produced anymore So why half tracks in the first place anyway? Now one initial important part was the realization of the British after First World War they looked at it and saw ‘ok the speed of the attack of the tanks is determined by their accompanying infantry and This is due to the fact that even if the tanks breakthrough they are mainly helpless without infantry to spot anti-tank weapons, to defend them against infantry attacks, or anything if the defenders are sophisticated Now, let’s move forward a bit if we look at the German Panzer Division one of the key ideas Was that every weapon system is at least as fast as the tank So that the tank is the main weapon whereas all the supportive units like infantry, artillery Have the same speed, so that on the operational level. It’s fast enough and So the infantry has to keep up so the first version of course was motorized infantry, infantry in trucks But there’s a major problem here: infantry in trucks isn’t particularly well in cross country And also it’s not armored. So you have two problems: the tanks and then your infantry runs with them. So Again, the tanks either have to slow down Which (since the mobility and speed of the tank is also kind of a defense for it) Weakens the weapon system or the infantry runs all the time and basically would just Feel exhausted so it’s not really an option So basically if we look at the requirements for half, they’re quite complicated. It should be good on roads. It should have good cross country Quality, it should also be able to tow various equipment, for instance at anti-tank guns or artillery and at the same time you need quite a lot of space to put in your infantry and the infantry should also be protected and Also, you need to keep the weight low because well Else lose speed or the cross country capabilities down and and all the other troubles. So as you can see there are quite different requirements for this and Initially, the Germans had went for a fully tracked vehicle, but then they realize the steering wasn’t accurate enough for Road driving so they added a steering in front with regular tires and it’s quite interesting because Those countries the most used mainly half-tracks for Germany and the United States Whereas the British? Used the universal carrier, often referred to as the Bren carrier Now if we look at the vehicles you can see okay. You have a fully tracked vehicle But it’s not big enough and we have half tracks which are quite big but they are not fully tracked So we can certainly agree the technology and all the requirements were not clear enough at this point so we have limited weight, large space, and Another thing is of course back then Very few people had a driver’s license and to work with this, a driver was already a specialized person Whereas the tank is even more specialized and if you put in the regular wheels in the front? Basically, they like the m2 or m3 half-track some of the Americans they were designed so that a regular truck driver could use them So this is not possible with a regular tank, a fully tracked vehicle at this point, fully tracked vehicle Another thing was he could adopt existing chassis from from trucks now for instance in some instances The germans used trucks and the replaced of the back wheels With tracks, they were mostly used for transportation and were non armored. But still you could use existing equipment and Initially also if you look at Germany, The vehicle was called manschaftstransportwagen, personal transport vehicle and later on it was changed to Schutzenpanzerwagen, RIFLEMAN ARMORED VEHICLE So and also initially in 1940 It was still that the infantry, the mechanized infantry, should only be transported and fight outside of the vehicle deployed and Later on in 1942. They should also fight from inside I mean, this was also possible due to the half-tracks being open at the top Which brings us to– To the next question basically, Why the half-tracks were not really produced anymore after the second war They were still widely used because they were surplus vehicles. Basically nobody kept producing them So this comes down basically to more experience and also to clearly defined roles and doctrine and everything. You should not forget I mean armored vehicles weren’t particularly new in the second level, but basically back then the main Aspects really developed and doctrine and tactics and operational aspects were really brought into stone and realized. Okay this works This doesn’t work so after second world war You basically have armored personnel carriers and later on you get infantry fighting vehicles now without going into too much detail in your armored personnel carriers are basically a bit better armored than half tracks and they’re enclosed at the top So they’re fully armored and fully tracked. Usually, of course you have also wheeled vehicles and The difference with an infantry fighting vehicle is basically that the infantry fighting vehicle has more firepower So they have a bit more punch. They are not as they are not as well armored or something But they have a bigger punch usually have an anti-tank missile or a bigger gun on there so that they can potentially also fight against larger vehicles like tanks or provide more fire support now Why they were not produced anymore is basically let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages first of the advantage was you had the ease of Training did you you could put a regular truck driver in and you could drive over after it for the most part This is not so much needed anymore. Because now after they can go over you have mostly More better education more people have cars and everything So you have already the basic so initially you get someone in like saying 1940s? Usually have to provide them at a driver’s license or instructions now people come in and usually have this already additionally you have more professionalized armies at certain points So then you can also want more training Then another advantage was to reuse existing tech technology So you had the trucks, you had some tracked vehicles, and then you kind of made up the half-tracks But at this point the technology stage, there’s way more experience. Everybody knows what it’s working more or less and It’s less needed then another advantage was that halftracks were faster on roads, but not as fast as wheeled vehicles usually and They could accompany tanks into combat, but their cross country Quality was higher of tracks, but lower than tanks. Usually which brings us to disadvantages as well One major disadvantage was it was open at the top so against raving artillery attacks? Hand grenades a close range everything they were not well protected So this was quite dangerous at the same time you could fight from the vehicle itself quite easily then they were weakly armored for the most part and again Yeah, less cost country typically than a tank Now the other aspect is of course, you have two systems kinda you have this hybrid so you have more more problems with maintenance because you have to Maintain the tires, you have to maintain the tracks and also for logistics So there’s a bit more going on in this department as well in other ways You could say that the half truck was basically a mermaid and the problem if a mermaid is if you won’t have a fish you Get a woman if you want to have a woman you get a fish So in a way to have to a practical solution That was not perfect or ideal and it was a stopgap and after the second dollar you realize okay, we have these shortcomings and we need to fix this and It’s better to go with a fully tracked vehicle because better cross-country capabilities We also need armor at the top and other elements for which they are for which the half-track was not suited anymore And then we get the armored personnel carrier Now thank you to Green Goblin Zed for sending me tupac from this Amazon wish list, which I could use on this video thank you to Ross from the Tank Museum for inviting me to Tankfest and Also a big thank you to all my patrons who made the trip to tankfest possible Thank you very much and see you next time


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