Artillery tractor

Artillery tractor

Artillery tractor is a kind of tractor, also referred to as a gun tractor, a vehicle used to tow artillery pieces of varying weights. The first such devices were designed prior to the outbreak of World War I, often based on agricultural machines such as the Holt tractor. Such tractors allowed the tactical use of heavier guns to supplement the light horse drawn field guns. For example in the British Army it allowed the heavy guns of the Royal Garrison Artillery to be used flexibly on the battlefield.

World War II

In World War II the horse was still the most common source of motive power in many armies. Most nations were economically and industrially unable to fully motorise their forces. One compromise was to produce general purpose vehicles which could be used in the troop transport, logistics and prime mover roles, with heavy artillery tractors to move the heaviest guns. The Royal Artillery however, persisted with specialist artillery tractors through out World War II, rather than adopt a general purpose vehicle. This was in order to prevent their vehicles being taken from them for other tasks.


There are two main types of artillery tractors, depending on the type of traction. Wheeled tractors are usually variations of lorries adapted for military service. Tracked tractors run on caterpillar track, and in some cases are built on a modified tank chassis with the superstructure replaced with a compartment for the gun crew or ammunition. The idea of half-track tractors was mostly discontinued after the World War II.

Modern warfare

In modern warfare towed artillery has given way in part to

List of artillery tractors

Tank chassis

*Dragon, Medium Mark IV' – British army, 1928; developed from the Vickers 6-Ton mark E.
* T-24 chassis
** Komintern
** Voroshilovets
*M3 Lee chassis
**M33 Prime Mover - converted by removing turret and recovery gear from M31 TRV. 109 converted in 1943-44.
*M4 Sherman chassis
**M34 Prime Mover - converted by removing recovery gear from M32B1 TRV (M4A1 Sherman tank chassis) and adding air brakes to tow heavy artillery. 24 converted by Chester Tank Depot in 1944.
**M35 Prime Mover - converted by removing turret from M10A1 tank destroyer (M4A3 Sherman tank chassis) and adding air brakes to tow 155 mm and 240 mm artillery.
**Sherman Gun Tower - British field conversion in Italy by removing turrets from old M4A2 Sherman tanks to tow 17 pdr AT gun and carry crew with ammunition
**Wolverine Gun Tower - British M10 (M4A2 chassis) or M10A1 (M4A3 chassis) converted by removing turret, 1944-45
*Crusader II, Gun Tractor Mk I – British army, variant of the Crusader tank

Other full-track

*pre- and First World War
**Hornsby tractor – British army, 1910
**Holt Tractor
*Renault UE Chenillette – France, 1932
*C7P – Poland, 1934
*Universal Carrier – British, 1936; "Bren Gun Carrier", armored utility tractor
*Lloyd carrier - UK, 1940
*M4 High Speed Tractor – USA, 1943
*M5 High Speed Tractor – USA, 1942
*M6 High Speed Tractor – USA, 1944
*M8 High Speed Tractor – USA, 1950
*Snow Trac – 1957, UK Royal Marines Light WOMBAT gun carrier
*AT-L - Soviet Union
*ATS-59 - Soviet Union
*AT-T - Soviet Union
*MT-LBT - Soviet Union, mid 1970's, variant of the MT-LB armoured personnel carrier.
*Hitachi Type 73 – Japan, 1974


*Unic P107 – France, 1934; towed the French 75 and short 105 mm field guns
*SOMUA MCG – France; towed the French long 105 and short 155 mm field guns
*SdKfz 7 – Germany, 1938; 8-ton half track often towed the Flak 36 88 mm
*M2 Half Track Car – USA, 1940
*M3 Half-track – USA, 1940


*Krupp Protze – Germany, 1933; towed the 3.7 cm PaK
*Scammell Pioneer – British, 1937; lorry used for the largest guns
*Morris C8 – UK, 1938; the "Quad" British lorry; towed the QF 25 pdr
*AEC Matador – UK, WWII; lorry used for pulling intermediate artillery such as the 5.5 inch gun
*Laffly V15T – France, WWII; towed 25 mm AT guns
*Laffly S15T – France, WWII; towed the French 75 and short 105 mm field guns
*White Scout Car – USA, 1941; 4x4 utility armored car
*CMP FAT – Canada
*"'Karrier KT4 – UK; for the British Indian Army
*Pinzgauer High Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle – UK, 1971
*Land Rover 101 Forward Control – UK, 1972

See also

* Self-propelled artillery

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