White M3A1 “Half-Track” Personnel Carrier


As tanks became faster and more mobile, military leaders looked for ways for infantrymen to keep up and furnish constant support. An armored truck, mated with a rugged bogie and track suspension system in the rear, allowed foot soldiers to quickly move with modern, mechanized attack forces.

Some 12,499 M3 half-tracks were built by White, Autocar, and Diamond T during World War II. An additional 2,862 M3A1 models were produced with an armored cupula containing an M49 ring gun mount. Many earlier M3s were upgraded to M3A1 standards in the field.

The M3A1 could hold 11 soldiers and a crew of two, protected by .25-inch thick armor, which was strong enough to stop smaller-caliber bullets at ranges beyond 200 meters. The front of the vehicle was similarly armored, including manually-operated radiator shutters, protecting the half-track’s simple 6-cylinder engine and vulnerable radiator from attack.

The FHC’s half-track was made by the White Motor Company of Cleveland, Ohio. White produced steam cars, gas-powered automobiles, trucks, and railcars before World War II. White also built the famous “Red Jammer” busses used in many National Parks in the western United States. In wartime, White produced over 24,000 trucks and half-tracks.